If we are to talk about the honourable breed of dogs, the Bernese Mountain Dog sure has to make the list. It is a Swiss working dog and needless to say, extremely attractive. They have a natural inclination to work and protect, a testament to their roots. They flourish when showered with human companionship and respond enthusiastically when challenged to learn new things. Its size belies how they can be great additions to many families.
If you wish to adopt a Bernese Mountain Dog, you should know the following.
Is The Bernese Mountain Dog Popular In India?
It is also a dog that was originally meant for living in colder climates. It is a big dog and rather expensive to procure. So, while it is not commonly found, this sloppy affectionate giant is certainly coveted.
Availability In India
Considering its rarity in India, it is advisable to go through a certified and reputed dog breeder who would have the expertise and requisite know how to guide you to properly take care of this dog.
Price Of The Bernese Mountain Dog In India
The price of the Bernese Mountain dog in India would depend on the gender and quality of the dog as well as the breeder you are getting it from. Breeders in India make available three variations of this, which in ascending order of quality and price would be – basic, KCI certified and show quality.
The basic variation would cost between ₹45,000 to ₹55,000. The KCI certified pooch would be priced between ₹55,000 to ₹65,000 and the show quality puppy could be anywhere between ₹65,000 to ₹90,000. It is extremely important to go through a reputed breeder to ensure that you are completely aware of the needs of the canine that you eventually choose to take home.
Monthly Maintenance Cost
The Bernese mountain dog is around 60-70 cm in height and can weigh between 40-44 kgs. It is a big dog meant for colder climates, so having them as a pet in a country like India, especially the hotter regions, would mean a significant electricity bill because of the constantly running air conditioner. This is undoubtedly a high maintenance dog
The Bernese dog is a heavy shedder. His coat must be brushed at least once or twice a week and he must be cleaned at least once a month. This is a very active dog so it is best to regularly trim its nails frequently. They also need high amounts of exercise to stay healthy and content. The cost of its monthly maintenance could go upto Rs 10,000.
History And Popularity
This dog is a native of the Swiss Alps though its roots are in Rome. It was originally a farm dog with its purpose ranging from pulling carts to guarding cows, sheep and other livestock. It is recognized as a working dog throughout. They enjoy a lot of their popularity as family dogs in German speaking countries.
It was pretty late in its history that interest was taken in its breeding by canine enthusiasts who then worked towards setting a standard for it. It even faced near extinction at one point in time before work began on developing the breed and improving its size and temperament.
Its name comes from the place where it is primarily found, that is, Bern. The cherry on top of the cake of its naming history is that it was once called “cheese dogs”, because they were used to transport carts of milk and cheese. History has given this dog many names, primarily based on the places it was found in. It would be interesting food for thought when you are looking to name your own pet.
Fans of the show “The New Normal” would remember the two Bernese dogs Smelly and Harvey Milkbone as part of the cast. While still majorly found in colder climates, the Bernese mountain dog is much loved and cherished today everywhere, as it should be.
These dogs are endearment personified. They are large dogs with a beautiful tri coloured coat. They are usually black with red or white markings. They weigh somewhere between 40-44 kg and grow to a height of 60-70 cm. These dogs are huge people pleasers. They reach full maturity a little later than other dogs, at the age of 2-3 years and continue to grow and add bulk in their middle years.
These dogs like to have a job to do so the opportune time to begin obedience training is in their puppy years. While they are intelligent, they can react negatively to harsh training. Adopt a gentle and positive approach to their training, which should be easy considering their above average rate of learning.
Bernese Mountain Dogs are considered to be dry mouthed, that is, they do not drool, but that can vary depending upon the shape and size of their mouth. They are also intolerant to hot weather conditions, owing to their thick coats. Keep in mind that they require a lot of physical activity along with something to occupy it at all times.
This is not to say that they don’t enjoy the occasional peaceful evening at home. It is about striking that balance as its owner. Both activity and relaxation is equally important to the physical and mental health of this huge furball.
Temperament Of A Bernese Mountain Dog
Gentle, intelligent and affectionate would be how one would describe this breed of dog. The temperament of this dog is the defining desirability for its consideration as a pet. It is generally a product of its genes. They are extremely devoted and bond with one person or family which makes it hard for them to adjust to new owners. Their intelligence makes them easily trainable as long as a positive and gentle attitude is maintained.
These dogs are very reserved and shy with strangers so expose them to a wide number of people and animals as puppies. They are fairly easy going and get along well with children but they must have proper training to ensure this happens without glitches as they are huge dogs who demand attention.
Considering the temperament and required maintenance for this dog, it is better suited to a family with a comfortable living space than for a person living alone. Simply because these dogs do not like being left alone and can become very sad if that happens. They are excellent guardians, as is their nature, and only attack if really needed.
They can live up to 6-9 years of age. Years of certain love, robustness and affection.
Are Bernese Mountain Dogs Hypoallergenic
No, they are not hypoallergenic. The are heavy shedders and must be brushed at least once a week and cleaned once a month at least.
See also: Dogs That Don’t Shed
Average Litter Size Of The Bernese Mountain Dog
Average litter size is 5-7 puppies. It could go till 15.
How Is The Bernese Mountain Dog As A Puppy
They are extremely affectionate and intelligent, and it goes without saying, rather cute as well. This is the opportune time to train them in being social by introducing them to more people and animals and also, teaching them manners and the ways of living with people.
Bernese Mountain Dogs are quick learners but don’t respond well to harsh commands, which must be kept in mind at all times. There is a good chance that you will not have to take the strict tone with them considering their above average speed of learning and people pleasing attitude.
Good Diet For The Bernese Mountain Dog
You need to plan out the meals depending upon your dog’s nutritional requirement. Considering that dogs are carnivorous animals, meat must be the base of its meals though you can and must, supplement it with a side of vegetables and a small amount of grains. While a dog doesn’t really require variety in its meals, it is important to prep the food in advance considering the amount. You can also opt to go the commercial food route.
A puppy would require to be fed small portions of food three times a day. It is ideal to continue feeding them what they were having at the breeder’s or make the transition slow and via proper consultation. At their 6 months mark, switch to 2 meals a day. Be wary and observant while making these transitions in their diets as Berners are prone to allergies and these are often triggered by changes in food.
An adult Berner would need to be fed once a day, approx 750 gm of meat and 200 gm of vegetables and grains every day. It is preferable to keep the meat raw. The reason for this being that like their ancestors, the modern Berner doesn’t work on the field or engage in heavy physical activities. So, one meal should suffice. But in case he is highly active or recovering from a disease, you can alter the number of meals according to requirement.
Bernese dogs suffer from higher rates of cancer than other breeds. Also, they have high mortality rates from musculoskeletal issues. Some ways to help this would be to include ramps and wheelchairs for cars and houses. A good dog bed could also help with the joint pains.
Things To Take Care Of
The first and most important thing to take care of when taking a Bernese mountain dog as a pet in India is to thoroughly research and be prepared for the economic and caregiving needs of the dog, with a comfortable cushion for any unanticipated needs. Always be gentle and observant towards them. Do not miss any vaccinations or health check-ups. Be planned with their dietary needs and make sure that he is properly trained when he needs to be.