If you love big dogs, but require a gentle and temperate companion who loves children and adults alike, you should consider becoming friends with a Bernese Mountain Dog. This heroic canine loves to be a helper to humans, and looks the part too, with a gorgeous rich black and tan coat with white markings, which some say are reminiscent of the Swiss flag. Notorious for leaning, they’ll stick closer than a brother. Whether you’re heading out for a hike or cuddling in front of the fire, you’re bound to become firm friends – allow us to introduce you to the Bernese Mountain Dog.
Breed Group: Working
Coat length: Medium
Exercise: An hour a day is plenty
Grooming required?: Once a week
Due to their ancient breed origins, the first inklings of the Bernese Mountain Dog are not very well documented. It’s thought that the large dog was first bred by the Romans on their journey into Switzerland around two-thousand years ago. Originally a farm dog used by workers in the hamlet of Bern (hence ‘Bernese’), the dogs quickly gained admirers and began being kept as pets, show or working dogs for pulling carts during the early 20th-century. Today, as well as making a kind and considerate pet, the Bernese Mountain Dog can often be seen in Switzerland taking part in parades.
Bernese Mountain Dogs are one of the more short-lived dog breeds with an average life expectancy of 7-8 years.
Bernese Mountain Dogs have a much higher rate of fatal cancer than other breeds and can suffer from musculoskeletal conditions such as arthritis and hip dysplasia.
As a Berner owner you’ll be delighted by a pet who’s as gentle as he is cuddly. Bernese Mountain Dogs want to be wherever their family are, earning the nickname of second shadow. The Bernese are as happy outdoors as they are curled up next to you on the sofa, but be careful to not leave them for too long. Their nature means that they crave company and may become agitated and possibly destructive in your absence.
A patient pet
The Bernese Mountain Dog is great with humans of every variety; children, adults and even strangers can all make firm friends with this loyal pooch. Pulling parades is their jam and this makes them a great breed for people-pleasing in crowds and when socialising with friends.
This breed also loves the outdoors and makes an excellent hiking or camping companion. Unlike some larger breeds, the Bernese doesn’t require too much exercise to keep them in tip-top mental and physical condition. But don’t let that stop you from strapping on your walking boots and heading out for a long stroll with this gorgeous Mountain Dog by your side.
The Bernese Mountain Dog needs time to process new information. As long as he isn’t rushed, you’ll find that the Berner catches on very quickly and loves to impress you by learning new things. Be patient and try not to tell them off or get frustrated if they seem slow to start. A people-pleasing breed, they’re prone to become sad if they sense your disappointment. Instead, the Bernese loves nothing more than a pat on the head or a treat when he gets something right.
Due to the Berner’s working history, you will find them keen to protect and help with as many roles as possible. Whether that’s agility fun, light herding or helping to get your luggage from A to B. Keeping their minds active will make for a happy and healthy dog.
Toilet training the Bernese Mountain Dog should be moderately easy, when patience is applied.
Where to find the Bernese Mountain Dog
You don’t have to go all the way to Switzerland to find your faithful Bernese Mountain Dog. Check out this selection of UK breed groups.
Make sure you get what you’re looking for by using this list of Kennel Club assured breeders (KCAB).
Adopt a Bernese Mountain Dog
Why not give a patient Bernese Mountain Dog the chance to become part of your family? Here’s where you could rescue one from.