Bernese Mountain Dog vs American Molossus - Breed Comparison

Bernese Mountain Dog is originated from Switzerland but American Molossus is originated from United States. Both Bernese Mountain Dog and American Molossus are having almost same height. Bernese Mountain Dog may weigh 7 kg / 16 pounds more than American Molossus. Bernese Mountain Dog may live 6 years less than American Molossus. Bernese Mountain Dog may have more litter size than American Molossus. Both Bernese Mountain Dog and American Molossus requires Moderate maintenance.

Basic Information

Group:
Working dog
Molosser dogs
Origin:
Switzerland
United States
Height Male:
61 - 71 cm
24 - 28 inches
56 - 66 cm
22 - 26 inches
Height Female:
58 - 66 cm
22 - 26 inches
51 - 60 cm
20 - 24 inches
Weight Male:
35 - 55 kg
77 - 122 pounds
38 - 48 kg
83 - 106 pounds
Weight Female:
30 - 50 kg
66 - 111 pounds
32 - 43 kg
70 - 95 pounds
Life Span:
6 - 8 Years
10 - 14 Years
Litter Size:
5 - 15
6 - 8
Size:
Giant dog
Giant dog
Other Names:
Berner Sennenhund Bernese Cattle Dog - Berner, Bernese
American Molosser • American Brabanter • American Bullenbeisser
Colors Available:
Tri-Black,Rust,White
Colors are black, black brindle with some white
Coat:
double, long, thick
coat type coarse, dense, smooth and long
Shedding:
Seasonal
Minimal
Temperament:
Affectionate, Docile, Friendly, Gentle, Independent, Intelligent, Loving, Loyal, Playful, Quiet, Social, Stubborn, Sweet
Alert, Courageous, Independent, Intelligent, Loving, Loyal, Protective, Quiet, Territorial
Grooming:
Moderate maintenance
Moderate maintenance
Trainability:
Easy
Moderate
Hypoallergenic:
No
No
Kids Friendly:
Yes
Yes
New Owners Friendly:
No
No

History

bernese mountain dogThe Bernese Mountain Dog comes from the Swiss Alps and is one of four separate breeds called Sennenhund or “Alpine pasture dog”. The Name Bernese Mountain Dog indicates the area of Switzerland that the dogs come from – the canton of Bern. These groups of dogs accompanied the dairymen and herders and they were farm dogs. They pulled carts, delivered goods from village to village. The Bernese Mountain Dog was part of this group along with: Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, Appenzeller,Entlebucher Mountain Dog and the Bernese Mountain Dog. It is probably true that the Bernese Mountain Dog has been a part of farm life in the Alps for over 2000 years.

In some regions of the Alps, these dogs were called Durrbachhund after a small town named Durrbah and are said to be rooted in the Molosser breeds. Tin 1902 the Swiss Kennel Club recognized the Bernese Mountain Dog as a separate breed and the first breed club was founded in 1907 in the region of Burgdorf. The first standard for the breed was written and separated the 4 dogs into their own breeds. The Molosser is an ancient breed whose versatility and travels made it expressly influential in the developing of Mastiff dogs like St. Bernards, Great Pyranees, Mastiffs and Swiss Mountain Dogs like the Bernese.

However at the end of the 19th century famers and shepherds began to import other breeds of working dogs, while at the same time automated modes of transportation began to replace the farm dogs. Under these circumstances the number of Bernese Mountain Dog began to decline and the breed faced potential extinction. A group of people were gathered together to save the Berner, including Franz Schertenleib and Albert Heim. Still today the Bernese are in short supply and because of the need and desire to increase the numbers, some breeding practices have not been as good as they should have been. However, today’s Berner is a great family dog and he still loves to work. He is good at carting, herding, search and rescue, watch dog, tracking, and competitive obedience.

The Bernese Mountain Dog came to the US after World War I and was imported to Britain in the 1930’s. The AKC accepted the Berner as a new Working-Class breed in 1937. It was not until 1968 that the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America was formed. In 1981, the AKC accepted the club as a member and in 1990 they (AKC) adopted the standard used today to judge the Bernese Mountain Dog.

Based on the massive dog of Mesopotamia in 5000 BC, the American Molossus is the same dog recreated in the United States by and for the lovers of these giant dogs. The ancient Molossus was fierce to look at, massive in size, courageous and loyal. He was undaunted by any animal and stood up to any man attempting to hurt his master. When Rome fell the descendants of today’s Molossus were scattered and attempts to revive the breed have created carious large dogs. The American Molossus is the first true recreation that hits the mark.

The original Molossus was one of the most primitive of dogs, one of the earliest dogs that men domesticated. Their initials duties were the guarding of herds and homes against all enemies. They were incredibly loyal to their one master and stayed with him and protected him. These dogs also ate carrion and served the villages by eliminating animal carcasses. They could handle any other hunting animals such as wolves and large cats. This dog, although extinct was the ancestor of all the Mastiff-type dogs of today. The Molossus is said to be the ancestor of the St. Bernard, English Mastiff, Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, Bernese Mountain Dog, Newfoundland, Great Dane, Great Pyrenees, Rottweiler, Rottweiler and the Neapolitan Mastiff. Now these breeds have become the ancestry of the American Molossus.

According to Marcus Curtis, the founder of the new Molossus, the nearest relative of the American Molossus is the Neapolitan Mastiff. The Hines Bulldog, German Rottweiler, American Bandogge, and South African Boerboel together with the Neapolitan Mastiff were used to form the American Molossus. The goal of the founder was to make a great family pet and protector. It was specifically bred to be courageous, loyal and protective.

Description

bernese mountain dog puppyThe Bernese Mountain Dog is a large, lovable clown. He has a heavy build with a tri color- mostly black – coat. He should have a white chest and rust coloring on the front of his legs, the sides of his mouth, and above his eyes. His eyes should be dark and blue eyes are a disqualification. His coat is silky, thick and long. He has medium sized triangle shaped ears and a scissors bite. He has round toes and strong, straight legs, He is well suited to cold weather. His skull is broad and flat, his muzzle is straight and strong, his nose must be black, and he does not usually drool.

He is an imposing sight, but he is also as non-aggressive as any breed. He is strong, intelligent, and agile. He should have his dew claws removed. This breed should be self-assured, yet good natured and calm. He is welcoming to strangers and loyal to his people. He needs his people.

This is a giant, massive dog in every way and this recently developed standard makes that very clear. The Molossus should be heavy bones, muscular with a lot of loose skin and wrinkles of all kinds, everywhere. He is an intimidating presence, with a massive square head, broad shoulders, height and mass. No, the American Molossus is not athletic, but he certainly is intimidating.

His head is massive in comparison to his body and it must be square. He has extensive wrinkles and pendulous lips and dewlap. The face is all folds of skin and wrinkles. Deep set eyes, drooping upper lids and lower lids as well as an intimidating expression. His brow is well developed with a marked frontal furrow. The nose is large, and the muzzle is about a third of the length of its head. It is short and broad. Everything about the head must be square. It’s neck and body are powerful and muscular. The chest is deep, wide and barrel like. The back is also powerful and muscular. The front legs are heavy and muscular while the hind legs are broad, strong, powerful and wide-stance. Do not remove the front dew claws. His tail is thick and wide then gradually tapers at the tip.

Health Problems

bernese mountain dog dogEven though it is well known that cancer is the leading cause of dog deaths across the globe, the Bernese Mountain Dog is particularly prone to die of cancer. Half of all Berners compared with 27% of all dogs, die from cancer. The Berner’s life span is also shorter than most dogs his size. IT is also not just one cancer that attacks the Bernese Mountain Dog but rather at least 6 or more including mast cell, osteosarcoma, malignant histiocytosis, fibrosarcoma, and lymphosarcoma. They can also suffer from PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy), hypoadrenocorticism, cataracts and histiocytic sarcoma. Another issue that plaques the Berner more than other breeds is musculoskeletal issues that cause mortality. This can include issues such as cruciate ligament rupture, arthritis and hip dysplasia. These types of aliments cause death in 6% of the breed while they are usually the cause of mortality in only 2% of all other dogs.

Like all Mastiffs the American Molossus faces a variety of potential illnesses, some brought on by its size, some not.

Spondylosis

This could easily be a function of its massive size. It is a degenerative disease and can cause the dog to become lame. In many cases the vertebrae can fuse, or severe pain can result. This is mostly seen in older members of the breed.

Cystinuria

Male Molossus can contract this inherited metabolic disease primarily. It can be life threatening and very serious as it affects the kidney and the bladder.

Wobblers Syndrome

This is essentially Cervical Vertebral Instability (CVI) and is caused by the pressure of the nerves in the neck and cervical spinal cord. This compression can cause deformity, pain and abnormal stance/gait. IT has been attributed to the nutrition needs and rapid growth of the Mastiff breeds.

Like all giant Mastiff breeds the Molossus can have skin issues from the wrinkles, dysplasia in the joints which we will address below.

Caring The Pet

Feeding

bernese mountain dog puppiesAs with any large purebred dog, the Bernese Mountain Dog needs high quality food that will provide hi with nutrition and keep him from becoming overweight if fed properly. He is however a very large dog with a very large appetite. Watch his calorie intake. It’s ok to use treats if you fit them into the overall calorie intake for the day. Feed him smaller meals twice a day.

Health issues

As previously mentioned the breed has quite a few health challenges to deal with, cancer being the number one issue. The small genetic line is one of, if not the main, culprit in this high mortality rate and short life span of the Bernese Mountain Dog. In addition to the conditions mentioned above, they are also susceptible to bloat (stomach inversion). In addition, they face the conditions mentioned previously and should be tested for dysplasia of the hip and elbow, Von Willebrand’s Disease, Cardiac testing and an eye or ophthalmologist exam.

Exercise and games

The Bernese Mountain Dog is a gentle giant. They have a calm happy demeanor and they love to work. In fact, they need to work. They love children and will quickly give them cart rides. They compete in carting competitions and herding events sponsored by the AKC. They need exercise but not an extreme amount or intense type. A half-hour a day is enough for them. They love long walks or hiking. They are great companions for backpacking or camping. They are also good at tracking, rally, obedience, and agility.

Feeding

Remembering that this is a very, very large dog you need to be careful about nutrition and how fast your puppy will grow. American Molossus puppies need four meals a day until 12 weeks old. Then until they are 6 months old feed then 3 times a day. Finally, from 6-month-old puppy to adult – feed them twice in 24 hours.

At one year either feed them once or two small meals.

Many people feed their Molossus eggs, vegetables, fruit, and cottage cheese as ten 5 of the total for the day but avoid other table foods. The Molossus can become very picky about what he eats if you feed him too many table scraps.

Health issues

In addition to the health problems listed above, the American Molossus is also susceptible to: Ditichiasis – Eyelashes that are in the margin of the eyelids and can cause eye irritation. May require surgery to correct.

Cataract

Could cause blindness if not removed. Ectropian/Entropion: Eversion and inversion of eyelids which cause ocular irritation.

PRA or Progressive Retinal Atrophy

This is a degenerative disease which causes the dog to go blind. It is a disease the affects the retinal visual cells, first causing night blindness then day blindness. A DNA test is available for detecting PRA in all Mastiff breeds.

Dysplasia of the Elbow or/and the Hip

Common in large breeds and especially in giant breeds like the Molossus. Multiple forms and causes but all can cause pain and lameness.

Skin issues

Do to wrinkles and loose skin – check often for moisture and infections.

Panosteitis or Wandering Lameness

The is a problem based on a variety of possible causes. It happens when the puppy is between 6-16 months of age. Lameness occurs over time in one limb or in all. It can be intermittent and might be caused by diet, genetics, stress, autoimmune or metabolic issues or infection.

HOD or Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy

This issue is developmental as the dog’s toes turn either inward or outward, then as the condition advances the dog suffers fever, pain in all joints, lethargy and the inability to stand. This happens when the dog consumes too many calories for his activity level in the development times.

Exercise and games

The American Molossus is not a couch potato. He needs to be walked at least twice a day and loves to play fetch. He will be greatly benefited by obedience training. Do not overdo it with exercise but make sure they don’t just lay around.

Characteristics

bernese mountain dog dogsWhen reading the AKC standard for the Bernese Mountain Dog you will find that the breed is good natured and self-assured. They are not aggressive, shy or anxious. These are gentle, loving dogs. At the same time, they should be socialized to all kinds of animals, people and children when they are puppies. They are happy outside but need to live in the house with their people. They need exercise and play, and because they are so large, they need this outside. But when it comes to cuddling and sleeping they need to be indoors.

They love children though you should be careful with small children because of the Berner’s size and their not being aware of their size at times. They are extremely loyal to their people and want to be with people. They are intelligent, and they want to please their people. At the same time, they are sensitive. They do not respond well to punishment or harshness. They are imposing but they are lovers at heart.

The American Molossus is an intimidating massive giant bred for protection and guard duty. He is incredibly loyal to his family and courageous in his protection of them. They are guard dogs, not attack dogs. Their simple appearance is usually enough to frighten off anyone intending harm on their families. He is in reality a loving giant. He is intelligent and stable with a strong desire to please his owner. He is a calm yet vigilant presence in the home.

Because the Molossus is so large, it is recommended that the puppy be socialized and trained professionally. It takes a strong owner to handle this breed. They need to know the rules and have the rules consistently applied. The owner must be the pack leader.

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