Wavy Hair?

Discussion in 'First Time Dog Owner and Basic Questions' started by Rocky, Nov 16, 2011.

  1. Rocky

    Rocky New Member

    I'm a first time Bernese owner. We got the little guy (not so little now...) fairly recently. He's about 18 weeks old now.

    He no longer has that soft, puffy hair look that most bernese do. His hair is all wavy and almost appears to be greasy, even after a bath. Is there any thing I can give him to get his old hair back to how it was before?

    I'm a little confused as to why he's like this. It's not really the biggest deal, but nobody else in his bloodline was like this. His father was one of the top show dogs in the US and his mother had a flawless coat.

    Is this perfectly normal? Is there something I should be concerned about?
  2. BernerRescue

    BernerRescue New Member

    At 18 weeks, he is going to have lost his puppy coat - that is what is light and fuzzy. Usually at 4 months this starts to shed, and the full mature coat comes in, starting down the back and tail. I can guarantee his parents don't have a puppy coat so this is not what you would have been seeing.

    You may want to read the breed standard, found readily at the BMDCA site to understand what the mature coat should look like - but wavy is perfectly normal (curly is not) and most Berners are wavy, with a minority being truly straight.

    If you are seeing grown adult dogs in the show ring looking "fuzzy" - this is because they are being overly groomed (blow dried and teased) and excessively trimmed - this is supposed to be faulted and not allowed in the breed standard, but rarely gets penalized so many do it. As a result, you can't judge a dog by the show ring parents, as they are rarely shown in "natural coat".

    Hope that helps!
  3. Rocky

    Rocky New Member

    I appreciate the response. I have a few more questions though. Is it perfectly normal for berners to be "lanky" at this age? He has huge back legs, relatively short front legs, a broad chest, and a somewhat skinny rear. I remember my golden being like this at a similar age, but I'm not sure if that is breed specific.

    He also loves sitting in your lap on the couch. This is no big deal, but right when he's behaving almost perfectly he will randomly take 1 bite out of my arm. It's not like he goes crazy when he does this, he still looks completely happy, but it's just one hard bite. Nothing else happens after it, he just goes back to behaving perfectly on my lap. It's at the point where my arm actually begins to bleed. How do I stop him from doing this?
  4. BernerRescue

    BernerRescue New Member

    For your first question - No, this is not necessarily optimal but without seeing your Berner and his structure, it is impossible to evaluate. You are describing a high rear, with an unlevel top line and this may or may not resolve. But if he also has a narrow rear (poor structure), and a straight rear (poor structure), this will affect his gait.

    There are an increasing number of Berners out there that as far as structure goes - do not look like Berners! This is a problem in folks not breeding breeding stock and conforming to the breed standard.

    On the other hand, there are some dogs that do go through a lanky teenage phase and come out nicely on the other end. This does not start this young however and the teenage phase is usually after 6-7 months. If you see structure issues, or a lack of substance/bone thickness before then, it could be less than optimal structure.

    The best way to know is to contact your local Berner club and ask if there are approved judges in the club who would be willing to take a look at your dog - they will give you honest feedback. As long as his hips, elbows, shoulders, knees, and hocks conform well however with no dysplasia or issues, you do not need to care as long as you do not breed him.

    As for your other questions - the key thing for managing mouthiness - and especially poor bite inhibition is to socialize heavily with properly behaved, well socialized older dogs - this is who teaches bite inhibition and a soft mouth.

    At home, always ensure you have a tough chew toy to offer him - in fact, when you allow him in your lap, be sure this is part of that deal and as soon as he turns at you, offer the tough chew toy. He is going to be teething and this will be a must - buying frozen toys too that can be readily chilled are a great way to get through teething as well. He needs firm, yet giving things - rubbery things to deal with the pressure. Be sure to have these things readily available and always handy through teething.
  5. EmileChavez

    EmileChavez New Member

    I appreciate the response. I have a few more questions though. Is it perfectly normal for berners to be "lanky" at this age? He has huge back legs, relatively short front legs, a broad chest, and a somewhat skinny rear.
  6. BernerRescue

    BernerRescue New Member

    No - this is not optimal, or normal as a result.

    Berners should be balanced front to back with a level back and a tail that does not come above or over the back (called a gay tail).

    The front and back should not be narrow either meaning the distance between the back legs should be according to the breed standard.

    Angulation is what refers to the front legs and back legs as well - all described in our illustrated standard.

    All of the above affects the gait of the dog, how well he covers ground when he moves or in other words, how efficient he is, and impacts whether he is capable of doing the work he was bred to do.

    Poorly bred dogs with poor conformation as a result often can't swim (physically cant based on front and rear angulation), tire very easily due to the above and get injured very easily.

    A good example of why we all need to care about ensuring good breeding and breeding only those dogs with good conformation - because it affects us all, even pet homes who think they don't need to care about "show quality", and affects our pocket books right?

  7. Tucker

    Tucker New Member

    We have a 8 month old and when he has a growth spurt his rear will sprout up first and his front will catch up a few weeks later. It's happened 3 or 3 times. I have read in a few books its normal growth for them.
  8. konabeardog

    konabeardog New Member

    I agree....when Kona was growing sometimes she would be a bit "uneven". She went through some growing pains too, which we were told is COMPLETELY normal. They're going to be awkward for a little! She turned out great, and now front and back legs are the same length. :)
    As for the wavy coat, Kona has a wavy coat for quiet some time, even a few curly-cues. At a year and a half her coat is starting to straighten out nicely, and she doesn't look like such a mess haha. Even with regular bushing, she still had the curls. I'm coming to notice that she's growing out of it a bit.
    In regards to the greasyness, are you putting flea and tick stuff on your pup? When we had flea and tick stuff on, it ran from neck to tail, which made her VERY greasy looking (despite the Fish Oil she gets 2x a day). We ended up switching preventative, and took her off everything for the winter and her coat has never been better!
    Overall, give it time! It's still a pup and is going to be funny looking for a little bit; no different than an awkward, braces wearing teenager :D
  9. JohnnyB

    JohnnyB New Member

    Hi there,

    My Bear went through this phase as well, similarly to the last reply, and eventually lost the curls. He is only 18 months, but it was a drastically different coat at the time, and also had the appearance of grease, without actually being greasy, like you explained. I met a few other owners who had a similar situation, so it will probably shed away as they grow.
    Again as with the dog mentioned above, Kona, my berner Bear went through this lanky stage, and is still rather goofy looking. Three different vets said he looked fine, although as with all berners it was important to watch how he exercises and grows. He has never showed pains however. I think in today's world there are many factors that influence how both humans and dogs grow, including food, air, and water. There are bound to be some differences between even pure-bred berners. But always keep an eye on their growth, and avoid jarring exercise for extended periods of time. I would also ask the vet on your next visit, tell him your concerns about the shape, and have him look at your dog. Hope this helps, and good luck
  10. SJTT

    SJTT Member

    Bonney is 7 months old and has gone through stages when her hind legs are longer than front...then the front catches up. I assume it is growth spurts. As far as her coat, the puppy fuzz left and now she has a wavy coat with what I would call cow licks.
    As far as the mouthiness/biting. She has never been allowed on furniture or in our laps (other than when she was real young - then I would hold her in my lap). But, she does have attitude and I think she confuses me for being another dog. So, when I make her wait or stay she gets aggravated and will bark and kind of mouth at me. She is quickly learning that will get her no where. You have to show them whose boss!

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