One of four varieties of Swiss Mountain Dog, the Bernese Mountain Dog is the only variety that possesses a long, silky coat. A hardy dog that thrives in cold weather, the "Berner’s" intelligence, strength and agility helped him perform the drafting and droving work in the mountainous region where he originated. Today, this versatile breed participates in conformation, obedience, carting, agility, tracking, herding and therapy work. Like the other Swiss breeds, they are tri-colored, with patches of black, rust and white.
A Look Back
Bernese Mountain Dogs (Berner Sennenhund) originated in Switzerland and are named for the Canton of Bern. Historically, Berners were used as general purpose farm dogs. Their large, sturdy frames and calm, confident temperaments made them ideal for pulling carts to market, driving dairy cattle, watching the farm and acting as companions to farmers.
Right Breed for You?
Farm dogs by heritage, Berners need a moderate amount of exercise as well as consistent obedience training. As a double-coated breed, they also tend to shed, and so require regular brushing. Their gentle, easygoing manner and the need to be close to their people makes them a good fit for families.
General: The Bernese Mountain dog is a large working breed that has a double coat with the guard coat longer than the undercoat and needs to be groomed every 4 – 8 weeks, with more frequent grooming during the shedding seasons of spring and fall when they change coats. As long as the undercoat is removed the outer guard coat will provide shade for your dog during the summer.
Eyes: Optisoothe is a must. Flush the eyes of any foreign matter and keep the eye moist.
Ears: use Espree Ear Care to clean the ears and help dry out any moisture deep within the ear, this will help with the odor and prevent infection. Only clean as far as you can see.
Paws: Because they work outside in extreme weather conditions, they need Paw Balm to keep their pads soft and pliable to keep them from drying and cracking.
Bathing: The first bath is for general cleaning to take off the dirt and grime. Any of the Classic Care or Professional Care products are ideal. Follow up with the second bath and target the need of the dog. If your dog has allergies or skin irritations use Hypo-Allergenic shampoo followed by a medicated shampoo like Tea Tree or Tar and Sulfa. Bernese with normal skin and coat can be bathed with any of our wonderful scent renewal products for long lasting fragrance. Be sure to end the bath with conditioner. This will help keep the coat hydrated to protect against harsh weather conditions. Simple Shed shampoo and treatment during the spring and fall shedding season will help release undercoat so the seasonal coat can come in properly.
Coat Care: Because of the double coat of the breed, brushing is essential. Simple Shed and Static Spray as you brush during shedding season, or Aloe Hydrating Spray in between shedding cycles is recommended to help protect the coat.
Show Dog Tips: High Sheen Spray will add that extra bit of shine before entering the ring while not leaving an oily residue. Aloe Hydrating Spray between shows will keep away dander and keep the coat hydrated and looking its best. Quick Finish Spray helps the coat to dry faster and helps prevent tangles if used regularly. Boost! Volumizing Spray while fluffing the coat will add volume where needed in the ring without leaving a sticky residue.
Common Problems: Double coated breeds are prone to hot spots due to their thick dense coats. Shave the area around the hot spot and apply Hot Spot Foam to dry the area out and keep them from licking the wound..
Tools: An Undercoat Rake during shedding season pulls out undercoat while leaving the guard coat. Between shedding cycles brush and comb daily to weekly to keep the coat on good condition.