Breed Spotlight: Bernese Mountain Dog

09/18/15 at 01:30 PM | Published Under Dog Breeds by Quaker Pet Group

A large breed dog originating in the Swiss Alps, the Bernese Mountain Dog features a silky, long tri-colored coat, black with white chest, and rust colored markings above the eyes, sides of mouth and front of legs. Those with a white horseshoe shape around the nose and a white “Swiss cross” on the chest are considered to have ideal markings.


This hardy large breed dog’s strength and intelligence originally helped him perform work on Swiss farms. Today, he enjoys spending time with his human family and playing sports. An outdoor dog at heart, the Bernese still behaves well indoors. Since he’s very affectionate and patient, he’ll generally do well with children, other pets and around strangers. The moderately active breed should be exercised for at least 30 minutes daily.


These large breed dogs are typically described as self-assured, good-natured, placid towards strangers and docile. They should not be aggressive, anxious or distinctly shy. Though naturally, an individual dog’s temperament may vary. Especially since he is a large breed, he should be well socialized as a puppy. Pet parents should consider a socialization class between four-six months of age, followed by a basic obedience program before he reaches age one.


Compared to other large breeds and purebred dogs in general, the Bernese has a short life expectancy of 7-8 years. Although cancer is the leading cause of death for dogs in general, Bernese Mountain Dogs display a much higher rate of fatal cancer than other breeds. Additional health concerns include progressive retinal atrophy, hypomyelinogenesis, hereditary eye diseases and histiocytic sarcoma.


Since he’s a large dog, the Bernese is also prone to musculoskeletal issues like arthritis (especially in shoulders and elbows), cruciate ligament rupture, hip dysplasia and osteochondritis. If you understand these health issues and take steps to help prevent or reduced the potential, the Bernese Mountain Dog makes an excellent addition to your family thanks to his great disposition and mild temperament.


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