Health Issues More Commonly Seen in the Bernese Mountain Dog

Health Issues More Commonly Seen in the Bernese Mountain Dog

Health & Safety

The Bernese Mountain Dog is a very handsome looking canine that boasts a lifespan of anything from 7 to 9 years when they are healthy and well cared for. However, as with a lot of larger pedigree dogs, they do tend to suffer from certain orthopaedic health conditions. They are also known to injuries affecting both their bones and muscles, more especially their cruciate ligaments, which typically happen when they jump in the air chasing after toys and balls.

Listed below are the health issues more commonly seen in the Bernese Mountain Dog. However, not all dogs will develop any of the conditions whether it's an hereditary disorder or an acquired one during the course of their lives. You also need to bear in mind that certain "bad" genes responsible for some of the conditions puppies inherit from their parents, are able to skip several generations. In short, even if a puppy's parents and grand-parents don't suffer from a health disorder, a puppy may well develop it during the course of their lives.

Hip Dysplasia

Another condition that commonly affects the Bernese Mountain dog, hip dysplasia is caused by the abnormal development of the hip joint which typically occurs when dogs are still growing. Dogs tend to be extremely lame and in severe cases, arthritis sets in debilitating a dog's movement even more. Veterinary attention should be sought if you are at all worried about your dog because the sooner the condition is diagnosed, the sooner your pet would be made more comfortable.

Osteo Chondrosis Dessicans (OCD)

This is a condition where normal growth of the cartilage found in a dog's joints does not develop properly and it typically affect elbows but can affect shoulders too. It is a painful disorder that causes joints to stiffen which restricts a dog's movement considerably. Dogs as young as 4 month old can be affected and it's thought that an incorrect diet that's too rich in proteins may be partly responsible for them developing the condition.

Hypomyelinogenisis – Trembler

Caused by a recessive gene, this disorder is virtually unheard of in the breed today, all thanks to breeders in the UK and elsewhere in the world not using any carriers in their breeding programmes. This alone has been extremely effective at eliminating the disorder from the breed.

Malignant Histiocytosis

This is a form of cancer which is known to cause the most deaths among Bernese Mountain Dogs. With this said, the condition is more often diagnosed in older dogs over the age of ten. With this said, younger dogs too can develop this nasty form of cancer and if you are at all concerned, you should discuss things with a vet sooner rather than later. As with all cancers, the earlier the condition is detected, the better because it allows vets to recommend the best course of action to make a dog more comfortable.

Bernese Mountain Dog Puppies

If you are thinking about getting a Bernese Mountain Dog puppy, it cannot be stressed enough the importance of contacting a well established and reputable breeder and although there is never a guarantee a puppy would not develop any of the conditions listed above, good breeding where only screened dogs are used, helps reduce the chances of this happening. With this said, not all dogs will develop any of these health disorders during the course of their lives whether it's an hereditary disorder or an acquired one.


The breed is known to be one of the hardiest around and one that does not develop that many hereditary or congenital disorders, which in part. is thanks to the responsible way in which breeders set up their breeding programmes. However, knowing that a Bernese Mountain Dog is predisposed to certain hereditary and acquired health conditions, allows owners to recognise the early signs there might be something wrong with their pets. The sooner a correct diagnosis is made and treatment given, the better the prognosis generally is for the dog, and of course, they are made to feel more comfortable sooner rather than later.

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