One of the most asked questions from Bernese Mountain Dog owners is whether or not their Berner is the correct weight.
Most owners worry that their BMD puppy is underweight or too skinny, meanwhile for the adults, whether they are overweight or not.
Not All Berners Grow At The Same Rate
I think it’s really important to state that Bernese Mountain Dogs don’t all grow at the same rate.
This is due to many factors including diet, lifestyle, but primarily genetics. Still, most owners naturally compare their BMD puppy to another and then worry about the weight of their own puppy… Comparing is very misleading!
After having spoken to countless Berner owners on this very subject, the first thing they say is not to compare.
Followed by the fact that if you’re worrying that your puppy is underweight when next to another BMD puppy that’s bigger but at the same age, more than likely, the other puppy is overweight! This is true more times than not.
Additionally, Bernese Mountain Dogs are exceptionally SLOW growers! Physical maturity (weight and height) can take upwards of 2-3 years to achieve. And this is actually a good thing! More on this later.
I thought this was essential to start with and has hopefully eased some nerves.
Psst! A quick word on training. So many owners are praising Brain Training For Dogs we’ve got to mention it. Owners are reporting improved obedience and behavior quicker than anything else they’ve tried. We highly recommend checking it out.
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Is Your Bernese Mountain Dog Underweight?
The majority of owners are worried that their puppy or adult is underweight rather than overweight, so let’s look at that first.
How To Know:
● You should not be able to feel his back/spine easily
● You should feel the ribs when light pressure is applied (not without pressure)
● Don’t judge him by his thick fur! Always feel his body to gauge him
● Don’t get caught up with the numbers on the scales!
How much should a Bernese Mountain Puppy weigh?
Here are a few average ranges with the lows and highs: Keep in mind, all puppies are different!
● 0-4 Months: 0-40 lbs – (0-18 kg)
● 4-6 Months: 40-65 lbs – (18-29 kg)
● 6-10 Months: 55-80 lbs – (24-36 kg)
● 10-14 Months: 70-100 lbs – (29-45 kg)
As you can see from those figures, the average “acceptable” weight ranges are exceptionally wide for Bernese Mountain Dogs.
Don’t worry too much about what the scales say (unless it’s a dramatic number)
● It’s far better to go by how your Berner puppy looks and feels
● If you feel like you don’t have a “good hand” then your veterinarian can certainly help
What to take away from this?
Well, considering the above, the chances are that your Berner is actually okay and there isn’t too much to worry about.
But, I would say, that if you can very easily feel her ribs when you run your hand down her side, or you can feel her spine AND she is very low on the scales, it’s likely that she’s underweight. More on what to do later.
I came across this body score chart and found it helpful. Although it’s not extremely accurate, it helps you to understand what a dog’s body should look like at different weights. Of course, minus the thick fur of the Berner. From First Vet
Is Your Bernese Mountain Dog Overweight?
Overweight issues are more likely to happen in adults compared to puppies, but still, these tips and guidelines can be applied to both young and older BMDs.
⭐ Looking at and feeling your Berner is still better than using the scales:
● You SHOULD be able to feel the ribs when light-medium pressure is applied
● If you CANT feel the ribs at all even with firm pressure, that’s an indication of being overweight
● He should be able to run and move freely without his mobility being compromised (assuming good joint health)
● Don’t be fooled by his thick fur!
Although somewhat vague, this guideline can give you an idea of the side profile of an IDEAL weight (adult) (based on looks). Again, the fur can be misleading and actually make it look like your BMD is much beefier than he or she really is.
⭐ The upper end of the weight range for PUPPIES:
If your puppy is OVER the weights below for each age, he could be overweight.
● 0-4 Months: 40 lbs (18 kg)
● 4-6 Months: 65 lbs (29 kg)
● 6-10 Months: 80 lbs (36 kg)
● 10-14 Months: 100 lbs (45 kg)
⭐ The upper end of the weight range for ADULTS:
If your adult is OVER this weight, it could mean he’s overweight.
● 3-4 years old: 140 lbs (63 kg) Males
● 3-4 years old: 120 lbs (54 kg) Females
But still, some Berners have extra-large frames, especially males so it all depends on his overall size and height, which again, can produce misleading numbers on the scales.
You can also gauge this by your Berners mobility, existing health, looks, and energy levels. If you suspect that your BMD is overweight then a trip to veterinarians should be your priority.
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Bernese Mountain Dog Growth Chart
It can certainly be useful to have a rough guideline of what weight your Berner puppy should be, for what age he or she is.
But I can’t stress enough the importance of only using this as a guide. Breed averages don’t take into consideration YOUR Berner’s bloodline, genetics, litter size, diet, lifestyle, and health… All of which affect growth rate and weight.
|Age||Male Average Weight||Female Average Weight|
|Month 2-4||20-40 lbs||15-35 lbs|
|Month 4-6||40-65 lbs||35-55 lbs|
|Month 6-8||55-70 lbs||45-65 lbs|
|Month 8-10||65-80 lbs||55-70 lbs|
|Month 10-12||70-90 lbs||65-80 lbs|
|Month 12-14||90-100 lbs||80-90 lbs|
|Month 14-16||100-105 lbs||90-100 lbs|
|Month 16 +||105-130 lbs||100-115 lbs|
Berners Take a Long Time To Physically Mature
Bernese Mountain Dogs aren’t like other breeds when it comes to their growth rate.
Berners take around 2-3 years and some even longer to fully mature and reach their full height and adult weight!
They are known to be SLOW growers and that’s a good thing! This slow growth allows their bones, joints, and muscles to properly develop before they need to carry around so much weight. And for a breed prone to joint issues, that’s very important.
Due to being such slow growers, it only adds to the confusion for owners when their pup appears to be smaller/skinnier than they had expected. Most owners know that Berners grow to be big, but not many know just how long it takes to get there.
The key takeaway from this is to be patient. And that’s not coming from me, that’s from all of the Berner owners who I’ve spoken to over the years about this topic. They all mention the fact that Berners are slow growers, and most of the time, it’s about being patient and hanging on in there. The weight will come.
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What To Do If Your Berner Is Under or Overweight
So, if by now you are still confident that your Berner puppy or adult is, in fact, underweight or overweight, then what should you do?
Your first priority should be to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. As there is a wide variety of health issues that affect weight, it’s always recommended to have a check-up with your veterinarian. Your Berner’s weight issue could be a symptom of something that’s currently unknown to you. It’s always best to play it safe.
⭐ Things that could cause your Berner to be UNDERWEIGHT:
● Not receiving a sufficient enough portion of food
● Incorrect amount of overall calories (similar to above)
● Low-quality food not offering sufficient nutrition
● Any kind of food refusal will lead to insufficient calorie intake
● The food might not be digesting properly (maldigestion or malabsorption of nutrients)
● Too much exercise (burning too many calories)
● Health issues such as parasites, inflammatory bowel disease, pulmonary conditions, or more.
⭐ Things that could cause your Berner to be OVERWEIGHT:
● Receiving too many high-calorie treats as well as kibble
● Receiving table scraps
● Receiving a bigger portion of kibble than necessary
● Inactivity and/or lack of exercise
● Receiving kibble that’s too high in carbohydrates (high protein and fat is better)
● Health issues such as hypothyroidism and Cushing’s disease
All in all, most issues with weight, will be due to either diet, exercise, or underlying health issues…
Calories in versus calories out is the underlying principle to either weight loss or weight gain. And there are many things that can affect that. Many of which were outlined just above.
Other than that, it’s may come down to an underlying health issue that only your veterinarian will be able to diagnose. That’s why it’s crucial to schedule a check-up.
Do you have an under or overweight Berner? Let me know! Share your details and I might be able to improve upon this post for future readers and owners going through the same problem!
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