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The Bernese Mountain Dog originated in the Swiss canton of Bern, where they served for thousands of years as hardworking farm dogs. Their long, thick coats help them stay warm in all types of inclement weather. Today, these gentle giants are mostly companion dogs with a sweet, calm disposition and a high tolerance for children. What many potential Bernese owners want to know is: Do Bernese Mountain Dogs shed? Read on to find out what you can expect from this breed’s gorgeous coat!
Do Bernese Mountain Dogs shed hair?
Bernese Mountain Dogs shed moderately throughout the year, with some periods of severe seasonal shedding. If you are looking for a hypoallergenic dog, this is not for you. Berners is likely to trigger allergies in those prone to allergies.
Why aren’t Bernese Mountain Dogs hypoallergenic? Like most breeds, Bernards produce moderate amounts of dander, a major pet allergen. Dander is just flakes of dead skin. In general, the more hair a dog sheds, the more dander it releases into the air. Because furry dogs shed more hair, they are more likely to trigger allergies than furred dogs.
How Much Hair Do Bernese Mountain Dogs Shed?
Bernese Mountain Dogs continue to shed moderately. Homeowners can look forward to frequent sweeping, vacuuming, or rolling throughout the year. However, as any experienced dog owner knows, double-coated breeds like Bernards experience two additional periods of mass shedding each year. Experts call it “blowing the coat.”
Berners blow coats seasonally in spring and fall based on temperature changes. In spring, they shed their heavy winter coats to prepare for warmer weather; in fall, they shed their lighter summer coats to make room for protection from the cold. This process lasts an average of two to four weeks and creates large clumps of fur around the house and yard. Berner owners might consider investing in a powerful pet vacuum to pick up the mess.
Do Bernese Mountain Dogs have hair or fur?
Bernese Mountain Dogs have fur instead of hair. Both contain keratin and are chemically identical, but there are still important differences. See the sections below for the features of the Berner jacket.
Dogs with fur shed more hair than dogs with fur. The reason has to do with the respective growth cycles of hair and fur. The longer growth cycle between anagen (growth phase) and exogenous (shedding phase) means that hair follicles don’t renew themselves as quickly. This also gives the hair a chance to grow longer. Fur has a compact growth cycle, which means it sheds faster and tends to be shorter in length.
A dog coat made of fur has only one layer. As fur dogs, Bernese Mountain Dogs are double coats, which means they have two layers of fur. The undercoat (ground hair) is softer and finer than the outer coat (guard). Ground wool provides extra insulation for Berners, while guard hairs provide a protective barrier to keep moisture and dirt out. When the base layer does get wet, the coat takes a long time to dry.
Unlike many fur dogs, the Bernese Mountain Dog has medium-length coats that can be wavy or straight. Their fur lacks the bristly, rough texture of many double-coated breeds, giving them a lush, touchable feel. Curly, coarse or excessively curly hair is undesirable in Berners according to the official breed standard.
Grooming the Bernese Mountain Dog
If you’re planning on owning one of these imperial dogs, be prepared for a lot of grooming. Owners should brush Berners at least once a week, more often if possible. This is essential to keep the soft undercoat from matting and tangling with the longer outer coat. A good quality brush (a pin brush that helps detangle and remove loose hairs) is essential to keep your Bernard in good condition. To get right into the skin and untangle stubborn knots, consider using a steel comb in addition to a smooth brush. Hair removal tools remove loose hair from the undercoat, reducing the amount of hair that ends up on the floor.
Avoid bathing your Berner too frequently as it will strip the skin of its natural oils. This can lead to dry, itchy skin and dull, listless hair. You don’t need to bathe your Bernese Mountain Dog more than once every four to eight weeks unless it becomes dirty or smelly. Working dogs may need more frequent baths than companion dogs.
Should You Shave Your Berner To Reduce Shedding? The answer is no. Unless you have a serious mat, professional groomers will usually tell you not to cut or shave your Bernard’s coat. The breed uses its double coat to regulate body temperature in both hot and cold weather. It’s a myth that shaving dogs will keep them cool in warm weather. Also, it tends to make the fur grow thicker, which only increases shedding in the long run.
How to Reduce Shedding
If you’re finding that the amount of fur around the house is a bit high, check out the following ways to reduce Berner shedding. Also, check out the review articles included below to find out which products are best for you and your dog.
- brush teeth: Brushing is the best way to care for your dog’s coat while reducing the amount of fur around the house. A good brush can effectively remove loose hairs before they get on the furniture.
- Hair removal brush: Some brushes are better at removing dead hair than others. See the following articles for the best dog brushes for hair removal.
- Hair removal shampoo: Take bath time to the next level with a premium shampoo designed for heavy shedders. Check out this article for our reviews of the best hair removal shampoos for dog owners.
- Dog hair dryer: After you shower to remove dead hair, a good blow dryer can help blow away excess loose hair. If you find yourself struggling with Berner shedding, consider investing in one of these premium beauty hair dryers.
- Healthy Eating Habits: There is no substitute for a balanced diet. Check out these great dog foods for shedders.
Bernese Mountain Dogs do shed a lot, so if you decide to bring home one of these dogs, be prepared to have it cleaned regularly. While owners shouldn’t be trimming their Berner coats, try using one of these grooming shears to tidy up the feet and ears.
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