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Bernese Mountain

Bernese Mountain

A handsome and loyal family companion, it’s the Bernese Mountain Dog!

The Bernese Mountain Dog, also known as the Berner Sennenhund or Bernese Cattle Dog, hails from Switzerland where they first had duties as a general farm dog, guard dog, as well as pulling carts or wagons. 

Bernese Mountain Dog are big dogs! They weigh between 30 to 50kgs and stand between 58 and 70cm in height. The females are generally smaller than the males. Their life expectancy is sadly quite short, at 6 to 9 years. They are tri colour, with black, white, and red or “rust” coloured markings. 

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Dog Breed Facts & Characteristics

Origin

Switzerland, early 1900’s 

Also known as 

Berner Sennenhund, Bernese Cattle Dog

Bred for

Working farm dog, pulling carts 

Size 

Large: 58 to 70cm, 30 to 50kgs 

Weight Range

30 to 50kgs 

Colours

Tricolour (black, red, and white) 

Life expectancy

6 to 9 years 

Coat

Thick, medium length coat that sheds 

Temperament 

Placid, affectionate, confident 

Exercise requirements

High. Needs at least 40 minutes a day 

Best suited for 

Experienced dog people with active lifestyles 

Apartment Friendly

Not recommended 

Personality 

The Bernese Mountain Dog is known for being placid, loyal, and affectionate, making them a popular choice for families with children. Given their large size, early training is especially important to ensure they are well mannered later in life. With working dog origins, they require daily exercise and play. They generally make good watchdogs but can become overprotective of their families and be shy with strangers, so they are best suited to a household of experienced dog people to ensure that they don’t develop unwanted habits. Apartment living is not recommended for the big and boisterous Bernese Mountain Dog. They may also not be the best choice of dog if you live in a hot climate as they have a very thick, black coat making them susceptible to overheating.  

Like all dogs, socialisation and training with dogs, other pets and people from an early age is very important. This helps to ensure that your Bernese Mountain Dog grows into a well-adjusted adult. Dogs that aren't socialised may develop behavioural problems like anxiety or aggression.

Grooming

The Bernese Mountain Dog has a very thick, medium coat with an undercoat that will shed all year around. Daily brushing is recommended to keep the coat free from tangles. Frequent ear cleaning is also recommended to help minimise wax and debris from accumulating in the ears and setting up an environment for ear infection, which the breed is prone to. Flea control is recommended, as well as tick control if you are in a tick area. 

Feeding 

When choosing a food for your Bernese Mountain Dog Shepherd, select a premium food specialised for large breed dogs and appropriate to your dog’s age and life stage. Ensure that you follow the recommended feeding guides on the food appropriate to your pet's size. A joint protecting supplement makes a good addition to your regular feeding schedule as Bernese Mountain Dogs are susceptible to developing arthritis. Make sure your dog always has a supply of fresh, clean water available.

Common health concerns 

Bernese Mountain Dogs are sadly known for an increased likelihood of developing cancers and this is reflected in the PetSure claims data from 2020, with cancer being the most common reason for them to visit the vet (excluding routine visits like vaccinations). Ear infections, allergic skin disease, and arthritis also featured in the top reasons for a Bernese Mountain Dog to visit the vet in the 2020 calendar year. 

Common health concerns (most common pet insurance claims for this breed, (PetSure data, 2020*)

Condition

Average cost for a single treatment

(average pet insurance claim amount)

Highest cost for single treatment

(highest pet insurance claim seen for this condition)

Cancer, including sarcoma, lymphoma and osteosarcoma 

$702

$13,985

Ear infections and aural haematomas

$205

$8,452

Skin conditions including allergic skin disease

$185

$1,092

Gastrointestinal conditions

$359

$3,438

Arthritis

$237

$2,921

Disclaimer: Reimbursement for these claims would be subject to limits, such as annual benefit limits or sub-limits, benefit percentage, applicable waiting periods and any applicable excess. Cover is subject to the policy terms and conditions. You should consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement or policy wording available from the relevant provider.

Most popular Bernese Mountain Dog names

According to PetSure data in 2020, the most popular Bernese Mountain Dog names were:

Most popular names

  1. Charlie
  2. Hugo
  3. George
  4. Griffin
  5. Harper
  6. Koda
  7. Lola
  8. Lucy
  9. Mila 
  10. Minnie

Most popular female names

  1. Harper
  2. Lola
  3. Lucy
  4. Mila
  5. Minnie
  6. Nala
  7. Willow
  8. Annie
  9. Bernie
  10. Bessie

Most popular male names

  1. Hugo
  2. Charlie
  3. George 
  4. Griffin
  5. Oakley
  6. Wallace 
  7. Alfie
  8. Apollo
  9. Arlo 
  10. Atlas

Did you know? 

The Bernese Mountain Dog gets their name from the city Bern in Switzerland where the breed originated. 

Where can I get a Bernese Mountain Dog?

If you’re looking for a Bernese Mountain Dog, you may be able to find one at a breed specific rescue organisation. As there are generally quite a few big dogs that need homes in shelters, it is worth popping by your local pet rescue shelter where you might find your perfect canine companion.  

References 

  1. American Kennel Club, Bernese Mountain Dog, Accessed on 12/03/2021
  2. VetStreet, Bernese Mountain Dog, Accessed on 12/03/2021
  3. Wikipedia, Bernese Mountain Dog Shepherd, Accessed on 12/03/2021

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Kylie Mitchell is a veterinarian with over 17 years experience in animal health and welfare, including in the veterinary and pet insurance industries

She has three rescue cats (Noah, Bei Bei and Meeka), four very old cockatiels and a pond-full of fish.

Kylie's pets

Noah
Noah
Bei Bei
Bei Bei
Meeka
Meeka