Bernese Mountain Dog

  • Overview

    The Bernese Mountain Dog's attractive coat and calm, gentle personality make them a stunning pet. They love the company of people, including children, and they hate being separated from their families for too long. Bernese Mountain Dogs make devoted companions for those with the energy to exercise a large, energetic dog and the willingness to maintain their luxurious but long, dense coats.

  • Personality

    These dogs are affectionate and alert with calm, tolerant natures. They get along well with children. The Berner is truly a gentle giant. They have been known to allow children to climb all over them without becoming bothered. They do not mind being handled or petted. In fact, you might assume that your large new dog has poor special reasoning skills, but really, they hate losing physical contact with their people. They feel most comfortable and content while resting gently on their owner's leg or cuddling with their family. These huge dogs are confident in their size but never overly assertive. Their confidence is clear; they are not easily ruffled or thrown off in their temperaments. Sometimes they can be aloof or shy with strangers, but this is not because they are stand-offish, it is just because they are extremely mellow.

    Bernese Mountain Dogs are not apartment dogs. They love running and romping through a large yard. Their heavy coat best suits them to cold climates. They can often become uncomfortable in the heat. Berners love the snow — they display their puppy-like enthusiasm while frolicking in winter wonderlands.

  • Coat Care

    Bernese Mountain Dogs are distinguished from their giant cousin the Saint Bernard by their tri-color coats. Their weather-resistant coat is black with symmetrical brown and white markings. Bernese Mountain Dogs can be identified by their white chests and faces, with chestnut markings on their legs, above their eyes and over their cheeks. Their coats are moderately long and slightly wavy, though not overly curly, with a bright natural sheen.

Brushing

Although Bernese Mountain Dogs do not need to be trimmed or clipped often, their shiny coats require frequent bathing and lots of brushing to retain their natural sheen. This huge dog will shed throughout the year, but he will shed profusely during the spring and fall. To help manage the amount of hair he loses during this time, brush your Bernese Mountain Dog throughout the year.

Bathing

Although Bernese Mountain Dogs do not need to be trimmed or clipped often, their shiny coats require frequent bathing and lots of brushing to retain their natural sheen. Bathing your dog will help his coat retain his shine and hold its deep colors, so bath him occasionally with detangling dog shampoo.

Hair Clipping

Clipping or trimming your dog’s coat is far easier than you would ever imagine. With the right clipper, trimmer and scissors, giving your dog a haircut is easy on your wallet and your schedule.

Dogs with heavy coats generally require routine trimming around the face, ears, feet and behind to help them stay comfortable. You do not need to clip or trim the body hair because it acts as insulation for your dog in cold weather and helps cool him off in warm weather.  It’s a good idea to take your dog for a short walk to calm him down before you groom him. Thoroughly brush the coat to remove any tangles and mats. Use trimmers to trim excess fur off the dog's body, choosing the appropriate clip attachment to achieve desired length. Trim around the tail, paws, sanitary areas and chest, if needed. Groom the head and face last, being watchful for sudden movement. Trim with the flow of the fur, away from the eyes and nose.

Nails

Many dog owners are apprehensive about trimming their dog’s nails because they are nervous about cutting into the quick. But with the right conditioning and careful cutting, nail clipping can be a simple, stress-free activity for you and your dog.

Provide your dog with plenty of positive reinforcement and even treats to help associate nail clipping with a positive experience.  As you start to clip, gently press on your dog’s paws to help him become accustomed to the feeling of having his nails clipped. Then, work gradually, shaving down just a thin portion of the nail at first to make sure you don’t reach the quick. Clip one nail, reward your dog with a treat, and stop to give him some positive reinforcement before moving on. Gradually increase the number of nails you clip in one sitting to help your dog get used to the process. Never trim extremely long nails down to a short nail in one sitting, because this is an excellent way to accidently quick the dog’s nail. Instead, work gradually, shaving small portions of your dog’s nails off each time.

You can tell if you’re getting close to the quick by the texture of your dog’s nail. The nail is hard closer to the surface and becomes softer as you get closer to the quick. If your dog’s nail starts to feel softer, that’s a good indication that you’re getting close to the quick.

Eyes / Ears

Not all breeds and coat styles require routine trimming in and around the eyes and ears but all should undergo regular inspection and cleaning around these sensitive areas. Doing so will help prevent the development of infections that could seriously damage these amazing organs.

It is always important to routinely clean your dog's eyes and ears, and examine for potential infections. Small dogs, like Pomeranians, and dogs with extremely profuse coats, like Newfoundlands, American Eskimo Dogs and Keeshonds, have ears that need to be checked weekly for infection and cleaned with a cotton ball. Gently wipe a cotton ball moistened with mineral oil, olive oil or witch hazel in your dog's ear, being careful to avoid the ear canal. Never use a Q-Tip, which could cause damage to the inner ear if your dog suddenly shakes or jerks his head. Bushy hair growth within the ear can be thinned with tweezers or blunt scissors. Use a small trimmer to trim excess hair around the eyes, ears and face. Small dogs like Pomeranians and Pekingese, and dogs with white coats like American Eskimo Dogs and Samoyeds, are prone to developing tear stains around their eyes, so clean around their eyes with a cotton ball or soft cloth and use a small trimmer to trim excess hair around their eyes.

Teeth

Bernese Mountain Dogs are unfortunately prone to bad breath. Brushing their teeth once a week will help their breath stay fresh and their teeth stay healthy.