Okay; Bernese Mountain Dog Vs Smooth Collie?

Discussion in 'The Dog Breeds' started by Halee.R, Jun 1, 2012.

  1. Halee.R

    Halee.R New Member

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    This is mostly for those whose had experience with both breeds or at least some. :)

    These two breeds are REALLY growing on me and I LOVE both breeds alot!
    I need to know the differences between these two breeds and the pros and cons of each breed. Which one would you say is more friendly to strangers and which breed could you rely better on as a watch dog??? These two things are the most important things I need to know. :)

    Mainly, I just want to know you experiences with both breeds. :)
     
  2. lizzybeth727

    lizzybeth727 New Member

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    I have a smooth collie... but I don't have much experience with berners.

    My collie, Keegan, is both a good watchdog AND friendly with strangers. When we're out in public he LOVES meeting new people. When my friends come over to the house he's VERY happy to see them - even if he's never met them - and is instantly friendly.

    I will say, though, that some lines of collies are a little skittish. When I was searching rescues for a collie that was the main problem I had: the dogs were wary of new people. But AFAIK collies are supposed to be pretty friendly, and getting one from a good breeder - as well as good puppy socialization - will stack the cards in your favor.

    As far as being a watchdog, Keegan is very good in that his first response to anything different is to bark. He definately lets me know about ANYTHING going on in my house/yard. He has a loud, deep bark as well, which I think would scare away the bad guys. If you're looking for a guard dog, you might focus also on tri color collies, which are mainly black with some tan and white markings; people tend to be scared of black dogs.
     
  3. Aleron

    Aleron New Member

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    I had a Collie (rough but the temperaments are pretty much the same in the two varities) and like Lizzybeth said, Collies can be both good watch dogs and good with strangers. My rough was a big tri-colored boy and not as quite full coated as most show Collies but people were intimidated by him. Almost no one who didn't know the breed guessed him to be a "Lassie Dog" LOL I was often asked if he was a "Dobe something" mix and occasionally he was a "DobeWolf" LOL

    It's true that dark colored dogs seem to look more intimidating to people, so either breed is good for that. I think either breed could be a good watch dogs and a good companion. I think it would be easier to find a good breeder of Smooth Collies who has relatively healthy dogs than it would be to find the same in Berners. Berners health wise are considered a "heartbreak breed" because of the extremely high risk of early (sometimes as young as 2 or 3 and often 5 or 6) cancer. Collies have health risks too, as does any breed but they aren't as prone to the life threatening, early age diseases as Berners are. If you can deal with the potential for a very short lifespan though, Berners seem like they could suit what you want as well.

    What are your thoughts on grooming requirements? What activities do you enjoy doing with your dog?

    This has been my experience with Collies too. They will bark and alert to strangers but once they're in the house, they'll be friendly. Out and about when there is nothing to protect, they are friendly and approachable. Berners I have known have been similar or not as good of watch dogs or much less commonly extremely serious guard dogs (as in, they would and did bite guests). So I think there might be a bit more variance in Berners than Collies temperament wise.

    That surprises me. I have met a lot of Collies, both pet and show bred and can only remember a couple who were shy and one who had some aggression issues. The rest have been very nice, sweet, happy dogs - barked when people came to the door but then were happy to see them when they came in. I have not known shyness to be much of a problem with the breed, although I am around far fewer now than I was 10-15 years ago.
     
  4. Cranberry

    Cranberry New Member

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    Bernese Mountain dogs are really increasing in popularity here. I've met a few at shows, and they were polite, although not all that interested in me. That's the kind of dog I like to own, really... one that will focus on me and not care so much about greeting every stranger. My main concern with them would be health -- they have such problems with cancer, even when they come from the best breeders.
     
  5. Laurelin

    Laurelin I'm All Ears

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    The collies I've known in the training clubs haven't been shy per say but more spooky than anything. They all seemed very cautious to new things and we'd have to take a lot longer acclimating them to new equipment especially if there was noise (like the teeter/wobble board) involved. they seemed friendly with people though.
     
  6. Saeleofu

    Saeleofu Active Member

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    I have a smooth collie and he LOVES people. He is trained to ignore them when he's working, but when he's off-duty his favorite hobby is schmoozing people. The day I met him he had his face in my face the entire drive from the airport to the breeder, flirting away. He's never met anyone he doesn't like.

    He can be a watch dog, too, and when he barks he can sound intimidating (but my boxer usually provides the intimidating factor). He is very alert to what's going on outside, but not so much that he barks at everything. A few nights ago some creature was in the back yard and Logan was NOT okay with it - he was upstairs with me in my room, and he roared at the window when he heard whatever it was.

    Logan is an extremely confident, outgoing dog, but a lot of that has to do with how he was bred and raised. I got him at a year old, and his breeder did a FANTASTIC job raising him. Nothing phases him, and he passed his ATTS temperament test with scored mostly mid-range, which is for the most part minimal reactions to anything.

    I flew halfway across the country to get Logan. The collies around here (central US) seem to be very poorly bred for the most part. I was dogsitting a bunch of collies last summer and they all had some sort of fear/anxiety/shyness issue. There are some great collies around here, you just have to look a little harder - and keep in mind that the smoothies tend to have a different personality than the roughs, just by a bit. There was one collie I dogsat a few years ago, a rough, and she was an absolute doll, but had a lot of health problems. Things to look out for are seizures (very common in collies), eye problems (specifically CEA and related issues), skin problems/allergies, digestive issues, and joint problems as they get older (though that's less common in collies than it is in many other breeds). Logan has very, very mild CEA, and it doesn't affect him at all. The only thing noticeably different is that he has red eyeshine instead of blue or green. Many, many collies have CEA but it's not always a problem and often causes no issues at all.
     
  7. Cali Mae

    Cali Mae Little dog, big voice

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    Well, I can't say I have any personal experience with either, but my dad's girlfriend and her kids have an older year old Bernese named Winnie and she is easily able to go on about him for hours.

    She describes him a total love bug who is pretty active and she says he's really outgoing.. the only bad thing about them is their shorter lifespan. She actually got him from a decent breeder.. but after the breeders passed on their property to their son.. the breeding program went downhill because the son took over. :/
     
  8. ihartgonzo

    ihartgonzo and Fozzie B!

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    I love both breeds, too! I hope to have at least one of each at some point in my life. :)

    BMD's are AMAZING, adorable teddy bears!!! Omg. However, every single correct one I've met has been over the top friendly and gregarious. I've met a few that weren't outgoing & friendly, but they were very obviously badly bred and unsocialized, and were paralyzed with fear... not a suitable guard dog. Their size and bark would be intimidating. They have HIGH grooming needs, they'll get matted if they aren't brushed daily. They are great dogs, though, and I wouldn't doubt that a really well trained, bonded BMD would protect you if it came down to it.

    Smooth Collies are so cute, gorgeous and athletic... and I have never met a Collie with an unstable temperament. I feel that they're a great breed for a new dog owner, as long as you're willing to provide a good amount of exercise, training and are dedicated to raising your dog right with immense socialization with people/dogs and bonding time with you. ALL of the Collies I've met are very friendly, moreso to their family, but they accept strangers easily. More than that though, they're trustworthy, intuitive dogs who just understand things that most dogs don't. They are awesome judges of character! I would have no doubt that a Collie would protect you, and they are alert dogs who will alarm bark. Most herding breeds make great guard dogs especially when they really LOVE their owner. Collies LOVE their owners and would do anything for them. I would consider them a more balanced dog, and although they're very goofy and fun-loving, more of a serious working dog than a BMD.
     
  9. Saeleofu

    Saeleofu Active Member

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    Oh god yes. When I come home and let the dogs out of their crates, Gavroche runs downstairs to go outside, and Logan wiggles his butt and MUST say hi to me and rub all over me. In the morning when I get up Logan nudges me and rubs on me (like a cat almost), while Gavroche stands and stares at his food bowl lol.
     
  10. lizzybeth727

    lizzybeth727 New Member

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    Yeah, seriously.... I'm still trying to figure out how much Keegan understands, sometimes it's a little baffling.

    Very useful, though. My roommate's parents stayed at our house last night. This morning when I got up I was wondering if the parents were still in the guest room, if they were somewhere else in the house, or if they were out of the house. When I opened my bedroom door to go out and see, Keegan seemed to search very briefly, sniff the air, and then obviously determined that they were not in the house; I know because if they WERE in the house he would've run to go see them. But the whole process of locating them took literally less than a second (and the house isn't small!). Thanks, Keegs!

    Also we went hiking a few weeks ago to this massive state park with tons of trails that branch off.... It's very easy to get lost. We were hiking along, and didn't get lost per se, but at the same time we weren't quite sure how to get back to the main path. So I gave up trying to figure it out and just followed Keegan. We were on little paths that I KNOW we weren't on before, he wasn't tracking our scent, but somehow he did get us back to the main path. I don't know what he was smelling, but HE knew, he was obviously quite sure where we needed to go the whole time. My friend kept calling him Lassie. :rolleyes:
     
  11. Halee.R

    Halee.R New Member

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    I feel like I'm leaning more towards the Smooth Collie because number one, they look like they make a heck of a better watch dog than a BMD, and second, they live ALOT longer than a BMD. I don't think 8 years or so is very long for me.:(

    Do you think a Smooth Collie would protect its owner in a dangerous situation?? I've always thought Collies were the more friendly type and wouldn't do anything. But from reading more about them, they seem like they can become so bonded to their owners, I actually wouldn't be surprised if they did do something.

    How much exercise do they need? My kind of exercise is taking long brisk walks and I really like jogging through woods. :)

    Would it be easier to find a reputable Smooth Collie breeder than it would to find a reputable BMD breeder??
     
  12. Aleron

    Aleron New Member

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    Some may and certainly some have. However, you shouldn't rely on any untrained, untested dog to actually physically protect you when push comes to shove. Even plenty of dogs of guarding breeds don't know what to do when confronted by an aggressive human without training. A lot of dogs with no training will back down if someone is aggressive towards them. Breeds which are most likely to fight back are probably more than what you seem like you want to handle training, socialization and management wise. Generally though, the presence of a big, especially dark colored dog is enough to deter most people. And if it isn't, then even a trained protection dog may not be enough.

    It varies some what I think. Some are more high energy than others. Many of the ones I have been around in more recent times are pretty laid back, definitely walking/jogging would be enough for them. Even for the more active ones the walks/jogs combined with some training time and one on one play would be enough. IME most Collies are good house dogs - active when you want to be active, able to chill when you want to chill.


    It isn't so much that it is hard to find a good breeder of BMDs (or Collies or really most breeds), especially if you are looking mostly for a good pet. The issue with BMDs is that even the really well bred ones from great breeders tend to have a high risk of health issues and short lifespans. The problems in them are widespread throughout the breed. That isn't to say there is a such thing in any breed as an entirely healthy line of dogs because even dogs from the best lines can end up with health issues, since genetics are not always predictable. But some breeds are more prone to widespread, fatal or potentially fatal diseases and BMDs are one of those breeds.

    This list is a potential place to look for Collie breeders in your area or available Collies: http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/COLLIECLASSIFIEDS/

    You can also see if there are any CCA contact people in your area: http://www.collieclubofamerica.org/cca_district_directors.html
     
  13. lizzybeth727

    lizzybeth727 New Member

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    Like Aleron said, a large dark dog will deter most people you'd ever have to worry about.

    Keegan's VERY bonded with me, but I think that if I were ever attacked, probably all he would do would be to bark and get really upset. If he were to bite the attacker (which I doubt), it would probably just be a quick snap and then he'd back off. He'd probably be very confused about the whole situation.

    Again like Aleron said, collies were "made" to be family dogs, work the farm during the day but come in the house and chill at night. Keegan's ALWAYS up for activity, but he chills pretty well too. He's MUCH higher energy than my chihuahua (and she's not lazy by any means).

    More than physical exercise, Keegan needs a lot of mental exercise. I do a lot of outings with him, where he gets to ride in the car and go somewhere just to hang out with me. We go to the park and explore, go to a restaurant and eat on the patio, go to training classes, pet stores, etc.

    If we just, for example, go out in the yard and play ball to exercise, he gets bored with it before he gets physically tired. So the mental component is definately a bigger deal than the physical component.

    Remember too that most collie people think (and I agree) that smoothies are a bit more intense than roughs. IME I also think that smoothie breeders prefer dogs that are a bit more intense, which just continues the trend. The roughs I've met tend to have a bit less energy - physical and mental - than the smooths, though of course this may not be true of every individual dog.

    I don't know about BMD breeders, but I do know that there are only a handful of smoothie breeders that I'd personally buy a dog from (though I'm extremely picky). I think because roughs are overwhelmingly more popular, most collie breeders breed at least some roughs, so the smooths are much less common.

    I can PM you some names if you're interested.
     
  14. Raegan

    Raegan Member

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    The Berner club in my area puts out a new puppy pamphlet that includes the phrase "Two years a young dog, two years a good dog, two years an old dog; all else is a gift from god." The Berners I know are slow maturing as well. It's a tight spot to be in.
     
  15. Saeleofu

    Saeleofu Active Member

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    I was going to make the same offer, but I'm pretty sure our lists would be pretty similar lol.

    Logan is from Moxie Collies in Washington. I also really adore what I have seen of Deep River collies. There are others, too, but those are my top two from what I have seen.

    Logan has an increedible off switch. He'll go all day if I want and still be ready for more, but be just as ready to crash if I don't want to do anything. I can and have gone days without doing much at all with him, even walks, and he's been fine through it all. The most he does, now that he's all grown up, is get a bit more barky than usual if he's bored. I do have a spray collar (I use unscented spray) for barking that works extremely well when barking starts to get out of hand.
     
  16. Aleron

    Aleron New Member

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    I think someone looking for a pet doesn't need to be near as picky as someone looking for a SD. Actually things which would rule out breeders for a potential SD like dogs with lower energy levels and lower drive can make great pets for most people. When I did my "Collie Tour" of the Collie breeders in my area, I ended up disappointed to not find what I was looking for. But I'd not hesitate to suggest any of the breeders I went to someone looking for a pet. The dogs were all friendly, sweet, nice dogs and the breeders all obviously cared about their dogs, really loved Collies and did health testing. None were even close to drivey enough for me though, as a performance prospect. Had I been looking for a nice pet though, any of the litters I looked at could have worked well.

    I have not personally seen where Smooths are as a whole, more intense or drivey, though I wish it were true! I looked at several Smooths and none were all that drivey. One was a 4 month old puppy who was so laid back, he didn't even get off his dog bed to see us when he walked in. Nice puppy, cute and sweet and the breeder had already trained him a lot of stuff but really laid back. I have seen more intense and driven Roughs and Smooths but I wouldn't say either is IME typical of the breed. I also know someone who bred Smooths and they tended to be a lot more calm and laid back than my Rough was (although, so were most of the Roughs I've been around). I know a family who got a fairly wild Smooth from the former CCA president - very fun loving and exuberant dog. He still was a good house dog though and I wouldn't call him "intense". Of course, that could be because I have had GSDs, Belgians, a wild Cardi and a PyrShep ;)
     
  17. lizzybeth727

    lizzybeth727 New Member

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    Probably so, but I don't need a SD, I was looking for a pet dog when I was looking for collie breeders.

    I do, however, train SDs professionally for a nonprofit organization, so I know a lot about good SD temperament. One thing people don't realize is that SDs actually need to be pretty low energy; most SD owners - at least the ones my organization works with - are home a lot and don't have the energy/ability to spend a lot of time exercising and training a dog. Of course it totally depends on the person's disability and lifestyle, but in general we're looking for pretty sedate dogs that are willing to get up and help when they're needed, but go back and lay down when they're not needed.

    Keegan's only about 18 months old, but at this point there are very few of our clients that would be able to handle him if he were a SD.

    I didn't necessarily mean that smooths are drivey (because that really depends on what you're used to), but that they're a bit more intense than roughs. And again, there are tons of exceptions.

    That's definately NOT Keegan, or any of his litter mates, I'd guess.

    Sounds like a good SD, though. ;)
     
  18. Saeleofu

    Saeleofu Active Member

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    I couldn't function with a "mellow" or low-drive SD. Logan's just perfect for me. I'd die of boredom just training one, not to mention having to work with one every day lol
     
  19. RBark

    RBark Got Floof?

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    I think the Bernese Mountain Dog would win in that fight, the longer reach and more muscular body would prove to be an advantage. Though the Smooth Collie might win if he's smart enough to be quick and agile. If he has a good understanding of the "Float like a Butterfly, Sting like a Bee" tactic he just might have what it takes to beat the Bernese Mountain Dog.

    Still though, I'm going to have to place my money on the Bernese Mountain Dog. /nod.

    :spam:
     
  20. Halee.R

    Halee.R New Member

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    Well, what I like about the Smooth Collie is that, they are excellent watch dogs, they seem pretty devoted/loyal to their owners, they seem like they would be easily trainable, velcro dogs, (something I highly desire) they aren't overly aggressive or friendly with strangers, overall I love their temperament.

    What I don't like about them is that, alot of Collie owners say they will bark alot, and their not exactly that intimidating.

    What I like about the BMD is that their, extremely loyal to their owners, they also are a clingy velcro dog, their in the middle friendliness with strangers, their size and looks are kind of intimidating. I love their size! ;) And I've just always been attracted to Berners since I first saw a picture of them.

    What I don't like about them is that they have a very short life span, they have PLENTY of health problems, and their not as good of a watch dog as a Collie is.

    So now I'm not sure what breed I should be looking into. When I compare them both to my wants and needs, they have an equal amount of pros and cons.

    Thoughts???
     

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