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Bernese Mountain Dog

Bernese Mountain Dog Breed Information

Size 23-27.5 in (58-70 cm)
Weight 79-110 lb (36-50 kg)
Origin Switzerland
Color Black, white and brown
Lifespan 6-9 years
Suitable as Hauling, tracking and rescue dogs; family dogs
Personality Affectionate, attentive, loyal, relaxed, placid
Exercise Dog Exercise
Drooling Dog Drooling
Shedding Dog Shedding
Fur care Dog Fur Care

Rating = very/a lot; Rating = not very/a little

Breed Characteristics

The Bernese Mountain Dog is a family dog that thrives when it can join in with its “pack”. It grows faster than it matures, so needs regular training from early on. It generally gets calmer as it gets older.

A Bernese Mountain Dog can be shy and reserved around new people.

Bernese Mountain Dog running through the snow Bernese Mountain Dog running through the snow - Photo: Grigorita Ko/Shutterstock

Appearance

The Bernese Mountain Dog is very big and strong. They typically have a slow but powerful walk. Its silky, shiny, long coat is truly lovely, and is made up of a topcoat over a woolly undercoat.

History and Origin

Originally, the Bernese Mountain Dog was called the “Dürrbächler”. This name came from a small village in Switzerland called Dürrbach, where the dog was very popular with local farmers. They were great at protecting sheep. As big, powerful dogs, they were also able to pull small carts for the farmers.

At an international dog show in Bern in 1907, the breed drew a great deal of attention and soon became known in other regions. The dog was then renamed the Bernese Mountain Dog.

Bernese Mountain Dogs playing Bernese Mountain Dogs playing - Photo: Grigorita Ko/Shutterstock

Where Does The Name Come From?

Bern is the name of the canton (like a state) in Switzerland where the dog comes from. There is also a Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, an Appenzeller Sennenhund and an Entlebucher Mountain Dog - all named after different places of origin. The herdsmen that often kept these dogs as working dogs are also called “senn”.

Bernese Mountain Dog Bernese Mountain Dog - Photo: DragoNika/Shutterstock

Health and Care

The Bernese Mountain Dog’s fur is very long and thick. Cold temperatures are no problem at all, but they’re very sensitive to heat. When it’s outside, it will need lots of shade and fresh water.

These dogs also shed very heavily (the whole year round!), so should be combed regularly. Unfortunately, these dogs often suffer from hereditary diseases, so they don’t live as long as other breeds of the same size.

Typical illnesses for the breed

  • Hip dysplasia (malformation of the hip joint)
  • Elbow dysplasia (malformation of the elbow joint)
  • Cancer
  • Kidney diseases

Please note: not every dog will suffer from these illnesses

Did You Know?

In 2013, a Bernese Mountain Dog had 15 (!) puppies. That’s the world’s biggest litter for this breed. The Guinness World Record is currently held by a Neapolitan Mastiff that had 24 puppies.

Bernese Mountain Dog Bernese Mountain Dog - Photo: Einar Muoni/Shutterstock

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