Sunday, April 3, 2016

My Case for my Love-able Great Bernese

Lazy Sunday afternoon! Sunny and Denali
Today in the Livestock Guardian Dogs group on Facebook, a heated debate broke out about what they were calling "mutts, " LGD, nonLGD mixes.  I did tactfully, give my opinion on this subject. Trust me, it was not easy!  I did my research before getting an LGD/nonLGD mix.  For the haters out there, Berners are very intelligent, easily trained, AND were originally bred as working farm dogs.    

Herding can be a rewarding activity for dog and handler, an activity that brings back the heritage of the Bernese Mountain Dog. The Bernese, an all-purpose farm dog from the heart of chocolate- and cheese-producing rural Switzerland, historically and to this day helps in the daily chores of these alpine farms. Duties such as rotating stock among pastures, bringing dairy cows and goats in twice daily for milking, supervising grazing and guarding the farm were among the daily chores. Aiding in the delivery of livestock, milk, cream, and eggs to market were among the weekly duties. The skills required for some of these duties were also in demand by drovers routinely delivering cattle to town markets and by butchers moving livestock around their stockyards. Many Bernese are still performing some of these duties today. Many others possess the ability to work with and around livestock, even if only as hobby herders.*

I've found that crossing a Great Pyrenees with a Bernese Mountain Dog has created a loving, intelligent guard dog.  Despite Sunny's love for fence hopping, he is incredibly easy to train.  He picks up on commands within a few lessons and retains them with lags in his training.  Sunny and Pearl's pups are remarkable dogs as well.  Jojo would have been a fabulous LGD if I hadn't decided to keep her a house dog.  There are some true LGD that actually make terrible guardians.  It really is a crap shoot as to what you get.  I think the most important lesson to learn is to research dog breeds thoroughly before you add a new dog to the family.  This definitely helps find the best breed to fit your needs.       

*Compliments of the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America

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