SO, YOU WANT A BERNESE MOUNTAIN DOG!
You’ve seen pictures of Bernese puppies (which are the cutest ever!), and may have met beautiful, calm adults. Although initially Berners may seem to be the ideal pets, they are not for everyone. There are some DISADVANTAGES! Listed below are the many areas that need careful thought and consideration before you bring one into your home. Speak with a reliable breeder before making a commitment. Get the facts before you buy!
SIZE: Berners are large dogs. They fall into the category of giant breeds. Fully-grown males range from 24-28 inches at the shoulder and weigh from 85-120 pounds; females stand 23-26 inches and weigh 65-100 pounds. They normally possess extremely active tails, making a clean sweep of any coffee table. A 6-month old puppy can weigh between 55-65 lbs, but it is still a baby mentally and can easily (but unintentionally) knock a small child down.
EXERCISE: While Berners are not a hyper breed they do require daily exercise to keep fit and adjust to the role of the calm house pet most people desire.
SHEDDING: Yes, they shed! They are a long-coated breed and shed a minimum of twice a year. This “blowing of coat” will result in more than the occasional dog hair in the butter, on the furniture, hair bunnies in the kitchen, and making the mother-in-law’s new white dress somewhat hairy. If you are fastidious in the home, DO NOT GET A BERNESE! A good thorough brushing every day during this molt is beneficial. THIS IS NOT AN IDEAL BREED FOR ALLERGY-PRONE INDIVIDUALS.
HEALTH & CARE: As in any large breed, hip and elbow dysplasia are a concern to all Berner owners. Purchasing a puppy whose parents have been certified to be free from dysplasia will better your chances of having a strong and capable pup. Cancer is also a serious concern in the breed. There are several eye conditions that are known to occur in Bernese, including cataracts and PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy). Other health problems that Bernese
owner may have to deal with include: allergies, bloat, thyroid, epilepsy, and heart conditions. Most breeds of dog have some of the above noted conditions, and some Berners will never have any of these problems, but we feel that it is best for you to know the worst. If you wish more information on any of these conditions, there is a list of links to websites on these and other medical issues on BMD Health Information Links and the Health Issues page on this website.