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Bernese Mountain Dog

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The Bernese Mountain dog belongs to the Molos-dogs, that also counts Saint Bernard dog and the Newfoundland. The Bernese Mountain dog  is somewhat smaller and is the only of the four Swiss Mountain Dogs that has long hair. The coat has three colors, black, brown and white and can be both wavy and smooth. The Bernese Mountain dog has a strong build and is good-natured. The Bernese Mountain Dog is a calm dog that enjoys the company of both other dogs and children. The Bernese Mountain dog’s history as a breed The Bernese Mountain dog originated in Switzerland from the area around Bern and is one of four types of Swiss Mountain dogs; Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, Appenzeller Mountain Dog, Entlebucher mountain dog and therefore the Bernese Mountain dog is believed to descend from the dogs that escorted different peoples on their migration through Europe. A farmer’s dog The Bernese Mountain were widely kept at Swiss farms to drive cattle using a method that is unique to this race – the dog ran behind the cattle and nippled their hind legs. Bernese Mountain dogs use this technique even today when playing and trying to drive forward its owners. Bernese Mountain Dogs are a very capable working dog that in particular were used for pulling wagons with merchandise and to protect cattle drivers against wolves and bears. For these reasons you could find a Bernese Mountain dog on many farms in the Bern area in the middle of the last century. The Bernese Mountain dogs physical appearance The Bernese Mountain dog as well as the three other Swiss Mountain dogs were bred from the old dogs of the Bern area. There is no difference in the size of males and females, males are typically 64-70 cm in height at the withers, females are 58-66 cm. Males weigh approx. 50-55 kg, females 40-45 kg. The coat can be wavy or smooth and is mostly black with reddish brown and white markings. A Bernese Mountain dog’s temperament The Bernese Mountain dog is the ideal family dog. It is quiet and good-natured, and known to attach itself to its pack (family). This also means that the Bernese Mountain dog as an adult have a tendency to be reserved with strangers who visit your home. It is therefore a good idea to socialize the dog and get it used to strangers already as a puppy. Regularly invite friends and family over, so that the dog learns that all are welcome in the house. Bernese Mountain dog’s exercise needs and maintenance The Bernese Mountain dog’s fur is not as maintenance intensive as it first appears. The coat is admittedly long, but doesn’t require much in grooming. A weekly grooming and an occasional cutting of hair by the ears and paws, so the coat does not tangle, is enough to make the dog appear beautiful. The adult Bernese Mountain dog is a mellow dog that doesn’t need a lot of exercise. A couple of walks a day is enough. Bernese Mountain dog’s health and disease A Bernese Mountain Dog’s lifespan on average is  7.5 years. Few dogs gets to be more than 10 years old and some unfortunately only 4 ½ – 5 years. One of the biggest killers among these dogs is the cancer disease Malignhistozytose (approximately 42% of all Bernese Mountain dogs die of cancer) but also stomach turning and hip-dysplasia is widespread in this race. The serious breeders try to breed away from these diseases, but it will take many years before the breed again will be healthy and disease free. Owner Profile A Bernese Mountain dog is excellent as a family pet because it is both friendly, patient and calm by nature. It does not need more than a daily walk, but can easily be taken along for a jog and excursions into the wild. The dog’s coat requires a proper grooming once a week and it must be said that the dog with its long fur can drag some dirt with it from outside. If you are considering to buy a Bernese Mountain Dog, you should consider the following: Would you like to have a dog that is:

  • Very large, strong and robust.
  • Has a good temperament and gets on well with other animals.
  • Have a thick coat that makes it able to withstand cold.
  • Is relatively easy to train.

Some attributes can be negative depending on your personal preferences:

  • A Bernese Mountain Dog is a very big dog who will take up a lot of space in your car and your house.
  • The thick fur sheds a lot and can easily bring in a lot of dirt from outside excursions.
  • A Bernese Mountain Dog has a short lifespan of approx. seven years.


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