What is the Bernese Mountain Dog Lifespan?

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Bernese Mountain Dog Lifespan If you’re looking for large dogs to welcome to your family, the Bernese Mountain Dog is a good dog that will fit many different families. Their gentle nature and adorable personality come with a face that’s easily recognizable — these beautiful dogs love to spend time with their families and are also eager to please. However, you might find yourself asking “What is the Bernese Mountain Dog Lifespan?” 

What is the Bernese Mountain Dog? 

The Bernese Mountain Dog, also known as Berners, are easily recognizable thanks to their long, thick coats and cute faces. This farm dog is a loyal and smart pup that loves spending time with their humans — their obedience and work ethics have made them a favorite among families and farmers. They come with moderate levels of energy and are always eager to please, which makes them easy enough to train. 

Bernese Mountain Dog History

This dog was originally bred in Switzerland’s city of Berne, where it got its name and were first used as a farm dog in the Swiss Alps for all kinds of work and would also serve as carting dogs, guard dogs, and watchdogs. The Bernese Mountain Dog is just one of the tri-colored canines from the Swiss mountains, which include the Appenzeller Sennenhund, the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, and the Entlebucher Mountain Dog. 

Each of these large breeds features the same color scheme but only the Berner comes with the flowing long coat. When World War I ended, these dogs were sent to the Netherlands, with a journey to the United States soon after. However, it wasn’t until 1981 that they were recognized as an official dog breed by the American Kennel Club (AKC).  

Bernese Mountain Dog Appearance

The Bernese Mountain Dog is known for its large size and strong frame, which allows them to undertake the various jobs they’re assigned to do. On average, a healthy weight for the Berner is between 45 to 70 pounds — female dogs will usually come in on the lighter side. When it comes to their height, males can grow up to 25 to 27.5 inches at the shoulder, and females will be slightly shorter.  

These pups come with a beautifully thick double coat that will usually be long enough to touch the floor. Their coats will come in brown, white, and black colors, with some markings visible. 

Bernese Mountain Dog Temperament

These dogs come with an easygoing and steady temperament — they also love to learn new things. They’re also alert and come with the natural instincts for guarding, which is why they’re such good watchdogs. The Bernese Mountain Dog is patient and calm with young children and is often referred to as a gentle giant, so they can be great family pets. 

They can be protective of their family members and aloof with new people but they’re not usually aggressive. Giving your puppy proper socialization and training at an early age will ensure that your pooch remains patient with other pets and kids.   

Bernese Mountain Dog Training 

These clever dogs are eager to please, which makes them easy to train but it’s important to remember that they’re also sensitive and affectionate. It can be easy to offend them and get their feelings hurt, so the best way to approach them is through rewards and positive reinforcement instead of harsh corrections. The Bernese Mountain dog breed loves to spend time with their owners, and if they’re left alone for too long, they might pick up undesirable behaviors. 

Early socialization and obedience training are always important, no matter what the breed but large dog breeds such as the Bernese Mountain Dog can truly benefit from it. Although it’s best to understand that these dogs will slowly mature physically and mentally, so be sure you don’t push them too much during training. While these dogs have low to moderate energy levels, they still need exercise to help them lead a healthy life.    

These sturdy dogs will need a minimum exercise of 30 minutes each day to stay healthy. Proper exercise consists of spending time outside and can be great companions for long walks or hikes. They will often excel in draft work and carting competitions along with other canine sports like obedience, agility, rallying, herding, and tracking.    

Bernese Mountain Dog Diet

In general, your Bernese Mountain dog should get around 3 to 6 cups of high-quality food every day, which should be divided into two equal portions. Just like any large dog, Berners will do well with proper nutrition that promotes their slow growth to prevent health concerns such as degenerative joint disease. Moreover, their owners should watch their weight and keep an eye on their meals to ensure they feed according to schedule.  

Bernese Mountain Dog Grooming

The thick, long, and silky coat of this pooch will need regular grooming to help keep its thick black coat sleek and shiny while preventing matting. It’s recommended to groom them every two weeks, and they will moderately shed around the clock, and you’ll find more dog hair around your home during shedding season which happens twice a year. When this happens, brushing them every day is a must to eliminate loose hair from their outer coat.   

Bernese Mountain Dog Health 

The average lifespan of a Bernese Mountain Dog, according to the AKC is around 7-10 years, which is a shorter lifespan compared to the average lifespan of all dog breeds. While it’s understandable that big dogs don’t live as long as small dogs, Berners have the shortest lifespans of any dog breed, including the Great Dane. One way to increase your dog’s life expectancy is through proper diet, care, and exercise.  

Some health problems in these dogs are more prevalent in this breed compared to purebred dogs. These dogs have a very small gene pool, so they may have a genetic predisposition to various health issues which include the following. 

  • Canine cancer: Unfortunately, these dogs suffer from a high rate of cancer, which is the primary reason why they have such a short lifespan. They can be exposed to a certain type of cancer, which includes lymph, muscle, and bone cancer. 
  • Hip dysplasia: This is a condition that points to the loosening of their hip joints, which causes dysfunction and pain. They are also prone to elbow dysplasia. 
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): This eye disease refers to the slow deterioration of the retina, which can lead to the affected dog becoming night-blind. Dogs with this condition will gradually lose their sight during the day as it progresses. Fortunately, affected dogs can adapt to their lost or limited vision, provided that they’re familiar with their surroundings. 
  • Gastric dilatation-volvulus: Also known as bloating, this condition happens when too much gas accumulates inside the stomach, causing it to twist on itself. This is a life-threatening emergency that will need immediate veterinary care.   

Moreover, Bernese Mountain Dogs might also be prone to heart disease, degenerative myelopathy, malignant histiocytosis, kidney problems, and other genetic diseases. Because they can face a range of health problems in the future, it’s best to choose an insurance provider for this dog’s needs.    

Living with Your Bernese Mountain Dog

Their thick coats make them a great choice for people living in colder climates, and they love being able to explore, so a big yard that’s fully fenced is the best option for them. These pups are well suited for experienced dog owners who can give them a big space to move around in while giving them dedicated effort and time for their training. A well-behaved Bernese can become a wonderful house companion that the whole family will adore. 

This lovable dog will thrive on the love of their humans and are their happiest when spending time in front of the TV or on a long walk. Some pups will come with bigger heads and loose lips, which will lead them to drool after eating or drinking. It’s also worth noting that a Bernese Mountain Dog puppy may show a more dominant personality and may be aggressive with other male dogs. 

Buying or Adopting a Bernese Mountain Dog

If you’re looking for someone who can help get your hands on Bernese Mountain Dog puppies, consider speaking with the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America (BMDCA). They should be able to point you in the right direction and provide you with a list of responsible breeders or refer you to rescue groups. But before you make a purchase, remember that there are many great dogs in need of loving homes that you can find in shelters, so consider adopting one of these dogs instead. 

What is the Bernese Mountain Dog Lifespan?

Despite the short lifespan of the Bernese Mountain Dog, they are highly sought after for their easygoing, calm, and gentle nature, along with their patience and devotion to their family, including children. Their water-resistant double coat is perfect for colder climates, but they won’t thrive inside a small apartment. The best way to keep them happy is to give them good food, plenty of exercise, and lots of space where they can spend their time keeping their humans company.