Dog Breed Information

Bernese Mountain Dog – Temperament , Shedding and Complete Information

Bernese Mountain Dog also is known as Berner Sennenhund / Bernese Cattle Dog belongs to working dogs category. These dogs belong to the farmland of Switzerland. They were breaded for cattle herding and carts pulling. They because of their strong body and appearance were also used as watchdogs.

Their loyalty was another factor for their adoption as a loyal friend. Hence they are said to be versatile dogs.

Bernese Mountain Dogs came into being as a result of the cross between farm dogs from the Swiss Alps and Molasses. These dogs were brought up in Canton or region of Bern in Switzerland hence they were named as Bernese means belonging to Bern.

Their history date back to 1st Century B.C as crossbreeding took place after Roman invaded the Alps and brought with them Molossus dogs.

Appearance and Size of the Bernese Mountain Dog:

Apparently, these dogs are best known for their thick and moderately long hairy coats.  Their hairs are a bit wavy or straight with eye-catching brightness and shining. They are pet around the world for their beautiful look.

Bernese Mountain Dogs are strong dogs. A male dog can grow from 61 to 71 cm in height and weights between 35 to 55 kg. While female weights about 30 to50 kg and grow as big as 56 to 66 cm in height.

What is the physical appearance of Bernese Mountain Dogs?

They are strong dogs with shiny double coats. They usually are black in color with white chest along with having rust-colored marks on the eyes, around the mouth and on the front of the legs.

Their head is flat at the top with triangular ears, which are high and rounded at the top.  They have straight and strong legs and a bushy tail which remains low.

What is the lifespan of the Bernese Mountain Dogs?

Bernese Mountain Dog

Unlike all other large dogs, Bernese Mountain Dogs don’t have long lifespan it is because they are prone to many health problems. They are expected to live for about 10 years but in most of the cases they because of their poor health condition die around the age of 7 years.


What are the major health issues to Bernese mountain dogs?

Bernese mountain dogs no doubt are strong and belong to the large category of dogs, but yet they have small lifespan because they are prone many diseases.

Some of the minor and major diseases these dogs can suffer from are:

  • Willebrand’s Disease
  • Hypomyelination
  • Allergies
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Hepatocerebellar degeneration
  • Progressive retinal atrophy
  • Cataract
  • Sub-aortic stenosis
  • Entropion
  • Canine hip dysplasia
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Gastric torsion
  • Heat stroke

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What do Bernese mountain dogs die from?

According to a survey on 261 Bernese mountain dogs, one 18 dogs died a natural death at an old while the half of these dogs died due to cancer.

A common form of cancer in these dogs was Histiocytic sarcoma. In which dogs become a victim of anxiety and lethargy and lose weight.


Do Bernese Mountain Dogs get cold?

Normally dogs like Siberian Huskies, Newfoundlands, and Bernese Mountain Dogs with double coat have high cold tolerance. However, if their coats become wet they can suffer more from cold. Especially when these dogs come in contact with snow and it reaches their chest.

Bernese Mountain Dog
Bernese Mountain Dog

What is Bernese mountain dog temperament and personality?

Bernese mountain dogs are good family dogs. These dogs are loving, affectionate and easy-going in nature. There are famous for their loyalty, intelligence and extremely patient by nature.

A family with children can’t a loyal and loving companion like Bernese mountain dogs. They love to play with children. More importantly unlike other large dogs they don’t mind children climbing upon them.

They are grown up in an environment where they are taught to protect. Hence they have strong protective instincts, which make them be a good watch dog. They will protect both family and property.

They love the family member and try to remain close to them. They don’t care what you are doing they just will get on to your laps. to avoid such things to happen you need to teach him.

Bernese mountain dogs are gentle and intelligent. They are very quick learners and love to have activities. If you have got any farm they will love to work in the field. It is so because they have a strong desire to keep their master happy.


Bernese mountain dogs are happy and playful if trained and treated well. In other words these dogs will remain shy and anxiety victims if not properly socialized when they are young.

If you want your canny friend make you happy with different acrobats in a different place and be with you happy with you where you go, you need to take him with at different events and places.

It is so because in their adolescence they suffer from canine anxiety prom. If it is not treated here it will extend into adulthood. These dogs are also prone to canine separation anxiety because of their devotion to the family.

Their behavior varies with exercise and activities it has daily. When they get proper play time they remain active and affectionate. While on the other hand they may acquire destructive behavior if left alone for a good period of time.

Overall Bernese mountain dogs are good family dogs. So answer to question Is a Bernese mountain dog a good family dog, is yes. Even families having babies can pet these dogs.


Bernese Mountain Dog Puppies and Training

Bernese Mountain Dogs take a long span of 3 years to be mature. In their puppyhood they are frustrated and energetic. This is the time where you can put your energy to teach him and make him an easy-going loving dog when he is adult.

This is where you need to put your energy and give maximum time to teach him. Along with socializing your dog it is highly recommended to teach him basic obedience training. This training needs to start on the very first day you bring a puppy home.

How to train Bernese Mountain puppy?

Bernese Mountain Dog is large breed dogs and their training is not so easy. while they are in their puppyhood they can be trained with great commitment and plenty of patience. It takes a long time to train these dogs, so before buying a puppy make sure that you have enough time to teach him.

These dogs have a deep desire to please their master. Now what you have to do is to make him understand you and your instructions.

Sounds simple but it really is a tough job. You need to be consistent and must keep in mind the fundamental aspects discussed here.

Show patience:

Never expect your dog to follow you at once. Bernese Mountain dogs, however, are more obedient than other dogs but in this stage, their behavior may not be according to your expectation.

If your puppy disobeys you don’t strike him or yell at him. This will make him rude. Rather you need to try again and again with patience.

If because of his behavior you find yourself getting angry and loosing patient, just end up the training session.

Punishing these puppies will detrimental effect on them. They are devoted to you need to go focusing on positive reinforcement.


Reward your Puppy:

If during training your puppy shows positive response do reward him and repeat the process. Make him feel that what he is getting is because of the act he is doing and it will make him habitual of doing that task.

The reward can be any taste thing dogs love to have.

For example

If you are teaching your puppy to come, Once he comes to you give him a treat. repeat the process several times.

You need to carry a treat bag with you because in its initial phase of training even a positive sign must be rewarded.


Training sessions must be short:

Training sessions must not exceed 5 minutes in the first few weeks. Because the puppy is not habitual of with such things and may get bored with training. In case forced to do the exercise he may show aggression.

As soon you realize your puppy is enjoying exercise sessions and also showing positive response you may increase duration.

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Best time to start training:

For productive results, training must start as soon as the puppy arrives at home. Initial training may be simple as per the age of the puppy.

You need to know the mode of the puppy before starting his training. Try to train your puppy when he is in playful mode. He will pick you quickly.

Don’t bother him with more exercise as soon as you feel I want to quit training leave the session.


What are the basic commands to teach your dog?

Obedience training is the first and most important step of dogs training. It may be a bit harder at once but once your dog starts to obey you can teach him other commands easily.

Stop Bad behavior command:

It is a very basic command and it follows these steps

  • Select a word from “stop” or “leave”. Make sure everyone in the house should use the same word.
  • Once you see your dog doing something wrong call out the command and remove the dog from the point of action.
  • Repeat it to make him realize that when you say stop you want to him to stop doing whatever he is doing.
  • Once your dog without taking him away or taking that thing away from him stop doing that bad behavior give him a treat. This bad behavior may be chewing a toy or something else.


Sit command:

To make your dog sit you need to take a hand of sweet treat for your dog and follow these steps.

  • Look at your dog and say sit and also point with your hand to sit. He at first will surely don’t understand.
  • Now you hold a treat in your hand bring it closer to the mouth and push your dog slowly to sitting position and also say the word “sit”.
  • When your dog is in a sitting position give him a treat. and do it again.
  • Don’t let your dog eat treat before going to sit position
  • Repeat it few times and now don’t use your hand just command him to sit. If he sits reward him, else try again.

Stay command:

After your dog starts following you teaching him becomes easier. After sitting command you can teach him “stay” command easily. Stay command is really important for dog’s safety. It saves him from going into some dangerous situation. You just need to follow these simple steps:

  • Ask your dog to sit and move away from him continuously using sit command
  • If he comes to you make him sit with your hand and start moving away from him
  • Move a few yards away and if your dog remains in sitting position for even a short interval of time, Go and give him treat.
  • Showing love for him will make him feel provide
  • While giving him treat, use that word again and move your hand on his head
  • Repeat your command, again and again, noting the time of stay.


Come command:

To enjoy your canny friend’s company off the leash you need to teach your dog both stay and come commands.

If your dog does to know these command, outing without leash may cause some serious consequences.

Before teaching the dog to come when called you need to leash your dog and follow these steps:

  • Take some treat in your hand and make your dog sit
  • Now holding leash move back and call your dog to come
  • If he does not follow pull the leash softly and keep calling him
  • Once he follows you reward him with a treat
  • Now move the dog again in the sitting position and repeat the same process
  • If you feel your dog understands you open the leash and try the command
  • Make sure to try this in a closed room without any obstacle in between
  • After you feel your dog follows you increase the distance between you and him before taking him out.
  • After learning these basic obedience commands your dog will be ready for other things you want to teach him.


Bernese mountain dog shedding

Shedding in dogs is a process of removing their dead and old hairs. Shedding in dogs depends upon both the health as well as on the breed type. Along with this amount of shedding also depends upon the season.

It is so because in winter dogs develop a thick coat which they shed in in spring while the have thin coat which they shed before developing heavy winter coat.

Do Bernese mountain dogs shed a lot?

Bernese mountain dogs are best known for their tri coloured thick coat of moderately long hairs. Where this coat makes it beautiful, it also makes it shed excessively.

Seasonally it shed twice a year like most of the dogs. However, it being very sensitive to heat and humidity continue to shed in normal days. Its excessive shedding makes its grooming both difficult and expensive.

How to control excessive shedding in Bernese mountain dogs?

A healthy dog sheds twice a year. While shedding other than this is may be due to several reasons like allergy, any kind of disease or something else. In the case of Bernese mountain dogs it may be because of warm weather and humidity.

This kind of shedding can be controlled by:

Cleaning Undercoat:

If you have fury coated pet you need to take extra care. Its undercoat must be trimmed regularly using rake comb. Rake, unlike normal comb, removes dead and loose undercoat before its shedding.

Brush Regularly:

Regular brushing with metal pin brush keeps the coat clean and is also helpful in preventing shedding. The best way to brush your dog is to hold hair from the tip as to see its roots now move the brush from roots to tip. This will remove all dead and loose hairs of the coat.

Proper bath:

Bernese mountain dog’s bath depends upon the climate and season. In some conditions, their bat may be as frequent as two times in a month or it may be as infrequent as few times a year.

But when it comes to shedding problem it is advised to bath dog with protein shampoo and protein conditioner. This will make hairs strong and limit shedding.

Quality Food:

Shedding sometimes is because of the absence of some important nutrients in the diet or dehydration. In this case, shedding is controlled by feeding they canny a properly balanced diet. It is better to seek help from a veterinarian.



Johni Barresto

Johni Barresto Is a father and animal lover. With a range of expertise in animal health, he decided to start Animal Heed. His passion is to share his knowledge to help animal owners worldwide. When not in front of his computer, he's out with his kids, teaching them the importance of animal care.

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