The Bernese Mountain Dog is one of the oldest breeds of dogs in the world, known for its herding skills and gentle temperament. Despite its muscular and athletic built, the Bernese Mountain Dog is also known for its very short lifespan due to a hereditary propensity for cancer and other death-causing diseases. Nevertheless, this dog is very loyal in nature compared to other dog breeds and is also very sociable, making it a very good companion for the family.
Origin and History
Bernese Mountain Dogs were originally used for herding and farm works. They are capable of pulling carts and watching over the farm, and are very reliable with this type of work. They were known as farmer companions in the Mountains of Switzerland. Because the breed is relatively pure compared to other dog breeds, inbreeding has caused the Bernese Mountain Dog to develop a hereditary condition, which accounts for its short life span.
Details and Specifications
The Bernese Mountain Dog is classified under the mastiff and American Working dog category. These dogs are extra large in size with height ranging from 24 to 28 inches for male and 23 to 27 inches for female. Their weight can be between 85 to 110 pounds for male and 80 to 105 pounds for female. Their coat is moderately long with colors that vary from tan, black, rust, and white. This dog can be distinguished by its white coat on the chest and tail.
The dog’s loyalty to its owner makes it stand out among other dogs. Throughout its short life span, the Bernese Mountain Dog displays competitive obedience and loyalty towards its owners. They are very protective and watchful, making them a very excellent watchdog. However, this dog has a tendency to be lazy at times because of its hereditary health problems. They are neither active nor outdoor dogs. They have a tendency to exert their utmost effort in a task, but in a short period of time.
Training a Bernese Mountain Dog is a bit difficult as they are not as cunning as the other dogs. But this breed of dog is so eager to please and is not dominant. They have very good nature, but it takes time for them to mature. Because they act like a puppy even in their middle age, trainers should be firm but gentle in giving commands.
Caring and Nurturing (Haircut, Fur Treatment, Washing…)
Because Bernese Mountain Dogs shed heavily all year round, daily brushing would help remove the dead hairs of the dog and keep its coat shiny and healthy. Bathing can also be done regularly especially during times of heavy shedding.
Hereditary problems made the Bernese Mountain Dog susceptible to certain type of cancer that shortens its life span from 10 to 12 years to a mere 6 to 8 years.
Food, Equipment & Games
It very important to note that since this type of dog is not overly active, they should be fed with food that contains low protein and fat. Protein content should not exceed 26% and fat should be less than 16%.