Bernese Mountain Dog

The Bernese Mountain Dog is a breed developed in Switzerland for farm work. Their physical appearance is characterized by a sturdy body, a long, tri-colored coat, and a friendly expression. They are gentle, loyal and affectionate dogs, making them excellent family companions.

General details

Dogs of the breed are strong, agile and medium-sized. The weight ranges between 39 and 50 kilograms in males, and between 36 and 50 kg in females. The height of males is 63.5 to 71 centimeters, while females are slightly shorter, between 58 and 66 centimeters. The dogs of the breed are not too long-lived, as their life expectancy is 6 to 8 years. They belong to Group 2 of the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI), which groups together Pinscher and Schnauzer type dogs, Molossoids, mountain type dogs and Swiss Cattle Dogs.

Breed history in brief

The Bernese Mountain Dog is an ancient breed created in Switzerland for farm work. The tasks of these dogs were based on transporting goods in carts and guarding the farm, alerting farmers to threats or intruders. It is possible that the ancestors of the breed were imported to the Bernese region by the Romans, and once there, were crossed with local dogs to give rise to the Bernese Mountain Dog. In the early 1900's, there was a significant reduction in the number of the breed, however, the efforts of breeders and supporters to preserve the breed brought it back to popularity. Today, the breed is known throughout the world and has become an excellent family companion due to its friendly nature. The Bernese Mountain Dog has even acted as a therapy dog, helping to improve people's health.

Breed characteristics

The body of the Bernese Mountain Dog is strong, and more compact than long. The topline is slightly sloping from the neck to the withers, while the back is straight, strong and horizontal. The eyes are dark brown and almond-shaped, as well as, the ears are high set, triangular and pendant when at rest. When alert, the ears are raised, leaving the front edge attached to the head. The coat of the Bernese Mountain Dog can be smooth or slightly wavy, as well as long and glossy. The breed is tricolor, with a black base color and intense reddish-brown and white markings. Dogs of the breed are self-confident, protective and fearless. Training this breed is easy, as they are intelligent and docile dogs. The Bernese Mountain Dog is gentle and affectionate, and thrives on the attention and affection of its owners. They do not enjoy solitude and can be aloof with strangers, so proper training and socialization is in their best interest.

Common health problems

Dogs of this breed are hardy and do not usually present health problems. However, some common disorders or diseases have been described in the breed such as elbow or hip dysplasia, histiocytosis, hypomyelogenesis, cortical cerebellar abiotrophy, idiopathic epilepsy, meningitis, progressive retinal atrophy and von Willebrand's disease. In addition to the above disorders, the OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) recommends screening for cardiac evaluation and the following diseases: degenerative myelopathy and autoimmune thyroiditis.

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