Bernese Mountian Dogs are great big floofs that have become very popular recently. Wonder why? Well, they are beautiful dogs that love their families, for starters. They love cold, snowy days - but can do ok in the heat of Arizona, too. As puppies, they have a lot of energy, but as older adults, prefer to laze about close to their human for companionship. What is there not to love?
I have spent quite a bit of time around Bernese Mountain Dogs. One thing that I think you need to know is that they must be very well socialized as young puppies, or you will get a fearful adult dog. It's like they do not realize how big and intimidating they could be - and so if they are not well socialized, they are very timid. And, that trait could make them very fearful of human interaction. This is very difficult to overcome when they are adults. So if you are buying your Bernese Mountain Dog from a breeder - ask them how much they play with the puppies. It is a vital part of getting a great dog! If you are adopting from a rescue or shelter, realize that if your dog is an adult and it is fearful, it will take time and patience to bring them out of that behavior. You can do it - but it will take time. My neice has a dog that was not well socialized. After a couple of years her dog does great with her family - but is still reluctant to meet anyone new.
Bernese Mountain Dogs are known for being intelligent, gentle, affectionate and loyal. They are also very social, so they will do well in homes with lots of people or other animals around as long as they were well socialized as puppies.
They do require daily exercise such as walks or playing fetch in a large backyard. They also love spending time with their families – if you want a dog that loves cuddles and lazing around then this is the breed for you!
If you live in an area that gets seasonal snow - you may have a difficult time getting your big floof to come back inside after a good snow fall! They love to lay down in it and just enjoy the snowy bliss. You may think they will freeze to death - but they won't. Their double-coat is meant for this weather and it is pure joy to them!
Health and Lifespan
Bernese Mountain Dogs typically live between 7-10 years, but their lifespan can be shortened due to certain health issues that can arise. It is important to purchase a puppy from a reputable breeder who is familiar with health concerns related to the breed, such as hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia. Other common health issues include progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), eyelid problems, allergies, and cancer. If you are buying from a breeder - be sure to ask if they have done genetic testing - and ask to see it! You want to make sure they test negative for the following:
- Von Willebrand's Disease (a blood clotting issue)
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) (an eye disease that causes blindness over time)
Grooming & Training
Bernese Mountain Dogs have a thick double coat which requires regular brushing in order to keep it clean and free of tangles. Their coat should be brushed at least once per week in order for it to stay healthy. They tend to get matted behind their ears and under their armpits - so those are place you will want to pay close attention to.
They also shed, a lot! If you are looking for a dog that doesn't shed, this is not the dog for you! But, you could consider a bernedoodle, which is a cross between a Bernese Mountain Dog and a poodle. They come in all sizes from mini (usually in the 20-30 lb range) to standard size (50-100 lbs). Check out our article on bernedoodles here.
Additionally, these dogs are relatively easy to train due to their intelligence. Consistency is key when training Bernese Mountain Dogs; they respond best when given clear commands and positive reinforcement every single time they obey them!
Bernese Mountain Dogs are beautiful creatures that make excellent family pets. With proper care and maintenance they can live long lives filled with joy! However, they do require quite a bit of grooming attention so it’s important that pet owners take this into consideration before getting one of these majestic dogs. In addition to needing lots of love and attention, Bernese Mountain Dogs need plenty of exercise as well as consistent training in order for them to thrive in any home environment!