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Bernese Mountain Dog

Bernese Mountain Dog

The sturdy, strong Bernese Mountain Dog originated on Swiss farms, where he worked as a drover, draft dog and guardian. The breed’s long, thick double coat protects him in cold conditions but requires frequent brushing. With his calm, confident temperament and desire to be near his family, the Bernese Mountain Dog is an ideal companion. Affectionately known as Berners, this breed requires moderate exercise.

DID YOU KNOW? One of four varieties of Swiss mountain dogs, the Bernese Mountain Dog is the second largest and the only one with a long, silky coat. By the end of the 19th century, the Bernese Mountain Dog was almost lost, but professor Albert Heim led a search for stock to preserve the breed. It was not until 1926 that Berners arrived in the U.S.

ALSO KNOWN AS: Berners, Berner Sennenhund, Bernese Cattle Dog

The need-to-know
  • Dog suitable for owners with some experience
  • Some training required
  • Enjoys gentle walks
  • Enjoys walking an hour a day
  • Giant dog
  • Heavy drool
  • Requires grooming daily
  • Non hypoallergenic breed
  • Quiet dog
  • Guard dog. Barks and alerts
  • Great with other pets
  • Great family dog
Bernese Mountain Dog

Pet Card

  • Living Considerations: Good with children, not hypoallergenic, not suitable for apartment living
  • Size: Large
  • Height: Males – 63.5 to 70 centimetres at the withers, Females – 58 to 66 centimetres at the withers
  • Weight: Males 40 to 54 kilograms, Females 36 to 47 kilograms
  • Coat: Long
  • Energy: Low
  • Colour: Tricoloured, with black, russet and white
  • Activities: Herding, Search and Rescue, Carting, Conformation
  • Indoor/Outdoor: Both

Key Facts

Lifespan: 6–10 years
Weight: 40–44kg
Height: 58–70cm
Colours: The Bernese Mountain dog is always tricoloured with a jet-black coat, white muzzle and blaze, white chest, white paws and white tail tips. A rich chestnut or tan colour separates the black and white on the legs and cheeks
Size: Large
Kennel Club group: Working

Ratings

Family-friendly: 5/5
Exercise needs: 3/5
Easy to train: 4/5
Tolerates being alone: 1/5
Likes other pets: 3/5
Energy level: 4/5
Grooming needs: 4/5
Shedding: 5/5
Bernese Mountain Dog

Personality

Bernese Mountain dogs are good-natured pets who love to be included in all aspects of family life, making wonderful companions. They are affectionate, patient and especially good with children, protecting them if necessary. They are social and need to be with people and given affection. They will generally bark to advise the arrival of visitors but will soon settle down again. Provided they have been introduced to cats and other household animals when young, they will live with them happily.

The Bernese Mountain Dog will suit a home-loving owner who has space for this gentle giant, likes grooming and enjoys an affectionate but not particularly active companion and doesn’t mind some canine drool.

Bernese Mountain Dog

History and Origins

The Bernese Mountain dog (or 'Berner') breed can be traced back 2,000 years to when the Romans invaded Switzerland (then known as Helvetia) with their cattle drovers and guard dogs. These Roman mastiff-type dogs were likely crossed with flock-guarding dogs who could withstand the severe weather in the Alps and also served to soften their temperaments. Bernese Mountain Dogs were often used as cart-pullers to transport woven goods or dairy products from village to village.

did you know?

Did You Know?

  • One of their previous jobs was as a farmer’s hand as many of the local farmers couldn’t afford horses, so they would use their strong dogs to pull carts of produce to market.
  • Their name refers to where they were bred: ‘Bern Canton’ – a region in central Switzerland.
  • Bernese Mountain Dogs are extremely strong and can pull up to 10 times their own weight.
  • They possess goofball personalities and can be a bit slower to mature than other dogs, so they retain their puppylike attitudes well into adulthood.
  • Interestingly, many owners of the Bernese Mountain Dog claim that they can understand laughter and when they do something that makes their owner laugh, they’ll likely repeat it!

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