Thinking the Bernese Mountain Dog could make an excellent canine companion, but need to know how much they shed before you welcome one into your home? With their stunning good looks and fluffy dog fur, Bernese Mountain Dogs (also known as Berners) have surged in popularity over the last decade. They’ve become quite common as family pets due to their even-keeled temperament. But how do their owners manage all that dog fur?
It’s probably obvious that yes, Bernese Mountain Dogs shed. So, you’ve either landed here looking for how much shedding you can expect before you adopt one, or you own one already, and you just can’t seem to figure out why they might be shedding more than normal.
In this article, we answer all your burning questions around Berner shedding. You’ll find out what to expect as a new owner, or when your pup may shed more through the year. We’ll also provide some tips to keep your home as fur-free as possible. Let’s jump in!
Coat Length & Density
This breed is famous for its long, beautiful thick coat. The Berner is a double-coated breed. This means they have a “top-coat” that’s designed to help them resist the elements, followed by an “undercoat” that’s designed to help keep them warmer or cooler, depending on the season. Their undercoat is thicker in the winter, and lighter during the summer.
Owning a Berner means that you can expect a fair bit of fur to clean up after, especially during shedding season. Their coats are one of their most distinguishing factors when it comes to how they look. Because of their longer coats and swiss heritage, people often mistake them for a Saint Bernard.
The Bernese has a very limited color combination to be considered breed standard. Most dogs will have mostly black coats, mixed with white, and copper. Their color combination is also shared with other mountain dog breeds from Switzerland who share similar origins. Because their coats generally have more black fur than other colors, it tends to blend in better for owners who have darker colored flooring or furniture. For those that have lighter colored furniture, you’ll likely have to stay on top of your grooming routine a little bit more fervently.
The Berner is a year-round shedder. Their shedding intensity grows during the summer and winter. Because they have longer fur, the fur they leave behind is more noticeable than a German Shepherd, or other double-coated dog breeds. This is the time of year where their undercoats will start to shed in order to make way for a thicker or thinner undercoat depending on the temperature outdoors.
During their “blown-coat” seasonality, you’ll need to really stay on top of keeping your Bernese brushed regularly. In fact, during the early summer, you’ll likely want to resort to daily brushing, just to keep the fur down. There are other grooming recommendations that we will get into later, but brushing is usually the first line of defense to keep your home somewhat fur-free during shedding season.
Other Reasons For Shedding
If you already own a Berner, there may be other reasons they are shedding more than normal. Outside of “shedding season,” there are several other things that can impact the frequency of how often their fur is falling out. If your Bernese is shedding more than normal, here are a few things to look out for.
Stress & Anxiety: The Bernese is naturally a more anxious breed. They can suffer from separation anxiety, and shedding is one of many common symptoms of an anxious or stressed out dog. Any routine changes can stress them out, and this includes not spending enough time with family, or welcoming a new dog or baby into your home.
Change in Diet: Changes in diet can impact how often your Bernese sheds. Some dogs may need to change their diet to a more limited ingredient food line. It’s not uncommon for this breed to suffer from grain allergies, so consider a grain-free formula if you notice more shedding than normal.
Skin Conditions: Mites, fleas, and other bugs can cause skin conditions that will make your pup shed more frequently than normal. It’s also possible your dog has a skin allergy to a new dog treat, or dog shampoo that you’ve introduced them to.
Health Conditions: While less common, serious health concerns can cause additional fur loss. If your dog’s behavior has changed in addition to seeing more fur around your home, consult your veterinarian.
Shedding Management & Tips
So you’ve decided the Berner is the perfect breed for you, but maybe you need some advice on how to more effectively manage their shedding habits? An effective DIY Grooming routine is necessary for all heavy shedding breeds. If you can’t manage to brush daily during shedding season, along with monthly bathing, consider a Bernedoodle, which mixes a Berner with a Poodle. These pups often carry the same coloring and are known for shedding less than their Bernese parent.
If you are ready to deal with your Berner’s shedding habits, there are some steps you’ll need to take. We don’t think that grooming should ever be a reason to avoid a breed unless it’s due to allergy. Different dog breeds end up doing very well with certain family dynamics, so don’t avoid this breed if their fur is the only thing causing you to be apprehensive about welcoming one into your home. So how easy is it to manage the Berner’s shedding habits? Follow these Bernese Mountain Dog shedding tips and you’ll be on your way to a less furry home.
Brushing should be done about 3 times per week during normal shedding seasons. This should be enough to keep fur away from your home and off your furniture. We recommend using a longer pin brush. Using a bristle brush won’t get the depth that you need to keep their coat flowing and tangle-free.
A longer pin brush will help you get into their undercoat during brushing sessions, which is where you can find a lot of dead dog fur. During the winter and the summer’s shedding season, consider brushing daily. Yes, we recommend daily brushing for this breed. At a minimum, you should consider every other day.
We also recommend picking up a Deshedding tool. These tools can be used more sparingly. They help get deeper into the fur and pull out loose fur that a brush can’t grab. They are usually fairly budget-friendly, and there are a few very popular models that will do the job with ease.
You shouldn’t bathe your Berner more than once per month. Occasionally your pup may need a bath after a romp in some mud, grass or leaves. Doing it more than once a month won’t be detrimental for their coat health as long as it’s not a routine occurrence. Regularly bathing your dog more than once per month will dry out their skin, and can deplete the natural oils that their coats need to stay healthy. Because the Berner’s coat is long and dense, they are likely to develop an odor. Regular bathing will help keep them smelling fresh.
We typically don’t recommend using an Anti-Shed formula unless you are brushing regularly and don’t see the results you need. Some Anti-Shed formulas contain harsh chemicals. Others do not. We recommend going this route only if you don’t see less fur around your home after a very regimented brushing routine. Use a natural or oatmeal dog shampoo for regular bathing to keep your Berner’s coat healthy.
Most dog owners completely ignore diet when it comes to coat health. But diet is one of the “lower hanging fruits” you can go after as a pet parent. Ensuring the dog food your pup eats is high in Omega Fatty Acids, will go a long way to helping ensure their coats stay healthy and shiny. It can take up to a month to start seeing the effects of premium dog food on your pup’s coat health. We’d recommend looking at grain-free foods like some of the premium formulas by Taste of the Wild to help keep your Berner’s coat healthy.
If your pup hasn’t responded to a change in diet, supplements are always an option. Usually for skin and coat health, a good Omega fatty acids supplement is all you need. There are many brands that create skin and coat health chewable dog supplements, and we’d recommend using these for ease of use. You can also consider shooting a few squirts of liquid Omega fatty acids on your dog’s dry food to make it a little tastier while boosting their nutrient intake.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you still have some unanswered questions when it comes to fur management? Below are some of the most commonly asked questions when it comes to Berner shedding habits.
Which tool is best to help keep my Berner’s fur out of my house?
A wire brush will be your best friend. During shedding season, as mentioned, consider looking at a Deshedding tool to help keep their blown coat outdoors and not on your clothing.
Do Berers shed all year?
Yes, this breed sheds all year and there’s really no way to avoid it. Fortunately, it’s easily managed by following the tips that we’ve outlined above. Also as mentioned, Berners shed more in the summer and winter, so expect to spend more time doing grooming duty at that time of year.
Why is my Berner shedding more than normal?
Stress and anxiety are two of the top non-seasonal shedding reasons for just about any breed. So if you are outside the shedding season and noticing more dog fur around your house, make sure there’s been no recent routine change or added stress around your house. If you have concerns, or your dog is acting different, seek out the advice of your veterinarian.
When is Bernese Mountain Dog shedding season?
As mentioned before, shedding season is year-round, with the heaviest months coming in early summer and early winter. Your Berner will be either growing thicker hair to keep themselves warm underneath, or shedding some of it to stay cool.
If you are considering a Bernese Mountain Dog as your next family pet, don’t let their shedding habits get in your way. They are excellent family companions, that get along well with most other pets and with all children. With some daily consistency, your Berner’s coat can be kept under control, and your house can be blissfully fur free.