Very adaptive and loyal, Bernese Mountain dog breeds are large in size and long-haired, usually kept as guard dogs. Males of this intelligent dog breed can get up to 50 kg (115 lb) in weight and 70 cm (27 inches) in height. Learn more about the Bernese Mountain dog’s personality, how is it so special and see more information about shedding, grooming, and diet of this dog.
Origin of Bernese Mountain Dogs
These dogs originate from the mountains of Switzerland. However, it’s believed they were brought there by Romans around 2,000 years ago. They were bred from crosses of Mastiffs and different types of guard dog breeds. This dog breed is also known by the name of Berner Sennenhund in the German language.
Bernese Mountain dogs are part of 4 dog breeds of Sennenhund (Swiss mountain dogs) coming from the Swiss Alps. The other three are Grosser Schweizer Sennenhund, Appenzeller Sennenhund, and Entlebucher Sennenhund dogs. These breeds were commonly used as working dogs, commonly performing activities on farms. They were trained in herding sheep, but also in protecting the property.
Swiss mountain dogs are different in size, getting from 20 to 70 kg (45-140 lb) in weight and 48 to 72 cm (19-28 inches) in shoulders (withers) height. The largest dog breed in this group is the Greater Swiss Mountain dog breed, which on average weighs around 60 kilograms (132 pounds).
Height and weight
However, the average weight of Bernese Mountain dogs is around 42 kg (92 pounds). Healthy dogs can weight as low as 30 kg (65 lb) and go up to 55 kg (120 lb). This depends on their activity and diet. Therefore, your dog should always eat healthy dog food to fulfill its daily nutrient needs.
Their height, on the other hand, can go from 58 cm (23 in) up to 70 cm (27 in) at their withers upon standing. A healthy average height is around 64 centimeters, which is roughly 25 inches.
All dogs from the Sennenhund group share one thing – their coat colors. Their furry coat is a combination of three color shades: black, brown, and white. Dog’s back is usually black from the top of his head to the tail, while its belly is white. Patterns of brown shades are commonly located on their legs and head. It’s not uncommon that small patches can also be seen above the dog’s eyes.
This is because of pigments eumelanin and pheomelanin. Pigmentation of eumelanin causes the dog’s black back, while the other pigment phaeomelanin causes the dog’s belly to be brownish-red color. It’s believed that the white color originates from cross-breeding with St. Bernard dogs.
How long do Bernese Mountain dogs live?
In opposition to many other dogs, Bernese Mountain dogs’ lifespan ranges from 6 to 10 years. Unfortunately, they have numerous health problems caused by a small genetic foundation. The bright side is that people are breeding these dogs with more caution, therefore making each new generation stronger than the previous one. Their life expectancy was up to 8 years a long time before, but many new pieces of research suggest that they increased maximum life expectancy from 6 to 10 years.
Related: What dog breeds live the longest?
Because of their popularity, breeders commonly pair healthy Bernese Mountain dogs with other dogs that have a history of health problems. This is a cheaper way of getting puppies that are not purebred to sell them for a higher price. Sadly, many dog owners don’t realize this and therefore have many problems with their dogs. Instead of paying for a puppy from an unknown breeder, you should consider adopting it. It’s a cheaper and better way of getting the same love and affection from a dog.
Do Bernese Mountain dogs shed?
Indeed, they do. With 2 layers of coat, Bernese Mountain dogs shed continuously throughout the year, shedding heavily twice a year – in the spring and fall. Keeping these dogs might not be a good idea if you or someone from your family is allergic to dog hair. Their coat should be combed daily to have a home without any dog hair. This breed is very active and you should be prepared to see dog hair flying in the air if it’s not groomed properly.
To decrease shedding, give your dog high-quality meals with protein. This will strengthen its coat and reduce dead hair. Shampooing your dog with protein shampoos for dogs may also help by strengthening its hair and skin.
Do Bernese Mountain dogs drool?
Whether it’s healthy or not, this dog breed will droll often because of its loose lips. The larger the dog – the more it will droll. Therefore, you should clean its mouth with dry towels from time to time and there is nothing you can do to stop it.
Do Bernese Mountain dogs bark a lot?
A little bit negative side of being a watchdog is its barking potential. Bernese dogs bark often, and very loudly. However, this can be controlled and they can be trained to bark less often. Usually, more active dogs will bark less. Walking your Bernese Mountain dog on a leash and training it not to bark on people and be friendly will help a lot in decreasing its barking potential.
Is Bernese Mountain dog a good family dog?
This dog breed is perfect for children and family overall. Gentle and affectionate, Bernese Mountain dogs love their family but are usually attached the most to one human. They will love playing with kids and being cuddled. However, being big and heavy, they may bump a small child by accident. Dogs being dogs should never be disturbed while eating or sleeping and children should know this. Bernese Mountain dogs are good with other pets as well, like cats and other dogs.
How often should you bathe a Bernese Mountain Dog?
You should bathe your Bernese Mountain dog at least once every three months. As a result, it’s coat will remain clean and shiny. However, it should also be cleaned every time it gets dirty. This can be done by regular brushing, which should be done at least every 2 to 3 days for its coat to be clean, but most importantly not to shed.
However, if the dog is “smelly”, which is common from being active or has fleas, it should be bathed a bit more commonly. I suggest you use special shampoo against fleas in such case, it will help in getting rid of them.
Is there a smaller version of a Bernese Mountain Dog?
Yes, there is a similar breed to the Bernese Mountain dog. As stated before, this dog breed is part of the four breeds in a Sennenhund group ranging from 20 to 70 kg (45-140 lb) in weight, and Entlebucher Mountain Dog is the smallest. It weighs around 20-30kg (45-65 lbs), shares very similar coat colors, and has short hair. They share a similar personality to the Bernese Mountain dogs.
How much exercise does a Bernese Mountain dog puppy need?
It does need a fair amount of exercise, but nowhere near extreme. Activities with this dog breed help control its behavior. Without any activity, the dog may bark a lot, dig holes, chew shoes, or not sleep at night. Walking it on a leash at least once in a few days and playing with it daily for at least 30 minutes is enough.
How many cups of food should a Bernese Mountain dog eat?
It depends on the dog’s age. Adult Bernese Mountain dogs (older than 8 months) should eat 3 to 6 cups of healthy dog food a day. Puppies from 8 to 10 weeks old eat from ¾ to 1 and ½ cups of food per meal. The food intake gradually increases as they age. Aging from 2 to 6 months, pups can have 3 meals a day. After 6 months of the dog’s age, start with 2-3 meals a day, and gradually increase it as the dog grows in size. There is no exact amount of food that a dog should eat, as it varies by its metabolism and activity level.
How much water should a Bernese Mountain dog drink?
Any dog breed should drink 1 ounce of fluid per pound of its body weight a day, considering fluid is water or fluid from wet food. For example, a 90-pound (~40 kg) dog should drink 90 ounces (~2.6 liters) of fluid a day.
What is the bite force of a Bernese Mountain Dog?
Approximately, this dog breed can apply a force of 150 to 200 pounds per square inch. This is correct considering the dog is in adulthood and is healthy.
Are Bernese Mountain dogs good swimmers?
Yes, they can swim. However, it might not be a good idea considering the amount of coat they have. If their coat gets wet, it will get heavy and therefore make swimming hard. Besides, most of Bernese Mountain dogs really do not like the water at all.