There is something about a large solid dog with his mass of silky fur, that just makes you want to hug it. If it is a Bernese Mountain Dog, he would let you do just that, and even ask for more. That is because this beautifully tri-colored working dog is a gentle giant who loves people and thrives on praise.
It hail from Switzerland – Bern to be exact. Therein comes his breed title: Bernese Mountain Dog. It is a versatile breed – a working dog, a herder of sheep and even a watch dog.
This dog is easily trained due to his calm disposition and eagerness to please. But he is also a delightful pet for families with children because he loves to play and bonds well with his human companions.
But there are other considerations if you want a Berner, as they call it, to become part of your family. For one, he is an enormous dog and thus would not be an ideal candidate for someone living in an apartment or condo. He needs room to stretch his legs and run. He is also a people dog, meaning he craves being with humans and would not be happy shut away in an outdoor kennel. He feels if he’s not a part of the family, he should be!
If you like that puppy stage that seems to go so fast, a Berner is the dog for you. You will find he stays a puppy for some time both physically and mentally. You and your kids will never lack for a companion and a good play session with one of these goofy canines.
As far as training, positive reinforcement, a gentle glove,as it were, is the way to go. A Bernese is a sensitive dog, meaning he is open to coaxing and eater to please you. On the other hand, if you try to scold at or chastise him into obeying your commands you will find he can be a very uncooperative dog! Positive reinforcement is the key to getting cooperation from him. You don’t want him getting his feelings hurt, as that would just serve to slow down his training further.
For whatever, these beautiful creatures are moving closer and closer to extinction. Part of this is due to inbreeding, but there are other factors such as size and weight, which can put a strain on his joints and lead to dysplasia and other hip and bone issues.
Considering these and other health problems common to the Berner, weigh the pros and cons before reaching the decision to buy this breed — and whatever you do, be sure to buy your dog from a reputable breeder and not a puppy mill! Veterinarian costs pile up fast enough without buying an already sickly dog. It is also best to meet at least one of the parents. This enables you to learn what to expect in the way of temperament.
With such a loving, eager pet as the Bernese Mountain Dog, it is hard to go wrong. Just make sure first that he is the right breed for you and your family.