Although huge and imposing, Bernese Mountain dogs surprisingly work well in families with children. This working breed loves playing outside – especially in the snow, pulling carts, and spending time with their owners. If you want a big gentle dog that your kids can play and cuddle with, then the Bernese Mountain Dog would be an excellent choice.
Bernese Mountain Dogs | Great Playmates For Children
Bernese Mountain Dogs Personality
- Calm and good-natured
- Energetic and powerful
- Loves to work
- Eager to please
Originally bred to work in Swiss farms, Bernese Mountain dogs have become quite popular companion dogs today. However, they haven’t forgotten their ancestors’ roots at all. They love pulling carts and outdoor activities. It will be double the fun if it’s snowing outside!
Although they’re enormous and powerful, they are calm and good natured. They would be great playmates for children. However, they’ll need a wide space to use up their excess energy. Apartments won’t be suitable homes for these gentle giants.
They love being with their human family so much so, that if they’re isolated from people and other activities, they tend to start barking, digging or chewing on objects.
Nevertheless, Bernese Mountain dogs are very trainable as they’re eager to please. Start obedience training early to appreciate their worker’s instinct fully.
Size & Color
The Bernese Mountain dog has one of the most beautiful coats in the canine world. The thick double coat has a wooly undercoat and a longer undercoat to keep them warm during winter. Most of the breed is tri-colored; black with a lining of rustic brown around the mouth and legs, as well as a white cross-like patch on the chest.
However, with great beauty comes great responsibility. These gorgeous dogs shed like crazy and need constant grooming.
Aside from their beautiful coat, the Bernese Mountain dog is also well-known for its size. A full grown male can reach up to 25-28 inches (from the shoulder) while an adult female can grow to 23-26 inches. They’re not just tall as well, they can weigh from 65 to 110 pounds.
Bernese Mountain dogs, like other canines, can be vulnerable to several health issues. Make sure the puppy you get from a breeder has all the necessary health certificates before bringing your little buddy home.
Like other dogs, this breed is susceptible to some orthopedic diseases. Hip and elbow dysplasia, where the bones don’t align well in the joints, can lead to bouts of arthritis at best or lameness at worst. They’re also prone to a degenerative eye disease called Progressive Retinal Atrophy or PRA. You have to be careful in feeding your dog too much as well. Too much food can cause Gastric Torsion or bloat. The tight and bloated stomach can hinder proper blood flow which may eventually result in death if not treated right away.
Other diseases you need to be wary of include:
- Von Willebrand’s Disease
This disease, which can also affect humans, prevents blood from clotting properly, causing excessive bleeding both internally and externally. It has no cure but once diagnosed; it can be managed through cauterization of wounds, blood transfusions and avoidance of certain substances.
Similar to human cancer, tumors can also develop in dogs. Be wary of symptoms such as swelling or bumps, abnormal bleeding, sores that don’t heal as well as breathing and bowel difficulties. Although it can cause early death, cancer can be managed or even cured through chemotherapy, surgery, and medication.
- Portosystemic Shunt (PSS)
This congenital disease prevents blood flow from going through the liver. Because of that, the blood cannot be filtered properly. Symptoms start to come out during puppyhood, which includes low blood sugar, neurological difficulties, lack of appetite, drug intolerance, gastrointestinal and urinary issues among others.
Also known as Pano, this illness causes limping during the dog’s first year. It eventually goes away as the puppy ages and usually has no long term effects. During this period, it’s advisable to limit their intake of calcium and protein.
Unfortunately, Bernese Mountain dogs don’t get to live too long. If taken good care of, they can live for 6 to 8 years. Don’t hesitate to bring your pet to the vet for checkups to prevent or manage illnesses properly.
Food & Diet
In deference to its size, feed an adult Bernese Mountain dog 3-5 cups of high-quality dog food divided into 2 meals per day. Don’t feed them too much to avoid bloating and obesity. Try not to feed them right after a vigorous exercise. Wait for about an hour before letting them eat a full meal.
Bernese Moutain puppies need steady growth so look for food with 22% to 44% protein and 12% to 15% fat.
- Brush hair several times a week
- Groom weekly
- Bath every three months
- Brush teeth 2 to 3 times a week
- Trim nails once a month
This breed has a lot of hair so it’s only natural that shedding would be constant. Most of the year would be at an average rate. Most of the shedding will happen in spring and fall.
You should groom your dog weekly and brush weekly to reduce tangles. Give them a bath every three months or so.
Brush their teeth two to three times a week to avoid build of plaque that causes cavities and bad breath. You should also trim their nails once a month. He’ll naturally wear them down whenever they run around outside.
This breed is thought to have descended from mastiff-like dogs that came with the Romans to Switzerland 2,000 years ago. They mated with local dogs that were used as farm dogs.
Alpine herdsmen had Bernese Mountain dogs pulling crates for milking, herding cattle to pasture and even acting as guard dogs on the farms.
The breed almost died out when machines were introduced to Swiss farms. Thankfully, the breed was revived in the 20th century as companion dogs.
The American Kennel Club welcomed the breed in 1937 and is now 39th of the Association’s ranking of most popular breeds.
They may be big, but Bernese Mountain dogs are quite adorable. Watch this cute video of one taking care of puppies.
If you want a protective guard dog that’s also affectionate and active, then a Bernese Mountain dog should be your companion. However, they have relatively lower life expectancy than other dogs. However, if you do decide to adopt this breed, plan checkups to keep your dog healthy and free of diseases.
Do you think a Bernese Mountain dog would be a great addition to your family? Let us know in the comments section below.