Bernese Mountain Dog – Facts | Origins | Weight | Size | Height – What was once a shepherd dog used in the Bernese valleys, known by several names in German, is today one of the most loved dogs for the family. The Bernese Mountain Dog is very sweet to humans and loves nature, cold and snow.
The good-natured and friendly character made the Bernese Mountain Dog an excellent guard dog, known all over the world. As a family dog he is loyal, loyal and affectionate. It has a high stimulus threshold and reacts to external attacks in a relaxed way. He is a faithful friend of man and does not have aggressive behavior.
Although it may inspire fear for its size, one should not be afraid of the Bernese Mountain Dog: it may even happen that he approaches the strangers he meets with a tail. It is an excellent family dog and has no problem in the relationship with young children, despite the possible screams and romping, indeed loves to play with them and pamper them. Unfortunately, males can sometimes conflict with other same-sex dogs when they feel threatened on their territory.
Del Bovaro del Bernese is also said to be particularly stubborn in certain situations, for example when he is given an order that he does not deem useful to execute. The breed is particularly self-conscious and very intelligent: this allows the dog to question several orders. With a lot of love and a couple of rewards, however, puppies with a strong temperament can easily become excellent working, sports, rescue, search or therapy dogs. If the dog’s education is successfully carried out, the sociable nature of the Bernese Mountain Dog will reveal many surprises: for example, it can be taken anywhere, even without a leash.
Appearance of the Bernese Mountain Dog
Not only the character, but also the appearance make the Bernese Mountain Dog a highly appreciated dog. Characteristic of the breed are the three hair colors: the main one is black, which extends like a coat on the trunk, neck, head and tail. The symmetrical white starts from the forehead and widens towards the tail, sometimes reaching the tip. Also characteristic are the white cross on the chest, the white legs and the tip of the tail. The reddish to brown marks are typical for cheeks, legs and sides of the chest, and add a tone of beauty to the dog and completing the picture of the 3 colors. The Bernese Mountain Dog also has some reddish-brown spots near the eyes.
The hair, unlike the other Bovari, is very long and smooth, at best slightly wavy. The coat is soft, shiny and protects this guard dog from the cold and snow. The Bernese Mountain Dog, however, does not tolerate the heat very much: in summer it should have a place in the shade where you can feel comfortable, avoiding demanding activities during the hottest hours.
With a height at the withers ranging from 64 to 70 cm for males and from 58 to 66 for females, the Bernese Mountain Dog certainly belongs to large breed dogs. Unfortunately, however, these dogs can tend to be overweight, often due to little movement or incorrect nutrition. As with humans, excess fat can also lead to joint problems and other diseases. The weight of a healthy Bernese Mountain Dog is around 55 kg for males, for females it should not go beyond 45 kg.
A massive body, not corpulent or fat, therefore strong and muscular, characterized the ancestors of the Bernese Mountain Dog, who were bred as farm dogs near Bern, taking care of guarding the flock, carrying carts and moving herds.
It is not clear from which breeds it originated: it is thought that among the ancestors there may be Molossians and Mastiffs, brought to the Alpine regions by the Romans.
The history of the Bernese Mountain Dog can only be told with precision starting from the 20th century and is particularly linked to the small town of Dürrbach and its inn, meeting point for inhabitants, wayfarers and merchants: these 3-color dogs were kept here . Even the ancient name, from the German “Dürrbächler” refers precisely to the region of Bern and to the town where this breed initially developed. These dogs were first exhibited in a Bern cafe in 1902: from then on, interest in the breed gradually increased and with it the number of dog shows also increased. In 1907 the “Bernese Mountain Dog club” was founded, whose task was precisely to breed the breed with specific standards. The name Bovaro del Bernese comes from the Swiss geologist and cynologist Prof. Dr. Albert Heim, who collaborated in the creation of the breed standard. The name therefore created links with the other Swiss Cattlemen. Thanks to his sociable character and massive build, the Bernese Mountain Dog was soon appreciated in other European countries.
Breeding and health of the Bernese Mountain Dog
The Bernese Mountain Dog was, initially, a shepherd and guard dog: he controlled the courtyard, moved the herds and that’s why it was mainly used by traveling traders, also thanks to his willingness to work, attention, to the iron strength and health that characterize it. With the advent of the industries these dogs have been gradually used less and less for these purposes and soon they became perfect dogs for the family. For breeding, breeders began to focus primarily on their good-natured and sociable character, also relying on aesthetic standards.
For a while, having a Bernese Mountain Dog became a trend. The consequences have been a weakening of character and hereditary problems due to a greater number of people who have become hobby breeders and to earn money easily. Fortunately, breed lovers have replaced this type of breeders, focusing on aspects such as dog health and longevity. The rules for breeding the Bernese Mountain Dog today are very strict: to reduce hereditary diseases and improve the health of the breed, the values have been changed for both parents and siblings and other relatives of the canine breed. The life expectancy of the Bernese Mountain Dog is 7 to 10 years and is still low. Among the most common diseases in the breed we find joint problems (DA and DG), kidney problems and cancerous tumors. To make sure you buy a healthy dog that offers you and your family many years of joy, turn to serious breeders who care about the well-being of puppies rather than just profit.
Raising a dog seriously does not only take a lot of time, but it is also very expensive and this is sometimes reflected in the puppy’s purchase cost.
A suitable diet for the breed
Before adopting a puppy you must not only buy the basic accessories, such as harness and carrier, but also make many reflections. One topic to think about is, for example, dog nutrition: your trusted breeder will be able to give you all the advice about it and will be able to offer you a food plan for the first weeks at home. Without any doubt, for the first few times you will have to give the dog the food with which the breeder fed him. Puppies also have other food needs than adult dogs. If in the end you opt to change your food plan, always do it slowly and gradually, so that the dog’s intestine can get used to the new food.
To avoid overweight problems and prevent any diseases, you should combine a balanced motor with sufficient motor activity. The best choice is certainly a high percentage of meat mixed with fruit and vegetables. You can offer him both wet and dry food. As an alternative to ready-made products you can opt for a BARF diet, which is based on fresh and raw ingredients. The main advantage of this type of diet is represented by the precious nutrients contained in raw meat and fresh vegetables, which could be lost with cooking. If you are unsure about the type of food to offer to your Bernese Mountain Dog, ask your trusted breeder or veterinarian for advice to create an adequate nutritional plan for your specific needs. Needs may vary depending on several factors, such as race, gender, weight, age and activity.
Find out more about vegetarian dog food!
Caring for a Bernese Mountain Dog
In addition to feeding, it is also important to think about where your dog will live: the Bernese Mountain Dog needs a lot of space, so a house with a garden or even a place to run around would be optimal. The breed is therefore not ideal for those people who live in small city apartments.
Also think about the fact that puppies in the first months of life cannot climb stairs, so as not to run into joint problems during growth. For this reason, a house on an upper floor without a lift is not suitable. Access to the ground floor can also be an advantage if your elderly dog is no longer able to climb stairs and you are no longer able to carry him in his arms due to the weight.
The Bernese Mountain Dog needs a lot of space and movement. As a master you must have the desire and time to move with your dog, take long walks and subject him to mental challenges. Intelligence games and dog sports, together with rescue or research work, are ideal for these intelligent dogs.
In some dog sports, Bernese Mountain Dogs do not excel, due to their size: in fact, an activity such as Agility, which needs a lot of speed, does not suit a heavy dog, who would tire and strain unnecessarily.
For the well-being of your Bernese Mountain Dog it will also be necessary to think about daily care: the long and smooth hair should be brushed at least 2-3 times a week, to avoid the presence of knots and keep a shiny hair.
During the shedding of the hair then brush and comb should be used daily.
In addition, eyes, ears, legs, skin and teeth must be checked regularly and cleaned if necessary. With these small routine checks you will be able to notice in time of possible anomalies, which could be a sign of cancer, therefore recognized in time and adequately treated.
These are some tips to ensure a long and happy life for your Bernese Mountain Dog.