Everything about your Bernese Mountain Dog - LUV My dogs

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Friday, August 7, 2015

Everything about your Bernese Mountain Dog

  The Bernese Mountain Dog is a striking. tri-colored, large dog. He is sturdy and balanced. He is intelligent, strong and agile enough to do the draft and droving work for which he was used in the mountainous regions of his origin. Male dogs appear masculine, while bitches are distinctly feminine.
  The Bernese Mountain Dog, called in German the Berner Sennenhund, is a large-sized breed of dog, one of the four breeds of Sennenhund-type dogs from the Swiss Alps. The name Sennenhund is derived from the German Senne and Hund, as they accompanied the alpine herders and dairymen called Senn. Berner  refers to the area of the breed’s origin, in the canton of Bern in Switzerland. This mountain dog was originally kept as a general farm dog. Large Sennenhunde in the past were also used as draft animals, pulling carts. The breed was officially established in 1907. In 1937, the American Kennel Club recognized it as a member of the Working Group.

  This good-looking Swiss farm dog takes his name from the canton of Bern, where he likely originated. Berners helped farmers by pulling carts, driving livestock to fields or market, and serving as watchdogs. These days, the Berner is primarily a family companion or show dog, beloved for his calm and patient temperament. If you want a Bernese Mountain Dog, be prepared to do your due diligence to find him and put in plenty of effort training and socializing him once you bring him home.
  This is a large breed. A Bernese puppy certainly looks snuggly and manageable, but he will quickly reach his adult weight of 70 to 120 pounds, more or less .
The Berner, as he’s nicknamed, has moderate exercise needs. In general, plan to give him a walk of at least a half hour daily, plus several shorter trips outdoors throughout the day.   Bernese are individuals, so the amount of exercise they desire can vary.
 To keep your Bernese Mountain Dog’s mind and body active and healthy, involve him in dog sports. Depending on the individual dog’s build and temperament, Bernese can excel in activities such as agility, drafting , herding, obedience, rally, or tracking. Organized sports not your thing? Take your Bernese hiking. He can carry his own water and treats in a canine backpack. Bernese also make excellent therapy dogs, having a gentle, mellow temperament as well as being the perfect height for standing at a bedside and being petted.

  Though you might think of him as an outdoor dog, nothing could be further from the truth. Bernese Mountain Dogs love their people, especially children, and will pine without human companionship. They should certainly have access to a securely fenced yard, but when the family is home, the Bernese should be with them.

  • Berners have numerous health problems due to their small genetic foundation, and perhaps due to other reasons yet undiscovered. Currently, the life span of a Bernese Mountain Dog is comparatively short, about six to eight years.
  • Because of the Berner's popularity, some people have bred dogs of lesser quality in order to sell the puppies to unsuspecting buyers. Be especially careful about importing dogs from foreign countries that have few laws governing kennel conditions. Often these dogs are bought at auction and little is known about their health history.
  • Veterinary care can be costly because of the health problems in the breed.
  • Berners shed profusely, especially in the spring and fall. If shedding drives you crazy, this may not be the right breed for you.
  • The Berner likes to be with his family. He's likely to develop annoying behavior problems, such as barking, digging, or chewing, if he's isolated from people and their activities.
  • When Berners are mature, they are large dogs who like to have a job to do. For those reasons, it's wise — and fun — to begin obedience training early.
  • Although they're very gentle with children, Berners sometimes accidentally knock over a small child or toddler.
  • To get a healthy dog, never buy a puppy from an irresponsible breeder, puppy mill, or pet store. Look for a reputable breeder who tests her breeding dogs to make sure they're free of genetic diseases that they might pass onto the puppies, and that they have sound temperaments.

Other Quick Facts

  • Most Bernese are considered to have a dry mouth, meaning they don’t drool, but that’s not true of all of them. A Bernese with tight, or close-fitting, lips is less likely to drool than one with loose or hanging lips.
  • The Bernese Mountain Dog’s tricolor coat is thick and moderately long with straight or slightly wavy hair. The coat sheds heavily.
  • Berners are sensitive to heat and humidity. If outdoors, they need access to plenty of shade and fresh water.

  The Bernese Mountain Dog comes from Switzerland and is one of four tri-colored varieties of Swiss mountain dogs, which also include the Appenzeller Sennenhund, the Entlebucher Sennenhund and the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog. The long coat of the Bernese Mountain Dog distinguishes it from its close relatives. It was bred to be a draft dog, a watchdog and an all-around farm dog. It is thought to have descended centuries ago from crosses between mastiff-type dogs and native flock-guarding dogs in the valleys of the Swiss Alps, before becoming popular with modern breed fanciers. One of its main historical tasks was to transport fresh milk, cheese and other produce for small farmers who were too poor or otherwise unable to own draft horses to pull carts containing their wares.
  Until the late nineteenth century, due to a lack of concerted breeding efforts, this breed was all but forgotten except by rural inhabitants of the Berne area of Switzerland. Starting in 1892, a Swiss innkeeper, and shortly thereafter a college professor from Zurich, scoured the countryside in an attempt to find good specimens of the breed. After much searching, they finally were able to find quality dogs, thus starting the rehabilitation of the breed. A breed specialty club was founded in Switzerland in 1907, and the Bernese Mountain Dog thereafter became sought as show dogs and companions, in addition to continuing their working roles as “beasts of burden” on market days.
  The breed was first brought to the United States in 1926 and achieved recognition by the American Kennel Club in 1937. The parent club was formed in 1968  and became an AKC member club in 1981.

  The breed standard for the Bernese mountain dog states that dogs should not be “aggressive, anxious or distinctly shy”, but rather should be “good-natured”, “self-assured”, “placid towards strangers”, and “docile”. The temperament of individual dogs may vary, and not all examples of the breed have been bred carefully to follow the standard. All large breed dogs should be well socialized when they are puppies, and given regular training and activities throughout their lives.
  Bernese are outdoor dogs at heart, though well-behaved in the house; they need activity and exercise, but do not have a great deal of endurance. They can move with amazing bursts of speed for their size when motivated. If they are sound (no problems with their hips, elbows, or other joints), they enjoy hiking and generally stick close to their people. Not being given the adequate amount of exercise may lead to barking and harassing in the Bernese.
  Bernese mountain dogs are a breed that generally does well with children, as they are very affectionate. They are patient dogs that take well to children climbing over them. Though they have great energy, a Bernese will also be happy with a calm evening.
Bernese work well with other pets and around strangers.

  The Bernese Mountain Dog is occasionally prone to health problems like von Willebrand's Disease (vWD), hypomyelination, allergies, hypothyroidism, hepatocerebellar degeneration and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA). The minor diseases that the dog is likely to suffer from are cataract, sub-aortic stenosis (SAS), entropion, and ectropion. The more serious ailments affecting this breed include canine hip dysplasia (CHD), elbow dysplsia, gastric torsion, and mast cell tumor. A lot of care should be taken to prevent heat stroke.
  DNA, cardiac, hip, eye, and elbow tests are advised for the Bernese Mountain Dog, which has an average lifespan of 6 to 9 years.

  The Bernese's calm temperament makes them a natural for pulling small carts or wagons, a task they originally performed in Switzerland. With proper training they enjoy giving children rides in a cart or participating in a parade, such as the Conway, New Hampshire holiday parade. The Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America offers drafting trials open to all breeds; dogs can earn eight different titles — four as individual dogs and four brace titles, in which two dogs work one cart together. Regional Bernese clubs often offer carting workshops
  On July 1, 2010, the Bernese Mountain Dog became eligible to compete in AKC Herding Events. Herding instincts and trainability can be measured at noncompetitive herding tests. Berners exhibiting basic herding instincts can be trained to compete in herding trials.

Living Conditions
  Bernese Mountain Dogs are not recommended for apartment life. They are relatively inactive indoors and will do best with at least a large, fenced-in yard. Because of their thick coats they are sensitive to the heat and would much rather be in cold temperatures.

  Berners are not suited to apartment or condo life. A home with a large, securely fenced yard is the best choice. Because the Berner is a working dog, he has plenty of energy. In addition to yard play, he needs a minimum of 30 minutes of vigorous exercise every day; three times that amount keeps this sturdy dog in top condition.
  With his thick, handsome coat, the Berner is a natural fit for cold climates. He loves to play in the snow. Conversely, with his black coat and large size, he's prone to heat stroke. Don't allow him to exercise strenuously when it's extremely hot; limit exercise to early mornings or evenings, when it's cooler. Keep him cool during the heat of the day, either inside with fans or air-conditioning or outside in the shade.
  You'll need to take special care if you're raising a Berner puppy. Like many large-breed dogs, Berners grow rapidly between the ages of four and seven months, making them susceptible to bone disorders and injury. They do well on a high-quality, low-calorie diet that keeps them from growing too fast.
  Additionally, don't let the Berner puppy run and play on hard surfaces , jump excessively, or pull heavy loads until he's at least two years old and his joints are fully formed. Normal play on grass is fine, and so are puppy agility classes, with their one-inch jumps.

Grooming Needs
  Berners shed year round, with the heaviest shedding coming during the changes in season. Brushing at least once a week – more in spring and fall – will help keep the coat neat and will reduce the amount of hair that hits the floor or furniture. Depending on the dog's activity level and desire to romp in the dirt, they only require a bath once every couple of months.
   Their ears can can trap bacteria, dirt, and liquid so weekly cleanings with a veterinarian-recommended cleanser can help prevent painful ear infections. Weekly brushing of the teeth is also recommended to reduce tartar and bad breath. Active Berners will naturally wear their toenails down to a good length, but some do not. The general rule is if the dog's nails click on a hard floor, they are too long. Monthly trimming may be required.

Is this breed right for you?
  Calling all farmers, acreage owners and great outdoor enthusiasts: This breed thrives on open land, room to roam and work to pick up. Implied in this breed's name, the Bernese Mountain Dog was bred with a thick coat to sustain him in cold weather and a strong, muscular frame for hours of work and climbing. This people-oriented breed absolutely loves being around its human counterparts and protecting the little ones while they play. Although the Bernese Mountain Dog is low-maintenance in terms of grooming, you may opt to brush that thick coat regularly to control its constant shedding.

Children And Other Pets 
  The Berner is an excellent family pet, and he's usually gentle and affectionate with children who are kind and careful with animals. Being so large, he can inadvertently bump or knock over very young or small children.
  As with every breed, you should always teach children how to approach and touch dogs, and always supervise any interactions between dogs and young children to prevent any biting or ear or tail pulling on the part of either party. Teach your child never to approach any dog while he's eating or sleeping or to try to take the dog's food away. No dog, no matter how friendly, should ever be left unsupervised with a child.
The Berner gets along with other pets well, though the greater the size difference, the more supervision and training required to keep everyone safe.

Did You Know?
  He’s not a Bernice Mountain Dog or a Burmese Mountain Dog. He takes his name from the Swiss canton of Bern, where he was a valued farm dog who excelled at pulling carts, driving livestock to fields or market, and serving as watchdogs.

Notable Bernese Mountain Dogs
  • Hercules is Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's dog that he brought home from the Emmental region of Switzerland during a 2006 weeklong trip to discover his family's roots in the country.
  • Sasha was a Bernese Mountain Dog that followed a goat off of a cliff and managed to survive the fall as well as three days on an ice shelf waiting for rescue.
  • A Bernese Mountain Dog character named Shep was voiced by Carl Reiner in the 2003 movie Good Boy!
  • The characters Bryan (Andrew Rannells) and David (Justin Bartha) in the 2012 TV series The New Normal own a Bernese Mountain Dog named "Smelly".
  • Hola, the titular dog in Martin Kihn's memoir Bad Dog: A Love Story, is a Bernese Mountain Dog.
  • Ohly was a Bernese Mountain Dog who achieved notoriety in Canada after disappearing and then being found on Mount Seymour in a dangerous area known as "Suicide Gulley." Members of North Shore Rescue, a local mountain rescue team, tracked, located and rescued Ohly.
  • Benson was a Bernese Mountain Dog who features in the memoir, The Boy Who Got A Bernese Mountain Dog by Brook Ardon. Benson had a great temperament the breed is famous for, he lived near the beach in New Zealand.
  • Quincey von Wiesmadern, has appeared in various videos with Hansi Hinterseer, an Austrian singer, entertainer and former member of the Austrian Ski Team.
  • Hannah is the real-life inspiration for the protagonist of children's books such as A Beach Day for Hannah and A Snow Day for Hannah by Linda Petrie Bunch.
  • Argus and Fiona were two Bernese mountain dogs that were shot and killed when they entered a neighbor's yard. The neighbor who shot the dogs admits that he was overreacting.A Pennsylvania state law states that humans are free to kill animals attacking domestic animals. The man feared a possible attack on his sheep, who were in their fenced off grazing area. Attacks on a neighbor's farm had taken place and resulted in the death of several animals sometime the previous year, although the type of dog who ruthlessly attacked those animals was not a Bernese. However, since no attack was in progress at the time of the shooting, the shooter was charged with two counts of cruelty to animals and one count of recklessly endangering another person, the latter a result of there being a house within the possible line of fire. There were no residents at home at the time of the shooting. On September 11, 2013, the shooter was convicted on two counts of animal cruelty. He faces up to five years in jail for each count.
  • Nico (2015) a recently adopted Bernese mountain dog became a hero when he saved two people who were being swept out into the ocean by a California rip current.
A dream day in the life of a Bernese Mountain Dog
  Rising early and taking in the cool brisk mountain air before heading to work on the farm starts the day off just right for the Bernese Mountain Dog. Pulling anything from kids to livestock, you'll often see this breed smiling with a cart in tow. Just be aware not to push his limits; due to his size the Bernese Mountain Dog is prone to hip and joint issues. A great companion and watchdog, a Berner's perfect day wouldn't be complete without love and hugs from his human family.

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