Your considering a Bernese Mountain Dog as a family pet and wanting to learn more about this friendly breed including the Bernese Mountain Dog Life Span.
We share what you need to know.
A dog is something that many people are taken in by.
The different breeds that exist appeal to many.
The characteristics of those breeds mean even the pickiest pet owner will find something that suits their needs and their lifestyle.
There is a select group among pet owners, though; the family.
The family will mostly look for a dog that is sociable and cool, is great enough to watch over their kids without worrying whether the dog is likely to bite the child if they play a bit too rough.
Most families will tend to go for golden retrievers or Labradors.
Some will choose to go with Border Collies, mainly because their strong herding instinct will mean the dog can act as a guardian for the child.
Recently though, the trend has been heavily skewed towards a different breed of dog.
Enter the Bernese Mountain Dog.
Here is a dog that was initially bred to help farmers around the foot of the Swiss Alps herd their livestock.
They are quite a wonderful breed with perhaps, one of the most striking coats to feature on a dog.
As part of your research, you would want to know how long this dog breed will be with you.
Well, get ready…
Average Bernese Mountain Dog Life Span
If you are looking to a Bernese Mountain Dog as a pet, you will absolutely love the characteristics that it will bring to your home.
The absolute friendliness, the goofiness, the gentle nature with which it will treat everyone around you.
But it won’t do that for long.
The Bernese Mountain Dog has one of the shortest times on earth in comparison to other dog breeds.
Various sources will give different figures, but all of them tend to mention the number 8.
Research conducted by a Swiss institution puts the average life expectancy of a Bernese Mountain Dog at 8.4 years.
Other sources will put the expectancy at 6 to 8 years.
The American Kennel Club puts the life expectancy at 7 to 10 years.
For such a sweet dog, this is a horrible life span.
This shouldn’t stop you from getting one, or several, and have them call your home theirs as well.
The bond you will form with this dog will be one of the strongest.
Why is it that a Bernese has such a short life span?
It is typical for the smaller dog breeds to live much longer than the larger ones.
For the Bernese, though, the life span is much shorter than other breeds of equal or larger size than it.
And this is all down to its genetics.
The Bernese has been around for quite a long time.
Unfortunately, that’s where the problem lies.
An ancestor of these dogs introduced a vulnerability to cancer into the breed, and now, all Bernese Mountain dogs carry this gene.
This has presented serious challenges to the breed.
As a result, nearly half of all Bernese Mountain Dog deaths are due to the various forms of cancer that it can develop.
This statistic is quite grim when compared to other dog breeds.
With other dog breeds, the rate of death from cancer is usually less than one in seven dogs.
The other reason why BMDs have such a poor life expectancy is its tendency to develop other serious conditions.
The most widespread, apart from cancer, is one that affects large breeds of dogs; hip dysplasia.
What this simply means is that the hip socket does not entirely cover the ball of the thigh bone.
This makes it easier for the hip to be dislocated.
A dog will usually try to mask the pain, but it will usually manifest in the dog having problems with mobility.
As a result of this, many owners choose to euthanize their BMDs to save them from having to experience such great amounts of pain.
Other Issues Affecting The Bernese Mountain Dog.
The short life span is such a bummer when having to think about a Bernese Mountain Dog.
But it absolutely should not stop you from having the best you can get.
And like with other dogs, the BMD is also prone to other issues.
As with humans, arthritis also affects dogs.
This is especially true for the larger dog breeds as they advance in age.
Arthritis, by definition, is the thinning of the cartilage that is between a joint.
The purpose of that cartilage is to cushion bones from the joint and also act as a lubricant to prevent friction damage.
With this cartilage no longer able to do its job, the joints and the bones start rubbing up on each other, which is quite painful to the canine.
This results in mobility issues as the dog experiences pain while moving or even a reduction in activity.
Cruciate ligament rupture.
This might sound like something complex, but it is not.
However, the chances of it occurring in a Bernese Mountain Dog are quite high.
In simple terms, the anterior cruciate ligament is the tissue responsible for connecting the thigh bone, or the femur, to the shin bone, also known as the tibia.
When this ligament tears, your dog will experience pain, and will also develop issues with mobility.
Helping your Bernese Mountain Dog live longer.
While it is absolutely saddening that this dog has such a short life span, individuals have been known to live longer, in brazen defiance of what the statistics have painted about the dogs.
This can sometimes be luck, but most of the time, it’s the paw parent who has taken the necessary steps to see them live longer.
Here are several things you can do to keep your BMD alive for longer.
Scrutinize the breeder before buying.
With the BMD soaring in popularity, a lot of unscrupulous breeders will attempt to cash in on the trend.
They don’t look at the overall health of the dogs, and whether they will be passing down any issues, the dogs may have.
A reputable breeder would have already conducted various tests on the dog to determine whether they are in good shape.
Some of these tests include;
A DNA test for Von Willebrand’s Disease.
An optical examination.
Evaluation for the elbows and hips.
A cardiac exam.
The other thing you should be looking for when trying to find a breeder is their records.
A reputable breeder would have genealogy records of the puppies they are selling to you.
This will allow you to judge for yourself whether you are getting good stock or not.
Get a spayed female.
While it is heartbreaking that dogs don’t live long enough, the BMDs records are even more disappointing.
However, there has been a noticeable trend that people are taking advantage of.
It has been noted that females who have been spayed tend to live longer than neutered males, or even both males and females that are intact.
Well, more time for you to enjoy with your pet.
Visit a vet regularly.
You might be happy to see your pet bounding about it in your yard.
You obviously will not notice whether your dog is developing any issues.
This is why a visit to the vets is highly recommended.
A vet is trained to determine the issues if any, that a dog is experiencing.
These issues don’t have to be external or even apparent to the naked eye.
By taking them in for vaccinations as well as screening, you can get ahead of any problems that the pup may develop.
A good thing to think about is taking your dog to the vet at least twice a year.
This is a rather obvious thing about owning a dog, but you would be surprised at how clueless many people are.
It is said that a dog is what it eats.
Unfortunately, a good number of dog feeds out here are just to satisfy the dog’s hunger or cravings, but not to offer enough nourishment.
A large collection of dog feeds contain fillers such as rice, which doesn’t offer the dog much.
For the best possible results, feed your dog real meat first and then add in fruits and vegetables to their diet.
This will give them the necessary proteins and vitamins they need to develop.
If you are still not convinced that they are getting what they need, you can look into using a number of supplements to meet their recommended daily intake of nutrients.
Keep the dog at optimum weight.
One thing about dogs that have long coats or fluffy ones is that people will often tend to confuse them for being overweight.
With dog owners knowing this, the owners will feed them and will not actually realize that the dog is overweight because all the fluff covers up the body.
It is crucial to keep the Bernese at the optimum weight for its size.
A good way to determine whether your BMD is overweight is a simple glance at the ribs.
If they are no longer slightly visible under the coat, your pup needs to go on a diet.
The Bernese Mountain Dog as a family pet is an excellent choice that offers companionship, loyalty, playful fun.
While the Bernese Mountain dog life span is a decade or less, they will be some of the best years for both you and your Bernese.