Girls Best Friend: Bernese Mountain DogEvery so often there comes a time when you happen across an animal that you instantly love. For often unknown reasons, they grab your attention, tug on your heartstrings and before you know it you are imagining life and happy times with your new companion!
Our featured dog of the month – the Bernese Mountain Dog – had this affect on me. With its remarkable tri-coloured coat, soft brown eyes, long bushy tail and sturdy body my first instinct on seeing this dog was to give it a big hug; and I won’t even start on how gorgeous the Bernese Mountain Dog puppies are. But what we adore most about these incredible dogs is that they love the outdoors just as much as we do, and this is why we have decided to give them star coverage on our ‘Girls Best Friend’ series.
Bernese Mountain Dogs originate from the Berne canton in Switzerland. Originally bred as working dogs they were trained to herd cattle across the Alps, were adept at pulling milk carts and served as rescue dogs at the scene of avalanches. In fact, these skills are still utilized in Switzerland and the Bernese Mountain Dog can sometimes be seen pulling carts led by owners who are dressed head to toe in native Swiss attire.
However, this breed of dog is just as comfortable being a family pet as it is working hard in the mountains, having a kind, sweet and docile nature that makes them popular with all ages. With a keen sense of fun and adventure the Bernese Mountain Dog loves nothing more than being at the heart of family life where attention, entertainment and daily exercise will earn you their lifelong loyalty.
Indeed this dog is at its happiest when it has space to move around and express itself. It loves nothing more than to escape into the great outdoors and share your adventures, whether that be hiking through forests or camping under the stars. They require long walks, but once exercised are more than happy to relax with the family, snoozing for hours whilst keeping one eye open on what else is going on around them!
It is important to be aware, that the ideal family for these dogs is one where there is regularly someone at home as they can suffer from separation anxiety when left alone for long periods of time. If this happens at a young age it can cause your dog to grow up into a boisterous and potentially destructive adult.
Their loyal and patient nature means the Bernese Mountain Dog is easy to train, particularly if that training starts from an early age. They are a highly intelligent breed and very receptive to positive reinforcement. It’s important to avoid shouting when training a Bernese Mountain Dog because their person-centric personalities mean they can react very badly to being scolded or punished. Make sure you give them enough time to process and learn new commands, heap them with lots of praise and biscuit treats, and you will be rewarded with a near perfect family pet.
Another reason why the Bernese Mountain Dog benefits from a hands on family is to keep up with their grooming requirements. These dogs have a double coat made up of a soft downy undercoat and a coarse wiry overcoat. This makes them ideally suited to the cold weather (you won’t need to purchase a jacket for your snowy winter walks!) but also prone to overheating in the summer. It’s also a coat that sheds a lot so if you are adverse to dog hairs or daily hovering then this breed definitely isn’t the one for you.
In summary the Bernese Mountain Dog is a breed full of beauty and love. If you are part of a lively family who love the outdoors and want to share your adventures with a furry friend then you need look no further than this striking dog who will fill your life with fun, affection and unswerving loyalty. Just be prepared to commit time to its social and physical needs and always have a grooming brush in your back pocket!