This breed is originally from the Canton of Bern (Switzerland), and that is why it bears that name. Although in his native country he is known as Berner Sennenhunds.
In the beginning it was used as a farm dog, but thanks to its versatility it was assigned many other tasks such as pulling wheelbarrows and transporting merchandise, being a guard dog, guide dog or, today, a family pet.
They have a long history in their country, and although the exact date of their beginnings is not known, many researchers believe that they have been accompanying humans for thousands of years. They are believed to descend the ancient Roman Mastiff, but also of Tibetan Mastiff.
The breed was close to extinction around 1890, when its role at work began to dwindle. Luckily, breeders discovered that it is also an excellent companion animal, and the Bernese Mountain Dog has managed to survive and now achieve a very good reputation.
Physical characteristics of the Bernese Mountain Dog
The Bernese Mountain Dog is a breed of dog that belongs to the category of large-sized dogs. Its body is rectangular, the length of its trunk being greater than the measurement of its height. Wide chest, with a round rib cage and oval profile. The tail exceeds the hocks but does not reach the ground and is adopted in the shape of a saber. Shoulders straight, long and muscular, set down. Straight legs with a very good articular angle that give it firmness and solidity, they have a cat's foot and a medium-sized muscular neck. The top line of these boyeros is straight and solid, they have a strong back and rounded rump.
The head of the Bernese Mountain Dog is large, they have a strong and flat skull with a stop that, although not prominent, is well defined, the groove in the mid-central area is smooth and the nose is powerful. The lips are not very developed and the ears are medium in size for its body, they are triangular in shape, wide at the base and pointed at the top, a high set and they are hanging and close to the head. The eyes are almond shaped, tight eyelids and scissor teeth.
Male Bernese Mountain Dogs usually have a height that ranges between 64 centimeters and 70 centimeters. On the other hand, females vary their height between 58 centimeters and 66 centimeters. The ideal height is between 66 centimeters and 68 centimeters for the male and between 60 and 63 centimeters for the female.
The coat of the Bernese Mountain Dog attracts a lot of attention, it is one of its attributes that allows the breed to be identified even to the most novice. It has medium-length hair, which is abundant, thick, and can be straight or slightly wavy. The fur of the Boyero is very soft, looks like silk and has a length of approximately 5 centimeters.
The coat of the Bernese Mountain Dog is chestnut black with tan and white spots. Those of tan color appear above his eyes, in the cheeks, the legs and the chest. White takes the form of a symmetrical headband that should be neither too wide nor too narrow. It also has white color present on the chest. It is preferable, although I do not always know, that the feet and the tip of the tail are also white. The white of your feet should not exceed the metatarsal and white patches on the front or back of the neck are undesirable, but can also be accepted. The eyes must be dark brown.
Bernese Mountain Dogs tend to be very calm, balanced, cheerful and super friendly dogs. They do not have courage and bravery but they decisively protect their masters and their home. They are always attentive to what is happening in their environment and they have a very high intelligence, well above the average of other races. He is super loyal to his master and his family, helpful and obedient. Inside the home he behaves calmly, despite having energy. They are not dogs that are used to barking a lot, if they do it is for some reason that is important to them.
Generally, the Bernese Boyeros have excellent behavior with children. They are super protective of them and very playful. They are aware of their size and if they play with young children they are super careful and tolerant. If there are pets in the house, such as rabbits, cats or other dogs, he will have no problem adapting and he always gets along well with them, accepts them as part of the family. This is mainly due to the fact that it has no hunting instinct, so it is practically not necessary for it to go through a severe socialization process as if other dogs require. In emergencies he is always ready and by his master's side, with family acquaintances he is gentle, cheerful and super friendly. He gets along better with dogs of his species than with dogs of other breeds with which he can become a bit dominant but not aggressive.
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The care required by the Bernese Cattlemen is not excessive, they need a weekly combing or brushing, mainly in the areas where more tangles or knots are generated. In times of shedding it is recommended to double brushing and it is even convenient to give it baths with warm water. Between the fingers they usually have excess hair and some rubbish get caught. Check the cleanliness of the area and cut excess hair. Nails should always be short.
They learn very easily and are super willing to learn. Their high level of intelligence and docility make them highly recommended dogs for inexperienced people. They are very obedient and helpful, they learn and interpret the orders that are given to them very easily. They are sensitive to the inflection of the voice, but they need firmness and affectionate treatment when it comes to being trained.
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They are dogs that have a lot of energy and are active. Although they behave calmly at home, they have to burn that energy at some point. It is recommended that they exercise at least one hour a day on average. They love to play and run off the leash so it's a good idea to take them to the park or have a wide field. Bernese Mountain Dog puppies need a lot of rest and too long walks or exhausting games are not productive for them. Take this into account while the animal is a puppy, since it hinders the development of its bones. He has a great territorial sense and does not usually explore on his own, he is always close to his master. If you are looking for information about the best toys for dogs, we leave you the link of our note.
It is a large dog and therefore it is logical that it consumes a large amount of food. A good quality dry feed is recommended that can cover all your needs to stay in good health and with a shiny coat.
It is important to respect the appropriate portions (you should consult a veterinarian to find out how much your Bernese Mountain Dog should consume at each stage of its life). You must bear in mind that if they are allowed to eat freely they can fall into obesity, which leads to many health problems for the breed.
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It is most often used as a companion dog, although it is also very good at dog sports such as obedience trials. Originally the Bernese Cattlemen were used as traction dogs, catchers and guardians.
Why is it so popular?
It is probably the most popular cowherd today, and then we will tell you why. Without a doubt, its beautiful colors and contrasts, together with its symmetrical markings, have helped to highlight the popularity of the breed. But that's not all, it has also earned its status by being a good companion animal. They also participate in many obedience and agility competitions, and they are also frequent in tracker events or in those of directing livestock. They are so smart and versatile that you can adapt it to almost any task. In fact, they have been found to be ideal for therapeutic treatments.
If there is a but for this breed, this could be health. The Bernese Mountain Dog has a life expectancy of between 8 and 12 years.
They can present different diseases such as: hip dysplasia (if not treated in time, it can lead to lameness), progressive retinal atrophy (if not treated in time can lead to blindness), Von Willebrand's disease, congenital abnormality in coagulation, cleft palate or lip and also cancer.