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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Big Bernese Friendly Visitor!

Have You been Blessed By Bernese?

Last night we found a beautiful big friendly female dog in the middle of the highway. Luckily she was wearing her Kawartha Lakes license, so she will soon be on her way home to her owners. Cookie, as we temporarily named her, was super friendly, with people,but seemed to think our cats looked delicious. She made herself right away,sniffing out all corners of the house,and ‘protecting us’ from our cats. Cookie is about half the size of a miniature pony,and fancies herself a lap dog. Have you ever met a Bernese Mountain dog? The dog,'Nana' in Peter Pan bears many of the characteristics of a Bernese Mountain dog,being affectionate,friendly,and BIG. Size and colour-wise, Cookie seems to be part Bernese Mountain dog, but her face looks more like a Golden lab. We're just glad she thought better of crossing the road in front of the on-coming transport,and came to visit us instead.

What’s a Bernese Mountain Dog Look Like?

Here is a description of a Bernese Mountain dog adapted from Dog Breed Info :
Bernese Mountain Dogs are large, strong, sturdy, agile dogs. Their long thick tricolour black, rust and white coat needs daily brushing with extra care needed during its seasonal heavy shedding. .The base of the dog is black,and they have a white blaze on the chest, with white on the head, toes and tip of the tail. Rust is on the cheeks reaches to the corners of the mouth, over each eye, on each side of the chest, on all four legs and underneath the tail.
The body is slightly longer than it is tall. Its broad head is flat on the top with a moderate stop. The muzzle is strong and straight. The teeth meet in a scissors bite. The medium-sized, triangular ears are set high and rounded at the tip. The straight legs are strong. The bushy tail is carried low. The feet are round with arched toes.
Temperament These cheerful dogs love children. They are very intelligent, easy to train, and are natural watchdogs, but not overly dominant. A friend for life. Self-confident, alert and good-natured. Socialize well as a puppy. Slow to mature, acting like a puppy longer than other breeds. Rather friendly with strangers, and are generally good with other pets and dogs. The Bernese needs to be with people, and not confined to the backyard or a kennel. These dogs are sensitive and should be trained firmly, but gently. Owners need to convince the dog humans are alpha or may find themselves with a totally different dog than what is described.. People will run into issues with this dog if they do not display a natural leadership towards the dog,. For dogs to feel secure they need to clearly know the rules so they can follow them, thriving in structure, along with a daily pack walk to satisfy their instinct to migrate. The Bernese Mountain Dog was bred for draft work and can be trained to pull a cart or wagon.
Height, Weight Height: Dogs 24-28 inches (61-71cm.) Bitches 23-27 inches (58-69cm.) Weight: Dogs 85-110 pounds (38-50kg.) Bitches 80-105 pounds (36-48kg.)
Living Conditions Bernese Mountain Dogs are not recommended for apartment life. They are relatively inactive indoors and will do best with at least a large, fenced-in yard. Because of their thick coats they are sensitive to the heat and would much rather be in cold temperatures.
Exercise Large active dogs such as these need regular exercise, which include a long daily walk.
Life Expectancy Drastically Affected by Cancer
The average lifespan of the Bernese has decreased in recent years from 10-12 yrs to 6-8 yrs.  The BMD Club of America did a health survey in 2000 with 1,322 dogs.  The average age of death was 7.2 yrs.  Cancer is unfortunately a very large part of the Berner world and many Berners die young.  One source states "I know of several that died of cancer at 3-4 yrs old and one that died two days before his 2nd birthday.  The BMD Club of America is aggressively researching this cancer issue!  We must see if we can end this sad situation." Other health problems include being prone to bloat, cancer and eyelid problems, hip and elbow dysplasia. Gains weight easily. Do not over feed.
Origin Bernese Mountain dogs originated in the Swiss mountains, Switzerland. Many 18th century paintings show dogs which looked just like the Bernese type dog. The breed was named for the Canton of Bern. They were working dogs particularly good at draft work, pulling carts to market. They also were used to drive dairy cattle, to watch over the farm and as a companion to the farmers. By the end of the 19th century many other working dogs were being imported to Switzerland, which brought the numbers of the Bernese down as workers began to use other types of dogs. An effort was made by a group of people including Professor Albert Heim and Franz Schertenleib to preserve the breed. They went around finding what remaining dogs they could in order to stabilize the Bernese. Today the breed makes a wonderful companion and they still to this day enjoy whatever draft work you can give them. The breeds talents are tracking, herding, watch, guarding, search & rescue, carting, and competitive obedience.
See more about Bernese Mountain Dogs at Dog Breed Info

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