How long is the lifespan of a Bernese mountain dog? Expert Advice

What Factors Determine the Lifespan of a Bernese Mountain Dog?

Yes, a lot of factors are related to years lived by Bernese Mountain dogs. Some of these factors include nutrition, environment and hereditary factors, which are often related to breeding and genetics.

Nearly 50% of Bernese Mountain Dogs pass away from canine cancer. This is a much higher percentage than dogs as a whole; it is typically closer to a 27% average of all dogs that pass from cancer.

Cancer is often due to hereditary causes, as are other medical issues like:

  • Hereditary eye diseases, which are common to larger breeds of dogs
  • Arthritis
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Cruciate ligament rupture
  • It is important to know that issues like this can start younger in a Bernese Mountain Dog, such as the onset of arthritis at even 4 years of age.

    How Breeders are Working to Lengthen Lifespan

    Many breeders are evaluating ways to increase the life of the average purebred Bernese Mountain Dog. A key way that they do this is through reducing the number of dogs bred with a predisposition toward cancer.

    Why Do Some Bernese Mountain Dogs Live Longer Than Others?

    Certain life factors can play a role in the lifespan of a Bernese Mountain dog. For instance, the cleanliness of their environment can impact their health as time goes on. Here are a few other factors to consider.

    What a Bernese Mountain dog eats plays a large role in their health and overall lifespan. If their diet is lacking in nutrition, their bodies cannot fight off viruses and other ailments. They cannot ensure that cancer cells will stay at bay.

    These dogs need high-quality kibble loaded with real meat ingredients, whole grains, and fruits and veggies. They can also eat fresh fruits and veggies like apple pieces, pears, carrots, and greens as snacks to enhance their ability to fight off cancer and other health problems.

    Short Life Expectancy of Bernese Mountain Dogs

    Background: New regulations by the Swiss Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office provide for the monitoring of breed health by Swiss breeding clubs. In collaboration with the Swiss Bernese Mountain Dog Club, the purpose of this study was to investigate the causes of death in purebred dogs registered by the club and born in 2001 and 2002.

    Results: Of a total of 1290 Bernese mountain dogs (BMDs) born in 2001 and 2002 in Switzerland, data was collected from owners and veterinarians using a questionnaire designed for this study from 389 dogs (30.2 %). By the end of the study, 381/389 dogs (97.9 %) had died. The median life expectancy of all dogs was 8.4 years (IQR, 6.9-9.7). Female dogs had a significantly longer median survival (8.8 years; IQR, 7.1-10.3) than male dogs (7.7 years; IQR, 6.6-9.3) (P < 0.00). The cause of death was unknown in 89/381 dogs (23.4 %). For the remaining dogs, the most frequent causes of death were neoplasia (222/381, 58.3 %), degenerative joint disease (16/381, 4.2 %), spinal disorders (13/381, 3.4 %), renal injury (12/381, 3.1 %), and gastric or mesenteric volvulus (7/381, 1.8 %). However, large numbers of dogs were diagnosed with neoplasia without histopathologic or cytologic confirmation. Dogs with neoplasms had a shorter median survival than dogs with other disorders. The shortest median survival (6.8 years) was found for dogs with renal injury.

    Conclusions: Findings of this study confirm a high prevalence of neoplasia and associated low life expectancy in BMDs. The results underline a need for more widespread precise diagnostics and further research on malignant tumours in this breed to improve overall breed health.