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Bernese Mountain Dog? - UPDATED: Got Her and Further Adventures

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  • Bernese Mountain Dog? - UPDATED: Got Her and Further Adventures

    Note: This IS a farm-related dog question.

    I've been dog-debating the last year or so, narrowing down breeds for the eventual farm dog. Breed final 2 1/2 are Great Danes, Swiss Mountain Dogs, and (the half) possibly a black GSD, only if from a very reputable breeder, as I know how many GSD problems there are with bad breeding.

    What I'm looking for: LARGE, black, big bark. I want the ability to have an intimidating look. Dog can be a gigantic teddy bear, but I want an intimidating look for those who are passing by with nefarious thoughts. I am a single woman. Want something just a bit off-putting to the prospective burglar. Dog must be well bred and pure bred (I want a thorough knowledge of history and ancestors; for anything the size I'm looking for, I don't want holes in the background). Must be socializable with horses, cats, foals, general farm life. Must be a person-devoted dog to its person, not a wanderer (although of course will be correctly leashed, confined). Must be trainable and will be trained. Prefer male.

    That's where I've been. Narrowing things down.

    You know what they say about your timing vs. God's timing?

    Just got an appeal from a friend. Bernese Mountain Dog in need of rehoming. Purebred, well bred (Russian). Background absolutely 100% known, dog has been with people who know how to handle dogs. No holes in history. Female but spayed. Large. Mostly black. Big bark. Has coexisted with cats, and is NOT a chaser of critters, cars, etc. Lies on porches and looks big and black. Is apparently a collector, acquires and stockpiles "presents" at times to present eagerly to returning owner if left alone. Is shaggy, and I would have preferred low grooming.

    This isn't QUITE what I had in mind. But it's not too far off, and the dog is in need of a place.

    Does anybody have a Bernese Mountain Dog as a farm dog? Opinions? How have yours worked for you? Would you get another? What would you change? Is yours trustworthy with your little critters? Devoted to you? Not a wanderer?


    I wasn't going to do this now. I wasn't going to do this this way.

    But the dog needs a home. I'm considering arranging a visit, just to meet in person. Picture was sent. Cute picture.

    Help? Enablers? Unenablers? Wait for my 100% category-meeting farm dog? Check out the 87% variety in need of a home right now?
    Last edited by dressagetraks; Nov. 20, 2009, 07:46 PM. Reason: Change Title

  • #2
    we had them on our farm as a kid. sweet dogs,have a bit of a hard time with the heat. One did chase sheep.none a problem with dogs,cats,horses,kids that I can remember. would not have thought of them as scary. Am sure yours will have other home options --maybe even my daughter,hehe!


    • #3
      A friend of mine breeds them. (Actually a COUPLE of friends breed them).

      They are wonderful dogs. Great attitudes. But because of a limited gene pool can have a variety of genetic issues. Cancer being one of them. And since they are big dogs they are not terribly long lived.

      But the ones I have known up close and personal I absolutely adored.


      • #4
        I have a BMD cross She's not terribly intimidating however but she has a pretty dominating bark.

        Do we ever find the 100% match? I never do... A dog in need of a home is a dog in need of a home though.


        • #5
          You may ask here for more information:


          I find strange that your dog came from ... Russia?
          Bernese dogs are from Switzerland and they are very distinctively marked, not really "mostly all black".
          While black is dominant, they are really black and tan with white markings.

          Do ask in the link provided, they are the bernese association.


          • Original Poster

            Thanks for the link; I'll read up more on them.

            Yes, Russia. Also said mostly black, although there are obviously other bits from the pic. Here is the dog.


            They also did say intimidating to visitors, although gentle.


            • #7
              Neat dog, does look like a bernese, although in that picture the head does look a little bit different type than we have in this country, that seems to be a little more flat on top, ears set somewhat different and more round faced.

              If you like a dog and the dog likes you, why not?
              Unless you were going to bred or show, it really doesn't matter what a dog looks like, the most important is it's temperament and that it fits your household.


              • #8
                I've known a number of Bernese Mountain Dogs over the years. Each and every one has been soppy and incredibly cuddly. I'm sorry but I could never ever view them are "guard dogs" and would never be intimidated by them. They are just too squeeshy and cute.

                They dribble and slobber so if you don't mind dogs with gloop around their mouths then you'll be fine. I can't stand dribble hence none of the breeds of dogs I own are predisposed to doing this.

                They like to have human companionship all the time. The ones I've known like to be with their owners all the time and don't like being left alone.

                I actually considered buying one once upon a time, but the dribble, mass of hair, fact I live in a very hot climate during summer, wasn't really the sort of dog I was after were all reasons to discount these beautiful dogs, but the main reason I didn't go for one is because their life-expectancy is so short.

                If you want a companion, then yes this dog will be a lovely companion. If you want all the other things more then this dog is not for you.

                I am also confused by the Russian comment?? Didn't know that they were that common in Russia.
                Last edited by Cloverbarley; Oct. 28, 2009, 09:32 PM.


                • #9
                  My friend had a BMD on her farm while growing up. He used to accompany us on trail rides and hang out while we schooled the horses. We'd hose him off on hot days, and he LOVED ice cubes... they used to freeze about a dozen trays for him.

                  He was a GREAT farm dog, and very sweet. But he was intimidating. He was big, and he would bark. If you like this girl, I'd seriously consider it. Just because some people know the dog is a push-over... many people with nasty thoughts don't want to risk that a push-over that big will take offense if they try to hurt the dog's master or invade the property.


                  • #10
                    Our dog is a bmd - while a male - he is very protective of me and my family - very intimidating - as he is on the large size 160 lbs. He is great with the horses, his best friend is a cat - they eat out of the same bowl, sleep together.

                    He always barks and most people are scared of him when he is barking.

                    Although he would not really bit he is protective. His big excitement is that he does like to bark at the horses to tell them to get into their specific fields. They are not afraid of him at all - even the babies like to go up to him - then he is afraid of him.

                    He does have a lot of hair - doesn't shed - molts twice a year. You can clip them in the summer - it really helps with the heat - but he loves he snow. I would not recommend one in climates where you don't have snow. He is 5 1/2 yrs old now. Never roams - in fact hates to leave home.

                    You can pm me if you have further questions.


                    • #11
                      I used to breed them, been on club boards and now am just an owner as I focus on the horses. They are perfect in my sense except for their life span - as someone said cancer is very common. Ave life span is 7. The do shed tremendous amounts of hair. I have owned them in OK to PA. They are very quiet in summer but become very active once the temps drop. I have never shaved one, nor will I. I have always been told by vets that they get more protection from having their coat - I have never had one heat stroke either -even in Oklahoma 100+ heat

                      I have never had a wonderer. Mine are always out with us with no fence or leash. I train them to their boundry (safe distance from the road) and have never had one disrespect their boundry. I even had a fence piece come down when I lived in the city and when I went to get them and found there was an escape they were out next to the front porch.

                      Some bark, some do not. They are not normally known for being big barkers. I've had multiple berners (at the same time) and not 1 would even bark at the doorbell. My 2 now do bark and as long as you don't look at their wagging tails they might deter some would be intruders.

                      Epona Farm
                      Irish Draughts and Irish Draught Sport horses

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                      • Original Poster

                        More info. I sent a request for age, housability. Sent my present facility difficulties. I always meant for farm dog to be indoors as well as out, but I don't yet have an outdoor kennel, since the puppy was really meant for next year. The place isn't quite prepared. No fenced yard yet. Plenty of fenced pasture to play, but no dog-separate areas. So when I'm gone, dog would have to be inside. I do work from home and am here mostly.

                        By the way, I do have snow and ice. We have four good seasons here, none too extreme.

                        Reply below. Something about that last part grabs me.

                        She is about four, I will look up on her papers…she has been in the house but I have kept her outdoors since she is so big and my house is so small..I do not think she would leave after she was there for a time..right now she is really muddy of course..but when she was little I kept her in my kitchen at night..and she never touched anything in the house..she is a real lover and will siddle up to you and follow you everywhere you go, unless you are on a horse, then she just lays down and waits..


                        • #13
                          Why is the lady selling her? Is she giving you a serious discount on price since she is 4 years old and their average lifespan is only 7 years old?

                          They are lovely dogs. Very beautiful I grant you that, so best of luck whatever you decide to do.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by dressagetraks View Post
                            She is about four, I will look up on her papers…she has been in the house but I have kept her outdoors since she is so big and my house is so small..I do not think she would leave after she was there for a time..right now she is really muddy of course..but when she was little I kept her in my kitchen at night..and she never touched anything in the house..she is a real lover and will siddle up to you and follow you everywhere you go, unless you are on a horse, then she just lays down and waits..
                            I have pics of mine laying in the middle of the arena as I rode. In the cool weather some of mine have come with me on the trail and always stay in sight. They love being with you and are very good at waiting for me to finish. Good luck
                            Epona Farm
                            Irish Draughts and Irish Draught Sport horses

                            Join us on Facebook


                            • Original Poster

                              Dog is not for sale, just being rehomed. If I want her, she's mine.

                              No problems specifically with her at current place, but she doesn't work in the current situation in terms of their pack (other dogs, not cats). She herself is said to be a big teddy bear. It's just not quite working out, and they are looking for a more appropriate place for her.


                              • #16
                                We raised Berners from 1974-1980. Our last one died (of cancer) in the early '90s. In our time average life span was nine years (more or less).

                                Actually all our Berners died of cancer, but all were 9-10 years old. I'm told that deaths at three are not uncommon today.

                                My wife still likes them; we just don't have room in our personal lives for a dog. Maybe someday.

                                If we were to look at a Berner I'd probably get one from Switzerland. It would be pricy but likely be of a better bloodline.

                                I gave a hard look at the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog. Picture a Berner with a smooth coat. Seems to have many of the same traits and a similar temperment. Used in Switzerland as a general purpose farm dog.

                                Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão


                                • #17
                                  What a cutie! I have two friends who have them. One had to have ACL surgery when he injured his leg walking through deep snow but other than that, they have been problem free and a joy to their owners. I love them and I hope this works out for you.


                                  • #18
                                    I just picked mine up on Friday! Meet Bentley!


                                    He is eight weeks old, almost nine, and in the five days I've had him is "shaking" and "fetching".

                                    I can't share much on your questions, but saw a good opportunity to brag on my "panda pup".
                                    CLIPclop Bodyclipping by Morgan
                                    Serving North GA with high quality clips.
                                    --> Just Press Start // '99 Oldenburg
                                    --> Always The Optimist (reg. Simply Stylin) // '02 Thoroughbred


                                    • #19
                                      I just watched a dog show last week and this breed was featured. The show said that the average life span was 8-9 years.

                                      Wonderful, beautiful dogs, though.


                                      • #20
                                        We know a breeder. She drives them - yup - in a little buggy. They are great dogs, have short lives and are cancer prone. That being said, the dog needs a good home and the timing is perfect for you. Must be meant to be.
                                        Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique