Reasons to Reconsider Getting a Bernese Mountain Dog

Thinking about getting a Bernese Mountain Dog? Hold on just a moment! While these fluffy and adorable dogs may catch your eye, it’s important to consider the reasons why you might want to reconsider bringing one into your home. From their size and exercise needs to their health issues and grooming requirements, there are a few factors that prospective dog owners should take into account before committing to this particular breed. So, before you fall head over paws for a Bernese Mountain Dog, let’s take a closer look at why it might not be the best fit for everyone.

Reasons to Reconsider Getting a Bernese Mountain Dog

Reasons to Reconsider Getting a Bernese Mountain Dog

Health Concerns

Hip Dysplasia

If you’re considering adding a Bernese Mountain Dog to your family, it’s essential to be aware of the potential health concerns associated with this breed. One of the most common issues that affect Bernese Mountain Dogs is hip dysplasia. This condition occurs when the hip joint doesn’t develop properly, leading to pain and mobility issues. It can be particularly challenging for large breeds like the Bernese Mountain Dog. While not all Berners will develop hip dysplasia, the risk is significant. If you’re not prepared for potential veterinary bills and the care that this condition requires, it’s important to reconsider your decision.

Elbow Dysplasia

In addition to hip dysplasia, Bernese Mountain Dogs are also prone to elbow dysplasia. This condition affects the dog’s elbows and can result in discomfort, lameness, and restricted movement. Just like hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia can be both painful for your furry friend and expensive to treat. Regular vet check-ups and proper care are crucial to managing this health concern. If you feel overwhelmed by the potential challenges and expenses related to elbow dysplasia, it might be best to explore other dog breeds that do not have such predispositions.

Cancer Risks

Sadly, Bernese Mountain Dogs have a higher risk of developing cancer compared to other breeds. The most common types of cancer seen in Berners include mast cell tumors, malignant histiocytosis, and lymphosarcoma. These conditions can be devastating not only for the dog but also for their human family. Coping with cancer can be emotionally draining and financially burdensome. Therefore, if you are not prepared to invest significant time, money, and emotional energy into potentially fighting cancer, a Bernese Mountain Dog might not be the best choice for you.

Short Lifespan

When considering a Bernese Mountain Dog, it’s important to keep in mind that they have a relatively short lifespan compared to many other dog breeds. On average, Berners live between 7 to 10 years, which is significantly shorter than the lifespan of smaller breeds. This can be heartbreaking for owners who become deeply attached to their loyal and loving companions. If you are looking for a long-term canine companion, it may be wise to consider a breed with a longer life expectancy.

Grooming Needs

Heavy Shedding

While their fluffy coats are undeniably beautiful, Bernese Mountain Dogs are notorious for their heavy shedding. If you prefer a spotless home, a Berner might not be the ideal choice for you. Prepare yourself for constant vacuuming, frequent laundering of dog hair-covered clothes, and the occasional sneeze-inducing furball. While regular brushing can help manage shedding to some extent, be ready to accept that you will have to coexist with copious amounts of fur in your life.

Regular Brushing and Grooming

Proper grooming plays a significant role in maintaining the health and appearance of a Bernese Mountain Dog. Their long, silky fur requires regular brushing to prevent tangles and matting. Aim to brush your Berner’s coat several times per week to keep it clean and free from debris. In addition to brushing, trimming their nails, cleaning their ears, and brushing their teeth are all essential parts of the grooming routine. If you are not prepared to invest time and effort into maintaining your dog’s coat and overall grooming needs, a Bernese Mountain Dog may not be the right match for you.

Professional Grooming

While regular brushing can help manage the shedding and grooming needs of a Berner, many owners also opt for professional grooming services to keep their dogs looking their best. Professional groomers have the expertise to ensure that your Bernese Mountain Dog’s coat is properly maintained and their overall grooming needs are met. However, professional grooming services can be expensive and might not be suitable for tight budgets. Planning and budgeting for professional grooming should be considered before welcoming a Bernese Mountain Dog into your home.

Reasons to Reconsider Getting a Bernese Mountain Dog

Size and Space

Requires Ample Space

Bernese Mountain Dogs are large, robust dogs that require ample space to live comfortably. They thrive in homes with large yards where they can roam and play freely. If you live in a small apartment or have limited outdoor space, a Berner may feel cramped and restricted. It’s important to consider the dog’s need for space and evaluate whether your living arrangements can accommodate a breed of this size. Without sufficient space to move around and burn off energy, a Bernese Mountain Dog may become restless and unhappy.

May Not be Suitable for Apartments

Apartment living can be challenging for a Bernese Mountain Dog. Their large size combined with their high energy levels can make it difficult to meet their exercise requirements in a confined space. Additionally, apartments often lack access to the outdoors, making it more inconvenient to take them for regular walks and bathroom breaks. Unless you have easy access to nearby parks or green areas, and are committed to providing plenty of exercise, apartment living with a Bernese Mountain Dog might not be an ideal fit.

Large Size

If you’re considering a Bernese Mountain Dog, it’s crucial to recognize that their size can present challenges, both practically and logistically. As adults, Berners can weigh between 70 and 115 pounds, which means they need a substantial amount of food and space. Simple tasks, such as transporting them in a car or finding suitable accommodations during travel, can be more complicated due to their size. Additionally, their size can sometimes intimidate other people or animals, so it’s important to be aware of how your Berner’s presence may affect others in various settings.

Exercise Requirements

High Energy Levels

Bernese Mountain Dogs are known for their high energy levels. They love to run, play, and explore. Failing to provide them with enough exercise and mental stimulation can lead to behavioral issues and restlessness. Daily walks, playtime, and engaging activities are essential to keep them physically and mentally satisfied. If you have a sedentary lifestyle or are unable to commit to regular exercise and play sessions, a Bernese Mountain Dog may not be the best choice for you.

Need for Regular Exercise

Due to their large size and energy levels, Berners require more exercise than some other breeds. Plan on devoting at least one hour each day to exercise and playtime with your four-legged friend. Taking them on long walks, allowing them to run in a fenced yard, or engaging in activities such as hiking can help meet their exercise needs. Without adequate exercise, Bernese Mountain Dogs can become bored and develop destructive behaviors as a result.

Not Suitable for Sedentary Lifestyles

If you prefer a more relaxed and sedentary lifestyle, it’s important to consider that a Bernese Mountain Dog may not be the best fit for your daily routine. Their active nature and need for regular exercise make it challenging for them to adapt to a sedentary lifestyle. They thrive when given ample opportunities to burn off energy and engage in stimulating activities. If your daily routine does not allow for consistent exercise and playtime, a different breed may be better suited to your lifestyle.

Reasons to Reconsider Getting a Bernese Mountain Dog

Climate Sensitivity

Prone to Overheating

Bernese Mountain Dogs have a thick, heavy coat that provides insulation in colder climates. However, this same coat makes them susceptible to overheating in hot weather. Their dark fur absorbs heat, and their large size adds to the challenge of staying cool. Therefore, it’s important to provide them with plenty of shade, fresh water, and indoor spaces with air conditioning during hot summer months. If you live in a region with consistently high temperatures or have limited access to climate-controlled environments, it’s crucial to reconsider getting a Berner.

Unsuitable for Hot and Humid Climates

While Bernese Mountain Dogs can adapt to different climates, they are generally more comfortable in cooler environments. Hot and humid climates can pose serious health risks to these dogs, as they struggle to cool down naturally. Heatstroke and dehydration are genuine concerns in such conditions. If you live in a region with extended periods of high heat and humidity, it’s important to think twice before adopting a Bernese Mountain Dog. Opting for a breed better suited to hot climates will ensure the well-being of your furry friend.

Training Challenges

Stubborn Nature

Bernese Mountain Dogs are known for their stubborn nature, which can make training a bit more challenging. They are intelligent dogs with a mind of their own, and they may not always be eager to please. Consistency, positive reinforcement, and patience are essential when training a Berner. If you are not prepared to invest time and effort into consistent training and are looking for a dog that will quickly obey commands, you might want to consider a breed with a reputation for being more easily trainable.

Difficulty in Housebreaking

Housebreaking can be a considerable challenge when it comes to Bernese Mountain Dogs. It takes time and persistence to teach them proper bathroom etiquette. Due to their stubbornness, Berners can be slow to understand and fully comply with housebreaking routines. Consistent training, positive reinforcement, and establishing a routine are key to successfully housebreaking a Bernese Mountain Dog. If you are not prepared for the potential frustration and additional time required in this aspect of training, another breed might be a better fit for your household.

Need for Consistent Training and Socialization

Socialization is crucial for any dog, and Bernese Mountain Dogs are no exception. Early and consistent socialization is necessary to ensure that they grow up to be friendly and well-mannered dogs. Berners can be naturally reserved around strangers, and without proper socialization, they may develop fear or aggression towards unfamiliar people or animals. Consistent training, obedience classes, and exposure to new environments and experiences are essential to raising a well-rounded and social Bernese Mountain Dog.

Reasons to Reconsider Getting a Bernese Mountain Dog


High Cost of Purchase

While the cost of a Bernese Mountain Dog can vary based on various factors such as location and breeder reputation, they are generally considered a pricier breed. The initial cost of purchasing a Berner can be significant, and it’s crucial to be financially prepared for this investment. Additionally, it’s important to choose a reputable breeder that health tests their breeding stock to minimize the risk of inherited health issues. As with any responsible dog ownership, considering the long-term financial commitment is essential before deciding to bring a Bernese Mountain Dog into your life.

Veterinary Expenses

Bernese Mountain Dogs are prone to several health concerns, as mentioned earlier. This means that veterinary expenses can quickly add up throughout the dog’s lifetime. Regular check-ups, vaccinations, preventative medications, and potential treatment costs for hip or elbow dysplasia, cancer, or other health issues can be financially demanding. Budgeting for these expenses and having the means to provide necessary veterinary care are vital factors to consider before bringing a Bernese Mountain Dog into your home.

Food and Supplies

With their large size and healthy appetites, Bernese Mountain Dogs require more food compared to smaller breeds. High-quality dog food, especially formulated for large breeds, can be more expensive than regular dog food. It’s important to budget accordingly to ensure that you can provide a nutritionally balanced diet that meets the needs of a growing Berner. Additionally, other supplies such as bedding, toys, grooming tools, and accessories should also be considered when assessing the financial commitment that comes with owning a Bernese Mountain Dog.

Grooming Costs

As mentioned earlier, Bernese Mountain Dogs have long, silky fur that requires regular grooming to keep it in optimal condition. While everyday grooming can be done by the owner, many Berner owners also opt for professional grooming services. Professional grooming not only ensures that their coat is properly maintained and free from tangles but also takes care of other aspects, such as nail trimming and ear cleaning. These services can be expensive and should be taken into account when calculating the overall cost of owning a Bernese Mountain Dog.

Time Commitment

Need for Attention and Companionship

Bernese Mountain Dogs are known for their affectionate and gentle nature. They thrive on human companionship and require a significant amount of attention. If you lead a busy lifestyle, work long hours, or frequently travel, a Berner may not be the ideal choice for you. Leaving them alone for extended periods can lead to separation anxiety, behavioral issues, and feelings of loneliness. It’s essential to evaluate whether you can provide the necessary attention, companionship, and quality time that a Bernese Mountain Dog craves.

Regular Exercise and Playtime

As previously noted, Bernese Mountain Dogs have high energy levels and require regular exercise and engaged playtime to keep them happy and healthy. This commitment to exercise goes beyond just a quick walk around the block; it requires dedicating a significant amount of time each day to ensure sufficient physical activity. This includes activities such as walks, runs, hikes, or engaging in dog sports that challenge their minds and bodies. If your schedule does not allow for this level of commitment, it might be best to consider a breed with lower exercise requirements.

Time-consuming Grooming Routine

Bernese Mountain Dogs have a beautiful double coat that requires regular grooming to maintain its health and appearance. This means that investing time in brushing their coat, preventing tangles, and managing shedding is necessary. Depending on the length and condition of their fur, grooming can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour or more. If you have a busy schedule and are not prepared to dedicate sufficient time to the grooming needs of a Bernese Mountain Dog, you may want to reconsider this breed and choose one that requires less grooming.

Reasons to Reconsider Getting a Bernese Mountain Dog

Separation Anxiety

Tendency to Develop Separation Anxiety

Bernese Mountain Dogs form strong bonds with their human family members, and they thrive on constant companionship. When left alone for extended periods, they are prone to developing separation anxiety. This can manifest as destructive behavior, excessive barking, or other signs of distress. If you have a lifestyle that requires long periods of absence from home or are not able to take your dog with you on your daily activities, it may be best to choose a breed that is more independent and less prone to separation anxiety.

Cannot Be Left Alone for Long Periods

Building on the previous point, Bernese Mountain Dogs are not well-suited to being left alone for long periods. They are highly social animals that need consistent human interaction and companionship. While all dogs require care and attention, Berners have a particular aversion to solitude. If your lifestyle or work schedule involves extended periods away from home without the ability to take your dog along or have someone provide company, it’s best to consider a breed that can handle being alone for longer stretches of time.

Compatibility with Children and Other Pets

Gentle with Children

Bernese Mountain Dogs are generally known for their gentle and patient nature, which often makes them great companions for families with children. They are known to be tolerant and protective, forming strong bonds with young family members. However, it’s crucial to supervise interactions between dogs and children, regardless of the breed’s reputation. No matter how gentle a dog may be, it is always important to teach children how to properly respect and interact with dogs to prevent any potential accidents or injuries.

May Not Get Along with Other Pets

While Bernese Mountain Dogs are usually friendly and sociable, they may not always get along with other pets, especially dogs of the same sex. They can have a dominant streak and may exhibit territorial behavior. Proper socialization and training from an early age can help mitigate potential issues, but it’s important to be prepared for the possibility of conflicts. If you already have pets at home or are planning to introduce a Bernese Mountain Dog into a household with existing pets, careful and gradual introductions are essential.

Supervision Needed with Small Animals

Bernese Mountain Dogs have a natural prey drive, which means that smaller animals, such as cats, birds, or rodents, may be seen as potential prey. While individual dogs may vary in their tolerance and compatibility with small animals, it’s important to always supervise their interactions to prevent any accidents or harm to smaller pets. Introducing them slowly and utilizing positive reinforcement training methods can help create a harmonious coexistence between a Bernese Mountain Dog and other animals in the household.

In conclusion, while Bernese Mountain Dogs possess many wonderful qualities, such as their loyalty, gentle nature, and striking appearance, it’s crucial to consider their specific characteristics and potential challenges before deciding to bring one into your family. From their predisposition to certain health issues to their need for ample space, exercise, and companionship, a Berner requires a dedicated owner who can provide the time, resources, and commitment necessary for their well-being. By being well-informed, you can make an educated decision about whether a Bernese Mountain Dog is a suitable match for your lifestyle and circumstances.





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