Designer Breed Icon
  • Activity Level: moderate
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  • Shedding Level: low
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  • Grooming Level: moderate
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  • Trainability: high
  • Good for Novice Owners: high
  • Adaptability: high
  • Kid/Pet Friendly: often
  • Prey Drive: low
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  • Watchdog: aware
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  • Average Size: Large
  • Average Lifespan: 10-14 years
  • Registered?: other

Bernese Water Dog Dog Breed Information





Owner Experience


Activity Level


Life Span

Did You Know?

A Bernese Water Dog is a cross between a Bernese Mountain Dog and a Portuguese Water Dog. These dogs tend to be intelligent, loyal, and affectionate. Their sweet dispositions and energetic, playful personalities make them a great fit for families. Although this breed is not recognized by the American Kennel Club, it is recognized by other notable dog registries, like the Designer Breed Registry.

With some of the most popular dog breeds as parents, it’s no surprise that a Bernese Water Dog tends to have several great qualities. They tend to have a sweet, gentle disposition and tend to get along well with children, dogs, and other pets.

They tend to be playful and energetic while still appreciating slower downtime with plenty of cuddles. When properly socialized, they are even open and friendly with strangers. Even if they are a little shy or reserved at first, a well-socialized Bernese Water Dog tends to warm up quickly and will enjoy having someone else to play with and receive attention from.

Bernese Water Dogs are highly adaptable dogs. They do well in larger homes with yards where they can run. Even though they can have a lot of energy, they can also adapt well to apartments provided they get enough daily attention and exercise.

They do well in most climates. With one of the dog breeds that love winter as one of their parents, a Bernese Water Dog will likely enjoy playing in the snow as well. Their thicker coat helps keep them warm when it’s colder outside, but also means they are sensitive to heat. A shorter trim, like a puppy or retriever cut, in the summer can be helpful in keeping your dog cool and making their coat easier to manage with water activities.

Although a mixed-breed dog can sometimes be healthier than a purebred dog, it’s not a guarantee. They could inherit some, none, or all of the conditions common to their parent breeds. Good breeding practices make a big difference in the health of puppies.

Potential health concerns to be aware of in a Bernese Water Dog can include elbow dysplasia, hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, Von Willebrand’s Disease, Storage Disease, and Juvenile Dilated Cardiomyopathy.

Reputable breeders will screen their dogs before breeding to avoid passing preventable issues to puppies. So, make sure you ask about the health and genetic history of both parents and about any health tests or clearances that have been done.

One of the facts about Portuguese Water Dogs is that they are great for first-time owners. The same is true for Bernese Mountain Dogs. With these two breeds are parents, a Bernese Water Dog should also be a good fit for owners of any experience level.

A Bernese Water Dog is intelligent, picks up on things quickly, and is eager to please. This contributes to them being one of the best dog breeds for first-time owners. Although they can have a little stubborn streak at times, they should respond well to patient, consistent training focused on positive praise and reward.

Although a Bernese Water Dog can inherit a coat similar to one of their parents or a coat that is a combination of both, they have one of the fluffiest dog breeds as a parent and tend to have a fluffy coat that sheds minimally, if at all.

Brushing a daily and the occasional bath as needed are usually enough to keep this dog’s coat looking great. Professional grooming can be done as often as every 6-8 weeks to keep the coat neatly trimmed or just seasonally to assist with seasonal coat changes.

In addition to coat care, you will also need to take care of your Bernese Water Dog’s nails, ears, and teeth. Cutting your dog’s nails once or twice monthly keeps them from growing too long and causing issues.

Checking ears weekly and after water activities, and carefully cleaning them as needed, can help prevent ear infections. Daily dental care along with cleanings at the vet as needed can help prevent painful dental diseases later in life.

Although Bernese Mountain Dogs can be one of the laziest dog breeds if you let them, a Bernese Water Dog is not. Although Bernese Water Dogs don’t mind taking a break every once in a while and they won’t run you ragged, they do require a decent amount of daily activity to be happy and healthy.

Daily walks plus some playtime and other activities are usually enough for these dogs. But, their parents are also some of the sturdy dog breeds for outdoor adventures and they love spending time being active with you, so your Bernese Water Dog will likely be up for more activity if you are.

With one of the dog breeds that tend to love water as a parent, a Bernese Water Dog is likely to love water as well. Swimming or taking your dog paddling are great low-impact activities for dogs. Once puppies finish growing and developing, you can try things like dock diving, or other higher-impact land activities, like hiking, playing frisbee, and more.

A fully-grown Bernese Water Dog usually stands 22-25 inches tall and weighs 70-90 pounds.

A Bernese Water Dog generally lives for 10-14 years on average.

Like their Portuguese Water Dog parent, a Bernese Water Dog also tends to have webbed feet. Their Bernese Mountain Dog parent may also have webbed toes, but this is not as consistent or certain of a trait in Berners as it is in Portuguese Water Dogs.