Country of Origin: Switzerland
  • Activity Level: moderate
  • Grooming Level: moderate
  • Trainability: high
  • Adaptability: moderate
  • Kid/Pet Friendly: often
  • Average Size: Large
  • Average Lifespan: 6-8 years
  • Prey Drive: high
  • Watchdog: aware
  • Registered?: aca, akc
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Bernese Mountain Dog Breed Profile

Overview
Temperament
Adaptability
Health
Owner Experience
Grooming
Activity Level
Size
Life Span
Did You Know?

The beautiful and majestic Bernese Mountain Dog is a versatile and intelligent working breed from the mountains of Switzerland. The Bernese Mountain Dog was first recognized by the  American Kennel Club as part of the working group in 1937. Originally, “the Berner” was used as a farm dog, being able to herd livestock, stand guard over his farm, pull carts of produce, and still have the capacity to be a loving companion to its owner.

A dog of medium to high intelligence, the Bernese Mountain Dog is a very easy dog to train. When dealing with a dog of working origins, you will usually recognize a heightened ability to pick up voice and hand commands as compared to other breed classes. While the Berner has a thirst to learn, it is recommended that novice owners join their dog in obedience training early to build trust and establish your role as Alpha leader. Currently, the Bernese Mountain Dog has become a popular choice for a family pet, having a calm and friendly demeanor.

Just like a big teddy bear, the Bernese Mountain Dog will love hugs and attention. They have a calm and sweet demeanor, but be aware that these dogs are a large breed that is very strong and sturdy. Because of their size, they can at times accidentally knock over small children, so early socialization and teaching them to be gentle with kids is a key to a successful integration into your family.

This dog breed has a fairly high prey drive also, meaning he/she may not be a big fan of your cat or even some smaller dog breeds. If you have other family pets, socialize them and teach the puppy that the other pets are part of the family, not something they should chase down. That being said, that may not stop him from howling at the neighbor cat. All things considered, you will be hard-pressed to find a more versatile and loving companion than the Berner.

The Bernese Mountain Dog loves his family, and needs to be with them and involved in their lives! If you are a person who lives in an apartment, doesn’t have a large yard, and won’t be active with your pet, the Bernese Mountain Dog is not for you.

This dog breed requires a strong and present role in the pack, being involved in family picnics, hikes, and vacations if possible. When this breed is left alone for extended periods, or separated from its family, it can develop bad behavior. This is the case with most working class dog breeds, as they are breeds developed with the purpose to serve their owner. This breed is very comfortable in a cold climate, but will not like extreme heat.

This is a generally healthy breed, but like any canine, there are certain things to be aware of. Because of their size, hip and elbow dysplasia are a concern. Ask your breeder about the parents to determine a good bloodline. Being a large, deep-chested breed, they can also suffer from gastric torsion as their age progresses.

This breed should work well for most novice owners, but training is key. Obedience training is recommended.

He’s a shedder, so have a good brush and he will love you for it! Begin getting your dog accustomed to being groomed at a young age by handling his paws and brushing him/her three times a week. He will shed in certain seasons, so increased grooming may be necessary at those times. Brushing his teeth at least twice weekly is a good idea, as it will help reduce dental issues. Trimming any dogs nails once a month is recommended, ask your vet for tips on how to do this properly.

The Bernese Mountain Dog is an intense and playful breed, but he is not a high energy breed. He will wear out quickly in warm weather, but will play hard until he is tired.

The Bernese Mountain Dog will range from 23 to 28 inches tall and weigh between 80 and 110 pounds.

Bernese Mountain Dogs generally live for 6 to 8 years.

Roman soldiers invading Switzerland over two thousand years ago are credited with bringing the ancestors of the Bernese Mountain dog into the region.