Breeds

Bernese Mountain Dogs Are Too Pure for This World

Until last year, you probably hadn’t given these guys much thought. But recently, it feels like they’re everyone. We hear or see photos of them almost every day! So it feels like time to find out why everyone is so obsessed with this big and beautiful breed.

History

Bernese mountain dogs originally hail from Bern in Switzerland. They’re closely related to other Swiss mountain dog breeds like greater swisse, appenzeller, and entlebucher. Great names. All four of these breeds have the distinctive tri-colour markings, being mostly black but with rust and white patches. They were bred as all-around farm dogs, who helped herd cattle in the mountains and even pull carts. Carting competitions are still held in Europe.

Bernese are popular as family dogs in German-speaking areas. But their popularity has been growing rapidly in the USA, Canada and now Australia.

Weight: from 35kg up to 55kg.

Colour: Distinctive tri-colours of black, white, and rust.

Life Expectancy: 7-8 years.

What You’ll Love about Bernese Mountain Dogs

  • Sweet: Despite their hulking size they’re generally considered to be  good natured, placid, and docile. They’re usually gentle, patient and affectionate with children and other pets.
  • Easy going: As working dogs they need exercise, but not huge amounts and generally low intensity. A decent walk will satisfy them.
  • Smart: Their intelligence makes them easy to train.
  • That face: They always look like they’re smiling at you!

What You Might Find “Challenging”

  • Size: There’s no way around it, they’re huge. So make sure you’re ready for the amount of food and couch space required.
  • Life expectancy: Sadly, you only get, on average, 7 to 8 years to spend together.
  • Shedding: Like many cold climate dogs they lose a lot of hair, especially during  the change of seasons.
  • Overheating: With a double coat designed for the mountains, overheating occurs easily. Keep a close eye on them in warm weather, and consider another dog if you live in a hot climate.

Common Health Issues for Bernese Mountain Dogs

  • Cancer: Heartbreakingly they experience almost double the average cancer rate of other dogs. It’s one of the reasons their life span is reduced.
  • Arthritis, hip dysplasia, and cruciate ligament rupture: Like many big dogs, they can struggle with their joints and ligaments. Arthritis can start to occur as yearly as four years of age.
  • Ear infections: Their floppy ears can cause problems, so make sure to keep them clean and check them often.

Instafamous Aussies Bernese Mountain Dogs

Think a Bernese is the right pup for you? Find out if you’re ready to add a dog to your life.

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Written by Wendy Syfret
Wendy is Head of Media at Scratch. Which is a good fit, because she's never met a dog she didn't like. Although she has a special place in her heart for muts: three legs, one eye, missing fur, bit of a weird walk? The scruffier the better. Her favourite dog in the whole world though is her terrier-mix Stevie.