The Bernese Mountain Dog is a popular large dog breed. It is one of the four breeds that come from the Sennenhund-type dogs of the Swiss Alps. However, despite the name, they are most popular in the United States in the flat regions of the Midwest in states like Iowa, Kansas, and Illinois. The origins of the breed as it stands today can be traced back to 1907, and they were recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1937.
These are large, heavy dogs with a very distinctive coat that almost always has three colors. They stand anywhere from 22 to 28 inches and can weigh up to 120 pounds. Ancestors of the Bernese Mountain Dog arrived with ancient Roman soldiers and they used them as fighting dogs in battle.
Bernese Mountain Dog Food and Health
When it comes to what you should be feeding your Bernese Mountain Dog, the amount of food that they eat is pretty substantial. That should come as no surprise, seeing as they can get up to 120 pounds. In addition, most of those pounds can be found in muscle, which makes their metabolism significantly higher. They are extremely strong dogs and have been working dogs throughout their entire history; even pulling carts and various other heavy lifting tasks on farms. The recommended amount of food for the Bernese Mountain Dog is around 4 cups of premium dog food per day, or somewhere between 2200 and 3000 calories.
Of course, that amount will vary based upon the amount of activity that your dog performs during the day. For dogs who get 30 to 60 minutes of exercise per day, this is a pretty good barometer. However, for dogs that are work dogs or are exercising significantly longer than an hour a day, you may need to budget more than 3000 calories. It all depends upon activity level and metabolism, and your veterinarian should be able to give you a much better idea of exactly how many calories your dog should be consuming per day.
Like all dogs, Bernese Mountain Dogs need plenty of protein in their diet. When you choose food for them, you want to be selecting food that has meat as the number one ingredient. They should be getting around 20 percent of their diet from protein and around five percent of their diet from fat. Some experts recommend that you make up most of the rest with carbohydrates that contain the vitamins and nutrients that your dog needs, but even if that is the case, you want to make sure they are good carbohydrates like brown rice and sweet potatoes. Some experts recommend that you do not give your dog carbohydrates at all.
As for health conditions that affect the Bernese Mountain Dog, the biggest problem is cancer. The largest number of Berners die from cancer, but second to this is bloat. Bloat is a serious condition that can cause death quickly, but the good news is that there are things that you can do to combat it. For example, making sure that you only feed your dog high-quality food and that you spread out their feeding to two or three times a day are both vital components in avoiding bloat. This breed can also be subject to hip and elbow dysplasia as well as other joint problems. That’s why many veterinarians recommend choosing dog food that has chondroitin in it.
There is one other thing that you want to be aware of when it comes to your dog’s health. Pet insurance is a type of insurance that you can get for your dog that protects them in case they have an accident or contractor particular disease. Like your own health insurance, there may be a co-pay involved or a monthly or yearly premium. However, you have a great deal more flexibility when it comes to choosing pet insurance because you can get it for accidents only, you can get it only for particular medical conditions or you can get blanket pet insurance that covers your dog no matter what. The cost varies depending upon the options that you select, your dog’s pre-existing conditions, age, and other factors.
Leashes and Collars for your Bernese Mountain Dog
Getting the right leash for your Bernese Mountain Dog is another important thing to do. There are a few important factors to consider. First of all, you want to make sure that you find a leash that works with your dog’s harness or collar. In many cases, a harness or collar may come with the matching leash that has been specifically fitted with the right snaps and created with the same quality as the dog collar. When it comes to Berners, you definitely want to get a leash that is very durable so that it will last for a long time and stand up to a great deal of pulling. That’s because of how strong Bernese Mountain Dogs are. Low-quality leashes can start to fray or break after a certain amount of pulling.
As for which dog collar to choose, many experts recommend that you do not go with the dog collar it all. Of course, you may want to choose a leather dog collar for training until your dog gets used to feeling the tug of the leash and understands what it means, but many experts recommend that you go with a harness instead. A harness like the Ruffwear harness for dogs gives you more control over your dog’s movements and allows you to decide where you want to attach your leash. Bernese Mountain Dogs are extremely large and difficult to control, so unless your dog has been leash trained, then you may want to only have someone who is strong enough to hold the dog take them for walks.
Best Crates, Beds, and Doghouses for Bernese Mountain Dogs
Choosing the right dog crate for your Bernese Mountain Dog is also important. The recommended crate size for this breed is 48 inches. However, you can always go larger if you want. Larger crates do not offer quite as many advantages as the perfect size, but they are much better alternative to going with a smaller crate than necessary. You also want to choose a dog crate that is made of strong material, like this extra large metal dog crate that is going to stand up to pushing and the heavy weight of the Bernese Mountain Dog. This is especially true if you have to pick the crate up to load it into a vehicle. You don’t want the floor falling out right in the middle of loading the crate into the back of your truck.
Many people have dog houses outside for their Bernese Mountain Dogs. Even if your dog is an inside dog, you should consider getting them an outside dog house because it allows them to seek shade when the sun is too hot, and it keeps them warm in the winter when they go out for exercise or to use the bathroom. You shouldn’t need to get an additional heater or reinforced dog house because the Bernese Mountain Dog is pretty resilient against the elements. Their coats protect them against colder temperatures, and they have evolved from dogs that spent their time in the Swiss Alps, so a little cold isn’t going to hurt them. As far as dog beds go, just make sure that they can lie out on their bed completely without their limbs or head extending over the sides.
Bernese Mountain Dog Toys
You are also going to need some toys for your Bernese Mountain Dog. Bernese Mountain Dogs are nearly 30 inches tall and they can weigh up to 120 pounds. They are extremely heavy and strong. That means that you need to be aware of this when you start to play with them. It also means that you should take this into account when choosing what kind of toys to get. However, just because they are big and strong does not mean that they are mean or bad-natured. In fact, the opposite is true. These are great dogs for kids and they will play as much as any dog, as long as you get them toys that are appropriate.
The first thing that you have to be concerned with is durability. Your dog has strong jaws that could tear apart low-quality toys. You want to get toys like the Nylabone Dura Chew that are going to stand up to chewing over a long period of time. You also want to make sure that the toys are interactive to a degree. Your Bernese Mountain Dog loves playing with toys, but he or she loves playing with you most of all. That means that you should look for toys that both of you can play with. One of the favorites is a piece of rope that you can play tug-of-war with. Another favorite is a ball that they can go fetch. You should probably play with the ball outside though because these dogs are so big they can knock over things easily.
When it comes to interactive puzzle toys, you do want to be aware that the Bernese Mountain Dog can mature intellectually slower than other dogs. So puzzle toys that require a high degree of intelligence are probably going to frustrate your dog. Instead, you can go with toys that dispense treats based upon how long your dog plays with them. There are plenty of balls and other shapes out there that you can fill with treats and they will dispense them after your dog plays long enough. These are the most appropriate puzzle toys for your Bernese Mountain Dog.
Grooming Insights for Bernese Mountain Dog owners
Grooming your Bernese Mountain Dog starts with understanding that they shed all throughout the year and not just in a particular season. That means that you need to brush your dog at least once a week. In the fall or in the spring, this brushing should happen even more often. This will reduce the amount of hair around your house. This all depends upon your dog’s activity level. If your dog is more active and their fur tends to collect debris, then you may have to brush even more often than this. As for a bath, under normal circumstances, they only require one every couple of months. However, you do want to make sure that you shampoo their fur twice so that you can move the oils protecting their second coat and get everything clean every time you bathe them.
You also need to take good care of a Bernese Mountain Dog’s ears because they can trap bacteria and dirt. You may want to consult with your veterinarian to make sure that their ears are getting cleaned regularly, because not doing so can result in painful ear infections. You should also brush their teeth weekly to reduce the tartar buildup and prevent bad breath. Bernese Mountain Dogs have one advantage that many dogs do not: they wear down their claws naturally, so you may not have to clip their nails as often as you would with other dogs.
Bernese Mountain Dog Accessories
There are plenty of accessories out there that you might want to consider for your dog and for yourself. Some common accessories for this particular breed include dog seat covers and dog safety seatbelts so that you can take them with you wherever you go, as well as dog playpens or dog gates to keep them within a certain part of the house. There are also plenty of accessories out there for dog owners, including mugs, T-shirts, baby items and lots of other fun stuff that showcases the Bernese Mountain Dog.
If you want people to know that you have a Berner, then attaching a keychain five, getting a new phone case or wearing a T-shirt with your love of the Bernese Mountain Dog displayed prominently is a terrific idea. You can even personalize many of these items with your own dog’s picture if you want!