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Bernese Mountain Dog

Bernese Mountain Dog Breed Information

Size 23-27.5 inches (58-70 cm)
Weight 79-110 lbs (36-50 kg)
Origin Switzerland
Color Black, white and brown
Lifespan 6-9 years
Suitable As Family dog, rescue dog
Personality Affectionate, attentive, loyal, relaxed, placid

Bernese Mountain Dogs playing Photo: Grigorita Ko/Shutterstock

Breed Characteristics

The Bernese Mountain Dog is a sporty, spirited and confident dog that’s very loving and affectionate. Its size and weight might make it seem a little brash at times, but these dogs have gentle, friendly characters. This is a real family dog that thrives when it can join in on things with its “pack”.

Exercise Needs and Training

When it comes to dogs that get so big and heavy, it’s important that they’re properly trained as puppies. This definitely applies to Bernese Mountain Dogs. 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.


Pros and Cons


  • Great family dog
  • Super loyal
  • Very peaceful and sociable
  • Gets on well with other pets
  • No problem with strangers


  • Not an “apartment dog”
  • Not a “beginner” dog
  • Doesn’t deal with hot weather well
  • Sheds a lot
  • Drools
  • Can get afraid when alone

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.

Bernese Mountain Dog Photo: Alexandra Morrison Photo/Shutterstock


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 wooly undercoat. Havanese and Maltese dogs might be easy to confuse, but almost anyone can spot a Bernese Mountain Dog a mile off. It has characteristic white fur markings on its face running between the eyes from the forehead to the snout. Its chest is also white. The rest of the coat is always brown and black.

Bernese Mountain Dog Photo: Komwanix/


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.

Where Does the Name Come From?

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. 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”.

Fun Facts

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.

Comparable Breeds

Bernese Mountain Dog running through the snow Photo: noemie/


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