Bernese Mountain Dog

"Brains and Brawn"

Photo of Bernese Mountain Dog


Bernese roots likely go back to mastiff types brought into Switzerland by Roman armies. Most likely they were interbred with local herding dogs, which mellowed their temperament. Bernese Mountain dogs were all-around helpers for the Swiss. They were often seen working as canine farmhands or hauling carts loaded with milk cans or other products to market, patiently waiting while their masters made their deliveries and while kids clambered all over them. Occasionally they helped with the livestock, although their good-natured temperament did not make them reliable flock guardians.


Typically easygoing and placid, Bernese Mountain Dogs are content to play or nap with their owners. Many a child has learned how to walk by using the Berner to pull up and hang on while toddling about the house. Bernese tongues conveniently wipe away tears after falls or scrapes. Bernese socialize well with other animals. They love attention, as all dogs do, and can be insistent. Because of their size, basic training is a must.Bernese do like to clean up the floors and will often be found sitting under the baby's highchair. This means nothing smaller than a beach ball should be left on the floor. They are not picky eaters!


His shiny black coat, trimmed with rich rust and white markings, gives the Bernese Mountain Dog a striking look. The coat is longer than that of their cousins, the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog and the lesser-known Appenzeller and Entelbucher. Often the dogs' chest markings show an inverted white cross, which typically has rust hairs at the edge of the arms.


Berners will gladly accompany you in whatever you choose to do. They're happy workers when their companion is a loved one. House manners are important for all breeds – both for owners' sanity and the dogs' safety. Carting is a fun activity to which the Bernese easily adapts. Start with a lightweight sled, cart or wagon when the dog reaches maturity. Eventually, she'll be giving the neighborhood kids short wagon rides. Use a harness that places pressure across and around the chest.

Grooming & Care

A thorough, weekly brushing keeps the jet-black coat looking healthy. Bathing the dog every few weeks makes the white glisten and keeps dead hair from floating around the house and landing in the pasta. But the heavy outer coat means you'll need to allow time for drying!

Health Concerns

Parents should have OFA hips and elbows and certified clear eyes. Berners are also susceptible to other joint disease, as well as cancer, which can mean a shorter lifespan.

Famous Bernese Mountain Dog

Canid 3942: “Hubble” in GoodBoy!

Ideal Owner
Activity Level Moderate
Schedule Full-time (but no overtime)
Personal Style Easygoing and casual
Training Style Firm, Gentle, Positive
Home Fenced yard or access to one
Children Any age is fine
Experience Willing to enlist a trainer or mentor
Quick Facts
Size Large
Grooming High-maintenance - needs daily grooming
Exercise Moderate - needs to walk or play every day
Training Teach manners, Needs daily practice
Temperment Friendly, Sweet
Challenges These chowhounds will eat anything - even if it's not food. Heavy shedding twice a year requires a lot of vacuuming!
Height 23 to 28 inches
Weight 75 to 125 pounds
Life 8 to 10 years
Home Alone Fine as a trained adult
With Kids Excellent
With Strangers Friendly
Availability Available, so choose your breeder carefully

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