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The Bernese Mountain dog is just one of those breeds you cannot help but love, his soft, expressive face, his soft shaggy coat, his playful disposition and loyalty are among the many things that make these giants wonderful dogs. The are not a breed for everyone, their large size will make them unsuitable for many, as will the decent amount of exercise and large amounts of hair they shed. They also cost quite a lot of money to buy as they are not a common breed and a bigger dog means more money, more food, bigger vets bills, it will take a hell of lot more to anaesthetise a Bernese Mountain dog than your average mutt, the list goes on and on. But for many, despite the downsides and high costs the Bernese Mountain Dog is the only one for them.
Their coat will take a lot of work, more dog means more hair, it will have to be brushed daily to get rid or dirt, debris, brambles etc. that they will pick up on there travels. This will also help to get rid of some of the dead hair that will become a regular part of your life with Bernese.
They make excellent family pets, they have lots of energy so will love going on walks, they will need them and playing in the garden with children. They really do enjoy the company of children, one of those dogs that lights up when they see a little person.
Sadly these gentle giants have a very short life span, you will be very lucky to get 8 years out of your Bernese, cancer is rampant and is generally what takes them.
I have a 6 year old male Bernese Mountain dog. He is very loyal to the point where he becomes upset if a member of the family is away for a long time. On walks he likes to round up all members of the group. He is still bonkers at 6 and comes to greet anyone at the door even if you only left 5 minutes before. Being so large this can be a problem. We have a reasonable size house but it still seems too small for him with his powerful tail which has a habit of knocking items off surfaces!
Benson is my 2 year old pedigree Bernese Mountain Dog, a gentle giant who loves just about everything and anyone in life! I brought him when he was a 7 week old puppy after seeing an advertisment in the pet shop window, it is unusual to see this breed sold in this way, as they are not a hugely popular dog in England and there are often waiting lists of people wanting top quality show-line puppies however Benson came from a family who simply bred their two Berners, he cost just under £600, this was rather cheap for a pedigree Berner but he was sold at this price because his parents were just pets (although both pedigree's), they weren't top quality award winning show dogs, a puppy from show dog parents is likely to cost over £900. I never want to use Benson as a show or stud dog so this wasn't important to me.
The Bernese Mountain Dog or ''Berner'' for short is classed as a large to giant breed of dog with a relatively short average life span of just 7 years, although many do live longer. They are tri coloured- mainly black bodies with brown legs and white feet, a white muzzle white tan markings to the black face and a white chest. A fully grown male adult can weigh anywhere between 40-50kg and be 60-70cm in height.
Generally they are good natured dogs who love adults, children and other animals although every dog is different. If training is started from a young age then they should learn quickly and are capable of learning a variety of different commands and tricks. Berners are very loyal to their owners and can sometimes dominate over other dogs in the house hold, however Benson knows that my other dog Ruby is the boss in our house..its quite funny to see a Cavailer King Charles Spaniel keeping a giant Bernese Mountain Dog in line but the two of them get along brilliantly and love each other to bits!
The Berners long thick coat needs daily attention and be warned, they shed alot of hair! To minimise shedding Berners should be throughly groomed twice daily, this also helps prevent knots and tangles from forming. I've never bathed Benson as he has never needed it, he does get rubbed down with a damp towel occasionaly though. You should also pay special attention to a Berners ears, as they easily get grass seeds in them during walks, you should also establish a dental hygiene routine to avoid smelly dog breath and bad teeth.
Berners need around 60 minutes exercise a day which should include some off lead running. However Benson and Ruby get two hours off lead exercise a day which usually includes a bit of sea swimming as we are lucky enough to live near both beaches and woodland. Until your Berner is 18mths old exercise should be limited to no more than 40 minutes a day to advoid putting pressure on developing bones. If a Berner is not excercised both mentally and physically they WILL become bored and destructive.
Before you get a Berner bear in mind how much a dog of their size eats and how much it is going to cost! Benson is fed dry food, the weekly food bill for Benson and Ruby is £20, remember Ruby is only a little Spaniel and if she was my only dog I could feed her for around £5 a week..that makes Benson's food bill £15 a week, which isn't cheap.
And then there is everything else a dog needs- a bed large enough for a Berner to stretch out comfortably in is going to cost £40+, then large ceramic food and water bowls cost around £10 each,agood quality leather collar to fit a Berner is going to cost £12 then a strong leather lead will be a further £12. Engraved I.D tags cost around £9 and remember these are easily lost whilst out on walks so you may need to replace them up to 3 or 4 times a year.
And finally vet care, due to their huge size Berners are at risk of several different diseases, illnesses and injury including gastric torsion, hip problems, cancer and injured joints caused by their size. Like any other dog a Berner needs two intial puppy vacanations and then one a year for every year of its life, these cost around £30 a time. If you wish to get your dog neutured this is going to cost approx. £80 (Benson isn't neutered, my other dog however, is), microchipping which I strongly recommend will set you back £25-£30. Every month Berners need to be protected against fleas at £15 a time for a good flea protection like Frontline then every other month they need worm prevention, again this will cost around £15 for a quality brand such as Drontal.
Owning a Berner may seem like one expensive after the other but what they give back makes it all worth while...
Please think very, very carefully before getting a Bernese Mountain Dog, they are a large breed of dog which isn't suitable for a first time dog owner. They need hours of training to keep them in order, lots of time and money spent on them to keep them happy and healthy and most important of all..they are going to need you to care for them for the next 7-10 years!!!
I have just got a Bernese Mountain dog having wanted one since I was little and I'm thrilled. They originate from the Berner Oberland in Switzerland and are magnificent. They are very large dogs, similar in shape and size to St. Bernard's. However, Bernese have black, white and tan markings. I had to wait about 3 months on a waiting list as there are not many breeders in the UK. I have a male, but if you want a female you are likely to have to wait longer. They are very large puppies and when I got him he was already the size of a cocker spaniel, he has grown quickly since then and will continue to grow until he is about one and a half. When I first had him he seemed quite dazed and clumsy-but don't worry this will soon wear off. Now he is always the first to the door whenever anyone comes home. One of the most important things to note about this dog is that he can't be exercised much as a puppy (until he is about 6 months) because his legs grow so quickly, and he would get swollen joints and a greater risk of arthritis when older. He requires quite a lot of space and has taken over a sofa as his own. He also needs a lot of attention. Now he is 6 months he always wants to go for a walk first thing in the morning and he gets frantic until he has been out. In the evening he also gets quite lively and will chase my other dogs around or thump his paw on your lap until he gets the required attention. When he knows it is feeding time he will bark very loudly until it is given to him; if you are cooking he will sprawl himself across the kitchen floor taking up as much space as possible- and he is big. My dog is not allowed upstairs and I would advise the same if you plan to get one. His coat does require regular brushing, but he quite enjoys this and will happily roll onto his back for you. He is suprisingly gentle with children and also with my two cats who he teases from time to time but never hur
These are the most wonderful, caring dogs that you will ever meet, however, not many people get the chance to meet them. I didn't even know they existed until I met up with my Aunt from Scotland who enters into Crufts. Known as The bear cub, the dogs originate from 100BC in Switzerland and were and still are working dogs. You may know them better as the dog that lounges on the couch while his owner is away on the Pedigree Chum advert. They were originally used to retrieve milk from the farmers in the mountains and bring it down to the markets. They have very thick coats, to keep them warm, but they can also keep you warm and are lovely to hug. When staying with my Aunt I was sleeping on the floor. The first morning I woke up to find a huge object jumping onto me which was very furry and very soft, which then started licking my face. This was ‘Jack the Lad’ who was the most pathetic dog in the world when it came to tickled tummies. However, when it came to strangers at the door, he had the deepest bark, which would have also come from his background, as the farmers used them as guards up in the mountains. They are soft at heart, but also have a background in keeping watch on those they love. They are lovely to cuddle and beautiful to watch play. They are quite cautious with strangers, but this isn't a bad thing. They are fantastic with children and very loyal. The dogs learn quite slowly, but once they know the commands, they won't forget them. As I keep saying, they really are beautiful creatures. Their coats are usually quite wavy, and tend to be black coloured with brown and white markings all over. They also have big white paws, which are quite unmissable, especially when you have one jumping on you to say good morning! However, to keep this dog looking as good as you can, you need to be prepared to groom it often. When it malts, it malts, and they have thick coats, which gives off thick hair, and quite
a bit of it. My Aunt has won awards for the Bernese Mountain Dogs which she has entered in competitions, and continues to breed them, as they one of the best dogs to keep you company, especially to wake you up in the morning!