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‘Berner’ Lovers Work to Beat Health Issues

Because of their calm nature and love of people, Bernese Mountain Dogs, affectionately called “Berners,” have become increasingly popular. Along with that popularity has come an increased focus on maintaining the health of this breed.

The Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America (BMDCA) and its affiliate Berner-Garde Foundation aggressively support ongoing research pertaining to Bernese Mountain Dogs. The average life of a Berner is seven to eight years, and Berner-Garde’s mission is to expand that life expectancy to 12 to 14 years. They are working to do so by gathering information regarding genetic traits in Bernese Mountain Dogs and helping breeders reduce genetic disease while still breeding for good temperament and type.

The BMDCA is also highly dedicated to scientific research to improve the breed, which is why the club began sponsoring health studies through Morris Animal Foundation in 2007. In just a few years’ time, the BMDCA has donated more than $27,000. Now, they’ve upped their commitment by donating $20,000 to set up a fund dedicated to co-sponsoring additional studies that will help the breed.

Every breed has its health issues, and Bernese are no different. Health issues that affect this breed include hip and elbow dysplasia, cancer (particularly hemangiosarcoma and histiocytic sarcoma, or soft-tissue tumors), bloat, subaortic stenosis, autoimmune diseases, skin and coat problems, thyroid disorders and eye disorders. Of particular concern is cancer because both types that affect this breed are aggressive and almost always fatal. These cancers are currently so prevalent that owners say that anyone who has had more than one Bernese Mountain Dog will likely have been affected, which is why the groups are so devoted to funding scientific research.

So far the BMDCA has supported nine studies through Morris Animal Foundation to improve the health of Berners. Most recently, the club has co-sponsored studies on hemangiosarcoma, osteoarthritis, cranial cruciate ligament disease and histiocytic sarcoma.

Morris Animal Foundation thanks the club for its commitment to keeping this breed healthy. To donate specifically to this fund, call us or mail a check to Morris Animal Foundation along with a note designating the gift for the BMDCA Fund #306.


Posted by MAFon September 26, 2011.

Categories: Dog health

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Submitted by Judy Dhuse at: March 25, 2012
Just lost my 7 year old BMD to hystiocytic sarcoma. What an ugly aggressive disease!!!!!
Submitted by Judy Dhuse at: October 17, 2011
I have 3 Bernese Mountain dogs one has severe allergy issues and theother two have moderate. One is also battling mast cell and hystiocytic sarcoma. I appreciate all the wok the Morris Animal Foundation and the BMDCA is doing for these wonderful dogs!