The Bernese Mountain Dog is one of four Swiss Mountain Dog breeds (Berner Sennenhund). Originally from the Swiss Canton of Bern, these multi-purpose farm dogs herded, and pulled carts of produce & dairy to market. Agile and strong they served as guard dogs, and loyal family members.
Saved from near extinction, they were introduced to America in the 1930s. AKC recognized the breed in 1937. Many Berners carry the working-dog traits of their ancestors, and are loyal, devoted family members like their ancestors.
For a comprehensive history and additional information about this special breed, please click the link below.
Potential owners should be aware Berners can have health issues. Having an honest conversation prior to purchasing a Berner will help confirm if you are prepared for the financial and emotional commitment that may be required.
Large dogs, including Berners, are prone to hip and elbow dysplasia, bloat, allergies, and cancer.
Unfortunately the average life span for Bernese 7-8 years, but many reach their teens.
Responsible breeders, the BMDCA, and researchers are committed to improving the health and longevity of this wonderful breed.
Berners are large dogs. Males may reach 27" at the shoulders and weigh 80-120 lbs.. Females may reach 26", and weigh 70-100 lbs. Consider the true size of this "lap" dog in your family, home, and lifestyle.
The Berner's thick coat is of medium length, and may be slightly wavy. The seasonal undercoat of this northern breed sheds twice yearly, be prepared! Regular brushing is a must to prevent mats, especially when shedding. Regular baths/conditioner will help remove this undercoat. An experienced groomer can be very helpful in keeping your Berner beautiful.
Berners are energetic working dogs, and regular exercise keeps them both mentally and physiclly sound. Walks, hikes, play time, or dog sport classes are all terrific activities for both your Berner and you.
Known for their lovely temperament, Berners love their people, and are not to be ignored. They can be aloof, but should never be shy or aggressive. Early socialization is always important, and learning "big dog" manners necessary for interaction with people and children.
A positive puppy class is a terrific start for both puppies and owners.
While Berners are well-suited to our northern climate, a Berner should never be left outdoors in winter temperatures for extended periods. Neither should they be ignored, as they are not happy without their humans, and want nothing more than to be with their family.
Be sure to consider all the pros and cons of this large breed, puppies, and their needs when deciding if this breed is right for your family.
Bringing a puppy home is the easy part. They're full of warm snuggles, wagging tails, and puppy breath. A few sleepless nights then everything falls into place right? Sometimes things don't go quite as expected, or we have questions about this bundle of fur that's gaining 4 lbs. a week, has an opinion, or just isn't following our agenda. Who ya gonna call?
Finding a responsible breeder who works diligently to raise healthy, strong puppies is a new owners biggest task. Most breeders have years of experience, are dedicated to the health of this breed, and each litter they produce. Their commitment to each puppy lasts not 8 weeks, but the life of their puppies. They are also committed to the families who bring their puppies into their homes. Being available to help should last the life of your dog, not just until you leave their driveway with your new puppy.
Ask all the right questions...
Don't be afraid to ask questions of a potential breeder. Can they provide pedigrees & health records for their dogs? Do they do health clearances for orthopedics, diseases, etc. that are critical in any responsible breeding program? What can they tell you about the parents? How are their dogs kept? How many litters do they breed each year? Can you visit and meet their dogs? Do they welcome your calls if you need help or have questions? Research the dogs on Berner-Garde if you're not sure.
And if you don't get the warm and fuzzys from a breeder contact, look further until you do. A wonderful breeder and perfect puppy is worth the wait.
While many "designer dog" breeders advertise improved temperaments, hyper-allergenic, low maintenance dogs with a cross-bred puppy, these traits cannot be guaranteed. With parents often lacking health testing, no generations pedigree history, etc. the "best of both world" traits of each parent breed cannot be promised. Neither can the hypo-allergenic dog so heavily marketed today. Be prepared as these puppies often sell for more than a well-bred purebred puppy.
Please be cautious of cross-breed puppies that are so popular in today's market, and often sold on the internet with big promises, and little or no breeder support.