Bernese Mountain Dog

30 Mar






The Bernese Mountain dog is a pretty large, dog weighing in at between 36 and 50 kg (80-110 pounds) and reaching 23-28 inches in height with males being slightly larger. Although they are strong and sturdy in build, they are also agile. They have a broad head with a strong and straight muzzle, the teeth meeting in a scissor bite. They have triangular ears which are medium in size and set high on the head. Their tail is long and bushy, carried low. They have a fairly long coat which is thick and slightly wavy or straight and is weather resistant. The dog is tricoloured and has symmetrical markings of black, white and rust. The dog will have a white blaze on the chest and also on the head, toes and top of the tail. The rust colour is seen on the cheeks, over each eye, on each side of the chest, on all four legs and underneath the tail.




Health problems:

This is another breed that generally do not have too many health issues to contend with. However they are prone to bloat and so feeding needs to be careful managed so that it is suitable i.e more small meals rather than large meals.  They are also prone to some cancers, problems with their eyelids and hip and elbow dysplasia. This is another breed that will gain wait easily and so feeding and exercise must be appropriate.



This breed originated in the Swiss mountains. They are working dogs often used at pulling carts to market and also used to drive cattle and to watch over the farm. The numbers decreased in the 19th century as other working breeds were being introduced to Switzerland.


bern cart



Due to their long, thick coat, weekly brushing is needed and is particularly important when they are shedding.  The breed is a seasonal, heavy shedder. Baths are only required when necessary.



These dogs make great companions and members of the family as they get on great with children. They also tend to get on well with other pets and also often are friendly with strangers.  With any dog it is important to socialize well. These dogs are very intelligent and easy to train and although they are very confident, they are not often overly dominant.  As will all breeds of dog it is important for an owner of a Bernese mountain dog to show strong leadership. If you are calm and assertive, setting out clear rules and boundaries for your dog to follow, a Bernese mountain dog owner should encounter very few problems.


bernese child


Living conditions:

These large, active dogs are not generally recommended for life as an apartment dog. They are relatively active indoors but would be happiest with a large, fenced in yard to play in. It is important that they get regular exercise which may even include being trained to pull a cart or wagon for periods of time. A long daily walk is a must in order to fulfill both their exercise needs and their instincts to walk. Due to their thick coats they can be sensitive to heat and tend to do best in colder temperatures.


bern cold


Life expectancy:

6-8 years


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