St. Bernard vs Bernese Mountain Dog - Breed Comparison

St. Bernard vs Bernese Mountain DogBoth St. Bernard and Bernese Mountain Dog are originated from Switzerland. Both St. Bernard and Bernese Mountain Dog are of same height. St. Bernard may weigh 35 kg / 78 pounds more than Bernese Mountain Dog. Both St. Bernard and Bernese Mountain Dog has almost same life span. St. Bernard may have less litter size than Bernese Mountain Dog. St. Bernard requires High maintenance. But Bernese Mountain Dog requires Moderate maintenance

Basic Information

Group:
Working dog
Working dog
Origin:
Switzerland
Switzerland
Height Male:
63 - 71 cm
24 - 28 inches
61 - 71 cm
24 - 28 inches
Height Female:
60 - 69 cm
23 - 28 inches
58 - 66 cm
22 - 26 inches
Weight Male:
54 - 90 kg
119 - 199 pounds
35 - 55 kg
77 - 122 pounds
Weight Female:
52 - 85 kg
114 - 188 pounds
30 - 50 kg
66 - 111 pounds
Life Span:
8 - 10 Years
6 - 8 Years
Litter Size:
4 - 9
5 - 15
Size:
Giant dog
Giant dog
Other Names:
St. Bernhardshund Bernhardiner Alpine Mastiff (archaic)
Berner Sennenhund Bernese Cattle Dog - Berner, Bernese
Colors Available:
redish- Brown and white with a black mask to blond and white with black mask
Tri-Black,Rust,White
Coat:
rough or smooth
double, long, thick
Shedding:
Constant
Seasonal
Temperament:
Affectionate, Friendly, Independent, Intelligent, Loving, Loyal, Outgoing, Protective, Social, Stubborn, Sweet
Affectionate, Docile, Friendly, Gentle, Independent, Intelligent, Loving, Loyal, Playful, Quiet, Social, Stubborn, Sweet
Grooming:
High maintenance
Moderate maintenance
Trainability:
Moderate
Easy
Hypoallergenic:
No
No
Kids Friendly:
Yes
Yes
New Owners Friendly:
Yes
No

History

st bernardThe St Bernard breed was once called the Alpine Cattle Dogs or the Alpine Mountain Dogs. They have always been farm dogs and mountain dogs in the French and Swiss Alps. They come from the border land of Switzerland and France. They were herding dogs, hunting, search and rescue, watchdogs and draft dogs.

Their ancestors are considered to include the Sennenhunds and molosser breeds that came to the Alps with the ancient Romans. There are four Sennenhund breeds that are believed to have contributed to the original St. Bernard. These included the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog (Grosser Schweizer Sennenhund), the Appenzeller (Appenzeller Sennenhund), the Bernese Mountain Dog (Berner Sennenhund) and the Entlebucher Mountain Dog (Entlebucher Sennenhund) Today the St. Bernard is considered a Molossoid breed.

The first we know of the St. Bernard in any written records was in 1707 at the Great St. Bernard Pass and Great St. Bernard Hospice run by monks. There were found paintings of the dogs dating back into the late 1600’s. It is told that Barry saved upward of 100 people in the St. Bernard pass, and it is from these stories that the dogs gained their snow rescue reputation.

The St. Bernard of that time did not look like the St. Bernard does today as there was much crossbreeding. Many dogs dies during rescues in the avalanches of the mid 1800’s and so they Saint was crossed with the Newfoundland to preserve the breed. You can today see the resemblance in the build and looks of the two breeds. This cross brought about the long haired St. Bernard whose fur was too heavy for rescues.

The St. Bernards of mountain rescue fame were only about the size of a German Shepherd dog and were short haired. After crossing with the Newfoundland and moving into clubs and dogs shows, they have been bred to be much larger. Before the stud book was closed, it is thought that many larger breeds such as the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, the English Mastiff, the Tibetan Mastiff, the Rottweiler, the Great Pyrenees, the English Bulldog, the Great Dane, the Bernese Mountain Dog, the Boxer and the Caucasian Oycharka all contributed to today’s St. Bernard.

In 1884 The Swiss St. Bernard Club was founded and the breed entered the Swiss Stud book as its first entry in 1884. It was 1888 when the standard was approved and the breed became the national dog of Switzerland. Before the name St. Bernard came to be common, these dogs might be called, Barry Dogs, Alepnmastiff, Noble Steeds or Saint Dogs.

The dogs came to England in the early 1800s and to the United States soon after. They were recognized by the European kennel clubs first and by the early 1900’s they were the most popular breed in the AKC.

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.

Description

st bernard puppyToday’s St. Bernard is not a large dog, he is a giant dog. Weighing in at 140-200 pounds and standing 28 to 35 inches tall, he is a lot of dog. Bred with mastiffs and large mountain dogs, they have proportional and powerful build. They are strong, sturdy and well muscled. They have either a smooth or rough (short or long) coat. Their eyes are brown or occasionally blue. They have tight lids, and square heads and muzzles.

There are two coat types called smooth and rough, or short and long. The smooth shorter coat is tough, flat and close against the body and the long, rough coat is dense, wavy and heavy around the legs, neck and ruff. Both types have long tails that hang low and are heavy. Saints are known to slobber, drool and snore.

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.

Health Problems

st bernard dogThe first problem this breed faces is how fast they grow and gain weight. This can lead to serious health issues if not controlled. Their bones can be damaged by this excessively fast rate of growth. Other issues facing the breed include:

  • Hip and elbow dysplasia – can cause arthritis and lameness.
  • Bloat – can be fatal if not treated immediately.
  • Bone Cancer or Osteosarcoma – tends to be fatal.
  • Entropion and Ectropion – eyelids turn in or out and can be corrected.
  • Epilepsy – controlled by medication
  • Dilated Cardiomyopathy – can be fatal.
  • Eczema – skin disease can be treated.
  • Be careful of extreme heat.

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.

Caring The Pet

st bernard puppies1.Feeding the puppy – You want to control their growth. Do not overfeed, and make sure they exercise but not too much. Feed a high quality large breed puppy food 3-4 X a day in small amounts.

2.Feeding the adult – The problem you face with he adult St. Bernard is the potential for Bloat. Don’t over feed. Don’t feed before or after strenuous exercise. Feed 2-3 X a day in smaller amounts to prevent Bloat. Feed a high quality breed specific food if possible or an extra large breed formula.

3.Points for Good Health stamina and strength in cooler weather.

4. Games and Exercises They need exercise but not as much as you might think. The St. Bernard is a laid back lumbering character so don’t over exercise her. They enjoy weight and cart pulling but they are not athletes who enjoy frisbee or agility. Search and rescue trials and tracking trials are perfect athletic endeavors for them.

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.

Characteristics

1Children friendliness excellent

2.Special talents tracking

st bernard dogs3.Adaptability no - these are giant dogs that need a lot of room. A large fenced yard or farm is best. They won’t do well in an apartment. They need exercise every day and loping around a yard is very good for them. They love to play in the snow, carry a backpack or pull a cart. They love to have a “job”

4.Learning ability – They are smart and highly trainable if motivated. They may appear lazy but they are just laid back and need a motivation.

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.

Comparison with other breeds

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  26. Bisben vs Bernese Mountain Dog - Breed Comparison
  27. Moscow Watchdog vs Bernese Mountain Dog - Breed Comparison
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  29. Kars Dog vs Bernese Mountain Dog - Breed Comparison
  30. Moscow Water Dog vs Bernese Mountain Dog - Breed Comparison
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