Dog Breeds

Bernese Mountain Dog Advantage and Challenges


  • Outgoing and people-loving
  • Luxurious long coat and handsome good looks
  • Eager to please, gentle and sweet
  • Good family pet and a natural watchdog
  • Intelligent and hardworking


  • Sheds a lot
  • Short life span, prone to serious illnesses
  • Can't handle hot or humid weather
  • May accidentally knock over small kids
  • Doesn't do well if left alone

Bernese Mountain Dog Physical Characteristics


  • Very large 23-27 ½ inches


  • 65-115 pounds


  • Straight or slightly wavy, long-haired coat with brilliant sheen


  • Black with rust and white markings

Life Expectancy

  • 5-8 years
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Bernese Mountain Dog Personality

The Bernese Mountain Dog (or Berner, as it’s affectionately known to its many fans) is a big, beautiful tri-colored dog. This gentle and people-loving dog is the 48th most popular breed registered with the AKC in the United States. You’ll find that this pet gets along effortlessly with the entire family – including other animals – although it may accidentally hurt very small children due to its enormous size. (Note: never let kids climb on the Berner’s back for a ride, as this added weight could trigger congenital hip problems.)

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Bernese Mountain Dog History and General Information

History and Origin

The majestic Swiss Alps are the home of the Bernese Mountain Dog. More than 2,000 years ago, Roman invaders entered Switzerlandand the Mastiffs they brought along with them were crossed over time with native Swiss mountain dogs. The result was a strong and sturdy working dog that withstood the cold alpine temperatures.

The Berner was used throughout this region to pull carts, haul milk and drive cattle up into the high fields for the summer months. Despite its great usefulness, the Berner almost died out as a breed in the early-20th century. Fortunately, a handful of devoted fans kept the breed alive, and now the dog is gaining popularity around the world.

General Information

The Bernese Mountain Dog is more than just a beauty; this sweet and happy dog is also a hard worker and loyal companion. This gentle giant loves kids. Self-confident and alert, the Berner is fairly friendly with strangers, but is a natural watch dog. Eager to please and very intelligent, your Berner will be a fast learner – especially when gentle and patient training methods are used.

Not surprisingly, the Berner thrives in cold weather and is well suited for pulling sleds through the snow. This dog doesn’t do well in hot or humid climates, however, so if you don’t live in a snowy Northern region, limit your Berner’s activities in warm weather and make certain your dog has plenty of fresh water and shade at all times.The Berner’s world revolves around you, and it needs regular companionship and affection in order to thrive, so it should never be left to itself in the yard for long periods of time. Although the Berner has lots of stamina and energy, this dog must never be taken on long or exhausting walks or play sessions until fully grown – too much exercise too early in life can interfere with proper growth and bone development, which would greatly aggravate this dog’s already delicate health balance.

Like any dog, the Berner should be well socialized as a puppy, and obedience training for such a large dog is a must, for its own safety as well as the safety of others. This breed is a heavy shedder and needs daily brushing.

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Bernese Mountain Dog Health

Health Ailments

The Berner is susceptible to several health problems, such as hip and elbow dysplasia, cancer, autoimmune disease, kidney problems, blindness and bloat. To help extend the breed’s life expectancy, the Berner-Garde Foundation is working to discourage breeding dogs with genetic diseases. Cancer, in particular, has become an increasingly common disease seen in younger and younger Berners, and the BMD Club of America is actively researching this unfortunate trend.

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Bernese Mountain Community

Your Bernese Mountain

Send us pictures and stories about your Bernese Mountain Dog.

Bernese Mountain Discussion Group

Get tips from other Bernese Mountain Dog lovers – and submit a few ideas of your own.

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