Originating from the farmlands of Switzerland, the Bernese Mountain Dog is a remarkably versatile working dog. Their growth and breeding were promoted due to their excellent capabilities in helping with herding cattle, pulling carts, and being watchdogs and loyal canine companions.
The Bernese Mountain Dogs are one of the only four types of Swiss Mountain Dogs, and the only one with long coat hair. The heritage and ancestry of these dogs can be traced back to the Canton of Bern or Berne, which explains at least part of their unique name.
Even though they’re a pretty sizeable and strong dog breed, Bernese Mountain Dogs have an amiable and calm disposition. They also take well to being taught compliance, obedience, trailing and chasing, herding, and carting.
Bernese Mountain Dogs: A Brief Run-Through
Any newbie dog parent would be impressed by the stunning, tri-colored Bernese Mountain Dogs’ friendly disposition, intellect, and high trainability.
However, naive dog owners should keep in mind that these dogs are large and have high energy, which, at times, can make handling them a little difficult. On top of that, they may shed and bark a fair amount.
Despite that, the Bernese Mountain Dogs are quite popular. If you can keep up with their grooming needs and put time and effort into training them the right way, these pooches will show you wholehearted love and loyalty.
A well-trained Bernese makes an invaluable canine companion. With proper socialization training, they’ll even greet visitors and guests amicably.
Probably no breed of dogs has a higher predisposition for friendliness than the Bernese Mountain Dogs. If you’re ready to dedicate your time and energy to train them right, you’ll never regret owning these incredible dogs.
History and Heritage of Bernese Mountain Dogs
A prominent breed that stands out as the most influential in the evolution of Bernese Mountain Dogs is the Molosser.
Bernese Mountain Dogs, also called the Berners have been around for over 2,000 years. They’re believed to come into existence by the crossbreeding between farm dogs of the Swiss Alps and the Molossers, which came alongside the Romans that invaded the Alps in circa 25 BC.
Quietly tucked away in the small housing at the Alps pulling carts, watching over the livestock, standing guard, and providing their owners with companionship and obedience for about 1900 years, their qualities were finally recognized and appreciated when in 1888 the Swiss people needed a helping hand, well, a helping paw.
Only 36% of the Swiss population were engaged in growing crops and agriculture in 1888. They needed a strong dog to pull carts filled with goods. As it happened, the Berners were a perfect fit for it.
In 1899, the Bernese owners founded a dog club called Berna, which further popularized these “Swiss Shepherd Dogs.” Eventually, in 1902, the Swiss Kennel Club officially recognized these wonderful hounds as a breed.
Qualities of Bernese Mountain Dogs
Aside from being abundantly blessed in the looks department, the Berners have an excellent temperament. They’re calm but very social and outgoing. Sometimes they may even act a little silly when playing.
However, sadly, these dogs have a short life span of 6 to 8 years. Still, in their relatively short life, you’ll see many wonderful qualities in them.
Loyalty and Affection
The Bernese Mountain Dogs are known for being loyal, faithful, and loving. They’re always eager to please their owners and often do so with their intelligence and manageability. What’s best, they have a pretty lively and easy-going behavior in general.
The Bernese Mountain Dogs are family-friendly and love to spend their time playing and simply being around everyone. Additionally, they do very well with children of all ages.
Since these pooches were raised to be working dogs, Bernese Mountain Dogs are highly trainable and exceptionally adept at learning new things.
Can Act Like Big Babies
If you’re planning to own Bernese Mountain Dogs, this is an aspect of their personality that you should be aware of beforehand. They’re slow to grow mature, both physically and mentally. They may remain puppyish when other dogs of the same age start to behave a little like adults. What’s more, they have a delicate personality. This their feelings may be easily hurt if you make them undergo harsh corrections or scolding.
Bernese Mountain Dog Price and Adoption
Big in size and strength, yet very composed and good-natured, these gentle giant dogs with a heart of gold are usually priced $800 to $2,000.
Depending on the breed variation, lineage, and location their pricing may go as high as $2,500, or even more. A top-notch Bernese Mountain Dog with an official record of having a finer lineage may even be priced at a whopping $10,000 mark!
If you’re lucky, you might find a young or mature Bernese at a nearby shelter, adoption center, or even a Bernese Mountain Dog rescue. Bernese dogs generally cost about $350 to $550 there. This can be a much more affordable way to own a Bernese Mountain Dog and support a local shelter or rescue.
Raising Bernese Mountain Dog Puppies
We recommend that you always spend a little time with the Bernese Mountain Dog you intend to adopt for the purpose of bonding with it and knowing a little about its individual personality. If possible, meet its siblings or parents as well to better gauge how the pup will turn out to be when it grows up.
When it comes to raising your Bernese Mountain Dog, just like every other pooch out there, they’ll need early socialization — exposure to a wide variety of people, objects, sounds, and sights when they’re young and growing. This will help them grow into a well-rounded doggo that doesn’t negatively or strongly react to new experiences.
For helping your Bernese Mountain Dog puppy socialize, enlisting them in a puppy kindergarten class would be a great idea. Additionally, you can invite visitors or routinely take your pup to busy areas, stores, or parks so that they may gain the much-needed exposure to a wide spectrum of people, objects, and other dogs.
Want to learn about more awesome dog breeds? Check out our Complete Black German Shepherd Owner’s Guide!