Berner Mountain Dog

Bernese Mountain Dog Lifespan: From Puppy to Golden Years

bernese mountain dog with a family in the background

Are you thinking of getting a Bernese Mountain Dog as your furry companion? These big, lovable dogs are known for their friendly personalities, loyalty, and stunning looks. But before you bring one home, it’s important to know about a Bernese Mountain Dog lifespan.

Bernese Mountain Dogs typically live for 6 to 8 years, which is shorter than some other breeds. However, you can help your furry friend live a long and happy life with proper care and attention.

In this article, we’ll explore the factors affecting the Bernese Mountain Dog lifespan and provide tips for ensuring your dog enjoys a healthy and fulfilling life.

Table of Contents

Berner sitting in the snow

Why is the Bernese Mountain Dog Lifespan so short?

On average, Bernese Mountain Dogs live for 6 to 8 years. While this may seem short, it’s important to remember that larger dog breeds have shorter lifespans than smaller dogs.  

Here are some reasons why a Bernese Mountain Dog Lifespan is so short:

1. They are Large Dogs

Large dogs usually have shorter lifespans than smaller dogs. This is because their bodies are under more stress, and they are more likely to develop health problems.

2. They are Prone to Health Issues

Bernese Mountain Dogs can easily develop certain health conditions that shorten their lifespans. These include cancer, genetic diseases like hip and elbow dysplasia, subaortic stenosis, and certain heart diseases, among others.


Bernese Mountain Dogs are particularly susceptible to various types of cancers, such as osteosarcoma, mast cell tumors, histiocytosis, and hemangiosarcoma. 

Cancer can develop at a younger age and progress rapidly, significantly affecting their lifespan.

According to our friends at Vet Info, tragically 10% of Bernese Mountain Dogs develop some kind of dog cancer by the time they turn 6. And they have even higher chances of getting it once they cross this age.

Hip and Elbow Dysplasia

Bernese Mountain Dogs can easily develop hip and elbow dysplasia, which are genetic conditions that affect the proper development of these joints. Over time, these conditions can lead to reduced mobility and a decreased quality of life.

Bernese Mountain Dog Shedding
Heart Issues

Some Bernese Mountain Dogs may suffer from heart conditions, such as subaortic stenosis or   dilated cardiomyopathy. These issues can affect their heart’s ability to pump blood efficiently.

Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (GDV)

Also known as bloat, GDV is a life-threatening condition in which the dog’s stomach twists, leading to gas buildup and potential organ damage if not treated on time.

Degenerative Myelopathy

Degenerative Myelopathy (DM) is a neurological disorder that can affect Bernese Mountain Dogs and several other dog breeds. 

It affects the spinal cord and gradually degenerates the nerves that control movement and coordination, resulting in paralyzed hind legs. 

While Degenerative Myelopathy is more commonly associated with German Shepherds, it has also been reported in Bernese Mountain Dogs.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy

Progressive Retinal Atrophy, or PRA, is a common disease in mountain dogs and affects a majority of Bernese Mountain Dogs who develop this disease at some point in their lives.

It is caused by the degeneration of cells in the retina, leading to vision loss and, eventually, complete blindness. Although it may not be the primary cause of the dog’s passing, its consequences can lead to a shorter Bernese Mountain Dog lifespan

Cruciate Disease

Cruciate Disease, also known as Cranial Cruciate Ligament (CCL) disease, is a common orthopedic condition that can affect Bernese Mountain Dogs.

In this disease, the cranial cruciate ligament starts to deteriorate and causes pain and swelling in the knee joint. 

As the disease progresses, it leads to gradual lameness in the hind legs and locks the knee joint in place, making it difficult for the Bernese Mountain Dog to walk.

3. They are Overweight

The majority of Bernese Mountain Dogs struggle with weight issues, often falling into the overweight or obese category. 

This not only impacts their overall health and vitality but can also contribute to a reduced lifespan. It’s essential for owners to recognize the importance of maintaining their pet’s optimal weight, as excessive weight can exacerbate potential health problems and reduce their quality of life.

 Proper nutrition, regular exercise, and routine veterinary check-ups can go a long way in ensuring these gentle giants live their lives to the fullest.

4. Additional Factors

Various factors, including environmental conditions, nutrition, and lineage, can also influence the lifespan of a Bernese Mountain Dog

If they are kept in an environment where there’s not much space to exercise and play, or if their diet does not meet their nutritional needs, they are prone to pass away earlier than usual. 

However, some Bernese Mountain Dogs can live up to 10 or 12 years with regular veterinary check-ups, early detection of health problems, and a loving and caring environment. 

bernese mountain dog

Factors that Contribute to a Longer Bernese Mountain Dog Lifespan

As adoring owners of the majestic Bernese Mountain Dogs, we all hope for our beloved companions to live long and happy lives. 

While there is no guarantee that any dog will live to a ripe old age, there are a number of factors that can contribute to a longer Bernese Mountain Dog lifespan. 

In this section, we have put together all the factors that lead to the long life of a Bernese Mountain Dog:

1. Responsible Breeding 

If you’re looking to give your Bernese Mountain Dog the best possible chance at a long and happy life, responsible breeding is the key. 

This means that breeders prioritize the health and well-being of the parent dogs, making sure they’re free of any inherited diseases or genetic conditions. 

By choosing breeding pairs with compatible traits and healthy backgrounds, breeders can reduce the chances of passing on any health issues to their pups. 

Not only does responsible breeding increase the likelihood of healthier puppies, but it also helps improve the overall Bernese Mountain Dog lifespan.

2. Proper Nutrition 

One of the most important things you can do to help your Bernese Mountain Dog live a long life is to give them a well-rounded and nutritious diet. 

For this, you must include plenty of high-quality proteins, vitamins, fats, and minerals in their diet to help them grow strong, boost their immune system, and keep their weight in check.

It’s also important to choose a diet that fits their unique nutritional needs based on their age, activity level, and overall health.

 By providing the best nutrition possible, we’re setting our furry friends up for a life marked by good health and vitality.

bernese mountain dog on a white background
3. Weight Management

It’s essential to make sure your Bernese Mountain Dog maintains a healthy weight . This will help prevent any unwanted strain on his joints and vital organs.

If they become overweight, it can lead to various health problems, like joint issues, heart disease, and even a shorter lifespan.

It’s important to take care of our beloved Berners by monitoring their weight and ensuring that they maintain an ideal range. This can greatly impact their well-being and contribute to a more fulfilling life.

4. Dental Health 

Taking care of your Bernese Mountain Dog’s teeth is super important for their overall well-being!

Believe it or not, poor dental hygiene can cause gum disease, tooth decay, and bacterial infections that can really hurt their health and even shorten their life! 

But don’t worry! It’s easy to keep their teeth in good shape with regular dental cleanings, dental chews, and at-home dental care. After all, good oral hygiene means a healthy pup!

5. Stress Reduction and Mental Stimulation

If you want your Bernese Mountain Dog to be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, it’s essential to create a peaceful and relaxed atmosphere for them.

Stress and anxiety can cause health issues and behavioral troubles for these gentle giants.

By giving them toys to play with, training them regularly, and spending lots of quality time together, you can help keep them mentally stimulated and emotionally fulfilled.

6. Healthy Living Environment

It’s necessary to create a comfortable and safe living space for your Bernese Mountain Dog.

Having lots of room to stretch their legs and play is the key to keeping them content. 

And, of course, making sure the environment is free of hazards will help prevent any accidents or injuries that could put their health at risk.

Bernese Mountain dog bed
7. Regular Grooming and Coat Care

As a Bernese Mountain Dog owner, it’s important to keep your furry friend’s coat groomed and clean. 

Regular brushing is important to get rid of loose hair and prevent matting that can cause skin issues. 

Plus, grooming time is a great opportunity to give your pup a once-over and check for any health concerns, abnormalities or parasites such as ticks and fleas.

8. Love and Companionship

Did you know that the bond between a Bernese Mountain Dog and their human family is super important for their happiness and well-being? 

Giving them love, attention, and companionship is crucial for their emotional health and creates a warm and loving environment for them to thrive in. 

Having a loving family makes the dogs feel safe and loved, and makes a huge difference in the overall health of these adorable puppies.

While all these factors are important in keeping a Bernese Mountain Dog healthy and helping them live longer, did you know that the size of a Berner also impacts its lifespan? Read on to find out more.

How Does the Size and Weight Impact the Bernese Mountain Dog Lifespan?

The size of a Bernese Mountain Dog can actually make a difference in how long they live, but there’s more to it than just that. There are many other factors that play a big role in determining a dog’s overall lifespan. 

However, having a well-proportioned size and keeping them at a healthy weight can definitely have a positive impact on their overall health and well-being. As a result, it might just help them live their life to its best!

Here’s how the size and weight impact the Bernese Mountain Dog lifespan:

1. Joint Health

Bernese Mountain Dogs are big dogs, which means their joints, especially their hips, and elbows, can be under a lot of stress. 

Maintaining an ideal weight is important to alleviate this stress and lower the chance of developing joint issues like hip dysplasia. 

By taking care of their joints, you can help your dog stay active and agile as they get older, which means a healthier life for them!

2. Heart Health

Maintaining a healthy weight for your Berner is very important. Being overweight can cause heart problems, leading to a shorter life for your dog. 

By keeping their weight in check, you can reduce the risk of these conditions and ensure an extended Bernese Mountain Dog lifespan.

3. Energy & Activity Levels 

Keeping your dog at an appropriate size and weight is important for their energy and overall activity levels. 

When your Berner is at a healthy weight, they tend to be more active; hence, it is easy to engage them in regular exercise. 

As a result, you can enjoy a more fun and active lifestyle with your canine and enhance their quality of life.

bernese mountain dog running
4. Obesity-Related Issues

Did you know that obesity in Bernese Mountain Dogs can lead to health problems like diabetes, respiratory issues, and arthritis? 

But don’t worry; by keeping an ideal weight, you can reduce the risk of these concerns and let your dog enjoy a healthy life!

5. Easier Management of Health Conditions

If your beloved Bernese ever experiences any health problems like joint issues or heart conditions, it can be a lot easier to take care of them if they are at a healthy weight.

Giving medication, performing physical therapy, and providing general care are all much simpler when your doggo isn’t carrying around extra pounds!

Taking good care of your Bernese Mountain Dog can help them reach a ripe old age. Keeping their weight in check and ensuring they maintain a healthy body size can reduce the risk of health issues like obesity and joint problems.

By doing this, your four-legged friend has a better chance of enjoying a longer lifespan.

bernese mountain dog running

Final Thoughts

A Bernese Mountain Dog can be a wonderful addition to your family. While their lifespan may be shorter than others, with proper care and attention, you can help your dog live a long, happy life.

Remember to provide your Berner with proper nutrition, exercise, and vet care and to spend plenty of time with them. 

With love and care, your Bernese Mountain Dog lifespan can be longer, and you can enjoy the company of your loyal and beloved companion for years to come! 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the ideal weight for Bernese Mountain Dogs?

The ideal weight for a Bernese Mountain Dog depends on its gender and age. 

According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), the ideal weight for an adult male Bernese Mountain Dog is 80-110 pounds, while the ideal weight for an adult female is 65-85 pounds

Is 7 Old for a Bernese Mountain Dog?

The average lifespan of the breed is between 7 and 10 years; therefore, a 7-year-old Bernese Mountain Dog is actually considered a senior dog.

What is the oldest Bernese Mountain Dog to ever live?

The oldest Bernese Mountain Dog to ever live was a female Berner named Bella. She lived for 15 years and 2 months. Born on January 18, 2000, she lived with her loving owner, Sabine Peters, in Germany until she passed away on March 22, 2015.

How can I get my Bernese Mountain Dog to live longer?

If you want a longer Bernese Mountain Dog lifespan, here are some tips to help you:

  • Feed your Bernese Mountain Dog a nutritious diet.
  • Supplement your dog’s diet with glucosamine and chondroitin.
  • Keep your dog at an ideal weight.
  • Take your dog on regular walks.
  • Get your dog vaccinated against common diseases.
  • Take your dog to the vet if he starts behaving awkwardly or if you notice any changes in his health.
  • Regularly brush their teeth to prevent gum disease, tooth decay, and bacterial infections.
  • Trim your dog’s nails.
  • Provide your dog with a safe and secure environment to reduce the risk of accidents and injuries.
  • Provide your dog with a comfortable place to sleep.
  • Show your dog love and affection.

It is important to know that every dog is different, and what works for one dog may not work for another. While these tips can contribute to a longer Bernese Mountain Dog lifespan and improved overall health and happiness, genetics also play a role in their longevity. 

Welcome to our Bernese Mountain Dog haven! We’re passionate about sharing breed knowledge, training tips, and fostering a community of fellow enthusiasts. Join us on this journey of celebrating the love and uniqueness of these wonderful dogs and their furry friends.

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