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Bernese Mountain Dog Breed Information

General Information:

Height: 24-28 inches from shoulders
Weight: 70 -150 lbs.
Life Span: 6-8 years
Coloring: Black with rust and white markings
Area of Origin: Switzerland
Similar Breeds: Anatolian Shepherd, Boxer, Bullmastiff, Saint Bernard, Great Dane

History and Origin:

The Bernese Mountain Dog originated in Switzerland when the breed of Roman Mastiffs was crossed with native flock guarding dogs. This new breed was originally used for herding, carting, and tracking. An additional benefit, being in the Alps, was that they were strong enough to survive in the cold weather conditions.  Bernese Mountain Dogs made their first aperance in the US during the 1920’s and were quickly adopted by the AKC in 1937.

Personality and Temperament:

Bernese Mountain Dogs make great family companion. They are nice and gentle, especially with kids, as they can play gently with children and snuggle up with adults. Bernese Mountain Dogs tend to have quite high energy levels and like to participate in family activities. They are calm and unaggressive by nature and generally stay distant from unfamiliar people. Their loyalty, intelligence and alert nature makes them an ideal watchdog. Bernese Mountain Dogs take time to mature and continue to act like puppies for a long period of time. Berners have great sense of humor. If their owners laugh at their antics, they will repeat it in order to get the same reaction from them.

Exercise & Training:

Bernese Mountain Dogs can be easily trained. They are quick learners and well suited to take part in a variety of dog sports. But whoever trains them must understand that Bernese Mountain Dogs are sensitive and should be treated gently and politely, otherwise they will not respond well. Basic obedience training is important for them as it will enable them to understand how to behave with people. Like any other dog, Berners need socialization and that process should be started as soon as possible so that they can grow up as a well-mannered dog. Berners are not wanderers. They are very much comfortable inside the house. Bernese Mountain Dogs require plenty of exercise to be in good mental and physical shape. A rigorous half an hour exercise is necessary for them and they should be exercised at least three times a day.  They do not tolerate heat very well. In the summers, training or exercise should be done either in a cool place or in the early morning or later evening. Lack of exercise can cause a number of health problems including bone weakening. Cancer is the most common health issue for Berners which can reduce their lifespan to a great extent. Therefore they should be examined regularly. Bernese Mountain Dogs can easily live in narrow houses or apartments as long as they have opportunity to exercise regularly.


Bernese Mountain Dogs have a medium length, silky coat that needs to be brushed regularly. They shed an average amount during the winter, but shedding becomes heavy in the spring and summer. To control hair shedding, they should be brushed several times in a week. Bernese Mountain Dogs also require regular bathing to maintain cleanness. This dog breed is genetically prone to various diseases. Their nails, teeth and ears should be checked and cleaned regularly to avoid health problems.

Similar Breeds:

Bernese Mountain Dogs are similar to other working dogs such as Anatolian Shepherd, Boxer, Bullmastiff, Doberman Pinscher, Great Dane etc. In terms of looks, they are quite different from each other but they all have similar personality traits and behaviors. Like other working dog breeds, Bernese Mountain Dogs are large, strong, devoted and well suited to work as a guard dog, farm dog and for craft work.

Interesting Facts about the Bernese Mountain Dog:

1.  Bernese Mountain Dogs were named after Berne, the region in Switzerland from which they originated.

2.  In nineteenth century, the breed was on the verge of extinction when a person named Franz Schertenleib made efforts for the preservation and revival of the breed.

3.  A Berner named Sasha is one of the most famous Bernese Mountain Dogs. Sasha fell from 150 foot cliff and lay on the ice shelf for three day before being rescued.

4.  According to a research, about half of the population of Bernese Mountain Dogs dies of cancer which is the highest rate among all dog breeds.

5.  The breed was originally known as the Dürrbachhund, named after a small alpine town where the dogs were very popular.

Organizations dedicated to the Bernese Mountain Dog:

Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America
Bernese Mountain Dog Club of Alaska
Heart of Michigan Bernese Mountain Dog Rescue
New England Bernese Mountain Dog Rescue

Bernese Mountain Dog Breed Information

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Bernese Mountain Dogs