Bernese mountain dogs do have fur in place of hair. This breed of dog was a multipurpose dog, groomed to protect farmlands, herd cattle, and even transport milk carts to the local dairy.
The Bernese mountain dog, also known as Berner, was originally called Durrbachler, which was named after an inn where these dogs were bought and sold.
These gentle giants are excellent guard dogs, as they were originally a product of a cross between a mastiff and a guard dog. This cross-breeding accounted for their strong studded body. They are smart, quick to learn, do well with children, and hate to be separated from their families for too long.
Despite their large and strong physical appearance, the Bernese mountain dog is the most popular dog among the Swiss breeds. They are attractive dogs widely known for their beautiful tri-coloured coats. The Bernese mountain dog is a double-coated dog with two layers of Fur.
What’s a Bernese Mountain Dog’s Fur like?
The Bernese mountain dogs are one of the four Swiss dogs with tricolored coats. Usually, the Bernese mountain dogs are black, tan and white. Their Fur is long, characteristically thick and straight. Just like other Swiss mountain dogs, Bernese mountain dogs are not considered breed standard, and this is because they have limited coat colors—Black, tan and white, with black being the dominant color.
Also, the Bernese mountain dogs are double-coated, which means they have two layers of Fur. The undercoat and the top coat. The undercoat is usually a soft and short fur with a wool-like texture, while the top coats have longer hair. Berner’s undercoat helps to protect them against harsh weather conditions, while the top coats keep them from dirt and moisture. Berner’s undercoat keeps them warm in the winter and cold during the spring.
Bernese Mountain Dog; Hair Shedding Frequency?
It is obvious from their appearance that Bernese mountain dog shed their Fur. They are a high-shedding breed, and because of their significant double coat, they drop a lot of furs.
Shedding in Bernese mountain dogs lasts for several weeks during the spring and fall. They do this in preparation for a change of season. Berners are year-round shedders, and their shedding intensity becomes stronger during the winter and summer. They shed a lot of hair that seems so noticeable than those of German shepherds.
During this period, your Bernese mountain dog begins to shed their Fur to pave the way for new thick or thinner undercoats, depending on the region’s temperature. Also, Bernese mountain owners must be at the top of their grooming game during this intense shedding period. Most owners resolve to use daily brushing to keep the Fur down.
Why do Bernese Mountain Dogs Shed their Fur?
The major reason Bernese mountain dogs shed their Fur is to replace them with new thicker, or thinner furs. Depending on the prevailing weather, these coats are made to keep them warm or cool. Hence, the need for either thick or thin undercoats to match their needs per season.
However, this isn’t the only reason the Bernese mountain dog might shed their Fur. When Bernese mountain dogs shed their Fur excessively, that is beyond the normal shedding, especially out of season. It might result from many other factors besides replacing their dead coats. Some of these factors are discussed below.
Health conditions: A serious underlying health condition might cause your Bernese mountain dog to shed more Fur, especially out of season. You should consult a vet if you notice changes in your dog’s behavior accompanied by unusual hair loss.
Skin conditions: bugs such as mites and fleas can be responsible for skin conditions that can cause your puppy Berner to lose hair more frequently than usual. Also, changing dog treats and shampoos can cause your Bernese mountain dog to develop a certain skin allergy. This allergic reaction might lead to frequent loss of hair.
Anxiety and stress: shedding hair is one of the major symptoms associated with stress and anxiety in dogs. Naturally, Bernese mountain dogs are anxious dogs, and they are prone to suffer from separation anxiety. Routine changes such as adding a new dog into your home or not spending enough quality time with your family can stress Bernese mountain dogs.
Diet Change: diet change can cause the Bernese mountain dog to shed more fur than usual. Some Bernese mountain dogs would develop allergies to grains, so if you notice your puppy showing signs of shedding as a result of grain intake, try a grain-free diet formula.
Reducing Excess shedding of Hair in Bernese Mountain Dogs
All dogs shed, which is a perfectly normal thing to do. Bernese mountain dogs are double-coated breeds. Therefore, there is a serious need for these dogs to shed their Fur to replace them with new ones. This is all part of their hair growth cycle.
Some dogs start to shed excessively outside of their shedding season. As a dog owner, if you notice your dog is shedding his hair unusually, then you need to consult a vet. However, reducing your dog’s excessive shedding majorly comes down to practising a good grooming routine and ensuring your Berners’ diet is optimal. But several other things can help reduce your Berner’s excessive hair shedding.
At first, it is important to note that no dog food will entirely stop your Berners from shedding their hair. However, what you feed your dog impacts his overall health. Making sure that your dog is fed a balanced diet will improve your dog’s health and, in turn, reduce the excessive shedding of hair that might have been caused by poor diet management.
As said earlier, no food will completely stop your dog from shedding. However, several foods in the market specifically target alleviating excessive shedding in your Bernese mountain dog.
Some dog diets contain lesser fillers, such as grains and more quality protein. In contrast, some others contain fewer additives, preservatives and ingredients that can lead to skin allergies for your dog and, as a result, excess loss of your dog’s hair. Therefore, knowing what you feed your Bernese mountain dog is important.
Nothing beats a healthy balanced diet. But certain supplements will reduce shedding in your Berner. One of these supplements is the popular Omega-3. Omega-3 is an essential fatty acid that improves your dog’s coat and skin health. Therefore, giving your Bernese mountain dog this supplement will have a resultant effect on his shedding, as a dog with healthy skin and coat rarely sheds hair excessively.
Note that there are two major sources of omega-3 acids: plant-based and marine-based. The best source for your dog is the marine-based omega-3supplement which can be obtained from fish oil, seaweed and so on. The plant-based omega isn’t good for humans and dogs as both species cannot convert the alpha-linoleic acids (ALA) into docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), the only form of acid that our metabolism can utilize.
Another way of reducing shedding that is widely overlooked by many is ensuring your dog stays properly hydrated. Giving your dog just enough water can keep your dog very healthy, thus, reducing excessive loss of your dog’s hair. Take, for instance, starving your dog of an adequate amount of water can lead to the development of dry skin in Bernese mountain dogs. Severe dehydration will lead to skin irritation and allergies that will facilitate excessive hair shedding in your Berner.
Bathing your dog is one of the easiest and fastest ways to eliminate old and dead hairs from their coats before they shed. Bathing your dog helps to keep its skin and hair in an optimal state. However, there are some factors when bathing your Bernese mountain dog.
First, ensure to bathe your Bernese mountain dog with the proper shampoo. Using shampoos that contain certain harsh chemicals on your Berner can cause them to develop dry skin and irritations, and hair breakage. For this reason, it is highly recommended to use top-quality dog shampoos and not human shampoos.
Also, avoid over-bathing, as this can easily deplete the natural skin oil on your Bernese mountain dog, leading to dry skin.
Brushing your dog regularly.
Brushing your dog’s coat has a similar effect to bathing your dog. Brushing your dog is a simple and effective way of reducing excess shedding, especially when you use an appropriate brush and establish a regular brushing routine with your dog.
Brushing helps to remove dead furs from your dog’s coat before they shed. Also, it ensures the even distribution of natural oil around your dog’s skin.
Fun Facts about Bernese Mountain Dogs
They are outdoorsy
Because of their history and the nature of their coats, Bernese mountain dogs are suited for outdoor activities and lots of exercise. In a nutshell, they love being active. Their double layer of Fur makes them excellent cold-weather dogs. These dogs love to be in the snow.
However, just because they love to go outdoors does not make their outdoor dogs. Bernese mountain dogs love staying indoors with family members in the cool evening. If you are a dog enthusiast and love hiking, camping and other fun outdoor activities, the Bernese mountain dog might be the perfect companion.
They are from the Alp
According to historical records, the Bernese mountain dogs were a result of a cross between the farm dogs from the sweet Alps and the Molosser or Mastiff brought to Switzerland by the Romans many years ago. They are one of the four Swiss mountain dogs. The Swiss dogs are the Appenzeller, Greater Swiss mountain dog, Entlebucher mountain dog and, of course, the Bernese mountain dog.
They were at risk of extinction.
The rise in St Bernerd’s popularity in Switzerland almost led to the extinction of the Bernese mountain dog. The industrial revolution in the 1800s resulted in farmers’ increasing use of machinery. This meant that the farmers had less need for the Bernese mountain dog.
However, Franz Schertenleib devoted his time to promoting the Berner breed across Europe, sustaining the breed’s existence to date.
Final Note: Do Bernese Mountain Dogs Have Hair or Fur?
The Bernese mountain dog is a double-coated, allergenic dog. Berners have beautiful tri-colored Fur instead of hair, embracing their Swiss heritage, and these furs are in two layers, the undercoat, and the top coat. These breeds can withstand extreme weather conditions because of their double-layer coat, keeping them warm or cold when needed.
Furthermore, because of their long double-layered Fur, Bernese mountain dogs are allergenic and can cause certain people to develop allergies and irritation towards them. However, with proper grooming and care for their skin and coat, you won’t need to worry about their allergenic nature.
The Bernese mountain dog is a great dog to keep as a pet.