Most people, when they see dogs out in the snow, are overwhelmed with sorrow, pity, and compassion. But some dogs, like the Bernese Mountain Dog, were bred to withstand harsh climates. And that is partly due to their thick coats.
So, do Bernese Mountain Dogs shed? The answer is a resounding yes. As a double-coated breed with a long, thick cop coat, these puppies can shed! But regular grooming with the proper tools can help reduce the amount of fur that they shed.
Let’s take a deeper look into where these dogs came from, what their coat is like, and how much effort it will take to keep them well-groomed.
About Bernese Mountain Dogs
Bernese Mountain Dogs are a large breed of dog – and their size is one of the first things you’ll notice. Standing anywhere from 23-28 inches tall, these massive pooches can weigh anywhere from 80 to 110 pounds. They were originally bred as a cross between guard dogs and Mastiffs, which probably accounts for some of that size!
About 2,000 years ago, these dogs were brought to Switzerland, becoming one of four Swiss Mountain dog varieties. The other three are:
- Appenzeller Sennenhund
- Entlebucher Sennenhund
- Greater Swiss Mountain Dog
They have thick coats, which help them to thrive in cold, harsh climates, like those found in the Swiss Alps.
Originally they were brought to help out with farming. Which makes sense, as they are great working dogs that possess incredible strength.
In fact, these dogs can pull up to ten times their own body weight! To put that into perspective, that’s 1,000 pounds that a dog can pull – about the equivalent of a fully grown horse!
Things changed in the early 1900’s though, as the breeding of this dog slowed significantly. In 1907, they went from being work dogs to being show dogs.
Nowadays, they’re a popular dog breed because they’re helpful and also lovable. They’re a gentle breed, known for being very friendly and, specifically, good with children.
Long, thick, double coat
Black, tan and white
What Is Their Coat Like?
Bernese Mountain Dogs are one of four tri-colored Swiss Mountain dogs. They’re generally black, tan, and white.
Their fur is thick, moderately long, and characteristically straight.
They’re also a double-coated dog. What that means is that they have two layers of fur: one undercoat and one top coat.
The under coat is generally short fur, wool-like in texture; and the top coat has longer hair. This is, in part, why Bernese Mountain Dogs look so fluffy.
The reason they have two coats is because they were bred to withstand harsh climates. The undercoat helps protect them from the heat and cold, and the top coat helps repel dirt and wick away moisture.
Other breeds that have this are Miniature Schnauzers and Golden Retrievers.
How Much Do They Shed?
Just by looking at a Bernese Mountain Dog, you can probably safely assume they’re going to shed. And you would be right.
Bernese Mountain Dogs are a very high shedding breed.
They’re a double-coated dog, so they have plenty of fur to shed. Plus, with the fact that these are big dogs (to say the least) means they have more surface area of fur just waiting to be shed everywhere.
To give you an idea of just how much these dogs shed, take this statistic from the American Kennel Club:
The AKC recognizes 202 total dog breeds, and the Bernese Mountain Dog made it on the list of top 21 dogs that shed the most. That means they shed more than 10% of all the other dog breeds out there.
How Difficult Are They to Groom?
Bernese Mountain Dogs are moderately difficult to groom.
Due to the fact that this is a double-coated breed, grooming is especially important. This is because, if you neglect grooming, not only will they shed more, but also their undercoat will start to tangle up in their overcoat, resulting in tangled messes and matted fur.
There are also multiple different tools you’ll want to use to really ensure you’re grooming your dog the best you can.
For their undercoat, you’ll want to get an undercoat grooming rake. This will help get rid of any dirt that managed to get beyond their top coat.
For their top coat, you’ll want to use a wire pin brush or comb to get rid of any dead or loose hair. And if you want to improve the shine of your dog’s coat, you can use a bristle brush, although this isn’t necessary.
And if you find your dog does have some matted portions of fur, you can try and gently comb them out with a wide-toothed comb. But, if you’re having trouble, it would be best to simply cut it out with scissors instead of risking hurting them. To keep them well-groomed and tangle-free, you’ll want to brush them at least three times a week.
How To Reduce Shedding
The first way to try and reduce shedding is by combing frequently. This is your first – and best – line of defense. You’ll be able to brush out any dead hairs before they manage to get all over your clothes, furniture, and in the air.
You should be able to get away with only brushing two or three times a week, but if you’re still having a problem with the shedding, try brushing daily to see if that helps.
When you do comb them, you’ll want to not only focus on their outer coat, but on their undercoat as well.
You’ll also want to make sure your pooch’s coat is a healthy one. The healthier it is, it will shed less (although they will still, naturally, shed a lot). So, keeping them on a healthy diet and keeping their coat clean will help some.
You should also bathe them regularly – although be careful because over-bathing or using the wrong types of shampoo will only increase the shedding and irritate their skin.
Overall, Bernese Mountain Dogs are a friendly giant. They’re great with kids, and make a great companion overall. They’re extremely strong and can be put to good use around a farm, but they’re also great show dogs if that’s what you’re into.
However, they do shed a lot. Grooming a dog like this takes a lot of time and is a big responsibility. So, this definitely is not the dog breed to get if you don’t want to be cleaning up dog hair frequently. However, if you don’t mind putting in the extra time or effort, this could be the perfect dog for you!