Bernese Mountain Dog

Country of origin: Switzerland
Registries: AKC, UKC, CKC
Occupation: Versatile farm
dog, carting, drover
Size: 23 to 27 in tall; 90 to
120 lbs
Longevity: 8 to 10 years
Exercise: Moderate
Training: Easy
Grooming: Moderate

This is the most successful of the tricolour breeds, firmly established throughout Europe and North America as a popular family companion. While many are very affectionate towards people, some lines of Bernese can be aggressive. Breeding from a small genetic base has led to a high incidence of bone cancer and mast cell tumours. As a result, the Bernese has one of the shortest median life expectancies of all dogs, averaging only about seven years.


The Bernese Mountain dog became a breed in 1907. Just as their name depicts, they originated in the canton of Bern. The dogs that served as the foundation of their breed came over when Romans invaded Switzerland a couple thousand years ago. It was discovered that they best served a purpose as working dogs. They served as superb workers as herders on farms, as watchdogs, and even draft dogs. It was during these times in the beginning of the 1900s, that clubs were established. They began gaining popularity due to fanciers spotting them at certain dog shows.

They made it to the United States by the year 1926. A little more than a decade later, they were recognized by the AKC. They are one of the four main mountain dogs in the Swiss mountain regions. Today, they are sought after among many families who want a docile and fluffy canine companion. Their gentle nature makes them great family members for households with children.


As any reputable worker dog would be, the Bernese dogs were strong and very intelligent. They would work all day but rest assured, they loved to play also. They were known to be very gentle and calm, so they often make great family dogs. Sometimes, they would form a bond with one member of the home and stick by their side unconditionally. Their medium energy level and good-natured personality truly help create a wonderful well-rounded dog.


The Bernese Mountain dog is a large, sturdy dog with a beautiful doublecoat. They typically come in a tri-color of rust, black, and white. The chest of these dogs are usually a snowy white color. Their fur is so soft and long, often considered silky. They are 22 to 28 inches tall and weigh about 70 to 120 pounds. Bernese are typically not fat but in fact very muscular. They also have bushy tails to compliment their silky fur. They are well-balanced in their physical attributes and their emotional attributes.


The double coat these dogs have are meant to serve as protection in cold weather. Although it is a double coat, there is no excessive shedding. Occasional brushing and bathing are all these dogs need. As with any dog, their ears, nails, and teeth should be regularly checked and maintained.

Bernese are fast learners and love the mental stimulation and companionship that comes along with training. When they are exercised adequately, the chances of them being defiant goes way down. If they receive good socialization and positive training, they will end up being very well behaved. Otherwise, you may end up with a dog that leans to its rebellious side.


Although the Bernese mountain dog may be susceptible to typical doggy issues, like hip dysplasia, it must be noted that they have a short lifespan. Their lifespan averages at about 7 to 10 years. Cancer is a pretty critical deciding factor in their health as it is one of the leading causes of Bernese losses. Autoimmune diseases are also more common in this breed.



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