Switzerland. You probably recognize this country by its cheese, mountains and banks, but did you know it’s also home to some of the most famous dog breeds, the Bernese Mountain Dog being one of them? And How Long Do Bernese Mountain live?
If you are fond of family movies from 2003, then the character Shep from the movie “Good Boy!” might have won your heart at some point, and thus you suddenly realize that Shep is a Bernese Mountain Dog and you really want one like that character. But nothing lasts forever, and dogs in general have a much shorter life expectancy than us humans, so you need to take that into account. Thus, the question arises: “How long do Bernese Mountain dogs live?”
The answer to this last question might disappoint most dog lovers, as we will see below, since these are arguably some of the most adorable creatures you can ever encounter and you’d wish they would last forever. But, before answering the question, let us delve into what a Bernese Mountain Dog is and then we’ll analyze its life expectancy and care tips to keep it healthy and make it last longer.
INTRODUCING THE BERNESE MOUNTAIN DOG
Originally, they derive from the Roman Mastiff and their name refers to the area where they were first bred: The Canton of Bern. This breed was mostly used for farming and pulling carts when it was conceived at the beginning of the 20th century, owing to their very robust physique. They were also known as “cheese dogs”, as they were employed by farmers to carry sizable amounts of cheese and milk carts across the Swiss Alps.
Physically, as stated before, they are quite large, a feature which contributes to their short lifespan, as we will see shortly (no pun intended). Sizes range between 60 and 70 cm, and they can weight up to 120 lb. Still not as large as their close cousin (the St. Bernard Dog) but they come very close.
They are also very similar to St. Bernards when it comes to fur coloring, exhibiting the usual tri-colored coat consisting of white and black with various rust-colored stains around their eyes and mouth. Contrary to St. Bernards, though, the Bernese Mountain Dogs do not greet us with large streams of goo from their mouths, as they are dry-mouthed, which is a blessing for those dog lovers with obsessive cleaning disorder.
Regardless of what their physical traits might suggest, they are not prone to be aggressive but rather good-natured and docile towards strangers, which means I wouldn’t trust them to watch my valuables (that’s for sure!). Nonetheless, they might get aggressive if they see their owners getting attacked.
But how long do Bernese Mountain Dogs live? The heartbreaking truth is that, not only are they short-lived, but they are one of the shortest-lived dog breeds when compared to their relatives and to purebred dogs in general. The eldest Bernese Mountain Dog would probably reach the 9th year of its life at most.
One of the key factors that contribute to that unfortunate fact is their size, as they are very susceptible to gain considerable weight, which translates into various musculoskeletal ailments such as hip dysplasia, arthritis and ligament rupture. These problems seem to develop in Bernese Mountain Dogs at very low ages, statistically lower than most of their relatives (at around 4.3 years of age).
Likewise, cancer hits them most than many of their peers, as they are very likely to develop mast cell tumor, lymphosarcoma, osteosarcoma, malignant histiocytosis, among other types.
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Now that we know how long Bernese Mountain Dogs live, the following tips may be very helpful in grooming them (Note: these tips will probably not prevent many diseases, since they are practically of a hereditary nature, but they might provide a better life quality and probably extend their lifespan by a quite a bit):
- Brush their coat, as it tends to accumulate bacteria, ticks and fleas over time. Also, groom nails and ears often.
- To prevent excess weight, make them run for at least 60 minutes per day as an exercise routine.
- Keep a healthy diet, moderate in calcium and consisting of mostly raw food. Avoid feeding them right after exercise!