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The Bernese mountain dog's coat was crafted with this breed's needs in mind. Raised  in in the canton of Bern, one of the 26 cantons forming the Swiss Confederation, this breed needed a suitable coat considering the weather of these mountainous regions.

With a history of droving herds of cattle, pulling carts, and guarding farmyards from potential predators, Bernese mountain dogs required a coat that was adapted for these tasks.

The Standard Bernese Mountain Dog's Coat

According to the American Kennel Club's Standard, the Bernese mountain dogs has a striking tri-colored coat that is thick, moderately long and slightly wavy or straight.

 The ideal coat should not be extremely curly or extremely dull-looking, and it should present with a bright natural sheen. 

As with other dog breeds selectively bred to work in cold climates, Bernese mountain dogs are blessed with a double coat. 

The double coat consists of a dense and long outer coat meant to protect from the harsh effects of the elements, and a soft insulating wool-like inner coat meant to keep the dog warm.

Did you know? A dog's thick and long guard hairs are typically oily which helps with water proofing. These hairs basically help prevent water from getting deep down into the inner coat and onto the skin. 

Like a slate roof, when it rains, water is transported away from the dog's body dropping down onto the sides of the dog. 

This explains why many dog breeds with double coats have longer and thicker hair around the shoulders- these act as an umbrella. 

On top of this, a dog's guard hairs can be raised when dogs feel threatened, aroused or scared in a similar fashion as the phenomenon of getting goose bumps in humans. In dogs, this is known as 'raising the hackles'. 

The longer guard hairs around the neck/shoulder areas allow rain to fall off, protecting the inner coat and skin.

The longer guard hairs around the neck/shoulder areas allow rain to fall off, protecting the inner coat and skin.

Bernese Mountain Dog Coat Colors 

When it comes to the Bernese mountain dog's coat color, it is described as being jet black in the background with rich rust and clear white markings.

More specifically, the markings are expected to consists of two rust markings over each eye, then more rust markings on the cheeks, each side of the chest, all four legs, and under the tail. 

A white blaze (marking that extends from the nose to over the muzzle, between the eyes) and a white muzzle band (white marking around the muzzle) is expected on the face. 

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White markings are also expected on the tip of the tail, possibly covering the low portion of the feet (not higher than the pasterns) and in the chest area where the white typically forms the shape of a cross (the so-called "white Swiss cross").

Bernese Mountain Dog Coat Care 

With a history of droving herds of cattle, pulling carts, and guarding farmyards from potential predators, Bernese mountain dogs required a coat that was adapted for these tasks. 

Fortunately, this breed's coat is rather easy to keep clean as it easily sheds dirt. Twice or trice a week combing can help keep the coat clean and tidy. 

If you notice any tangles, these can be worked out by using a slicker brush or metal comb.

Bernese Mountain Dog's Coat Shedding 

Yes, the Bernese mountain dogs sheds a lot, especially during peak shedding season, that is, in the spring and fall when these dogs "blow" their coats. During these times, daily brushing can help to remove loose hair.

If you are planning to adopt a Bernese mountain dog, then make sure to arm yourself with important tools. Employ an undercoat grooming rake to remove loose hairs, invest in a Dyson to vacuum all the tumbleweeds of hairs and equip yourself with plenty of lint rolls to collect any hairs stuck on your clothes. 

Best of all, don't toss all the shed hairs; rather, put them out in the yard for the birds as they'll use them up to make bird nests. 

Did you know? Bernese mountain dogs virtually shed year-round. They tend to shed moderately all year and then heavily in the spring and fall.

Should a Bernese Mountain Dog's Coat Be Shaved in the Summer?

The answer is a big no. As much as shaving the coat may seem to make sense once the dog days of summer are approaching, the truth is, a Bernese mountain dog's coat should never be cut unless your veterinarian suggests that for medical reasons. 

The only other reason is if, upon bring your Bernese mountain dog to a groomer, he or she finds that he is severely matted to the point where there’s no other humane option.

The reason why a Bernese mountain dog's coat should not be shaved in the summer is because the coat plays an important role protecting these dogs' skin from insect bites and harmful sun rays which may predispone to skin cancer. 

Start Good Coat Care Early

It's a good idea to start accustoming your Bernese mountain dogs to being groomed from an early age, ideally as a puppy.

 Create positive associations with being brushed, bathed and having his paws handled.  Make grooming a fun and positive experience your puppy looks forward to and you'll lay the groundwork for easy handling and fuss-free visits to the groomer and veterinarian's office. 

Here is a guide on easy and fun handling exercises for puppies

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