Bernese Mountain Dog

a big softy...

Bernese Mountain Dogs are large, intelligent, heavy dogs (40 - 50kg) bred to be farm dogs and herding dogs in vast alpine regions. They have also been used for pulling carts. They have calm temperaments, strength and stamina for sustained walking, but are very sedate, placid dogs at home.

Bernese Mountain Dogs love children and are social with other animals. They thrive on positive attention and rewards but do not respond well to harsh treatment - they may cower if shouted at or disciplined too firmly! Be gentle with these giants!

Training these dogs is relatively easy - they really want to please you and learn quickly. Their biggest problem is their strong herding instinct. They will naturally want to herd the neighbourhood bike riders, passing cars and any neighbourhood cat in sight. Constant obedience training, reinforcing not to chase and herd is required.

They make great watch dogs and guard dogs, but do not bark without a good reason, so heed their barks.

Bernese Mountain Dogs want to be with you. They enjoy being inside and will be very well behaved, although their wagging tail can be a hazard for ornaments and coffee cups! However, their real love is being outside with you, just being near you while you garden or relax outdoors. Don't bother to try to teach these dogs to fetch - they are not interested! In hot weather they like to dig themselves a shady spot to keep cool in and don't be surprised if they pick the petunia patch!

Grooming these dogs is important but doesn't have to be daily. Their thick coat is designed to be dirt and weather resistant but it does need a good brush every few days. Because they are prolific shedders, you might want to limit them to certain areas of the house.

The biggest draw back with these dogs is their short lifespan - often only 7 or 8 years. It is very distressing for the family when a pet dies, and these dogs will not see your babies become teenagers. They are very prone to arthritis, joint and hip problems and will need regular vet check ups to monitor their health. If you are prepared for this extra expense you will not be disappointed in the loyalty and affection you receive for this dog.

<ul> <li>Very large, heavy dog</li> <li>Great companion, good with children</li> <li>Needs regular exercise and some grooming</li> <li>Good watch and guard dog</li> <li>Short life span</li> <li>Prone to bone, hips and joint problems</li> </ul>