About The Bernese Mountain Dog
Origin of the Breed
The name "Bernese Mountain Dog" is a rough translation of the German "Berner Sennenhund" which literally means Bernese Alpine Herdman's dog. The original Berner Sennenhund was an all-around farm dog used in Switzerland to guard the farm, drive cows to and from their mountain pastures, and pull carts loaded with milk cans to the dairy or market.
Today's Berner is a working dog with a black coat set off by the characteristic markings - white blaze, muzzle, feet, and tail tip, and rich rust eyebrows, cheeks and bands between the black and white on the legs, The general appearance of the Berner is a striking, tri-coloured large dog. He is sturdy and balanced. He is intelligent, strong and agile enough to do draft and droving work for which he was used in the mountainous regions of his origin. Males appear masculine, while females are distinctly feminine.
How to identify a Reputable Breeder?
Reputable Breeder Quick Tips
- Are affiliated with breed clubs
- Typically, don't advertise
- Want to get to know your
- Will tell you the facts
- Provide proof that they're breeding dogs of sound temperament and health
A reputable breeder will generally be affiliated with a breed club such as the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of Ontario (BMDCO).
It is unusual for reputable breeders to advertise in newspapers or through puppies for sale websites. Reputable breeders generally have a strong demand for their puppies and would never sell puppies through brokers or a pet store. Publications and websites may contain flashy ads, but that isn't an indication of ethical behaviour nor does it indicate membership with the Canadian Kennel Club (CKC).
Breeders you want to get your dog from will want to know if you'll be able to provide a good home. This means they'll want to meet and get to know you before
they'll commit to you. It shouldn’t be “where’s your money, here’s your puppy”. A good breeder will try to match you with a pup that fits your life style and situation. For example, if there's already a male dog in the house it would be normal to suggest a female as they'll integrate better.
They'll be realistic about what it means to have a Bernese Mountain Dog and won't try to romanticize it in order to make the sale. A good example would be addmitting that puppies don't come house broken and their chewing can be destructive.
Reputable breeders will be working to breed dogs that are of sound temperament and health. No breeder has bred the perfect dog or have been able to rid the breed of all of its issues but they should give you the feeling that they're trying. They'll likely provide you with proof of the parents clearances indicating the parents are free of hip and elbow dysplasia, and you should be able to meet some relatives of a perspective pup.
Reputable breeders only sell CKC or AKC registered dogs and include a sales contract. The content of the sales agreements can vary but typically they will include clauses of guarantee and spay/neuter, non-breeding language. In addition, most dogs are sold with CKC non-breeding papers.
Breeder Code of Conduct
It is unusual for reputable breeders to ask for a down payment. A breeder will want you to come back because you really want one of their puppies and not because you're worried about losing a deposit. Once they've done all they can to breed a healthy puppy their priority will be on finding that pup a good home.
Keep in mind that adding a dog to your family is a significant commitment and shouldn't be taken lightly. It's worth taking the time to do your homework to identify a good breeder because the pup you bring home will become a member of your family for (hopefully) the duration of his life.
See BMDCO Breeder's Code of Conduct »
Is a Bernese Mountain Dog right for me?
A Bernese Mountain Dog may be right for you, if you:
- Want an active, loyal dog that likes to work
- Want a large dog
- Don't have allergies or problems with shedding
- Can live with a potentially short life span
- Can invest time to be with and train them
A pure bred dog will be consistent with the breed and will allow families to make an informed decision about how they'll fit into their family. Still it needs to be understood that dogs, like people, are individuals and temperaments do vary. The Bernese Mountain Dog Standard states, "The Bernese temperament is one of the breed's strongest assets. Consistent, dependable, with a strong desire to please. Self-confident, alert, good-natured. Attached and loyal to human family; may be aloof or suspicious with strangers, but never sharp or shy."
Their strong desire to please means they are happiest when working, and when they're with their people. They may not be appropriate for people who work long hours and can't spend time with them. Generally, the significant caregiver will be their favourite. Training and socialization are needed for them to be well adjusted in the family and household.
Bernese Mountain Dogs are considered large dogs and weights of 80 to 120 lbs are not unusual. Males 24.4 - 27.6 inches ( 62 - 70 cm); Females 22.8 - 26 inches (58 - 66 cm). Height is measured at withers. The stocky, well-balanced appearance is considered a must.
The Bernese Moutain Dog's coat is wonderfully soft to touch but if shedding or allergies are an issue, do not
get a Bernese Moutain Dog. They need regular (weekly) grooming and have a tendency to matt under their ears.
Bernese Mountain Dog's need a moderate amount of exercise.
The Bernese Mountain Dogs live an average of 7-8 years. Some die younger and many live into their teens, but generally the breed is not considered to be long lived. They're also affected by orthopedic and other issues, as are most large dogs. For additional information about Health Issues In The Bernese Mountain Dog, please refer to this website www.bmdcc.ca
Bernese Mountain Dog Club
Maintaining and Disseminating Information about Genetic Diseases in the Bernese Mountain Dog.
If you are looking to add a BMD to your family or want to check the background of your dog or a dog you are thinking of purchasing, this is one of the most important links you can view.
Click here to go to the Berner-Garde Foundation Website
BMDCO Rescue Program
The Bernese Mountain Dog Club of Ontario works in co-operation with the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of Canada in their efforts for rescuing and placing Berners in new homes. There have been many "rescued" dogs over the past years and they are now enjoying life with new families where they are loved. Any dog that enters the rescue program is evaluated for health and temperament and suitability to their new home. Any animal placed is spayed and neutered.
We have many wonderful volunteers in place to assist in these efforts that include: transportation, veterinary care, grooming and foster homes. We carefully place our rescue dogs with qualified families with the goal to ensure a Furever-Home. Assessments includes and is not limited to obedience, temperament, training, reaction to children, adults, traffic, crowds, other animals, etc.
If you are interested in helping with the rescue efforts in anyway, please contact Maureen Greaves at the email link below.
If you would like to be considered as a prospective home for a "rescue" Berner or if you have or know of a Berner in need of placement please send an email to:
In addition to our Rescue functions, the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of Ontario feels that one of the ways we can help prevent a future explosion in the number of dogs in need of rescuing is to educate the public to research the breed and not to buy on impulse. To this end we have displays at venues such as Pet Fairs, etc. and we are happy to answer any inquiries we receive from the public either by email, phone or mail about The Bernese Mountain Dog breed.
Some of the information we give out at the Pet Fairs includes the following:
Buy From A Breeder:
- Please, Do Not Buy From A Pet Store
- We believe that no reputable breeder will sell a puppy to a pet store for resale.
- The parents of pet store puppies may not have had any health checks or been screened for genetic diseases. Certainly, the purchaser of a pet store puppy will not get any information about the parents of the dog and the dog may not have the reliable temperament that you can count on when you purchase from a breeder. Pet stores cannot provide the ongoing support and advice about a specific breed that a new owner may need and pet store prices may be just as high, if not higher, than those of a breeder.
- The Bernese Mountain Dog Club of Ontario wants you to have a long and happy relationship with your dog. Please do your research, attend Canadian Kennel Club dog shows, talk to breeders and owners. Adding a dog to your family is a long term commitment and responsibility - Do not buy a puppy on impulse.
- There are many ethical and responsible breeders in Ontario. Throughout the life of your dog they will welcome your questions, give you ongoing advice about care, and information on specific health problems to which the breed may be prone. They will be happy to let you meet the parents of your puppy and will try to be sure that your home will be a good one for a dog. They will provide you with papers attesting that your dog is a purebred and registered with the Canadian Kennel Club.
- We can provide a list of breeders who are members of the club, have signed our Code of Ethics, and are very knowledgeable about the Bernese Mountain Dog.
Bringing Your Puppy Home
Prior to Bringing your Puppy Home:
Prior to Bringing Your Puppy Home:
After Bringing Your Puppy Home:
- Locate a veterinarian that you trust and feel comfortable with
- Follow the feeding schedule
- Set up an examination with your vet
- Take your Pup to a Puppy School
After you've identified a reputable breeder and agreed that one of their puppies is for you, you need to get ready to bring your new puppy home. This is when your breeder can provide invaluable help deciding whether or not to crate, what food is best, and other items that are appropriate.
Spend time to locate a good veterinarian. Having a vet that you trust can be very important if any health issues develop throughout the dog's life. Something as simple as allergies can be treated many ways and you'll want to feel confident that your vet does what is right for your dog and you. Get recommendations on a veterinarian and don't feel shy about checking them out. It could have a significant impact on the quality of your dog's life.
Your breeder should take care of your Puppy's first set of shots and have had them dewormed or their stool samples tested clear.
After Bringing your Puppy Home:
Your breeder should provide a feeding schedule and/or guidelines of what and how your puppy should be fed. Please note that puppy's stomachs are small and hence frequent (3 is typical) meals will be necessary in the beginning to avoid upset. Different breeders will vary which foods they recommend. The important thing is that it be of sufficient quality to supply the required balance and nutrients to support the puppy's development without causing problems (like allergies).
The first night in your home the puppy will be missing their littermates and can be soothed by knowing that their new "family" is nearby. Trying to isolate a puppy at this age can be very upsetting and lead to sleepless nights for the rest of the household. Something that has the smell of their old home can help.
You should take your puppy to your veterinarian for examination in the first few days. In the initial visit you should establish the schedule of additional inoculations which should be in line with your breeder's recommendation.
A training facility that offers Puppy school can get you & your puppy off to an invaluable start. Just as with children going to school, puppies will benefit from training. Learning some basics like sit, down, and come can go a long way to making your dog a pleasant & well-adjusted companion. Most puppy schools also allow some playtime so dog to dog socialization skills can be developed.
Again take your time to find a training facility that you're comfortable with and remember that Bernese Mountain Dogs respond well to praise but can "shut down" if treated roughly or negatively.
Also remember that puppies need time to develop and need to rest frequently. It takes a lot of energy to grow!
Dogs need time to get the hang of house breaking and it's not unusual for dogs to have set backs up until about 6 months of age. Do not scold your dog if they make a mistake as this can lead to them seeking privacy which can be very inconvenient on the end of a leash! Praise, consistency and patience are key.
Remember you may think your dog is human like, but he looks at you and thinks you're a 2-legged dog!
First Aid & Wellness
Save Your Pet With CPR!
A Quick Reference Guide For Bloat
Cooking Healthy Treats for your BMD
I made this web topic my own little personal project. I personally love to cook and for me it's important to know where my ingredients come from and eat as healthy as possible. I always had issues and questioned myself when I purchased dog treats since the jerky recall and thinking that I can jeopardize my dog's health by making him happy with store bought drives me crazy! By cooking my dog treats I can choose and control the ingredients for him (I personally use Organic). That's why I decided to put some of my homemade Berner Favorite treats on this site!
The majority of those recipes come from my own personal research, web, friends and BMDCO members. You will see on some of them I have put my own personal tips or comments and hopefully those will be helpful.
Please note that I am not a specialist or nutritionist in dog food, always consult your vet for advice. Bon appétit to our furry friends and have fun cooking for them!
Breath Bustin Dog Treats
Thank you Deb Webster for sharing
These feature fresh mint and parsley, plus coconut oil – they promote digestion and good breath.
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 cups oats
- 1 cup wheat bran
- 1/2 cup dry skim milk powder
- 1 cup of chicken stock low sodium, no onions
- 1/3 cup coconut oil melted
- 1/2 cup parsley
- 1/2 cup of mint
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Begin adding all of the dry ingredients to your bowl and mix (a stand mixer or food processor is ideal).
- Next add the chicken stock and the melted coconut oil to the dry ingredients.
- Add the parsley and mint and knead until it makes a dough ball.
- Roll the dough to the desire thickness and cut out your cookies using any cookie cutter shape you desire.
- Bake at 350°F 20 minutes. If you want them harder let them cool down at room temperature overnight.
Dudley favorite frozen yogurt treat recipe ** NEW**
Thank you for sharing Lori
I have recently visited the website and reviewed the recipes listed, as I make my own treats for Dudley pup, my 14 month old Berner. My Husband and I eat super healthy at home ourselves, so he should too!
He has things he likes, and things he does not. One odd thing is he does not like peanut butter, but he likes roasted unsalted natural peanuts. This recipe should have peanut butter in it, but I omit it for him and it turns out nice. It is also super easy! I bought an extra ice cube tray for this.
These are nice on hot days, and much better for them than ice cream which is full of sugar. This does not freeze as solid or cold as a regular ice cube, so there is no fear of being too cold for body temperature.
- 3/4 cup non fat Greek Yogurt
- 1 ripe banana, peeled
- 2 tablespoons natural liquid honey
- 2 tablespoons natural peanut butter (I omit this for him)
- Put all ingredients into a blender. Blend at high speed until mixture becomes liquid.
- Pour into ice cube tray; put in freezer and freeze until solid.
- Take out of tray as desired. You will need a butter knife to take the little treats out.
Fish-Tastic Homemade Dog treat
I did personally this treat, what I love about it? It doesn't crumble and make perfect Dog training treat. I usually keep what I need and freeze them by batches.
- 2 6-oz cans undrained tuna or 1 15-oz can undrained salmon (look for salmon that is deboned)
- 2 eggs
- 1 1⁄2 cups flour
- 1⁄4 cup parmesan cheese
- 1 - 2 tsp garlic powder*
- Mix all ingredients together and press into a greased 9” x13” pan (mixture will be stiff).
- Bake at 350°F for 20 minutes.
- Remove from oven and let cool.
- Cut into narrow strips, then dice strips into small cubes.
- Refrigerate or freeze.
*Garlic can be toxic to dogs. The concern is typically with large quantities of fresh garlic, not garlic
seasoning. Ask your veterinarian if garlic seasoning is appropriate for your pet. Or, just leave it out of the recipe.
Easy training treat recipes
Thank you to Kandis
- 5 eggs
- 1 cup of bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese
- Mix all the Ingredients in a plastic container that can go in the microwave
- Microwave for approximately 3 minutes.
APPLE & CHEDDAR PUPCAKES
Perfect for your dog Birthday party!
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour (I personally like to use Whole wheat or Non bleach or Quinoa flour)
- ¼ cup traditional rolled oats
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ cup applesauce
- ½ cup water
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 eggs
- 1 apple, peeled, cored and minced
- 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Line muffin tins with paper liners.
- In a large bowl whisk together the flour, oats, baking powder and baking soda.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the applesauce, water, oil, honey and eggs, then stir in the apple and cheese.
- Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture and stir until just barely blended.
- Spoon the batter into the muffin tins, filling almost full (you may have a couple spoonfuls of batter leftover).
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Let cool in the tins for a few minutes and then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Makes 12 pupcakes (cupcake)
Diabetic Dog Treats
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/2 pounds beef liver, cut into pieces
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
- Line a 10x15 inch jellyroll pan with parchment paper.
- Place the liver into a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped.
- If you have room, add the flour and eggs, and process until smooth. Otherwise, transfer to a bowl, and stir in the flour and eggs using a wooden spoon.
- Spread evenly in the prepared pan.
- Bake for 15 minutes, or until the center is firm.
- Cool, and cut into squares. The treats will have a consistency similar to a sponge.
- Store in a sealed container in the fridge.
This recipes will make 2 pounds of treats
Homemade Dog Biscuits for Dog Weight Loss (low fat)
- 1 medium ripe banana
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 1/4 cup applesauce, unsweetened (you can replace by another fruit with Organic baby food jar)
- 1/8 cup water (you may need to add an additional 1/8 cup water)
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 cup rolled oats
- Additional flour for Rolling
- Preheat oven to 350°F
- Mash the ripe banana in a small bowl.
- Grate the carrots, and mix with the banana.
- Pour in the applesauce and water.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and oats.
- Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the carrot mixture.
- Stir until thoroughly combined.
- Knead the dough in the bowl with your hands
- Fold out onto a floured surface and continue to knead until a dough has formed
- Roll out to 1/2 inch thickness.
- Cut out into 3 inch pieces (I used a carrot shaped cookie cutter).
- Lightly spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray.
Wheat free sweet potato chicken
- 2 medium Sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed
- 1 chicken Breast, cooked and shredded (I usually boil the breast in a Low sodium chicken broth for more flavour)
- 1/2 cup of White rice Flour (I personally use Quinoa Flour, I saw a documentary, rice and rice flour can contain Arsenic!)
- 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
- 1 Cup of Oat flour (if you have a grinder, take oat and grind it yourself , it's cheaper!)
- 1/2 tea spoon of honey
- Preheat oven to 350°F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper (I prefer Silicone mat )
- In a large bowl mix all the ingredients one at the time, kneading well after each addition.
- Once dough is well mixed roll dough into 1/2 inch balls and place them 2 inches apart onto the baking sheet.
- Flatten with the flour dusted back of a spoon or the bottom of a glass (it's sticky believe me!)
- At this point your dog should be next to you sniffing (Joke but mine does it LOL)
- Bake for 15 minutes, or until browned at the edge, cool and refrigerate
Makes 3 to 4 dozen rounds
My own personal tips:
Do not freeze them cooked, they will get soggy!
If you want to freeze them (3-4 dozen it s quite a lot) and there is chicken so you can not keep them more than 3 days in the fridge. What I do is I take the uncook dough and I seperate portions (to make around 8 cookies) by making a salami shape roll I wrap it in a saran wrap and freeze them. When I need them I take the freeze dough roll , slice them and cook them! Perfect and fresh each time!
Gluten Free and Grain free treat
- 1 Lb ground meat (lamb, beef, chicken, turkey) Lamb and beef tend to be higher in fat. Chicken and turkey might be a better choice for an overweight dog.
- 1 large sweet potato (cooked and mashed)
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder (not garlic salt)
- 5 tbsp. large flake rolled oats (organic if possible) or 4 tbsp. ground flax seed meal
- Pre-heat oven to 350°F.
- Combine all ingredients in a bowl, mixing up very well.
- Lightly grease a cookie sheet with olive oil or PAM (very slightly).
- Pour Mixture onto cookie sheet and spread evenly and flatly to the sides of pan. This should be about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.
- Bake for one hour
- Remove pan from oven and use your cookie cutter at this time, if you want. If you don't have a cookie cutter, just score the cookie dough
Whole food Market dog treat for Special diet
- Dairy Free
- Gluten Free
- Low Sodium
- Sugar Conscious
- Wheat Free
My own personal tips:
- 1 banana, peeled
- 1 cup oat flour
- 2/3 cup rolled oats
- 1/2 cup dried parsley
- 3 tablespoons peanut butter
- 1 egg, beaten
I was personally curious about the health benefit about Parsley so I Google it and this is what I found in the majority of the websites I visit. Parsley protects the liver and the intestines against cancer. It's also an antirheumatic, stimulant of digestion, of kidneys, eliminating toxins and kidney stones.
- Preheat oven to 300°F.
- Put banana in a large bowl and use a spoon or potato masher to mash it thoroughly.
- Add oat flour, oats, parsley, peanut butter and egg and stir well to combine.
- Set aside for 5 minutes.
- Roll mixture into 24 balls, using about 1 tablespoon dough for each; transfer to a large parchment paper- lined baking sheet as done.
- Use the back of a spoon or the heel of your hand to press each ball into a (1 1/2- to 2-inch) coin.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until firm and deep golden brown on the bottom.
- Set aside to let cool completely.
Makes 2 dozen
Storage note: It's best to store these in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Or, freeze them to give to your pal later; just be sure to thaw the treats before handing them out.
Nutritional Info PER SERVING:
Serving size: 1 treat
- 45 calories (15 from fat)
- 1.5g total fat
- 0g saturated fat
- 10mg cholesterol
- 10mg sodium
- 6g carbohydrate (1g dietary fiber, 1g sugar)
- 2g protein
Prep: 15 mins Bake: 15 mins
- 1/2 pound ground beef ( you can use other type of meat if you prefer)
- 1/2 cup cooked brown rice (again I prefer Quinoa)
- 1 carrot, shredded
- 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
- 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 2 tablespoons parmigiano-reggiano cheese (Fresh Parmesan not the one in the plastic container)
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Grease a muffin pan or a baking sheet.
- In a medium bowl, combine all of the ingredients and mix well.
- Fill each muffin tin with about 1/4 cup of the mixture, or form the mixture into 10 balls and place on the baking sheet.
- Bake until cooked through, about 15 minutes.
- Let cool completely on a rack.
Vegetarian Oatmeal and Fruit Squares
My own personal tips:
I thought 8 eggs was a bit much (Good morning Cholesterol!) So what I do is I use 2 whole eggs and the rest with only the white. I buy the egg white in a box. easy!
- 12 Cups Oatmeal
- 4 Cups Flour (Whole Wheat)
- 8 Eggs
- 2/3 Cup Canola Oil
- 3/4 Cup Molasses
- 3/4 Cup Honey
- 1 Can Pumpkin (Not the filling pie stuff you want Pumpkin only!)
- 2 Mashed Bananas
- Pre-Heat the oven to 350°F.
- Mix all ingredients together.
- On two ungreased baking sheets, pat the mixture down.
- Bake for 50-60 minutes, take them out of the oven and let cool completely before serving.
- Cut them into the size of your choice for your favorite pup!
Apple Cinnamon Dog Biscuits
Homemade dog treat recipe for dogs with ARTHRITIS
Cinnamon is good for dogs with arthritis or diabetes! It's good for your dog's heart because it improves circulation. It has anti-inflammatory properties which helps relieve pain in your dog's joints. Cinnamon also helps regulate blood sugar and lower cholesterol levels. If your dog is diabetic, this is the perfect treat for him.
- 1 cup natural applesauce (not sweet) (or chopped apple) (For Variety I change the fruit flavor by getting Organic baby food jar but check the sugar contain!)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon parsley
- 1 cup cold water
- 1/2 cup coconut oil (or olive oil)
- 5 cup brown rice flour (again I use Quinoa Flour)
- 1/2 cup powdered milk (or cream of wheat)
- 2 large eggs
- Refrigerate dough for 1.5 hours or overnight.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.
Beef Dog Treat (homemade Jerky!)
This recipes is the top of the top, I am telling you, you will need patience and a bit of equipment (a Jerky gun is required, bass pro in Vaughan do sell them for cheap) but your dog will be completely Crazy! But do not hesitate to do this recipes even if you don t have a jerky Gun or dehydrator see below for my own experience.
- 1 lb of ground beef, (preferably grass-fed) or turkey, chicken, lamb
- 1 cup of beef liver (or chicken liver)
My own personal tips:
- Chop the liver into pieces.
- Mix it in with the ground meat.
- Scoop the meat into the jerky gun (if you have one) and squeeze the meat mixture on the sheets of your dehydrator (if you have one).
- Set dehydrator at 165° for about 3-4 hours, or until the meat is dry and crunchy.
I don t have a dehydrator and if I buy one my husband will most likely divorce me LOL so,
If you don't have a dehydrator and Jerky Gun:
Also I use similar technique to Make chicken or sweet potatoe strip:
- Grease a baking sheet (I use Olive oil PAM), spread the meat in the cooking sheet
- Bake at 250°F for 4-6 hours.
- Then you can cut them in Jerky strip roll. Work done!
- Take your chicken breast and put it the freezer until it s 3/4 frozen
- Slice the breast very thinly.
- Grease a cooking sheet and layer the strip
- Cook at 250 °F until it s dry
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