When it comes to large and impressive dog breeds, the Great Dane and the Bernese Mountain Dog are often at the top of the list. These magnificent breeds are known for their size, strength, and gentle nature. If you’re considering adding a large dog to your family, it’s essential to understand the characteristics, temperament, and care requirements of each breed.
In this blog post, we will compare and contrast the Great Dane and the Bernese Mountain Dog, shedding light on their unique qualities and helping you make an informed decision.
Great Dane vs Bernese Mountain Dog Comparison
Great Dane vs Bernese Mountain Dog: History and Origins
The Great Dane, also known as the Deutsche Dogge or German Mastiff, has a rich history that can be traced back to ancient Egypt, where similar-looking dogs were depicted in the artwork. However, the modern breed as we know it today originated in Germany. Great Danes were initially bred for hunting large game, including boars.
Over time, they transitioned into noble companions and guard dogs. They gained popularity across Europe and eventually made their way to other parts of the world. Great Danes have served as working dogs, war dogs, and beloved family pets throughout history.
Bernese Mountain Dog
The Bernese Mountain Dog, or Berner Sennenhund, hails from the Swiss Alps and has a long history of working alongside Swiss farmers and herders. They were originally bred as versatile working dogs, responsible for herding cattle, pulling carts, and guarding properties.
The breed’s ancestors likely include Roman mastiffs and Swiss farm dogs. Bernese Mountain Dogs gained recognition in the late 19th century and were imported to other countries, primarily for their exceptional working abilities and gentle temperament. Today, they are beloved companions and popular show dogs worldwide.
Great Dane vs Bernese Mountain Dog: Appearance and Characteristics
The Great Dane is a true giant in the dog world. They are known for their imposing size and muscular build. Great Danes have a square-shaped body, with a deep chest and a powerful presence. They have a sleek, short coat that comes in various colors, including fawn, brindle, black, blue, and harlequin.
Their heads are proportionate to their bodies, with a distinctive square-shaped muzzle. Great Danes have long, floppy ears and expressive, gentle eyes. Despite their size, they are known for their graceful and elegant movement.
Bernese Mountain Dog
The Bernese Mountain Dog is a large, sturdy breed with a well-balanced and robust build. They have a strong, muscular body and a slightly longer-than-tall body structure. Berners have a thick double coat that provides insulation in cold weather.
Their coat is predominantly black, with distinctive white markings on the chest, muzzle, and legs. They also have rust-colored markings above their eyes and on their cheeks. Bernese Mountain Dogs have a broad head with a straight or slightly arched muzzle. Their eyes are dark and expressive, exuding a gentle and friendly demeanor.
Great Dane vs Bernese Mountain Dog: Temperament
Despite their imposing size, Great Danes are known for their friendly and gentle nature. They are typically affectionate and enjoy being part of the family. Great Danes are often described as “gentle giants” and are generally good with children and other pets when properly socialized.
They can be quite sensitive and crave human companionship. While they make loyal and loving family pets, Great Danes can also be protective and make excellent watchdogs. It’s important to note that due to their size, they require early and consistent training to ensure they grow into well-behaved adults.
The Bernese Mountain Dog is renowned for its calm and friendly temperament. They are generally good-natured, patient, and affectionate, making them excellent family dogs. Berners are known to be great with children and get along well with other pets. They are highly social and thrive on human companionship.
Bernese Mountain Dogs are also intelligent and eager to please, which makes them relatively easy to train. They have a strong desire to be part of the family’s activities and can develop separation anxiety if left alone for extended periods. Early socialization and consistent positive reinforcement training are crucial to help them grow into well-adjusted and well-behaved adults.
Great Dane vs Bernese Mountain Dog: Health
Great Danes, like many giant breeds, have some specific health concerns that potential owners should be aware of. One significant issue is their susceptibility to various joint and bone problems, such as hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia. These conditions can cause pain, lameness, and mobility issues.
Great Danes are also prone to bloat or gastric torsion, a life-threatening condition where the stomach twists upon itself. Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and feeding smaller, more frequent meals can help reduce the risk of bloat. Additionally, Great Danes have a shorter lifespan compared to smaller breeds, with an average life expectancy of 6 to 8 years. Responsible breeders perform health screenings and genetic testing to minimize the risk of these issues.
Bernese Mountain Dogs, while generally a healthy breed, are also prone to certain health concerns. One common issue is hip dysplasia, a genetic condition that affects the hip joints and can cause pain and mobility problems. Elbow dysplasia and certain types of cancers, including mast cell tumors and histiocytic sarcoma, are also seen in the breed.
Bernese Mountain Dogs are also prone to developing certain hereditary eye diseases, such as progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) and cataracts. Additionally, they have a relatively short average lifespan of about 7 to 9 years. Responsible breeders perform health screenings, including hip and elbow evaluations, eye examinations, and genetic testing, to help reduce the risk of these conditions.
Great Dane vs Bernese Mountain Dog: Trainability
Great Danes are generally intelligent dogs, but their trainability can vary. Some individuals may be eager to please and quick learners, while others may be more independent and stubborn. Early socialization and obedience training are essential for Great Danes to ensure they grow into well-behaved adults. Positive reinforcement methods, such as rewards and praise, work best with this breed.
They respond well to consistency, patience, and gentle guidance. It’s important to start training and socialization from a young age to help them develop good manners and become well-rounded members of the family. While Great Danes may not excel in advanced obedience or agility training, they can learn basic commands and make excellent companions with proper training and socialization.
Bernese Mountain Dog
Bernese Mountain Dogs are known for their willingness to please and their cooperative nature, which makes them generally easy to train. They are intelligent dogs that quickly pick up on commands and enjoy the training process. Positive reinforcement methods, such as treats, praise, and play, are highly effective with Berners. They are sensitive dogs and can become anxious or fearful if exposed to harsh training techniques or negative reinforcement.
Early socialization and obedience training are crucial to help them become well-mannered and confident dogs. Bernese Mountain Dogs often excel in activities such as obedience, tracking, and carting. Their willingness to learn and their desire to be part of the family makes them a joy to train.
Great Dane vs Bernese Mountain Dog: Adaptability
Great Danes are generally adaptable to different living situations, including apartments, as long as their exercise needs are met. However, their large size means they require ample space to move around comfortably. They are not well-suited for hot climates due to their sensitivity to heat. Great Danes are also prone to certain health issues, such as joint problems and bloat, which may affect their overall adaptability.
Additionally, their short coat provides minimal insulation, so they may need extra protection in cold weather. While they are adaptable to different family dynamics, including households with children and other pets, it’s important to provide them with a consistent routine, mental stimulation, and exercise to ensure their well-being.
Bernese Mountain Dog
Bernese Mountain Dogs are generally adaptable and can do well in various living situations. However, their large size means they require ample space to move around comfortably, so a house with a securely fenced yard is ideal. They have a thick double coat that provides insulation, allowing them to tolerate colder climates better than hot ones. Berners are known for their love of being around people and can adapt well to different family dynamics.
They generally get along well with children and other pets when properly socialized. However, they may have a tendency to be clingy and suffer from separation anxiety if left alone for extended periods. Providing them with regular exercise, mental stimulation, and social interaction is crucial to their overall adaptability and well-being.
Great Dane vs Bernese Mountain Dog: Nutrition
Great Danes have unique nutritional needs due to their size and potential health issues. They require a high-quality, balanced diet that provides appropriate levels of protein, fat, and carbohydrates to support their growth, muscle development, and overall health. It’s crucial to feed them a diet specifically formulated for large and giant breed dogs to ensure proper bone and joint development.
Great Danes are prone to bloat, so it’s important to divide their meals into smaller, more frequent portions and avoid feeding them immediately before or after exercise. Additionally, maintaining a healthy weight is essential to minimize stress on their joints. Regular consultation with a veterinarian can help determine the appropriate portion sizes and dietary requirements for Great Danes.
Bernese Mountain Dog
Bernese Mountain Dogs require a nutritious and well-balanced diet to support their growth, activity levels, and overall health. High-quality dog food formulated for large breeds is recommended to provide the necessary nutrients, including protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals. Berners have a tendency to gain weight, so portion control is important to prevent obesity and related health issues.
Avoid overfeeding or free-feeding, and instead, establish a regular feeding schedule. It’s also important to monitor their calorie intake and adjust their diet as they age or if their activity levels change. Regular veterinary check-ups can help ensure their nutritional needs are being met and provide guidance on any specific dietary requirements based on their individual health and lifestyle.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Great Danes good with children?
Great Danes are generally good with children when properly socialized. They have a gentle and patient nature, but their large size should be monitored around young children to prevent accidental knocks or falls.
Do Bernese Mountain Dogs shed a lot?
Yes, Bernese Mountain Dogs have a thick double coat and shed moderately throughout the year. Regular grooming and brushing can help manage shedding and keep their coat healthy.
Are Great Danes good guard dogs?
Great Danes have a protective instinct and can make good watchdogs, alerting their owners to potential threats. However, they are typically more friendly than aggressive and may not be the best choice for a highly protective guard dog.
Do Bernese Mountain Dogs require a lot of exercises?
Bernese Mountain Dogs are a moderately active breed and require regular exercise to keep them physically and mentally stimulated. Daily walks, playtime, and mental enrichment activities are important for their overall well-being.
Can Bernese Mountain Dogs live in apartments?
While Bernese Mountain Dogs can adapt to apartment living, they are large dogs and require ample space to move around comfortably. Access to a securely fenced yard is ideal for their exercise and play needs.
Are Great Danes easy to train?
Great Danes can be trainable, but their trainability can vary. They are intelligent dogs but may have a stubborn streak. Positive reinforcement training methods and early socialization are key to their training success.