Many of our canine companions thrive in mountain environments, but when it comes to talking about mountain dogs, one pup stands head and shoulders above the rest. The Bernese Mountain Dog is a very good boy … and a very big boy at that. A veterinarian discusses this giant pooch below.
The Bernese is one of four kinds of Swiss Mountain Dogs, or Sennenhunds, the others being the Appenzeller Mountain Dog, the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, and Entlebucher Mountain Dog. However, Fido is the only one with silky fur. The pups take their collective name from the word ‘Senne,’ (Alpine pasture) and ‘Hund,’ (Hound or dog). They were originally farm dogs, accompanying dairymen and shepherds. They also helped out by pulling carts. In fact, carting events are still on the roster for many events hosted by Bernese Mountain Dog Clubs.
Fido is descended from mastiffs who were brought to Europe by Romans about 2000 years ago. In 1926, a Kansas farmer brought Bernese Mountain Dogs to the States, where they immediately began winning hearts. The breed was officially recognized in 1912, and then joined the ranks of the AKC in 1937.
Fido has a big heart … and a body to match. Males can be as tall as 28 inches, and can weigh up to 120 pounds, while females can be 26 inches tall and can weigh 100 pounds. Needless to say, these pups are not designed to be lapdogs, and really aren’t a good match for apartment dwellers.
Just like other big dogs, Fido does have some specific care needs. Good nutrition is crucial, especially in puppyhood, during that big growth spurt. We recommend having your pooch screened for a few specific things: cardiac and ophthalmologist exams, hip and elbow evaluations, and Von Willebrand’s Disease DNA Test are all on the agenda. You’ll also need to be cautious about the possibility of bloat, which is a risk in all large breeds. Ask your vet for specific recommendations.
Bernese Mountain Dogs are very affectionate and loyal with their humans. They’re also very patient with children, though they tend to be aloof with strangers. That said, every pooch is different. Training and socialization are critical with large dogs, as is proper exercise. Many of these guys enjoy hiking, but once they’ve gotten their daily workouts in, are happy relaxing at home.
Do you have questions about caring for your canine buddy? Contact us today!