Do Bernese Mountain Dogs Get Along With Cats?


Cats and dogs hate each other right? Well, not always, sometimes they can be friends. It depends upon a lot of factors including the personality of the dog, the cat’s personality, and how you train them. The breed of the dog and their underlying traits remains an important part. So do Bernese Mountain Dogs get along with cats?

Bernese Mountain Dogs can get along with cats with the proper training. They are a high energy breed which may make things difficult, and they might chase the cat without supervision. However, they also were raised to be shepherds which gives them a lot of positive traits that can go well with the house’s domestic feline.

While there are many general topics that can be thought of when determining a dog breeds’ compatibility with cats, there are also specific traits that only you the owner can know about your animals that play a large part.

The importance of a dog’s training cannot be denied. Do they listen to you when you tell them no? Are regular walks a part of their daily routine? This is very important especially with a high energy breed like the Bernese. Do they do well with leashes?

All of these things and many more determine whether a dog and cat will be monsters to each other or friends.

But there are also things like the specific personality of your cat that matters as well. Do you have an aggressive cat? Does the cat lash out even with little provocation? Or are they a sweet bundle of fur, prone to lazy naps by the fireplace?

Another thing to consider is are you introducing a puppy to a full-grown cat? or is it a kitten that you want to bring into a household with an old resident dog?

All of these things and many more aspects of dog and cat relationships will be discussed.

But first lets begin with the history of the Bernese Mountain Dog.

Breed History

In the canton of Bern, a part of beautiful Switzerland comes this large shepherd dog. The Bernese is actually one of four different types of a mother breed called Swiss Mountain Dogs. Of these four types, Bernese is the only one that posses long hair.

A strong sturdy hard-working livestock dog, the Bernese engaged in a variety of tasks for the family farm. Whether this is looking after livestock, or even sometimes just pulling the farmer’s cart on the way to the market. In whatever task they were asked they performed it with kindness and loyalty to their family.

It’s believed that this may have been their way of life for nearly 2000 years as potentially distant relatives of the fierce Roman Molosser dogs.

Bernese Mountain Dog Size

Size must be one of the most important considerations with a dog that’s going to live with a cat. A smaller dog will be roughly eye to eye with a cat, which will make the cat feel much safer. On the other hand, a larger dog has the chance of engaging the cats more defensive side, not to mention be much more capable of causing damage.

In this department, the Bernese lies on the larger side. The much larger side, weighing in on average at 80-120 pounds, with females coming in on the smaller side of that scale.

At this level of size difference, you will need to watch your dog and cats interact very carefully. Even if the dog doesn’t mean any harm, they might still hurt the cat just by accident. The risk of a play accident increases dramatically, so keep a sharp eye out.

Training Your Dog To Get Along With Cats

Having a high energy large dog like the Bernese requires consistent training and socialization. It’s most important that this takes place within the first 4 months of the dog’s life but it can and should happen throughout their life. Once you teach a dog something they will remember it for a long time but it can get rusty as time passes. So consistent reminders are a must.

Give Your Dog a Command Phrase

Let’s say your dog plays with your cat, and everything goes swimmingly until all of sudden your dogs starts getting too rough. Your cat lets out a crying mew and you know that you need to get involved. What do you do? What can you do?

Well right about now proves a great time for a command phrase. This is a word or series of words and sounds that let your dog know that they must stop what they are doing immediately. It can be whatever you choose, so long as your dog responds to it. A simple “no” can work fine, another popular one is “ack ack” which works just as well.

It’s best if it’s sharp and quick to the ears. Something that will create a gut-wrenching “whats that??” kind of response.

When you’re training your dog to respond to a command phrase, be consistent and reward them with a treat every time they correctly obey it. This might mean you may need to carry a pocket full of little dog biscuits, but if its what you need to do to keep your dog and cat safe, then that’s what you gotta do.

Seperate Feeding Areas

Food will probably be one of the main flashpoints between your cat and dog. During dinner times people are hungry and when people, or in this case animals are hungry then tempers can flare.

Stay proactive and get ahead of this problem before it gets worse by separating their feeding areas. Feed them at the same time just different places. Put the dog’s bowl somewhere on the ground and put that cats bowl up high. This way the dog can’t get to it. So your cat can eat in peace.

Of course, this doesn’t stop the cat from stealing a bit of the dog’s food. Annoying for sure, but cats don’t eat much and by the time the cat figures out where it is, it will probably be too late, already scarfed down by your dog.

Cats Need Places To Hide and Escape Hallways

Even if your cat and Bernese mountain dog get along pretty well, your dog still might bug the hell out of your cat from time to time. Annoyed cats aren’t friendly cats. A cat that’s annoyed could easily lash out and then you might have a fight on your hands.

So you need to give your cat an escape route and a place or places to hide. That way you can evacuate from a situation that makes them uncomfortable. The more your cat feels in control generally the better they will act around the dog.

Dedicate a room to your cat where the dog isn’t allowed in. This could be a bedroom, laundry room, or a hallway. Block off your dog from the area using a child-gate or something better you find. Still, with a Bernese Mountain Dog, they could easily push a gate down or force their way in.

So you will also need to make sure that your dog understands that that’s not okay. If your dog tries to knock the child-gate down reprimand them.

As much as possible set your house up in a way where your cat can cross through parts of the house without touching the ground. Use bookshelves and cat trees to achieve this. Having little hideyholes like spots under furniture will also help your cat feel safe.

Don’t allow your dog near the cat’s litter box either. Some dogs are prone to eat kitty litter, which isn’t healthy for them. They can pick up some nasty bacteria plus it’s just gross.

Conclusion

There can be some difficulties managing a cat and Bernese Mountain Dog duo due to the breeds large size and abundant energy. The Bernese loving and peaceful temperament generally makes up for it. Still, you will need to do some training and set up to help the relationship blossom.

Do some basic things like separating their feeding areas, giving your cat a place to hideout and training your dog with a command phrase. Doing these things will help them to get along and allow you to have a more peaceful home.

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