Bernese mountain dogs were originally farm dogs. They helped out around the farm back in the day by pulling carts, helping farmers with livestock (driving them to the market or fields), and most of all, they were guard dogs for the farm. The Bernese mountain dog has a nickname of Berner.
These days the Bernese mountain dogs are a beloved companion and family dog and often found in the show ring. The Berners are known for their calm and patient temperament. If you are interested in adopting a Berner, you must be prepared to do lots of training and socialization once you bring your new furry family member home. Bernese Mountain dogs are adorable and cuddly puppies but be aware that they grow very quickly to their adult weight of approximately 70 to 120 pounds.
The Bernese mountain dog, or Berner, requires moderate daily exercise. He or she will need to be walked at a minimum of half an hour daily with frequent trips outside throughout the day. Bernese are very individual dogs, and the amount of exercise that they desire can vary. To keep your Bernese active and their mind healthy, you should involve them in dog sports such as agility, drafting, herding, obedience school, tracking and rally O. You will have to look at your Bernese’s build and temperament before deciding which one of these dog sports would best suit them most. If organized dog sports are not your thing, you could take your Bernese hiking, and you may want to look into getting him a canine backpack to carry their own water bottle and treats.
Bernese Mountain Dogs make great therapy dogs. They are the perfect height for standing by a bedside and being petted, they have a very mellow and gentle temperament as well, and most often love people, particularly children. If they do not have regular human contact, you will find that he or she will pine for companionship. They are often seen as outdoor companions, but when the family is home, the Bernese should be in the home with them.
Bernese Mountain dogs have the potential just like any other breed of dog to develop genetic health problems. When looking into breeders of Bernese mountain dogs, you should walk away from any breeder that does not offer a health guarantee with their puppies, or tells you that the breed is 100% healthy and has no known problems. The following is a list of problems that Bernese mountain dogs could develop over their lifespan:
- Hip and elbow dysplasia
- Cataracts of the eyes
- Retinal atrophy
- Entropion and ectropion
- Willebrand disease (bleeding disorder)
- Unfortunately, it is often common for Bernese mountain dogs to develop malignant histiocytosis which is a fatal type of cancer.
Happy Bernese Mountain Dog looking. Once you adopt your Bernese, you should have a 72-hour health check done by your veterinarian to be sure that your puppy gets a clean bill of health at the time of adoption.
Written by Shannon Knox – Practice Manager