One of the four types of costly Swiss Mountain Dogs, the Bernese Mountain Dog is a flexible working-type dog that was originally bred for farm work: herding cattle and pulling carts. Nowadays, Bernese Mountain dogs are valued for being loyal companions and watchdogs.
Also called “Bernies” and “Bernese Sennenhund” in the Swedish tongue, there was once a time when this dog breed was at the throes of extinction due to the rise of alternative farming methods which lessened the dogs’ use.
Thankfully, the Swedish government made the decision to preserve the Bernies and now, they’re one of the most popular dog breeds today.
Bernese Mountain Dogs can grow up to 2 feet and can weigh 115 pounds. But despite their size, they are gentle in nature which makes them the best companions at home.
The Costs of Bernese Mountain Dogs
The figures regarding the one-time costs of owning a Bernese Mountain Dog mostly revolve around the actual price of the breed, the transportation costs, shelter, certification, and obedience training.
Know that while Bernies are one of the most expensive dog breeds today, the one-time costs of ownership would be nothing compared to the amount you would have to spend in the long-run.
- Actual Bernese Mountain Dog Price
Although there are several factors at play when it comes to the price of the dogs from this breed, Bernese Mountains cost around $750 to $1,500.
Price depends on what is included when you purchase a Bernie. AKC registration, veterinary examinations, vaccinations, health certificate, and guarantees can definitely increase a dog’s price which is why some Bernies can cost as much as $1,800.
Furthermore, a proven champion’s price reaches up to $4,500 with consideration of its bloodline and the competitions it has won.
- Shipping & Transport
While some breeders offer to ship free of charge, most do not. Shipping and transportation can be quite costly, depending on the manner of your dog’s travel.
Domestic transport can vary depending on the shipping service provider but it can usually cost around $350 to $370 and this is just for the pet travel coordination (airline bookings, planning and, unlimited consultations) alone.
The actual air travel can cost somewhere around $295 to $950 and this would not include the pickup and delivery which is priced around $295 to $550. These would all have to depend on the size of the dog.
Additional shipping costs may include health certificates at $225 as well as the dog kennels where your Bernie will be placed during travel. The kennel may cost around $60 t0 $275. Some services may offer a $35 travel packet which may include all the travel documents your dog needs as well as food and water.
You can also have your dog registered with the American Kennel Club for only $34.99. Joining the American Kennel Club can expose you to its wide network and the benefits thereof.
Any reputable breeder would lay down this option without the need for customer inquiry.
- Obedience Training
Bernese Mountain Dogs are highly intelligent creatures. What’s amazing about them is that they are fast learners and they pick up quickly on a lot of things, even bad habits. For this reason, you may want to start obedience training early.
Obedience training may cost around $119 to $165. Private in-house training may cost more but if you have the financial means, you can pay as much as $800 to train your Bernie.
One of the most important necessities your Bernie should have is a suitable dog kennel that would serve as his own personal transport carrier whenever you take him traveling with you. Another perk of having a dog kennel is that it can also serve as a timeout area whenever your Bernie is misbehaving.
Since Bernies are large dogs, you would need to find a dog kennel that would accommodate their size.
Dog kennel prices typically range from $19 to $322 but considering the size of Bernese Mountain Dogs, you should expect to pay somewhere in the higher parts of that range.
You may also want to buy your Bernie its own little dog house for it to have its own special place in your house. Dog houses may cost around $89.99 to $274.99.
Furthermore, Bernese Mountain Dogs are not suitable for the apartment life. You should at least have a backyard where they can roam around and play.
This is where it can get costly. Think of the actual price of the Bernie as a down-payment to the overall figure you would need to provide during the time your dog is with you.
Bernese Mountain Dogs are high-maintenance pets and if you think you don’t have the patience and the financial means to care for one, then you shouldn’t get this dog breed.
- Food Expenses
Remember that your dog isn’t that much at all different from you when it comes to eating. The amount of food you should give your Bernie has to depend on its build, age, metabolism, and the amount of physical activity it does each day.
It is recommended that you give 3 to 5 cups of dog food each day. It’s up to you whether or not you want to divide the amount into two meals per day.
Consider that physically active dogs would need to eat more than one who like to lie around doing nothing. Furthermore, puppies need to eat more than adult dogs because they need the proper nourishment to grow.
Also, high-grade dog food would be a better option for your Bernie in order to meet its nutritional needs.
Dog food can cost somewhere around $1.49 to $124.99 depending on the type, quality, brand, and quantity ranging from 21 grams to 32 pounds.
- Grooming Expenses
Bernese Mountain Dogs are known for their gorgeous tricolored coat and thankfully, you do not need to spend much to maintain their appearance.
In order to maintain your Bernie’s appearance, a periodic grooming would suffice. This could be at most every three months which may cost around $65 to $95, depending on the condition of the dog’s coat.
You would also need to brush your dog’s teeth regularly, about three times a week in order to prevent tartar build-up. You may spend around $4.99 to $12.99 for a complete dog dental care kit consisting of a toothbrush and toothpaste.
Also, you should trim your dog’s nails at least once a month. When you hear your dog’s feet clicking on the floor, that means its nails are too long. You can either clip your dog’s nails yourself by purchasing a clipper for about $5.99 to $53.99.
However, since your dogs have blood vessels in their nails, you should be extra careful when you clip them in order to avoid bleeding.
If you’re not sure about your own clipping abilities, you can always opt for a professional clipping service which may cost about $14.
When it comes to Bernese Mountain Dogs, you should know that they shed all-year-round. They shed almost every day especially during spring and fall. This is due to their double coat consisting of a long outer coat and a woolly undercoat.
Your Bernie would need a collar for identification purposes and its very own leash for whenever you take it out for walks.
Collars usually don’t cost that much. They cost somewhere around $4.45 to a little over a hundred dollars for electronic collars that come with their own tracking systems.
Dog leashes too aren’t all that pricey being only around $9.49 to $32.99.
However, given that these items are subject to wear-and-tear, you may have to replace them a number of times throughout your dog’s time with you. Furthermore, you should also buy your Bernie a few dog toys to enhance stimulation and physical activity.
Dog toys are inexpensive and may cost only around $1.47 to $15.99.
- Medical Expenses
Part of why Bernese Mountain Dogs are expensive to maintain is because of their health.
Bernies come from a small gene pool which makes them susceptible to numerous genetic health issues. Some of the most common diseases for Bernese Mountain Dogs are hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, entropion, sub-aortic stenosis, heart conditions, and Von Willebrand’s disease.
Diagnosis and surgery for these diseases may cost around $1,000 to $4,000 each. Blood tests would need to be conducted to discover these diseases and they may cost around $85.
With a lifespan of 7-10 years, Bernies live typically short lives and part of the reason for this is their health. If you want to keep your Bernese Mountain Dog for as long as possible, you should have it regularly checked by a vet.
Lakeside Veterinary Hospital offers physical examinations for only $35 and vaccinations typically cost around $25 to $30 per shot. Furthermore, you must also have your dog undergo regular de-worming which may cost you $12 to $60.
With all this, you must remember that prevention is always better than cure.
Since Bernies are highly-susceptible to a number of genetic diseases, it would definitely help if you have your dog insured.
While this may be optional for you, insurance companies can certainly take the load off from you during emergency cases. Getting your dog insured may cost you around $25.25 to $72.32 every month.
Look For a Reputable Breeder
It is important that you buy your Bernie from a responsible breeder. Bernese Mountain Dogs have become a popular breed and with this being said, there are numerous breeders out there who carelessly breed dogs of inferior qualities just to make a profit.
It would be unfortunate if you get a dog with health issues. In order to avoid that, consider the following:
- Don’t buy a puppy or a dog from a breeder who won’t take the time to meet up with you.
- A responsible breeder would ask you many questions including your income, your availability and even the size of your home. This is done in order to make sure that you are able to care for the dog responsibly.
- Go for breeders who would invite you to their facility not just to meet the puppies but their parents as well.
- A responsible breeder would make sure to give you the history of the puppy you are aiming to buy as well as their parents’.
- He/she would be delighted to inform you of the achievements of the dam and sire, the competitions they have won, their pedigree, and other important background information.
- Responsible breeders would be knowledgeable of the breed’s history and qualities.
- They would never sell a puppy to a pet store or even just a broker.
- Responsible breeders would obligate you to sign a contract that would define each of your own duties and responsibilities to the Bernie.
- They will require you to return the dog in the case you are unable to care for it any longer especially due to death, illness or other unfortunate incidents.
- They will happily show-off their own dogs as well as the ones with championship titles and educate you on what qualities should dogs possess.
- A responsible breeder would be a member of recognized organizations like the American Kennel Club and the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America.
Where To Buy A Bernese Mountain Dog
Don’t ever buy Bernies from a pet store or a puppy mill as there is no guarantee that they are of superior quality.
While the Internet is a great source of information regarding Bernese Mountain Dog breeders, don’t trust one that would readily sell their puppies online. A good and responsible breeder will always make sure to meet up with you and the Internet would just serve as the instrument of your meeting.
The best place to go to would have to be the official websites for the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America and American Kennel Club as they have a network of reputable breeders to help you find one you can trust.
As for the AKC, you can use its puppy find feature in order to see a list of Bernie puppies for sale.
There are numerous Bernies out there who have been abandoned by their owners and are looking to find a forever home and family.
If you are thinking about getting a Bernese Mountain Dog, why not start with your local pet shelter or at various rescue groups? There are also organizations such as AdoptAPet.com that help potential pet parents find a pet of their own.
This is also a more cost-effective approach since you would basically pay next to nothing for the dog. However, this does not guarantee you a high-quality breed.