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Breed Profile: Bernese Mountain Dog

Breed Profile: Bernese Mountain Dog

If you want a large, powerful dog with a sweet nature that loves being in a family environment, then the Bernese mountain dog might be the perfect breed for you. This article covers everything you need to know about this beautiful breed.

  • Breed Snapshot  
  • Size: Large dog (31.7 – 52.1 kg)
  • Coat: This breed’s thick and handsome coat sheds profusely, especially during the main shedding seasons.
  • Energy: Energetic, but only in short bursts.
  • Lifespan: 7 – 10 years
  • Country of origin: Switzerland
  • Breed type: A member of the working group. This breed is intelligent, well-mannered, and obedient.
  • Other names: Berner Sennenhund
  • Great breed for:  People who have plenty of space, Families with children


What is a Bernese mountain dog?

The great Bernese mountain dog is one of four Sennenhund breeds. The other three breeds in this group are the Appenzeller, the Entlebucher, and the greater Swiss mountain dog. These huge dogs were perfect for heavy farm work in the Swiss mountains, but they nearly became extinct during the 20th Century when the need for a strong farm dog dwindled.

The great Bernese mountain dog loves being in a family environment and is perfect for children of all ages. This breed is also good with other dogs and animals.

What does the Bernese mountain dog look like?

This large, powerful, and agile dog is slightly longer than it is tall. This breed stands at around 58 to 71 cm and weighs between 31 and 52 kg. It has a broad, flat head and a strong and straight muzzle. The triangular-shaped ears are set high and rounded at the tip, and the bushy tail is carried low. The legs are strong and straight, and the feet are rounded with arched toes. The Bernese mountain dog also has dark brown eyes and a black nose.  

This breed has a weatherproof double coat that consists of a long outer coat and a woolly undercoat. It has a distinctive tri-coloured coat with white markings on the face, chest, and tip of the tail. The white marking on the chest is thought to resemble an inverted cross.

What makes the Bernese mountain dog special?

The beautiful Bernese mountain dog is eager to please and loves to learn new things. The breed makes an excellent watchdog, as its instinct is to guard and herd. These dogs are perfect for those who adore the puppy stage, as they are slow to mature and will behave like puppies for quite a long time. The breed can also excel in tracking, obedience, carting, and herding competitions.

How often do I need to groom my Bernese mountain dog?

This Bernese mountain dog’s thick and handsome coat sheds profusely, especially during the main shedding seasons. Regular grooming is therefore essential to keep loose hair and mats under control. Periodic bathing may be necessary, and the ears, nails, and teeth need checking regularly.


How often should I walk my Bernese mountain dog?

The Bernese mountain dog requires moderate exercise and can make a great walking partner. Regular exercise will also help to keep them calm and more manageable around the house. This breed can be prone to heat stroke, so it is best to exercise them early in the morning and later in the evening when outside temperatures are not as high.

How do I train my Bernese mountain dog?

Due to their large size, Bernese mountain dogs require early socialisation to make them more manageable. The breed is fairly easy to train but they can be slow to respond to training at first. Try offering plenty of tasty treats and remember that patience and understanding will eventually be rewarded.

Quickfire Bernese mountain dog questions

How long will my Bernese mountain dog live?

The typical lifespan of the Bernese mountain dog is 7 – 10 years.

Can my Bernese mountain dog be left alone during the day?

Bernese mountain dogs tend to suffer from separation anxiety, so it may be worth considering a pet care service from if you will have to leave your dog alone for long periods of time.

Are Bernese mountain dogs ‘barkers’?

Bernese mountain dogs don’t tend to bark much at all.

What kind of health risks do Bernese mountain dogs face?

These dogs unfortunately have a small genetic foundation, and this has led to numerous health problems with the breed. Health problems include bloat, epilepsy, and cancer.

Where can I get a Bernese mountain dog?

If you have now fallen in love with this endearing breed, you will obviously want to know where to get one from. Firstly, you should do as much research as you can to find out where the best places are in your area for purchasing a Bernese mountain dog. Try to find reputable breeders and avoid buying from pet shops or other places that do not allow you to meet the puppy’s parents – meeting its parents will help to establish the temperament and personality of the puppies. It is a good idea to try and visit the puppies several times before making a commitment to one.

You can also take a look at the RSPCA website that provides full details on how to adopt a puppy or dog. 

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