Bernese Mountain Dog: Dog Charmer

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
The Bernese Mountain Dog is a working dog with a calm and easygoing nature. They have a short lifespan and can deliver up to 14 puppies. Read on for more information on the breed.
Dog Breed Group:
Working Dogs
23 to 28 inches
70 to 115 pounds
Life Span:
6 to 10 years

Breed Characteristics:

Apartment Friendly


How well will this breed adapt to apartment living? Is the apartment size the most important factor when it comes to proper living conditions? Is the breed suitable for apartment living?

Good For First-Time Owners


Some dogs aren't suitable for first-time dog owners. Is this breed a good match for someone with no dog experience? Can training help them be on their best behavior with owners with no dog experience? Are they suitable to be handled by someone who is just entering the canine world?

Overall Sensitivity


Some dogs are sensitive. Certain breeds are rough on the outside, while having the softest heart on the inside. In other words, some dogs are 'thick-skinned' while some are 'easygoing.' Is this breed prone to sensitivity?

Tolerates Being Alone


Separation anxiety in dogs is a serious condition that can affect a dog's life quality. Is this breed prone to this condition? Can you leave him alone for hours? How destructive this breed can become when bored, neglected, or not loved enough?

Affectionate With Family


How affectionate this breed will be around his humans? Will he welcome new family friends easily or he will choose to be shy? Some breeds can be clingy with owners, while others don't attach a lot. Will this breed act as the family's best friend?



Some dogs will tolerate children, while others will adore well-behaved ones. Dogs and children should always be supervised, no matter how well trained the dog might be. Will this breed act as a nanny dog or he will stay away from children?

Friendly Toward Other Dogs


Some dog breeds cannot wait to run to the dog park and run with others. Others prefer to be with their humans, and not to be a part of a multi-pet household. Is this breed dog lover or not? How friendly this breed will be toward other dogs?

Friendly Toward Strangers


Some dog breeds tend to be reserved toward strangers and highly suspicious. Others are fast to walk away with them easily. How welcoming this breed is toward strangers?

Drooling Level


If you love to clean all the time drooling level in dogs is a trait that you should mind. Is this breed less likely to drool, or you will always need a towel on hand?

Easy To Groom


Heavier shedding during the shedding season is something that every dog needs to go through. However, some dogs shed just a bit all year round. Is this breed one of them? How often should you groom this dog?

Overall Health


What can you expect from this breed in terms of health? Are there any genetic conditions to vary about? Is obesity a major issue in this breed? By knowing more about the dog's health, you are learning how to help him live a longer and healthier life.

Prone To Obesity


Treats are a great addition to training sessions. Dogs love sweet bites of dog treats but they should be served in moderation. Treats can lead to obesity, next to poor nutrition. Can this breed gain extra weight from treats? How prone to obesity this breed actually is?

Trainability Level


Training some dogs is easier than others. How easy this dog will be to train? What can you expect? Some dogs are huge people pleasers and they will master commands easily, while others will try to outsmart you.

Intelligence Level


Dogs are smart beings. We do our best to train them, but they do still end up training us to adapt to their needs. How intelligent is this breed? Will he try to outsmart you? Or he will need multiple training sessions to master basic commands?

Prey Drive


Dogs were bred for a specific purpose. Those who were bred to hunt have natural instincts to hunt, even today. This is why many dogs, like Terriers, will chase other animals. They will also have a hard time concentrating on your commands when there is something small moving. Is this breed prone to following his prey instincts?

Barking Level


How vocal this breed is? Can you expect neighbors to ring you often to calm your dog? Or you can sleep without worries of hearing your Fido bark? Some breeds are highly vocal, others have unusual sounds, and some are silent. Is this breed prone to barking?

Energy Level


Low-energy dogs are happy with regular walks and indoor chill times. High-energy dogs are always ready for action. Is this breed a couch potato, energetic dog, or somewhere in between?

Exercise Needs


Some dogs are more than happy with a slow stroll down the street. Others need hours of active time to stay happy and fit. Is this breed demanding in terms of exercise? How much exercise this breed needs to stay happy and healthy?

Playfulness Level


Some dogs never lose that puppy spirit, not even in their senior years. Others are more serious and prefer having a job to do. Is this breed demanding in terms of playfulness? Can you expect playfulness in their senior years as well?

Bernese Mountain Dog is a large and powerful dog originally bred for hard work.

Initially from Switzerland, this dog gained popularity fast over the years, thanks to its appealing appearance and working possibilities. Many would describe this dog as beautiful with sweet and calm nature.

They are calm, but it doesn’t mean that they aren’t ready to play fetch or be busy with their favorite humans. After all, they live to please.

Bernese Mountain Dogs are perfect with children, and they share an equal amount of love with every family member.

They thrive in cold areas, and thanks to their ability to work under harsh conditions, they are loved by their owners from day one.

Among dogs, this breed is known as multitaskers who are even today busy working at farms of Switzerland.

Quick Facts

Real name: Bernese Mountain Dog
Other names: Berner Sennenhund, Bernese Cattle Dog
Nickname: Berner
Origin: Switzerland
Breed type: Working Group
Weight: 80-115 pounds (male), 70-95 pounds (female)
Height: 25-27.5 inches (male), 23-26 inches (female)
Lifespan: 7-10 years
Color: Tricolor (black, rust, and white)
Coat: Double

Bernese Mountain Dog History

The Bernese Mountain Dog is one of four mountain-dog breeds that originated in the canton of Bern, Switzerland.

This region is known for its agriculture and is the proud manufacturer of two of Switzerland’s main products: chocolate and cheese. Their main job was pulling small carts with products from one point to another one.

This practice is almost unexisting today, but there is a cart pulling competitor where you can cart with your Bernese.

Did you know that this breed can pull up to 1,000 pounds?

Their job description included herding and guarding farms. Before the farm’s job was mechanized, Bernie was one of the most popular farm dogs.

As soon as machines intertwined the number of these dogs started declining, and by the late 1800s the Berner’s number was decreasing. Luckily, breed fanciers based in Switzerland joined their efforts and decided to preserve the breed.

One of the major milestones for the breed was founding a Swiss breed club back in 1907, under the leadership of Professor Albert Heim.

Albert was one of the most respected men of his time in scientific circles, and probably the most respected European dog fancier of his generation.

Thanks to the group’s efforts, the Bernese Mountain Dogs were once again loved farm dogs.

Not only that they were back on the farms again, but people started opening the door of their home to this breed.

Now, they were popular beyond the farms and the history of beloved Bernese household dogs could begin.

The Bernese Mountain Dog popularity in the States started in 1926 when a Kansas farmer imported a pair as all-around farm dogs.

People instantly loved them and their popularity grew. Today, the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America sponsors drafting and carting events.

Bernese Mountain Dog Physical Appearance

The Bernese Mountain Dog is a big and tri-colored dog, who is sturdy and balanced. Overall, this breed is described as highly intelligent and strong.

This dog was used in the mountains, and in the mountains, you barely can see small -size dogs. When it comes to Bernese Mountain Dogs, males are bigger than females, while bitches are extremely feminine.

The Bernese Mountain Dog is known for its gentle expression with big brown eyes and dark eyelids. This breed can occasionally have blue eye color, but this color is a reason for disqualification in the dog shows.

Ears are medium-sized, always set high, and rounded at the tip.

The nose is always black, while the lips are clean and teeth meet in a scissors bite. The neck is muscular and strong, while the chest is deep. The back is broad and firm, and the tail is bushy.

The tail should always be carried low when in repose. Legs are straight and strong while the feet are round.

Their coat is thick, moderately long, and usually straight or slightly wavy. An extremely curly coat in this breed isn’t desirable. A dull-looking coat is also undesirable.

Bernese Mountain Dog Personality

The Bernese Mountain Dog is one of the calmest dog breed ever. They are easygoing, calm, and extremely sensitive.

They tend to be aloof with strangers, and don’t have problems finding new friends, both humans, and other dogs.

Bernese Mountain Dogs are also loyal, devoted, and gentle with children, although they aren’t well-aware of their size, which is why they shouldn’t be left alone with toddlers and younger children.

They usually get along with other pets as well, and they suffer if not included in family activities.

They are good-natured, and they love to learn. This is a breed that thrives when busy. Since they have a working background, they enjoy the challenge of learning new tricks.

Obedience training is mandatory, just like with any other breed, so they can learn to respect another person’s space.

They have natural instincts to guard and work, and that instinct is still active with this breed today.

They are great watchdogs and they adore draft work, which is popular even today. In this sport, dogs are judged on their ability to both pull and have control over a cart.

As a family pet, they will enjoy both physical work and having a job to do.

Bernese Mountain Dog will do fine with children of any age and will show special love and affection toward children with autism. For them, children’s safety and happiness come first, and children with autism will always feel Bernese’s affection and emotional support.

Berner is always ready to please!

Living With Bernese Mountain Dog

If you have children, make sure that you educate them on how to behave around the dogs.

They should know not to disturb dogs when they are around their bowl, earing or drinking water.

They should also respect their space inside and around the crate, and never enter the crate. Dogs should have house rules to follow, as well as humans.

This is a large breed and they should be taught both obedience and household manners at a young age.

As a breed, they are slow to mature, both physically and mentally and training should be addressed carefully, and never too rapidly.

They may be large, but they are real softies and don’t do well with harsh correction.

Remember: no dog should go through harsh training treatment. Only use positive reinforcement training methods.

Bernese Mountain Dog Grooming

The Bernese Mountain Dog is known for his lavishing coat. The breed’s coat is double, with long hair and a wooly undercoat. Simply said, you will have to invest a fair amount of time into grooming.

Weekly brushing is mandatory – just make sure that you have the right grooming tools on hand.

Have a vacuum cleaner on reach as well, because you will use it frequently. They do shed a fair amount, and even more during the shedding season, which occurs twice a year.

Make sure that you brush your Bernese every day during the shedding season. Regular brushing will keep extra hair away, and make a dog’s coat shiny and healthy.

For any type of tangles, you can use a metal comb or a slicker brush.

Trim nails regularly, check gums on a weekly level, and learn what to search in ears and eyes. Don’t neglect nails, because long nails can cause the dog pain and many health problems.

Bernese Mountain Dog Training

For any dog, early socialization is the key to proper behavior. Positive reinforcement training and early exposure to new people, places, and smells is what makes the dog curious about his surrounding, which is important for proper training and socialization – even with large breeds such as the Bernese Mountain Dog.

This breed is intelligent and eager to please, so they are easy to train. Just make sure that you know, as a trainer, what you are doing. Educate yourself on how to train a dog the best way possible.

If needed think about hiring a professional dog trainer, or taking puppy classes together. This breed is affectionate and their feeling can be easily hurt with any harsh methods.

Never use any harsh training methods on any dog, instead choose to focus on positive training methods. A Berner wants to be with his family and if left for too long, he may show non-desirable behaviors.

Some may suffer so much that they eventually develop separation anxiety.

This breed needs a minimum of a half-hour of moderate exercise every day to keep its body strong and mind happy. They love living indoors with their family, but they enjoy spending time outdoors, especially when it’s snowing. Due to their love toward cold days and snow, Bernese Mountain Dogs are often trained to be mountain rescue dogs, as a part of search and rescue missions.

They are great companions when it comes to hiking. They also enjoy pulling children in a cart, while those who are more active enjoy canine sports such as agility, rally, tracking, and so on.

Bernese Mountain Dog Health

Berners are generally healthy dogs, and responsible breeders will always screen them for various conditions and inform you of it. Moreover, they will usually present you with medical records that they have on the dog.

They will usually screen dogs for:

You probably know this, but there is no harm in mentioning it – all large breeds are prone to bloat, which is a life-threatening stomach condition.

This is why you should be careful about Berner’s eating habits, bowl style, and water access.

Make sure that you talk with your veterinarian about common health problems with this breed, just to be well-informed.

Check a dog’s ears for any sign of infection.

Serve your Berner a food that promotes teeth health, and enjoy grooming sessions – they should serve as bonding moments.

The Bottom Line

The Bernese Mountain Dog is an easygoing dog, who loves being active. He may seem like a super calm dog with a willingness to be lazy, but in fact, he can’t pass a day without being busy.

They are very responsive to obedience training in a good-natured way and tend to be friendly even with strangers.

If you want a dog that’s larger and powerful, can easily live with other pets and loves spending time outdoor in the cold, then the Bernese Mountain Dogs might be four you.

On the other hand, if you cannot deal with hairy floors and separation anxiety, and a very short lifespan, and some serious health problems, the Bernese Mountain Dog might not be the right fit for you.

Popular Bernese Mountain Dog Comparisons

Compare Dog Breeds: