Bernese Mountain Dog – A Swiss Treat!

et’s take a look at the Bernese Mountain Dog or “Berner”, by the numbers.

Bernese Mountain DogBy all measure, this is a large category breed. The male’s height ranges from 24 to 28 inches or 61 to 71 cm. It’s weight tends to range from 85 to 110 pounds or 38 to 50 kg. The female, on the other hand, typically stands between 23 to 27 inches or 58 to 69 cm., just very slightly smaller than the male. Her weight ranges from 80 to 105 pounds or 36 to 48 kg. Again, just slightly smaller.

You can expect this breed to survive approximately 6 to 8 years. There is some debate about this though. Originally, life expectancy was 10 to 12 years but due to health considerations, which we’ll address later, the numbers were reduced. A relatively recent and credible study of the subject determined that the actual life expectancy of the Bernese Mountain Dog was 7.2 years.

The litter size is typically 8 pups although this can vary significantly, ranging to as high as 14 pups.

It should be no surprise that this breed can be traced to the mountain areas of Switzerland. In fact, their name is derived from the Canton or State of Switzerland called Bern. But it is speculated that their true origin dates to the Roman occupation of the region, thousands of years ago. From what is known of the breed’s development, not much attention, if any was given to serious pure breeding until the early 1900′s. It wasn’t until the late 1930′s that the breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC).

The breed’s coloring consists of basic black with brownish/rust colored cheeks, part of the chest, on all legs and under the tail. In addition, it has white on it’s head, paws, chest and tail.

As mentioned earlier, this is a large dog but can be very active and need regular exercise. Because of their size and temperament, small living quarters are not recommended. Give them space.

Their original use was for drafting, carting, tracking and general farm hand so the breed is conditioned to be useful. Mostly for this reason, the Bernese Mountain Dog needs to be with people without being left alone for long periods of time. It is also important, as with most dogs, that they come to know their owners as the alpha component in the relationship. They need a framework of clearly defined rules, conveyed early in their training process, which in turn, produces a cheerful and well balanced companion. Their intelligence can make the training must easier and effective as long as the owner is firm with the dog, without being overly dominant. This can also lead to a dog that is comfortable with young children and other animals for that matter. A caution is that no child should be left alone with a dog or any animal capable of harm; just common sense.

The breed suffers from ailments associated with most larger dogs, such a dysplasia in various parts of the body (hips particularly), some arthritis and allergies. Cancer seems to have become a particular problem for the breed, to the extent of shortening it’s lifespan and sadly, taking some quite early in their lives.

The Berner is a shedder and seasonally heavy so regular grooming is not only a great bonding exercise but will lessen the shedding issue or at least make it easier to deal with.

With respect to the bonding experience with the Bernese Mountain Dog, this breed has an upbeat personality that requires a relationship with it’s owner that is firm but loving. Positive re-enforcement, within clear boundaries, lots of room to run and play combined with long walks and regular grooming will ensure that you will enjoy a wonderful companion for many years.

Smart Dog Breeds (Complete Information)

Recent studies indicate that smart dog breeds are no longer in the eye of the beholder. In the past, many owners would determine how smart their dog was by how well they completed a task or obeyed a command. Hey! Who is going to own up to have a dumb dog?

Breeds developed hundreds of years ago primarily emphasized sight and smell. They tend to score “less intelligent” in dog IQ tests. They tend to rely more on instinct. Let’s face it, it’s not their fault.

But, dogs bred in more recent times, tend to score much higher on IQ tests. Some suggest that the reason for this, is that these breeds have been trained to be more responsive to humans and their needs.

smart dog breeds

So, what makes smart dog breeds?

It seems that even the average dog has the smarts of a 2 year old human. The Alpha in the pack, a little higher. It can be trained to respond to basic commands such as sit and stay.

Depending on what it was bred for, it may exhibit traits that on the surface suggest the dog is a bit of a dull lamp. But that’s not fair. Hunters, herders, and retrievers for example, may reflect behavior that looks distracted but in effect, they are quite focused on the task at hand.

 According to neuro-psychologist Stanley Coren, Ph.D., of the University of British Columbia, the smarter dogs didn’t need a command repeated more than 5 times for it to absorb it’s meaning and obey. In fact, these dogs obeyed the command 95% of the time or more. 

Now, let’s take a look at which smart dog breeds bring home the A+ report cards:

  • Border Collie:  No surprise here. Everybody knows that this breed is the Einstein of the dog world. Ever watch this collie work it’s magic on a herd of sheep?
  • Poodle:  Although, to some, cut to look dumb, this is one of the most intelligent dog you could own. Something you may not know about this breed is that they were bred to be a retriever.
  • German Shepherd: This breed is most known for it’s involvement in law enforcement and the military. They are also a fantastic family dog, great with kids and very loyal.
  • Golden Retriever:  Beautiful and intelligent! Just not fair. A hunter by breed, they are wonderful companions and have found effective roles as rescuers and guide dogs.
  • Doberman Pinscher:  A great protector although somewhat intimidating. Can be very large and fast. Also used in law enforcement. They are one of the most common of breeds.
  • Shetland Sheepdog: This is a herding dog. Duh! A smaller version of the Collie. It’s a long haired working dog. They are verbal, excitable and very energetic.
  • Labrador Retriever:  This breed was originally bred to retrieve fishing nets and has somewhat unique webbed paws. They are very loving, playful and gentle dogs.
  • Papillon:  The breed was named because of it butterfly look. They are very alert dog. It has the ability to learn very quickly. Great companions and wonderful family dogs.
  • Rottweiler:  This is a powerful breed that dates back to the Roman Empire. Primarily a herding and stock protection dog who loves to work. Owners consider them incredible companions.
  • Australian Cattle Dog:  Herding dog that loves to work. It is muscular but compact and can be very agile. It is very smart but can be independent in temperament.

Well, there you have it. The top smart dog breeds. We should keep in mind, that being a smart dog doesn’t inherently mean that it’s a good companion or a family protector. Yes, they may quickly learn and understand a command, but not necessarily obey it.

Smart dog breeds still require effective training, a loving home environment and healthful care.

Best Family Dogs: The Golden Retriever Breed

Best family dogs come in many sizes, shapes, and personalities.  Choosing your family dog is a very personal journey.  Are you a very active family? Do you have young children? Are you away from home for many hours at a time? All of these issues plus many more need to be taken into account when choosing a family dog.

With respect to choosing best of breed or category, we’ll leave that to the kennel clubs.  But if there was a breed that many would consider being the “poster family dog” it would have to be the Golden Retriever Breed.

family dogs

This breed is incredibly beautiful and wonderfully affectionate.  It is a medium sized breed which had been developed primarily as a hunting dog.  Because of their intelligence, they typically are easier to train and therefore are very obedient.

This has to lead to their use as service dogs, in law enforcement, as guide dogs and search and rescue. The breed tends to need lots of space and if you can provide regular access to water you will have a very happy companion.

The way you take care of the breed, the same way it will respond back with its loyalty and friendly nature towards you. They shall be given proper time and space in yout time.

It’s this love of the outdoors that make the Golden Retrievers a wonderful family dog breed.  They are willing participants in any family outing such as walking, hiking or camping trips.

family dogs

Because of their constant need for affection, this breed does not like to spend much time alone so having children in the family can be a real plus.  Their nature is to be very forgiving and somewhat protective making them a perfect fit for children.

 Keep in mind that young children should not be left alone with any dog regardless of demeanor since any breed will be defensive if they sense harm or danger.   Plus, given their size, small children could be innocently bumped or knocked over. 

Barking is generally not a problem with these retrievers.  The exceptions are:-

1) if the dog is bored they will tend to be vocal.  Regular exercise and outdoor activities should alleviate this behavior.

2) Their propensity to be a watchful dog makes them aware of strangers and may bark in response.

There are three types of Golden Retrievers:

1. British Type – shorter legs, the muzzle is shorter and wider, shorter tail and generally heavier set, colors are shades of gold or cream.

2. American Type – tends to be less heavy and long, a coat is water repellent and thicker, color is gold.

3. Canadian Type – the coat is thinner than the American type and the color is gold but darker.

The breed lives approximately 11 to 12 years and with annual vet checks should be healthy and well adjusted.  They are known to have hip dysplasia so be cautious when assessing a puppy at the time of purchase or else this can cause you lots of trouble afterward.

Also, be careful with their diets since weight problems can be seen in the breed.  An average of 4 cups of quality dog food per day will help to control this tendency. This needs to properly monitored with a proper routine set up for it.

These retrievers shed most months of the year so regular, weekly grooming sessions are recommended.  During those specific times when you notice increased shedding, daily brushing may be needed.  Given the nature of this dog, they love these sessions and are great bonding experiences.

If you are looking for one of the best family dogs available, the Golden Retrievers may be the breed for you.

Top Five Dog Breeds Perfect for Urban Living

Everyone loves dogs. Those cute dog breeds, adorable canine creatures are very delightful companions that could bring so much joy to each and every day. Dogs, in fact, are the most popular pets in the world. Wherever there are puppies on display, you’re sure to end a group of people gathering around them.

Check the video for top 10 dog breeds for urban living

Is it because of their lovable eyes that always seem to beg for some attention? Or is it because of their intelligent behavior that makes them faithful and useful company? Or perhaps, it’s because of their generally pleasant demeanor that could bring out a smile in all of us.

 Sadly, not all households and not all lifestyles are conducive to adopting just any kind of dog breeds. This is especially true for those who live in the cities, where life is faster paced and space is usually limited. 

This shouldn’t be taken to mean that city dwellers are completely deprived of the opportunity to own a dog, however. There are just some dog breeds that are more perfect for urban living. Let us take a look at them.

Top 5 dog breeds for Urban Living

1. Shih Tzu.

dog breeds

Long a favorite breed of most toy dog lovers, Shih Tzus are amazingly resilient canines, considering the diminutive size. Their long hair, which can reach the floor because of their short legs, need constant brushing. But aside from this, Shih Tzus are perfect for city life.

They are not gregarious dog breeds. Their aristocratic history actually gives them a regal bearing. Often, this is mistaken for arrogance, especially with their flat noses that make them look like adorable snobs. They are very well-behaved, and portable too, again, thanks to their size.

You won’t have to worry about ruined household effects, at least, not as much as when you care for a sports breed.

2. Lhasa Apso.

dog breeds

A close kin of the Shih Tzu, Lhasas are also popular dogs for city dwellers. They possess the same regal temperaments of their cousins, are not hyperactive, and they generally need little housetraining. Lhasa Apsos, however, need the same grooming requisites as Shih Tzus.

3. Chihuahua.

dog breeds

Chihuahuas are fascinating dog breeds. Their attitude belies their small stature. They’re one of the smallest dogs known to man, yet in their minds, they’re the biggest bullies in town. They’d bark at canines and humans much, much, much bigger than them, and they won’t back down an inch. Chihuahuas may be gregarious little creatures, but they are very receptive to their masters’ commands. They’re too small to reduce your home into ruins, and this makes them perfect household pets.

4. Pugs.

dog breeds

Pugs are still considered as members of the toy breed. They are closely related to American and British Bulldogs, albeit, smaller in size. They are not as ferocious as their cousins, however. On the contrary, they’re quite lazy, and would rather spend the whole afternoon in deep slumber. This makes them great household companions who don’t require demanding care.

5. Labradors.

dog breeds

This breed is being included in this list for those who would want a sports dog like red tiger bulldog, French bulldog, and American bulldog. Labradors are one of the most intelligent dog breeds. They learn fast and are very mild mannered. They are not as gregarious as other dogs of the sports breed. They respond well to a little show of affection, but they’re smart enough not to be giddy about it to the point of jeopardizing household effects. Labradors need regular exercise, however, so a daily walk would be necessary to keep this canine companion in good health.

City dwellers don’t have to sacrifice the joys of owning a dog. It’s just a matter of choosing the right breed to suit their lifestyle and living conditions. A dog can bring so much happiness into anyone’s life, and with the right breed, city dwellers could experience urban living with these affectionate and faithful pets.