The Bernese Mountain Dog; Personality, Health and Care

There are currently so many known dog breeds. In the United States alone, there are over 190 with the Bernese Mountain Dog being just one of these. This is a particularly large and friendly dog that can easily become a member of most families. It is full of energy, intelligent, and quite easy to train.

The Bernese originates from the Swiss Alps and it is one of the four breeds in the Sennenhund-type family that was bred from crosses of guard-type and mastiffs breeds. In the past, they were kept as farm dogs and were used for pulling carts as draft animals. These canines are a part of the working group recognized by the American Kennel Club. They are versatile and sturdy, having a friendly and calm disposition. They can be obedient, well suited to conformation and they can also be used for herding, tracking, and in competitions.

Measuring from their paws to the shoulders, most males are between 25 to 28 inches tall and weigh between 80 to 115 lbs. while females are around 23 to 26 inches in height and weigh between 70 to 95 lbs.


The Bernese Mountain Dog is good-natured and alert. They relish learning new things and can be obedient. Obedience should be instilled at an early age due to their large sizes so they can be amiable companions in the home. They have a natural instinct to guard and they are suitable for work especially on farms. They make good watchdogs and bark loudly, enjoy physical work, are eager to please, and can easily adapt to a family.

As a pet parent, you should not be fooled by its intelligence, friendly disposition, and trainability. Its size and high level of energy can make it quite difficult to handle. This is why it is essential to train them early on when they are little. Bernese dogs do not like staying holed up in the house, they like the outdoors. They also drool and shed a lot.

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When they are well trained, they are good companions to have. They are great with kids and as long as they are trained to socialize, they can welcome newcomers warmly.


Compared to other breeds, the Bernese has a short lifespan of about 6 – 8 years. They are on the top 10 breeds with short lifespans coming at number three behind The Great Dane and French Mastiff.

One of the reasons for this includes their large size which makes them prone to bone and mobility issues. Another reason is that they are also prone to cancer. About half of these dogs die through canine cancer which is a high percentage. Other factors that can affect their lifespan include things like nutrition, breeding, genetics as well as environmental and hereditary factors.

Breeders are seeking ways to increase the lifespan of this breed and one of the ways currently being experimented is breeding them with dogs that don’t have a disposition to cancer.

Potential Health Issues

Asides cancer, which is mostly attributed to irresponsible breeding, Berners, like they are referred to, can have other health issues. Some common health issues they can have include:

  • Hypothyroidism
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy
  • Panosteitis
  • Von Willebrand’s disease
  • Portosystemic Shunt

If you are contemplating owning this breed, there are organizations and associations that are working to reduce the incidence of these health issues in them. You can always get more information from them and can adopt, train, or foster a dog. You can find more information on the Bernese common health issues here:

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Beginning training early is the key to getting the best out of the Bernese Mountain Dog. Obedience training and socialization are key forms of training required. This breed is quite easy to train as they are eager to please. They can be easily hurt and will not respond well to harsh training methods. They require a consistent and loving approach to corrections.

Caring and Grooming

The Bernese Mountain Dog’s coat is thick and long and can either be straight or wavy. Like we noted above, they shed this coat a lot. This means that they need frequent brushing of their coat as this will help untangle and remove loose hair. Also, nail trimming should be carried out occasionally.

The Bernese will do just fine with high-quality dog food which can either be home-made or commercially manufactured. Beware of obesity so watch your pet’s calorie consumption as some are prone to being overweight. Make it a habit to check with your vet on dietary issues especially with home-made meals. You should also provide them with fresh clean water always.

Although prone to some health issues, they are generally healthy. Their ears should be checked regularly for any signs of infection. A daily exercise routine of about 30 minutes will do your canine good and keep it healthy. This can of course include evening walks. You can go to this web-site to learn more about the Bernese and other dog breeds.


As one of the very friendly and amiable dog breeds, The Bernese is a delight for any family. Pet parents should ensure they get those that were responsibly bred to forestall incidences of diseases. They should also check their canine often and be sure to carry out recommended tests.

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