The Majestic Bernese Mountain Dog is a large, sturdy breed hailed from the Swiss Alps.

With their striking tricolor coat, gentle temperament and working dog roots, the Bernese Mountain Dog makes for a wonderful family companion.

This article provides an in-depth look at the breed’s history, characteristics, health considerations and what it’s like to live with one of these gentle giants.

Majestic Bernese Mountain Dog

With their striking tricolor coats, gentle dispositions, and imposing size, Bernese Mountain Dogs cut striking figures. Their calm, faithful natures seem to command respect. Though large working dogs, Berners make for loyal pets and unflappable companions, beloved for their good-natured spirits. Majestic in form and character, the Bernese Mountain Dog is truly one regal breed.

Origins and History

The Majestic Bernese Mountain Dog hails from the Swiss canton of Bern, where they were originally used as farm dogs. Their jobs included pulling carts, driving cattle to pasture and acting as watch dogs on farms in the Swiss Alps.

The exact origins of the Majestic Bernese Mountain Dog are unclear, but most experts believe they descended from the Molosser-type dogs brought to Switzerland by the Romans. They were likely bred with local Swiss farm dogs to create the foundation of the breed.

Key Periods in Majestic Bernese Mountain Dog History

Year Event 
1907 The first Bernese Mountain Dog breed standard was written
1937 The Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America was founded
1968 The American Kennel Club recognized the Bernese Mountain Dog

The Bernese Mountain Dog made its first appearance outside of Switzerland in 1907 when they were shown at a dog show in Berlin. This exposure led to the dogs being exported to Germany and other European countries. They arrived in the United States in 1926 but did not gain widespread popularity until the 1970s.

Today, the Bernese Mountain Dog remains a versatile working breed and is especially popular as a family companion. They have a calm, friendly nature that makes them a joy to live with.

Physical Characteristics

The Bernese Mountain Dog is an impressive, tri-colored working dog breed with a sturdy build. Some key physical traits include:

  • Coat: Tri-colored double coat consisting of jet black hair with rich rust and clear white markings. The coat is moderately long.
  • Coloring: Distinctive black, white and rust tricolor pattern.
  • Size: Large breed. Males stand 25-27.5 inches tall at the shoulder; females are 23-26 inches tall.
  • Weight: Adults weigh 80-115 pounds.
  • Head: Broad skull and muzzle with some wrinkles. Long rectangular shape.
  • Ears: Triangular medium-sized ears set high on head that hang close to the cheeks.
  • Tail: Bushy tail that reaches to the hock. Often carried low when relaxed or moving.

A distinguishing feature of the Bernese Mountain Dog is the white markings on their chest forming a distinctive inverted cross shape. Their jet black coats also stand out. The rust markings appear above the eyes, front legs and as accents on their white chest and feet.

Majestic Bernese Mountain Dog Height and Weight Ranges

FeatureMale Female
Height at shoulder25-27.5 inches23-26 inches
Weight 80-115 pounds80-115 pounds

The Majestic Bernese Mountain Dog has a balanced, muscular frame with good bone structure. Their build reflects their working farm dog roots, allowing them to trot tirelessly beside wagons and withstand harsh mountain conditions.

You May Also Like:
Bernese Mountain Dog Lifespan

Temperament and Personality

While their large size is impressive, it’s the Bernese Mountain Dog temperament that wins over so many fans of the breed. They have a calm, patient and faithful disposition.

Some key characteristics of the Bernese temperament include:

  • Affectionate: Devoted to their families, the Bernese thrives on attention, touch and spending quality time with their people.
  • Gentle: Despite their large size, they have a dependable, easygoing nature and sweet spirit.
  • Intelligent: This willing work dog aims to please their owners. Their intelligence makes them fairly easy to train.
  • Loyal: The strong farm dog roots of the Bernese Mountain Dog make them extremely loyal companions.
  • Playful: They maintain a bit of puppy-like enthusiasm throughout their lives. Most Berners enjoy playing and romping with their families.
  • Calm: Generally content in both active and low-key environments. More laidback housemate than high energy.

The Bernese bonds closely with all members of their family and tends to follow their favorite people from room to room. They want to be where you are! With early exposure, they generally get along quite well with other pets, children and strangers.

Bernese Mountain Dog Temperament Traits and Characteristics

Positive TraitsPotential Challenges
AffectionateSeparation anxiety
LoyalMessy drinkers

While Bernese have countless excellent traits, they can be prone to separation anxiety when left alone for long periods. Their thick coats also shed heavily in the spring and fall. Owners need to be prepared to actively brush and vacuum. Early training and exercise goes a long way towards preventing problem behaviors like stubbornness or nuisance barking.

Exercise and Activity Requirements

As large working dogs bred for endurance, Bernese Mountain Dogs require daily exercise to maintain muscular fitness and mental stimulation. Expect to spend at least 30-60 minutes per day exercising a healthy adult Bernese.

Bernese enjoy:

  • Walking/Hiking: Long walks and roaming provide essential exercise and bonding time.
  • Playing: Whether it’s fetch in the yard or play wrestling with another dog friend, Bernese love to have fun!
  • Carting/Draft Work: Carting and draft work appeals to their history as cart-pulling dogs. Many enjoy these jobs.
  • Dog Sports: Their intelligence makes them well suited for dog sports like agility, rally obedience and more.

Keep in mind that the Bernese is built for endurance over speed. Activities that take advantage of their working dog stature are most fulfilling versus intense running or sprinting. On warm days, limit exercise to morning/evening hours to prevent overheating.

Provide ample playtime and affection on days when lengthy outdoor activity isn’t possible due to weather or schedule constraints. A bored Bernese can get into mischief!

Ideal Types of Exercise for Bernese Mountain Dogs

BenefitsExample Activities
Provides needed exerciseWalking, hiking, jogging (once fully grown)
Satisfies natural instinctsCarting, drafting, backpack carrying
Stimulates mindAgility, rally obedience, nosework
Strengthens bondLong walks and playtime with owner

You May Also Like:
Bernese Golden Retriever Mix Facts

Training Tips

The Bernese Mountain Dog aims to please their owners which allows them to be fairly easy to train. Still, they are a large and powerful working breed that benefits from structured training starting as puppies.

Key training tips include:

  • Start training early using positive reinforcement techniques. Food rewards and praise work best with this gentle breed.
  • Practice basic cues like sit, stay, come. Teach loose leash walking skills from the start through reward-based methods.
  • Socialize extensively as a puppy to shape good canine citizen skills. Safely introduce them to new people, dogs, environments, handling, loud noises and more.
  • Attend organized obedience classes led by qualified professionals. This provides structured socialization and training during the critical 4-12 month puppy period.
  • Practice commands and obedience skills daily to reinforce desired behaviors. Berners thrive on interaction with their beloved owners.
  • Firm, patient leadership is a must to prevent Small Dog Syndrome. However, harsh correction or punishment methods should never be used.

With appropriate training, the eager to please Bernese Mountain Dog is delightful to own. Invest time into proper socialization and training from a young age to nurture their best qualities. This provides a solid foundation for a wonderful companion.

Grooming Needs

The Bernese Mountain Dog has a thick, moderately long double coat designed to allow them to function as working dogs in cold mountain conditions. Their gorgeous coat requires regular grooming to keep it in optimal condition.

Brushing: Frequent brushing is essential, especially during seasonal shedding periods. A pin brush and metal comb helps remove loose hair and prevent mats from forming.

Bathing: Bathe occasionally or when dirty. Over-bathing strips the protective coat oils leading to skin issues.

Nail Trimming: Trim nails as needed, usually every 2-4 weeks. Avoid allowing nails to get overly long which can cause foot pain and changes to gait.

Dental Care: Daily tooth brushing and annual veterinary cleanings helps prevent periodontal disease.

Ears/Wrinkles: Check and clean out ears weekly to avoid infections. Gently clean face wrinkles to prevent moist dermatitis.

Most Bernese Mountain Dogs shed moderately year-round with heavy seasonal shedding periods in the spring and fall. Extra coat brushing and grooming takes place during shedding season to remove loose hair and prevent mats.

Majestic Bernese Mountain Dog Grooming Schedule

Grooming TaskFrequency
Brushing3-5 times per week
BathingEvery 1-3 months or when dirty
Nail trimsEvery 2-4 weeks
Ear cleaningWeekly
Seasonal blow outsHeavy shedding in spring and fall

While Bernese shed consistently, their coats tend to be low odor and neutrally fragrant when well cared for. Their beautiful tri-color coats do require significant time devoted to regular brushing and combing to keep the coat and skin healthy.

You May Also Like:
Do Bernese Mountain Dogs Shed

Health Issues

All large dog breeds come with an increased risk for certain health conditions. Some health issues seen in the Bernese Mountain Dog include:

  • Joint Dysplasia: Elbow and hip dysplasia are common. Only breed dogs with OFA clearances for hips/elbows.
  • Cancer: Leading cause of premature death. Research familial history and parents’ longevity.
  • Bloat: Stomach twisting is dangerous. Use slow feed bowls and avoid exercise before/after eating.
  • Allergies: Environmental allergies, food allergies or atopic dermatitis can cause itching and skin infections.

Responsible breeders carefully screen their breeding dogs for sound structure, cancer risk and temperament. While no dog is 100% guaranteed completely problem-free, working only with reputable preservation breeders greatly minimizes risks.

The average Bernese Mountain Dog lifespan is around 7-10 years which is quite short compared to many dogs. Providing excellentpreventative veterinary care and nutrition helps ensure your Bernese lives a full, healthy life.

Major Health Issues Affecting Bernese Mountain Dogs

ConditionRisk FactorPrevention Tips
Elbow/Hip DysplasiaHereditaryUse OFA testing, diet, moderate exercise
CancerHereditaryScreen pedigree, neuter/spay
BloatAnatomicalUse slow feeder, rest before/after eating
AllergiesGenetic & environmentalLimited ingredients diet, fish oil

Finding a Responsible Breeder

With a high-maintenance coat and considerable health risks, ensuring you get your Bernese puppy from an excellent breeder is crucial. Avoid pet stores or casual breeders. Rather, seek out preservation breeders focused on breeding to the official Bernese Mountain Dog breed standard for health, stable temperaments and type.

Hallmarks of responsible breeders include:

  • Health testing: Hips, elbows, DNA disease panels. OFA certification or higher.
  • Temperament testing: Canine Good Citizen or Berner-Garde certification assures sound temperament.
  • Proves dogs in work: Conformation, drafting, obedience or therapy titles.
  • Provides support: Lifetime guidance and breed mentorship. Takes dogs back.
  • Focuses on quality: Prioritizes health and breed preservation over quantity.

Expect to spend $1,800 to $4,500+ USD through such Bernese Mountain Dog preservation breeders. While not cheap, they offer the most reputable sources for these magnificent Swiss mountain dogs.

Suitability as Family Pets

From their triangular ears to the tip of their bushy tail, Bernese Mountain Dogs seemingly excel in the pet department. Their gentle, eager to please nature makes them wonderful companions for the right families.

Some key considerations for life with a Berner include:

  • Space requirements: Best suited for roomy houses with fenced outdoor space. Apartments are not ideal.
  • Activity level: Require at least 30-60+ minutes of daily exercise and playtime.
  • Trainability: Eager to learn and aim to please their beloved families.
  • Family fit: Exceptional with kids and multi pet homes. Thrives when included in family activities.
  • Time investment: Require significant time devoted to proper physical and mental exercise, training and grooming.
  • Expenses: Large breed dog ownership involves greater-than-average veterinary and pet care costs.

If you can provide sufficient indoor/outdoor space, invest ample time into exercise and training, keep up with grooming demands, and shoulder increased pet care costs, the Bernese Mountain Dog makes for an unbeatably friendly family companion!


Hailing from the dairy farms of Switzerland, the striking Bernese Mountain Dog remains the only Swiss dog breed registered by the AKC today. While their origins may be humble, their captivating tri-colored coats, loyal temperament and working dog abilities have earned them a special place in modern homes.

Bernese Mountain Dogs thrive when adopted by active owners able to provide sufficient exercise, training and companionship. Assuming that their exceptional requirements for prepping and wellbeing the board are completely met, the Bernese Mountain Canine vows to return the consideration given as complete canine commitment.Their gentle giant presence fills homes and hearts with joy and love.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Bernese good with kids and other pets?

Yes! With early socialization and training, Bernese Mountain Dogs tend to excel with children and other household pets like cats or dogs. Supervise young kids to prevent injuries.

What health issues do Bernese face?

Cancer, elbow/hip dysplasia, bloat and skin allergies are among the most pressing health threats. Choosing responsible breeders actively working to minimize these risks through careful breeding is key to a healthier, longer lived dog.

How much exercise does a Bernese Mountain Dog need?

Plan on dedicating 30-60+ minutes per day to exercising a healthy adult Bernese Mountain Dog. Activities like walking, hiking, playing fetch, cart work and dog sports are ideal outlets.

Do Bernese dogs bark a lot?

Most Bernese Mountain Dogs only bark if provoked by perceived threats. Early proper socialization helps prevent overactive alarm barking tendencies.

What type of coat and grooming do Bernese have?

The Bernese Mountain Dog has a thick, moderately long double coat that requires brushing multiple times per week plus extra grooming during seasonal shedding periods.

Share Your Friends

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *