About the Breed
This breed was designed to work alongside the farmer, and as such is not an "independent" breed; Berners need to be by your side and will follow you anywhere. As a result, they must be allowed in the house with access to you.
Berners are affectionate, very loving and typically good with other pets if well socialized and raised with them. It is very often that Berners however have high prey drive and this should be noted with small animals.
The typical lifespan of a Berner is between 6-9 years of age, with the average being just over 7 years according to the most recent Berner Health studies. While many may live to be 10-13, we cannot predict those that will.
The largest health concern, and most frequent issue in this breed is cancer; specifically Histiocytic Sarcoma. You may learn more about this breed cancer at the www.BMDCA.org and www.histiocytosis.ucdavis.edu sites. Additional cancers commonly seen in this breed include osteosarcoma, mast cell cancer, lymphoma and hemangiosarcoma.
Other health concerns include
--joint issues including hip dysplasia, elbow dyplasia, OCD, and cruciate ligament tears,
--eye issues including SAS, ectropian, entroprian, and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA)
--Bloat or Gastric Torsion
--Degenerative Myelopathy - a disease affecting the spinal cord and causes paralysis similar to Lou Gherig disease
Berners require patient, positive training and do not respond well to harsh discipline or punitive training methods; Berners are considered a more "sensitive" breed and scar easily as a result. The saying goes "a Berner never forgets" so treat them with kindness
Count on heavy sheddng once or twice a year when Berners "blow their coat"; otherwise, count on a general dusting of Berner hair throughout your home. If you are a fastidious house keeper, then expect to be vacuuming daily.
Berners are typically reliable watch dogs and will always alert you; however, Berners are not "guard" dogs.
Berners are typically quite rambunctious the first two to three years but will mature into a calm, reliable adult if properly trained; Knowing the pedigree and line is key to understanding energy level as this can vary, and some lines produce high drive, working dogs while others may offer a much more mellow Berner.
Berners are often aloof, and reserved around strangers; some issues of shyness and fearfulness exist in the breed.