When you think of the Bernese mountain dog you picture a large, muscular dog. Similar to the Saint Bernard and Newfoundland in size, the Bernese mountain dog is loved by many and it is a friendly, intelligent breed. However, one mistake which many people make when it comes to the breed is thinking that it is a natural swimmer.
Why Water and the Bernese do not always Mix
Bernese mountain dogs do not always like the water. Similar breeds such as the Newfoundland are well known for their love of water and that is why so many people think that the Bernese dog is too. However, whilst they can swim and they can certainly pull you out of the water; it is not in their natural instincts to do so. That is not to say that you will not be able to get your dog to like the water. Some Bernese mountain dogs do love to have a paddle in shallow water and some will even swim along in the sea with you. However, usually you have to start them off young and you also have to give them plenty of time to adjust. One of the characteristics of the breed is that they do take a long time to mature. It is around two years before they begin to calm down and so this means that you have to be patient with training. So if you do want to teach your dog to get used to the water then it should be done at a really early age. Some Bernese dogs love nothing more than to swim in cool refreshing water, but you will not know unless you try it out. Take your dog to the beach on a quiet day and allow them to paddle and get their feet wet. Some will absolutely hate the feel of the water on their feet and they will refuse to go in any deeper. If this happens with your dog then you should not force them to go into the water. By doing so you would cause the dog to become scared of water and it would have the opposite effect of what you were aiming for. Generally if you are looking for a hobby to take up with the breed then carting would be much more suitable. They are incredibly strong and so they have no problems at all pulling you along. In fact they would more than likely enjoy it as they are a working breed and they love being kept busy with a task to do. Also whilst some Bernese mountain dogs do not like the water, they do not mind surfing. With surfing they may get a little wet but mainly they are on a board with you. Obviously you will need a fairly big strong board, but if you can find one then it would be worth seeing if your dog will attempt to get onto it with you. Overall water is not something that the Bernese mountain dog has a natural love of. However it all depends upon the individual dog and so it is always worth introducing your dog to the water at as early an age as possible.