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Bernese Mountain Dog | breed profile

The Bernese Mountain Dog, also known as the Berner Sennenhund or Bernese Cattle Dog, hails from Switzerland where they first had duties as a general farm dog, guard dog, as well as drafting dog duties, which means they pulled carts!

About the Bernese Mountain Dog

Bernese Mountain Dog are big dogs! They weigh between 30 and 50kgs and stand between 58 and 70cm in height. The females are generally smaller than the males.  Their life expectancy is sadly quite short, at 6 to 9 years. They are tri colour, with black, white, and red or “rust” coloured markings.  

The Bernese Mountain Dog is known for being placid, loyal, and affectionate, making them a popular choice for families with children. Given their large size, early training is especially important to ensure they are well mannered later in life. With working dog origins, they require daily exercise and play.  They generally make good watchdogs but can become overprotective of their families and be shy with strangers, so they are best suited to a household of experienced dog people to ensure that they don’t develop unwanted habits. Apartment living is not recommended for the big and boisterous Bernese Mountain Dog. They may also not be the best choice of dog if you live in a hot climate as they have a very thick, black coat making them susceptible to overheating.   

Like all dogs, socialisation and training with dogs, other pets and people from an early age is very important. This helps to ensure that your Bernese Mountain Dog grows into a well-adjusted adult. Dogs that aren’t socialised may develop behavioural problems like anxiety or aggression. 

The Bernese Mountain Dog has a very thick, medium coat with an undercoat that will shed all year around. Daily brushing is recommended to keep the coat free from tangles.  Frequent ear cleaning is also recommended to help minimise wax and debris from accumulating in the ears and setting up an environment for ear infection, which the breed is prone to. Flea control is recommended, as well as tick control if you are in a tick area. 

Common health concerns

Bernese Mountain Dogs are sadly known for an increased likelihood of developing cancers and this is reflected in the PetSure claims data from 2020, with cancer being the most common reason for them to visit the vet (excluding routine visits like vaccinations). Ear infectionsallergic skin disease, and arthritis also featured in the top reasons for a Bernese Mountain Dog to visit the vet in the 2020 calendar year.  

Condition  Average cost for a single treatment  (average pet insurance claim amount) Highest cost for single treatment  (highest pet insurance claim seen for this condition) 
Cancer, including sarcoma, lymphoma, and osteosarcoma  $702 $13,985 
Ear infections and aural haematomas $205 $8,452 
Skin conditions including allergic skin disease $185 $1,092 
Gastrointestinal conditions $359 $3,438 
Arthritis  $237 $2,921 

Disclaimer: Reimbursement for these claims would be subject to limits, such as annual benefit limits or sub-limits, benefit percentage, applicable waiting periods and any applicable excess. Cover is subject to the policy terms and conditions. You should consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement or policy wording available from the relevant provider. 

For the same  period (2020 calendar year), the top five highest single vet treatments (or highest pet insurance claims) for insured Bernese Mountain Dogs from PetSure claims data were: 

Rank Condition Highest Cost of treatment for condition   
(average pet insurance claim amount) 
Osteosarcoma (bone cancer) $13,985
Fibrosarcoma (cancer)$13,551
Peritonitis$9,929
Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (GDV)$9,671 
Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD) $9,507 

Disclaimer: Reimbursement for these claims would be subject to limits, such as annual benefit limits or sub-limits, benefit percentage, applicable waiting periods and any applicable excess. Cover is subject to the policy terms and conditions. You should consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement or policy wording available from the relevant provider. 

Most popular Bernese Mountain Dog  names (PetSure data, 2020) 

According to PetSure data in 2020 the most popular Bernese Mountain Dog names were: 

Most popular names: 

  1. Charlie 
  2. Hugo 
  3. George 
  4. Griffin 
  5. Harper 
  6. Koda 
  7. Lola 
  8. Lucy 
  9. Mila  
  10. Minnie 

Most popular female names: 

  1. Harper 
  2. Lola 
  3. Lucy 
  4. Mila 
  5. Minnie 
  6. Nala 
  7. Willow 
  8. Annie 
  9. Bernie 
  10. Bessie 

Most popular male names: 

  1. Hugo 
  2. Charlie 
  3. George  
  4. Griffin 
  5. Oakley 
  6. Wallace  
  7. Alfie 
  8. Apollo 
  9. Arlo  
  10. Atlas 

Did you know? 

The Bernese Mountain Dog gets their name from the city Bern in Switzerland where the breed originated.  

References  

  1. American Kennel Club, Bernese Mountain Dog, accessed 12/03/2021, available at https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/bernese-mountain-dog/ 
  2. VetStreet, Bernese Mountain Dog, accessed 12/03/2021, available at: http://www.vetstreet.com/dogs/bernese-mountain-dog 
  3. Wikipedia, Bernese Mountain Dog Shepherd, accessed 12/03/2021, available at:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernese_Mountain_Dog 

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