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Health Concerns of the Bernese

The Swiss have a saying about the lifespan of Bernese Mountain Dogs. They say, "Three years a young dog, three years a good dog, and three years an old dog...all else is a gift from God." 


The average lifespan of a Berner is about 7 years. Some dogs live less some dogs live longer. Responsible breeders do their best to research pedigrees of breeding dogs to minimize the chances of health problems, however, there are no guarantees.

We are fortunate to have Berner-Garde, a health database for Berners. Visit this site at From the homepage you can go to the database and search by breeder name, dog name, kennel  name and other options. Feel free to visit Lolita's page. You will see her health certifications, titles and pedigree. You will also be able to see photos of dogs in her pedigree. Her ID is  #143729.  


Cancer plagues this breed and if they live long enough, most dogs will have some type of cancer. Histiocytic sarcoma is the number one cancer, but not the only one.

Hip and elbow dysplasia is also a concern with our breed. Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) radiographs are done at 24 months. Hips receive a rating of Excellent, Good, Fair (all within Normal limits), Borderline, and then Mild, Moderate, or Severe (the last three considered Dysplastic). Elbows are rated as normal or grade 1,2 or 3. A vet, who specializes in this procedure, takes the radiographs which are then sent to OFA for grading and certification. Results are published on the OFA website,

It is important to know that the environment can influence the development of your puppy's bones and joints. Please pay careful attention to the surfaces in your home. Cover wood floors with rugs. Avoid the use of stairs when possible and limit exercise time for young puppies. 


Bernese Mountain Dogs are susceptible to bloat. The stomach fills with air, twists and becomes a life-threatening emergency. It is imperative that you are aware of the signs of this horrible disease. I have included a chart for your reference.

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