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BERNESE MOUNTAIN DOG

Life span: 6-8 Years

Height: 64-70cm (Male); 58-66cm (Female)

Weight: 70-115 pounds

Bernese Mountain dogs are larger dog breeds which originated from Switzerland. These dogs are good-natured, calm, affectionate and loyal breeds. They possess lengthy hairs but are not hypoallergenic. In generic, their coat is tri-coloured. You can pick them as one of your family members.

Physical Characteristics

The large body of this breed is strong and even, with big paws to match. Its ears sit high atop its head and fall down, its tail is fluffy and usually down when resting. Its eyes are brown with a black nose. This breed has an astonishing double coat that is made up of a wooly undercoat and a long overcoat that contains three colors: black, which covers most of its body; white, which covers the chest, paws and part of the face and snout; and brown, with markings over its body such as its eyebrows, legs and part of its chest.Their coat is thick, soft, and relatively long.

History

This breed is part of the Swiss Sennenhund group and the only one in it to have long hair. Despite them being around for so long, it was not until 1902 when they were recognized, when the Swiss Dog Club sponsored a show that caused them to get more attention. In 1904, in a show in Bern, the Bernese Mountain Dog acquired its name, and later on in that same year, it was recognized as an official breed. In 1936 they began being bred in England, and by 1937 the American Kennel Club had already accepted them as a part of the Working Class group. Originally used for herding cattle, carrying carts with food or other goods, and guarding the household, these dogs soon became faithful pets due to their gentle nature and easy trainability.

Personality

The Bernese Mountain Dog is a great family dog, it is gentle, loyal, alert, smart, affectionate, and highly tolerant. They are amazing with children and are playful to no end, although not overly energetic. They tend to protect their family and territory but are not aggressive, and although they love being around people, they might be a bit shy around strangers. Training is relatively easy and must start at a young age. They must never be left alone for long periods of time, since they need to be with people all the time.

Health

This breed does not have a high life expectancy, as it has many possible diseases, which are:

Cancer, noticeable through unusually swollen bumps, bleeding from any orifices, or sores that do not heal, along with difficulty breathing.

Hip dysplasia, a hereditary disease in which there is an abnormal formation in the hip socket, that may eventually cause painful arthritis. It may also be affected by the environment they reside in.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), in which the dogs may become night blind at first and progressively lose their day eyesight as well.

Von Willebrand’s Disease, which is a blood disease that affects the clotting process, its symptoms can be nosebleeds, prolonged bleeding from surgery, occasional blood in stools, etc.

Gastric dilatation-volvulus, or bloat, is a mortal disease in which large chested dogs are affected by eating quickly, drinking lots of water and exercising after. This causes the stomach to inflate with gas and twist, making the dog unable to get rid of the excess air through vomiting, which impedes the normal blood flow to the heart. Its blood pressure then goes down and the dog goes into shock. Without proper, and immediate, medical attention, this could be fatal. Its symptoms may include: retching without vomiting, bloated abdomen, excessive salivation, restlessness, depression, rapid heart rate, weakness, etc.

Panosteitis (Wandering or Transient Lameness), in which young dogs may have limping or other physical problems which can also be called Lameness. This is usually misdiagnosed for more serious problems, but the dog will most likely outgrow it by their second year. The cause is unknown, but a well balanced diet and rest if in pain may help your dog.

Portosystemic Shunt, which is a congenital disease in which blood vessels let the blood bypass the liver, causing it to not be cleansed properly by the liver. It can be noticed through lack of appetite, hypoglycemia, urinary tract problems, etc. Surgery is recommended.

Care

Due to its long coat, this breed tends to shed a lot, even more during shedding season. Usually, brushing should take place once a week, but during shedding season it should be done daily. Their nails should be cut regularly, along with its teeth brushed and its ears checked for any dirt to prevent infections. This breed does not require much exercise, half an hour of daily exercise should suffice, although a long walk or trip is also enjoyable for them. They especially enjoy activities that involve children, including pulling a cart with them in it. The Bernese Mountain Dog is also a dog you can sit on your couch and watch a movie or take a nap with. Training is easy with this breed as they want to please their owners and are very intelligent. However, they also have very sensitive feelings, so harsh methods will only hurt their feelings, while positive reinforcement will work the best. They cannot be left alone for long, as this dog needs to be with its family.

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