Many people are interested in the Bernese Mountain Dog because of its unique history and friendly, easy-going temperament.
However, the Bernese Mountain Dog does get to be quite large when it is full-grown.
In fact, many people who would otherwise love to own a dog from this breed find that their living situation (e.g., a small apartment) cannot accommodate such a large dog.
Thankfully, the Mini Bernese Mountain Dog breed has been created specifically for people in this situation.
It retains the look and temperament of the full-size breed, but it is much smaller.
Read on to find out more information about the Mini Bernese Mountain Dog.
How Bernese Mountain Dogs Become Mini Bernese Mountain Dogs
One look at the significant size difference between a full-size Bernese Mountain Dog and a Mini Bernese while naturally raise the question of how such a large breed can turn into a relatively small breed.
There are two ways that this miniaturization can happen.
Crossbreeding is by far the most common, but dwarfism is not unheard of in this breed.
Just like humans, dogs can get dwarfism through a genetic mutation.
A few Bernese Mountain Dogs have been documented with dwarfism, which makes them similar in size to a Mini Bernese Mountain Dog.
However, this genetic mutation is rate, and most breeders do not consider Bernese Mountain Dogs with dwarfism to be true Mini Bernese Mountain Dogs.
It is also worth noting that dogs with dwarfism cannot pass down this trait, as it is a genetic mutation rather than an ingrained trait.
Crossbreeding is by far the most common way that Bernese Mountain Dogs become Mini Bernese dogs.
Usually, a full-size Bernese Mountain Dog is bred with a King Charles Spaniel.
The King Charles Spaniel has similar coloring but is much smaller than the Bernese, leading to offspring that look like miniature versions of the Bernese.
Breeders will then have the offspring of crossbreeding breed with other litters that were similarly conceived.
The King Charles Spaniel is not the only smaller dog that is bred with the Bernese to create the Mini Bernese.
The Miniature Poodle is also bred with the Bernese to create the Mini Bernese.
However, this is not as popular for two reasons.
First, most Miniature Poodles do not have similar coloration to the Bernese.
Second, a Miniature Poodle’s curly coat does not resemble the Bernese’s straight coat.
Sometimes, Mini Bernese bred from a full-size Bernese and a Miniature Poodle have this curly coat, which some potential owners find undesirable.
A full-size Bernese Mountain Dog can reach 100 pounds at adulthood, making it a very large breed.
A Mini Bernese Mountain Dog, on the other hand, weighs around 11 – 17 pounds when fully grown.
It is only around 12 inches tall at the shoulder.
In fact, an adult Mini Bernese Mountain Dog is about the same size as a puppy from the full-size breed.
Mini Bernese Mountain Dogs tend to have fairly similar coloration, with each dog typically having some combination of black, white, and brown markings.
While dogs from this breed may look somewhat alike, you will be able to tell them apart as the specific markings are unique to each dog.
Smaller dog breeds generally have shorter lifespans than larger breeds, and this is the case with the Mini Bernese Mountain Dog.
Its average lifespan ranges from 7-10 years. Unfortunately, this relatively short lifespan is due to some common health problems seen in the breed.
Perhaps the most common serious health problem that is seen in the Mini Bernese Mountain Dog is Mitral Valve Disease.
This heart disease causes one of the dog’s heart valves to leak, and it can eventually lead to serious complications.
The Mini Bernese Mountain Dog also frequently struggles with joint problems.
You should have your vet regularly check your dog’s heart and joints.
The Mini Bernese Mountain Dog, much like its full-size counterpart, is known for having a very mellow temperament.
This makes it an ideal dog for families, including families with small children.
The Mini Bernese Mountain Dog is less hyper-active than many smaller dogs, perhaps because the breed originates as a larger animal.
It is common for the Mini Bernese Mountain Dog to spend several hours napping per day, which makes it suitable for a home in which it will not get much exercise during the day.
However, the Mini Bernese Mountain Dog will need to be accustomed to being left alone during the day, as it can be a bit clingy until it gets accustomed to owners leaving during the day.
One of the best parts about the Mini Bernese Mountain Dog’s temperament is that it loves being around people.
It will generally be friendly toward strangers, rather than shy and wary like many breeds.
They are also very affectionate toward their owners.
This breed is quite intelligent and well-disciplined, making them very easy to train.
It still might be a good idea to enroll the dog in a training course, however.
These courses are most effective when the dog is still a puppy.
Does the Mini Bernese Mountain Dog Get Along With Other Pets?
So we’ve stated that the Mini Bernese Mountain Dog gets along well with both its owners and strangers, but how does it interact with other pets?
Thankfully, the Mini Bernese Mountain Dog gets along well with other pets, especially other dogs.
In fact, they may be happier with another dog, as they will have a constant playmate.
Mini Bernese Mountain Dogs can even get along well with cats.
However, the Mini Bernese Mountain Dog should be acclimated to cats at a young age if you plan on having both pets at the same time.
Mini Bernese Mountain Dogs are not hunting dogs, so you can have a rabbit or another small pet without worrying about your dog attacking it.
Exercising Your Mini Bernese Mountain Dog
Mini Bernese Mountain Dogs aren’t the most energetic pets, but they still need to be exercised regularly.
Experts suggest that you exercise your Mini Bernese Mountain Dog for at least 1 hour per day.
Many owners like to take their dogs to dog parks.
As the Mini Bernese Mountain Dog is friendly with other dogs and obedient, it does quite well at dog parks.
It is unlikely that it will run off to chase a squirrel or the like as it does not have a strong prey drive.
Grooming Best Practices
Mini Bernese Mountain Dogs do need regular grooming, as do most dogs.
However, it is not a particularly high-maintenance breed.
The Bernese Mountain Dog was originally bred for cold temperatures, so it has a thick coat.
This means that it sheds, especially in hot climates.
If you brush your dog once a week, you will be able to get most of the shed hair before it gets all over your home.
The Mini Bernese Mountain Dog does need to be bathed, but not very often.
Once a week is fine.
They usually wear down their nails themselves, but you may occasionally need to clip them.
Sometimes, a Mini Bernese’s eyes will get clogged with gunk.
If this happens, all you have to do is to gently wipe their eyes with a moist tissue.
The Ideal Home of a Mini Bernese Mountain Dog
While Mini Bernese Mountain Dogs can thrive in a wide variety of situations, there are a few important variables that will go a long way toward determining your pet’s quality of life.
They tend to do better in colder climates due to their thick fur.
Also, even Mini Bernese Mountain Dogs like to run around a lot, so they’ll be happier in a home with a yard.
The Mini Bernese is good with children, though it does like to roughhouse when it plays.
This means that it is not suitable for families with very young children.
Should You Get a Bernese Mountain Dog?
The Bernese Mountain Dog could be a good choice of pet as long as you understand what sort of conditions they like.
If you are planning to live in a cooler climate and to get your dog plenty of exercise, a Mini Bernese is a great choice.
The Mini Bernese may not be the right choice for families with babies or toddlers, but it will do well with older children that can play with the dog.