Do they shed?
Yes and quite a bit a couple of times a year. You and your vacuum will develop a great relationship, you will have a new seasoning added to your food and your pillow WILL be fuzzy!
Do they make good Family Pets?
Yes if you have enough time to devote to them on their terms. Berners are a very people needy breed and are NOT a breed that can be left to their own devices in the back yard. THAT is when they will become VERY problematic!
What do they cost?
The average cost to obtain a puppy from a REPUTABLE breeder is between 2000-3000. Can you find them cheaper? Absolutely BUT you will get what you pay for when obtaining a inferior bred puppy. Poor quality, shorter lived, more health problems, major temperament problems and most importantly NO SUPPORT from a breeder that knows this breed!!
Will they protect my family?
Yes and no... they are not a guard dog or a breed that is going to bare their teeth at strangers, but they will bark. Well bred berners are not typically aggressive, however, they do have their own way of protecting their family. Much more subtle ways such as placing themselves between you and whatever they might perceive a threat to you or your family. Will it go further than that?? Depends on the individual dog.
How long do they live?
The average life expectancy is 7-9 years but your breeder should be able to tell you their average life span on their family of dogs. Some of us work very hard to have OLD dogs and make that our priority.
Can they tolerate heat?
The long and short of that answer is NO absolutely not. Anything over 85 degrees can kill them pretty quickly if they have no shelter from the sun and heat.
On the same note, extreme cold is not preferable to them either. They originated in Berne Switzerland where the temperatures are mild all year. Mild and cool is their preference.
What are the biggest problems within the breed?
Cancer is the biggest problem this breed faces, but they are also known for having PRA, which is an eye problem, heart issues and like most other large breed dogs, orthopedic problems. Again, your breeder should be able to give you multiple generations of orthopedic information as well as ages and causes of death of many of the dogs within their pedigrees.
Are they good with kids?
This is a question that will be answered and addressed differently by all breeders. My answer is YES absolutely. ALL my kids learned how to walk holding onto a berner! They have all grown up with them and have gotten used to eating with out looking for the hair in their food! :-)
Many breeders will not want to place a dog in a home with kids, especially young ones but in all the years I have had this remarkable breed, I have never had one that didn't WANT to be with kids. Possibly because all of my pups are raised with the kids from the moment they are born.
I think this breeds temperament is amazing for families with kids that want to spend time with their dogs and make them part of the family. This is the biggest reason I got involved in this breed to begin with!
Are they good with other animals?
Usually, most berners love other dogs and are very careful around them, however there are some berners with a higher pray drive that I wouldn't trust alone with other smaller animals. I would suggest you supervise your berner with other critters until you are confident with your dogs intentions.
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