Bernese Mountain Dogs, known for their striking appearance and amiable nature, have become increasingly popular as cherished family pets. Originating from the Swiss Alps, these majestic dogs boast a rich history and a unique set of characteristics that set them apart. In this article, we’ll delve into the world of Bernese Mountain Dogs, exploring their origins, physical traits, temperament, and everything you need to know before welcoming one into your home.
Origin and History
The Berner dog comes from the mountains of Switzerland and is a common breed there. Bernese Mountain Dogs’ ancestors were farm animals in the past. This working breed looks out for animals and pulls big things. As a result, this dog really enjoys pulling a cart! The Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America is a great organization that helps fund cart-pulling events.
Bernese mountain dogs are known for their gentle and eager nature, making them excellent house dogs. They are affectionate with their families and can be open to strangers with proper socialization. They are intelligent and trainable, but they should undergo thorough obedience training in puppyhood, especially for large breeds like the Bernese mountain dog.
They can be playful and exuberant, but their size may cause them to accidentally knock over children or adults. Due to their outgoing nature and devotion to their family, Berners don’t like to be left alone for long periods, making them not suitable for long-hour workers who prefer a dog who can remain happily alone at home.
Training and Socialization
While Bernese Mountain Dogs are known for their good-natured personalities, early training and socialization are crucial. Bernese mountain dogs are easy to train due to their bright and eager nature. Start obedience and socialization from a puppy, teaching them basic cues like sit, stay, and lie down.
Exposure to different people, animals, and situations boosts their comfort and confidence. Berners respond well to positive reinforcement techniques like clicker training. As they take longer to reach full physical and mental maturity, be patient and remember that multiple short training sessions per day are more effective than one long session. Due to their large size, it’s essential to establish good behavior early on to ensure a harmonious relationship with your furry friend.
Like all breeds, Bernese Mountain Dogs are prone to certain health issues, including hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and certain genetic conditions. Regular veterinary check-ups, a balanced diet, and proper exercise are vital components of their overall health and well-being.
Berners require space for movement and play, so a yard is essential. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise daily, such as walks, hikes, or fetch games. Berners are athletic and can compete in canine sports like obedience, agility, tracking, and carting. If living in an apartment or home without a yard, ensure your Bernese enjoys daily outdoor time or doggy daycare. Playdates with friendly, outgoing dogs are also beneficial, as long as they are matched in size and strength..
The Bernese breed, known for their beautiful coat, sheds a significant amount of hair, which can quickly cover clothes, sofas, and curtains. To manage this, brush your dog well at least twice a week, but it’s impossible to completely prevent hair from accumulating in your home. Brush in areas where hair tends to get tangled, such as the armpits, under their tail, neck, and chest.
Regularly trim hair between pads for comfortable walking. The thick coat of the Bernese Mountain Dog can make them hot during summer, so comb their undercoat and provide a cool spot for them to lie down, such as a cold stone floor indoors or outdoors in the shade. Additionally, routine checks for ear cleanliness, teeth, and nails are essential aspects of their grooming routine.
While their size might suggest a need for a spacious home, Bernese Mountain Dogs adapt well to apartment living, provided they receive adequate exercise. However, access to outdoor space is beneficial for their well-being.
Bernese Mountain Dogs are often crossed with other breeds to create unique mixes. Notable examples include the Bernedoodle (Bernese Mountain Dog and Poodle mix) and the Saint Bernese (Bernese Mountain Dog and Saint Bernard mix).
Famous Bernese Mountain Dogs
Bernese Mountain Dogs, known for their gentle nature and striking appearance, have become popular family pets and have been featured in notable TV adventures like Lassie and Rin Tin Tin. Their heartwarming stories of heroism and loyalty contribute to the breed’s enduring popularity. Notable examples include Bella, a Canadian Bernese Mountain Dog, who saved her owner, Chris Larocque, from a burning house in 2013, demonstrating the breed’s natural instinct to protect and assist their human companions.
In 2015, Nico, another Bernese Mountain Dog, rescued two individuals in distress after being swept out into the ocean by a powerful California rip current. Nico’s bravery and quick actions in the face of danger underscore the breed’s remarkable intelligence and willingness to go to great lengths to ensure the safety of those they care about.
During the devastating Northern California wildfires in October 2017, Izzy, a Bernese Mountain Dog, emerged as a symbol of resilience. Despite the destruction of her family’s home, Izzy survived and reappeared from the forest, showcasing the breed’s steadfast loyalty and ability to endure challenging circumstances. These real-life stories of Bernese Mountain Dogs stepping up in times of crisis not only demonstrate their remarkable capabilities but also contribute to the breed’s enduring appeal.
Bernese Mountain Dogs have been popular among celebrities. Some of the famous Bernese Mountain Dogs include:
- Hercules: Owned by Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
- Smelly and Harvey Milkbone: Owned by the characters Bryan and David in the TV series “The New Normal”.
- Buttercup: Owned by actress Anne Hathaway.
Choosing a Bernese Mountain Dog
Prospective owners should carefully consider their ability to meet the needs of a Bernese Mountain Dog. Choosing a reputable breeder, understanding the breed’s requirements, and assessing your own lifestyle are crucial steps in making an informed decision.
Bernese Mountain dog puppy Price
The average price for a Bernese Mountain dog puppy in America is $1,150, but this price increases for dogs with superior ancestry. For superior breeds, the cost can start at $2,500 and go up to $10,000. Experienced and ethical breeders typically charge more, providing better care for the litter and investing more in the breeding process.
This includes medical care, ensuring each puppy is health certified, and providing initial vaccinations and worming. Medical expenses can cost up to $100 per puppy, which will be factored into the price you pay to take ownership of them. A stud fee, required to breed dogs, can cost anywhere from $500-$1000, which will be reflected if you opt for a better breeder. Beyond this, better breeders will also provide better food, socialization, and screening.
When considering a cheaper breeder, it is important to avoid puppy mills or backyard breeders. These breeders may not have been born ethically, may not have received the attention they need, and may not have been socialized, vaccinated, or wormed. The lineage of the dog is not as carefully considered and managed, and the breeding practices and knowledge may be inferior.
In conclusion, it is best to go to a specialized breeder with extensive experience and knowledge in breeding and raising the Bernese Mountain Dog. This ensures that the dog’s health is not compromised from an ethical and moral standpoint.
Cost of Ownership
Owning a Bernese Mountain Dog comes with its associated costs, including initial purchase, food, grooming supplies, veterinary care, and potential unexpected expenses. Prospective owners should budget accordingly to ensure the well-being of their furry companion.
In this section, I’ll discuss the initial costs associated with bringing a Bernese Mountain Dog into your home, covering essential items to ensure your new pet’s well-being and happiness.
- Dog Food and Treats:
- Cost: $100 to $120
- Importance: High-quality dog food is crucial for your Bernese Mountain puppy’s growth. Experiment with different brands and types (wet or dry) to find the one your pup likes best.
- Food and Water Bowls:
- Cost: $15 to $35
- Importance: Stainless steel bowls are recommended for durability and rust resistance. Proper bowls are essential for your dog’s feeding routine.
- Cost: $30 to $50
- Importance: Chew toys not only entertain your dog but also contribute to oral health and teeth development. They serve as a safer alternative to real bones and protect your furniture.
- Dog Bed:
- Cost: $50 to $200
- Importance: Dog beds provide comfort, a safe space, and help prevent conditions like hip and elbow dysplasia, common in the Bernese Mountain Dog breed.
- Dog Crate:
- Cost: $60 to $500
- Importance: Crates assist in housetraining and promoting good behavior. They are especially useful for large, curious dogs like the Bernese Mountain Dog.
- Leashes and Collars:
- Cost: $15 to $50
- Importance: Quality leash and collar are essential for walks, contributing to the active lifestyle these dogs benefit from.
- Grooming Essentials:
- Cost: $40 to $180
- Importance: Items like a dog brush, nail trimmer, and shampoo contribute to regular grooming, reducing overall grooming expenses.
- Deworming, Flea, and Tick Medications:
- Cost: $50 to $200
- Importance: Long fur makes Bernese Mountain Dogs prone to parasites. Medications help control internal and external parasites.
- Initial Vet Visits:
- Cost: $100 to $300
- Importance: Regular veterinary check-ups ensure your puppy’s prime health condition during crucial developmental stages.
- Initial Vaccine Shots:
- Cost: $75 to $200
- Importance: Standard vaccinations protect against common diseases like distemper, rabies, and parvovirus.
- Neutering and Spaying:
- Cost: $50 to $500
- Importance: Advisable if you don’t plan on breeding. It also reduces the risk of certain health concerns.
- Dog License:
- Cost: $10 to $20
- Importance: Provides identification and increases the chances of finding your dog if lost.
- Cost: $40 to $60
- Importance: A non-invasive procedure to identify your pet, aiding in a quick reunion if lost.
- Miscellaneous Supplies:
- Cost: $15 to $30
- Importance: Allocate extra budget for items like poop bags and potty pads, covering additional needs beyond the main expenses.
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Where to Buy and Adopt Bernese Mountain Dog Puppies
If you’re looking to find Bernese Mountain Dog puppies for sale or adoption, here are some reliable places to explore:
- Relentless Ranch
- Location: Basalt, just outside Aspen, Colorado
- Features: Offers a natural environment with streams and pastures, providing a suitable space for dogs. Puppies come with insurance, registration papers, medical tests, and microchips.
- MajaRaja Bernese Mountain Dogs
- Location: Charlotte, North Carolina
- Features: Reflects AKC standards, with the owner having over 30 years of dog training experience. Puppies include insurance, registration papers, medical tests, and microchips.
- Bear Acres Kennel
- Location: Bedford, Kentucky
- Features: An AKC Breeder of Merit since 2000, offering a five-year health guarantee for their Bernese Mountain Dogs.
- Heart of Michigan Bernese Rescue
- Features: Takes in Bernese Mountain Dogs that can’t be cared for by their owners due to various reasons. Adoption applications are carefully reviewed to find the best match for the pup.
- NorCal Bernese Mountain Dog Rescue
- Location: Bakersfield, North California (services extend to the border of Oregon)
- Features: Provides foster care and eventual rehoming for Bernese Mountain Dogs in need.
- BFW Rescue Inc.
- Location: McCormick, South Carolina
- Features: A non-profit organization that provides training and medical attention to Bernese Mountain Dogs in their care. Their goal is to find loving families for their rescued dogs.
Note: When opting to rescue or adopt, be prepared for a thorough application process. This process is in place to ensure that potential adopters can meet the needs and maintain the well-being of the Bernese Mountain Dog in their care.🐾
Community and Support
Being part of a community of Bernese Mountain Dog owners can provide valuable support, advice, and shared experiences. Online forums, local meet-ups, and breed-specific events offer opportunities for networking and learning from others who appreciate the unique joys and challenges of having a Bernese Mountain Dog. Here are some Bernese Mountain Dog owner’s communities and support groups where you can connect with fellow Bernese enthusiasts:
This group, hosted by Petbyte, is a welcoming space for Bernese Mountain Dog owners. Share your photos, stories, and adventures with your Berners. It’s a private group where members can discuss their dogs, ask questions, and connect with other Bernese lovers. You’ll find a supportive community of fellow Bernese enthusiasts here.
If you’re in the Kelowna area (Canada), this group is specifically for Bernese Mountain Dog owners. It’s a place to organize group meetups, hikes, and walks. Members share photos, suggest hiking spots, discuss food deals, and ask questions related to Berners and their health. It’s a great way to connect with local Bernese owners.
Another Facebook group dedicated to Bernese Mountain Dog owners. Here, you can post your photos and share your Bernese adventures. The group emphasizes kindness and respect among members. It’s a place to connect, learn, and celebrate this wonderful breed.
Remember to join these groups, introduce yourself, and share your love for Bernese Mountain Dogs. 🐾
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In conclusion, Bernese Mountain Dogs bring a combination of beauty, temperament, and versatility that makes them an ideal choice for many families. From their historical roles in the Swiss Alps to their current status as beloved family pets, these dogs offer a unique and enriching companionship. By understanding their needs, providing proper care, and fostering a loving environment, you can embark on a rewarding journey with your Bernese Mountain Dog.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Are Bernese Mountain Dogs good with children?
- Yes, Bernese Mountain Dogs are known for their gentle nature and make excellent companions for families with children.
- How often should I groom my Bernese Mountain Dog?
- Regular grooming, including brushing and checking ears, teeth, and nails, should be done several times a week.
- Do Bernese Mountain Dogs have specific health concerns?
- Like all breeds, Bernese Mountain Dogs may be prone to certain health issues, including hip dysplasia and genetic conditions.
- Are Bernese Mountain Dogs suitable for apartment living?
- Yes, Bernese Mountain Dogs can adapt to apartment living, provided they receive sufficient exercise and outdoor time.
- What is the average lifespan of a Bernese Mountain Dog?
- The average lifespan of a Bernese Mountain Dog is typically around 7 to 10 years, though individual variations may occur.
- How much does a Bernese Mountain Dog typically cost?
- Prices can vary, but on average, a Bernese Mountain Dog from a reputable breeder may range from $800 to $2,500 or more.
- What are common health issues in Bernese Mountain Dogs?
- Bernese Mountain Dogs are prone to conditions like hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and certain genetic diseases.
- How much exercise does a Bernese Mountain Dog need?
- Bernese Mountain Dogs benefit from regular exercise, including daily walks and playtime, to maintain their health and happiness.
- How can I find a reputable Bernese Mountain Dog breeder?
- Look for breeders with positive reviews, ask for references, and ensure they prioritize the health and well-being of their dogs. Consider reputable breed clubs and organizations.