Draft dogs - whatcha got?

Wildabeast

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 11, 2020
Messages
2,008
Location
NC / UT / WY
Wasn’t really sure where to put this, but this seems to be the only “dog” specific forum topic, so I’ll put it here.

I’m pretty close to pulling the trigger on getting a Bernese Mountain Dog. I’ve done a ton of research on the breed, but would be appreciative of any input from others with experience. I know they generally have a shorter life span than other breeds, but they seem to be a great match for what I’m looking for at this stage of my life.

More specifically, I’d be keenly interested as to whether anyone has utilized Berners as draft dogs for big game hunting. They were traditionally bred for the specific purpose of draft animals, but that seems to have been lost in recent times. I’m primarily looking for a companion, but if that companion can also “enjoy” the labor of love packing out an elk or deer on wheeled cart or sled, all the better! Does anyone else out there utilize Berners (or even other breeds) in this capacity? Would love to hear your experiences, and whether having a canine with you has caused issues on getting close enough to game to seal the deal. Yeah, yeah, I’ve heard all about llamas and love some Beau Beatty, but I’m just a cheap SOB! 😂

I’ve done a lot of upland bird hunting over the years with dogs, and quite frankly that’s the most enjoyable part of the experience for me. I just love watching a working dog work. It’s always felt like a shared enjoyment to me. So I’m cautiously optimistic that perhaps a canine can provide an equally, but differently, rewarding experience for big game. What are your thoughts?

I’ve found a local breeder with a litter, but if you have recommendations for other Berner breeders, please send them my way!

Thanks!
 
Joined
Jun 10, 2021
Messages
72
Brother, just my 2 cents. As a dog guy for many years, realize not only are there variations among bloodlines but you’re talking about something you know is no longer prevelant.
You won’t know the desire, physical abilities, etc. Even as mostly a canine companion I’d not be looking at anything low odds for myself. Also realize if the life span is low, you’ll not be loading it up real young. An an elderly dog you won’t either. How many useful years would you get at best? I don’t know the breed and only offer considerations. Remember one or two instances of something working out are not experience. If someone is intimately familiar with the breed and can place you in contact with someone breeds dogs that actually do what you want you’ll up your odds. Good luck
 

David58

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 13, 2020
Messages
199
Location
Northern NM
Berinies are beautiful, good natured dogs. My concern would be hips, and the sadly short lifespan. There are some good, strong dogs, that can pull a lot (my big Airedale is amazingly strong, and loves to pull), but think of a dogsled - it takes a team of dogs to drag a sled on snow. Do you think a single dog could put much of a dent on towing an elk out of the woods?
 

OntarioHunter

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 11, 2020
Messages
1,848
They are absolutely tops for disposition but those two genetic issues are real. Neighbor down the street is on his third one now. I love to see those dogs ... just hate to see them always check out so early.

Stay away from Pyrranese. Big enough to do the job but they can be sneaky mean around other dogs.
 

Lilhowie83

Active member
Joined
Jun 19, 2020
Messages
132
If I remember correctly, Randy had Dustin Roe, owner of BC Backcountry and Beyond, on the podcast once and he talked about his two draft dogs. I don't remember the breeds, but he spoke highly of them. He said they accompany him on his stalks when he is archery hunting stone sheep.
 

VikingsGuy

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 2, 2017
Messages
6,931
Location
Twin Cities
My sister had one. It was not good around kids, was not good around other dogs, super lethargic when it got even the slightest warm (but loved January in MN) and died young. On the plus side was it was super loyal and protective of my sister - since my sister lives in the city near some large but urban parks and has no kids it worked out well for her (except the short life part).
 

WildWill

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 10, 2016
Messages
1,125
Location
SE Oklahoma
Recently got a 1/2 Bernese, 1/4 rottweiler, and 1/4 doberman. Got him to train as a guard dog for the family so I could have a little peace of mind while away on work. Got him at 8 weeks he'll be 6 months next week and so far I've been happy. Very protective and loyal also have been pleasantly surprised with his drive and ability to handle stock. Can't help on the draft aspect of it. He has been amazing with the kids very protective my daughter recently fell and fractured her wrist he won't let her out of his sight sense. 20210627_203818.jpg
 

BirdManMike

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 9, 2019
Messages
344
Location
Montana
If Hannibal could teach elephants to cross the Alps, surely someone here can begin a Bernese elk packing service. I wish you luck in your endeavors.
 

geetar

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 28, 2019
Messages
2,543
Location
North Carolina
If Hannibal could teach elephants to cross the Alps, surely someone here can begin a Bernese elk packing service. I wish you luck in your endeavors.
You kill an elk with a rock and it pack it with a dog and I’ll buy beer, whiskey, dinner whatever you want. 😂 just don’t interrupt your B tag adventures to do it.
 
Top