The Bernese Mountain Dog Breed Information
Quick Bernese Mountain Dog Facts
Weight: Male: 84–110 lbs. (38–50 kg), Female: 79–110 lbs. (36–48 kg)
Height: Male: 25–28 inches (64–70 cm), Female: 23–26 inches (58–66 cm)
Life Expectancy: 7-10 years
Temperament: Affective, sensitive, loyal and devoted
The Bernese Mountain Dog is the American Kennel Club’s 27th most popular dog breed. Also known as a Berner, this breed is as big and powerful as it is beautiful. If you think a Berner might be right for you, here is what you need to know.
A Little History
The Bernese Mountain Dog is well known as one of Switzerland’s most versatile mountain dogs. Some believe the Berner’s origins trace back to the Roman invasion of Switzerland, when Swiss herders interbred with Roman Mastiffs. The result is a breed capable of withstanding harsh winters, strong enough to pull many times their own weight, and clever enough to herd and drive livestock. Despite their unique skills and great contributions to Switzerland’s agriculture, by the late 1800s, the breed began to struggle. There were fewer Berners each year, and of those that remained, their best qualities waned. Dr. Albert Heim, a dog fancier and Swiss geologist, took steps to ensure the breed’s promotion across Switzerland, reaching the United States by 1926. The breed was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1937.
What are Bernese Mountain Dogs Like?
The Berner is both strong and agile, with a large sturdy frame. Their coats are long, tri-colored combinations of black, red, and white fur.. Their relaxed expression compliments their affectionate, sensitive nature, and their natural working gait. They are patient with children and reserved with unfamiliar people. Additionally, they make friends with other pets. They become unhappy if left alone, and prefer to pass the time with their human companions. As they age, their devotion to their owners becomes increasingly evident.
Caring for Bernese Mountain Dogs
Despite their strength, Bernese Mountain Dogs prefer to live indoors, though they enjoy outdoor activities. They require at least half an hour of exercise each day, and enjoy participating in carting and drafting competitions. Most of their shedding occurs during shedding season twice annually, but they also shed throughout the year. Weekly to daily brushing helps remove dead and loose hair and reinforces a healthy coat. An occasional bath is necessary, and trimming their nails regularly helps to prevent splitting and cracking, which can be painful. Of course, remember to brush their teeth to prevent dental disease.
Bernese Mountain Dogs are prone to conditions such as Entropion, Canine Hip Dysplasia (CHD), and Elbow Dysplasia1, so it is important to schedule regular check-ups with your veterinarian to monitor for health concerns.
Breeders charge between $1,500 and $2,000 to adopt a Berner puppy. You should also plan to spend upwards of $500 on supplies and initial veterinary expenses. Each year after that, veterinary care can cost around $800 per year. Conditions such as Canine Hip Dysplasia and Entropion can cost anywhere between $1,000 and $5,000 to treat. A policy from 4Paws Insurance helps to offset unexpected medical costs like these.
Sandy Says: Comments from Chief Pet Officer, Sandra Boucher
I just love Bernese Mountain Dog puppies. They are one of the cutest breeds. If you need an affectionate dog that does well in cold weather, this would be a great breed to add to your family. Unfortunately, their life span can be short, but they are very intelligent dogs. They can be prone to barking, so if you prefer a quieter breed this breed may not be for you.