Bernese Mountain Dogs are a member of the ‘Working’ breed group. Working breed dogs were bred to do a job. Bernese Mountain Dogs originally pulled carts in remote Swiss villages, and were also sometimes used as general farm dogs.
Bernese Mountain Dogs are calm, loyal, good natured, affectionate dogs. They can be a little reserved with strangers, but generally get along with other dogs and pets and are excellent with children. As with all breeds, early socialisation is very important to get them used to other pets, people and a variety of situations, meaning they’ll grow up into sociable, confident dogs.
Bernese Mountain Dogs have a lovely soft, silky coat that will need brushing 2-3 times per week, more often when shedding.
Breed-related health problems:
Owners are, understandably, upset when their dog develops a health problem linked to its breed. Often they wish they’d known what problems the breed was prone to have. The potential health problems that Bernese Mountain Dogs are prone to include:
Hip dysplasia – hip joint laxity as a result of poor development, which will eventually lead to arthritis.
Elbow dysplasia - elbow joint laxity as a result of poor development, which will eventually lead to arthritis.
Mast cell tumours – a malignant skin cancer.
Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (GDV) – often known as ‘bloat’, this is a condition where the stomach twists, trapping the contents and gases. This is an emergency and requires urgent veterinary attention. It’s often seen in large, deep-chested breeds.
Immune mediated haemolytic anaemia - a condition where an animals’ own immune system destroys it’s red blood cells, leading to anaemia (too few red blood cells).
Entropion – inward turning eyelids.
For some conditions, there are screening programmes available through the British Veterinary Association (BVA) and the Kennel Club. The Canine Health Schemes allow breeders to screen for a range of inherited diseases, so it’s a good idea to check the parents of any puppy you’re looking to rehome have been screened under these schemes. We’d also recommend discussing the medical history of your potential puppy’s parents and grandparents, and think very carefully before taking on a dog with any of the health conditions listed above evident in the family line.
You can find out more about the Canine Health Schemes on the BVA's website.
As adults, Bernese Mountain Dogs will need around an hour’s exercise a day. As puppies, they shouldn’t be over-exercised as to do so can affect the development of their bones and joints. They are very obedient dogs who do well at training. For tips on how to train you Bernese Mountain Dog using reward-based techniques, take a look at our dog behaviour page.
Estimated lifetime cost:
The likely lifetime costs for a Bernese Mountain Dog are based on estimates calculated using current market prices and include:
- Initial costs of the purchase of the pet
- First vaccinations and booster vaccinations
- Pet insurance
- Flea treatments
The list above does not include veterinary costs if your pet becomes sick or injured, so these average lifetime costs could be even higher.
Insure your Bernese Mountain Dog with PDSA:
1 in 3 pets need vet treatment each year and vet bills can come to hundreds of pounds. PDSA Pet Insurance can give you peace of mind when your pet is poorly, especially for breeds like Bernese Mountain Dog that are prone to certain conditions. PDSA Pet Insurance offers:
- 5 Star Pet Insurance* - from the vet experts
- 4 levels of cover to suit you
- Monthly payment at no extra cost
*Defaqto 5 Star rating applies to our Plus and Premier policies only. Defaqto’s Star Ratings provide an independent assessment of the quality of financial products.
By insuring your Bernese Mountain Dog with PDSA you’ll also be helping to provide vet care to some of the UK’s neediest pets.