Comprehensive Guide to Owning a Bernese Mountain Dog

Bernese Mountain Dog posing and looking cute for camera
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Bernese Mountain Dogs, known for their large size and gentle personalities, are a beloved dog breed that can make a wonderful addition to your family. Whether you’re considering bringing a Bernese Mountain Dog into your home or already have one, this comprehensive guide will provide you with valuable information about these majestic and devoted dogs. From their origins and physical characteristics to their health, behavior, and care, this guide has everything you need to know about Bernese Mountain Dogs.

Bernese Mountain Dog Overview

Bernese Mountain Dog, laying in the field
Image Credit: Deposit Photos.

Bernese Mountain Dog Origins

Bernese Mountain Dogs have a rich history that can be traced back to the farmlands of Switzerland. They were originally bred to be versatile working dogs, helping farmers with tasks such as herding cattle and pulling carts. The breed’s origins date back to the Roman times when they were brought to the region by invading Roman armies. Over the centuries, they adapted to the harsh alpine environment, resulting in the development of the Bernese Mountain Dog we know today.

Bernese Mountain Dog Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Mammalia
  • Order: Carnivora
  • Family: Canidae
  • Genus: Canis
  • Scientific Name: Canis lupus familiar

Bernese Mountain Dog Facts

  • Common Name: Bernese Mountain Dog
  • Fun Fact: They are known for their distinctive tri-colored coat and friendly disposition
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Lifespan: Up to 10 years
  • Weight: 70-115 lbs (male and female)

Bernese Mountain Dog Physical Characteristics

Coat Type

Bernese Mountain Dogs have a thick, long, and silky tri-colored coat that requires regular grooming.


Bernese Mountain Dogs are known for their relatively shorter lifespan, often living up to 10 years or more with proper care.


Bernese Mountain Dogs are one of the larger dog breeds, with males weighing between 80-115 lbs and females between 70-95 lbs. Their height typically ranges from 23 to 27.5 inches.

Bernese Mountain Dog as a Pet

General Health

Bernese Mountain Dogs are generally healthy dogs, but they can be prone to specific health issues such as hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, certain cancers, and heart conditions. Regular veterinary check-ups are essential to ensure their well-being.

Energy Level

Despite their large size, Bernese Mountain Dogs have a moderate energy level and enjoy outdoor activities. Daily walks and play sessions are crucial to keep them happy.


Bernese Mountain Dogs shed moderately, especially during shedding seasons. Regular grooming is necessary to manage their coat.

Training a Bernese Mountain Dog

Bernese Mountain Dogs are intelligent and can be trained with consistency and positive reinforcement. Early socialization and obedience training are recommended.

Tendency to Chew

Like many large breeds, Bernese Mountain Dogs may have a tendency to chew on objects. Provide them with appropriate chew toys to satisfy this behavior.

Bernese Mountain Dog and Children

Bernese Mountain Dogs can be excellent family dogs and are known for their gentle nature. However, due to their large size, supervision is recommended, especially with younger children.


Bernese Mountain Dogs are not known for excessive barking but can be vocal when necessary. Proper training can help manage their behavior.

Separation Anxiety

Bernese Mountain Dogs may develop separation anxiety if left alone for long periods. They thrive on human companionship.

Preferred Temperature

Bernese Mountain Dogs are well-suited to colder climates due to their thick coat. They may struggle in extremely hot weather.

Exercise Needs

Bernese Mountain Dogs have moderate exercise needs. Daily walks and outdoor playtime are essential for their well-being.

Friendly With Other Dogs

Bernese Mountain Dogs are generally friendly and can get along with other dogs, but early socialization is important.

Toys For Bernese Mountain Dogs

Bernese Mountain Dog, playing with Bernese
Image Credit: Deposit Photos.

When it comes to Bernese Mountain Dogs and their toys, choose sturdy and large-sized toys to accommodate their size and strength. Reputable brands like Kong and Chuckit offer durable options for larger breeds.

How Much Does A Bernese Mountain Dog Cost?

Acquiring a purebred Bernese Mountain Dog from a reputable breeder can cost at least $1,000 or more.

Bernese Mountain Dog Behavioral Traits

Bernese Mountain Dogs are known for their unique behavioral traits:

Gentle and Devoted: Bernese Mountain Dogs are gentle giants and form strong bonds with their owners. They are known for their loyalty and affectionate nature.

Alert: Despite their calm demeanor, Bernese Mountain Dogs make excellent watchdogs and will alert their owners to potential dangers.

Bernese Mountain Dog Maintenance and Grooming

Bernese Mountain Dog, grooming bernese 
Image Credit: Deposit Photos.

Bernese Mountain Dogs have specific grooming needs:

Coat Type: Regular brushing is necessary to keep their long and thick coat free of mats and tangles.

Dental Care: Like many large breeds, Bernese Mountain Dogs can be prone to dental problems. Regular tooth brushing is important for their oral health.

Baths: Bathing should be done as needed, typically every 6-8 weeks, to keep them clean. Use a pet-friendly shampoo. Here are a few suggestions for what we feel are some of the best dog shampoos available.

Nail Trimming: Regular nail trimming is required to prevent overgrowth and discomfort.

Ear Cleaning: Check their ears regularly for dirt or wax buildup and clean them as necessary.

Grooming Tips for the Double Coat

The Bernese Mountain Dog boasts a luxurious double coat that requires regular grooming to keep it in prime condition. Brushing their coat a few times a week helps minimize shedding and prevents mats from forming. Additionally, paying attention to the ears, paws, and tail – areas prone to collecting debris – can contribute to overall coat health.

Bernese Mountain Dog Health: From Hips to Bloat

Bernese Mountain Dogs are known for their majestic appearance and friendly demeanor, but like any breed, they come with their own set of health considerations. In this section, we’ll delve into various aspects of Bernese Mountain Dog health, ranging from potential health problems to grooming tips for their distinctive double coat.

Orthopedic Concerns and Hip Health

Bernese Mountain Dogs are a large and robust breed, but they are predisposed to certain orthopedic issues, with hip dysplasia being a common concern. Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and maintaining a healthy weight are crucial for supporting their joint health. Monitoring for signs of discomfort, such as limping or difficulty rising, can help catch potential hip issues early on.

Potential Health Problems like Bloat

Bloat, or gastric torsion, is a serious concern for many large breeds, including Bernese Mountain Dogs. Feeding them smaller, more frequent meals and avoiding strenuous exercise immediately after eating can help reduce the risk. Recognizing the symptoms of bloat, such as a distended abdomen and unproductive retching, is crucial for seeking prompt veterinary attention.

Bernese Mountain Dog Exercise Requirements

Bernese Mountain Dog, running bernese
Image Credit: Deposit Photos.

Bernese Mountain Dogs have moderate to high exercise needs. Their heritage as farm dogs or working dogs in the Swiss Alps and their prowess in activities like carting and agility make them desire to be active. Explore their role in a working group and try to find versatility in various canine activities.

Daily Walks: Daily walks of around 30-45 minutes provide them with the physical activity they require.

Playtime: Interactive play sessions with toys and games outdoors are essential for their mental and physical stimulation.

Dogs Similar to Bernese Mountain Dogs

If you’re interested in Bernese Mountain Dogs, you might also like these large dog breeds:

  • Newfoundland
  • Saint Bernard
  • Great Pyrenees

Famous Bernese Mountain Dogs

Bernese Mountain Dogs have made their mark in pop culture with some famous examples:

  • Bruno: Featured in various films and commercials.
  • Heidi: Gained fame on social media platforms for her adorable antics.

Popular Names for Bernese Mountain Dogs

If you’re looking for a name for your Bernese Mountain Dog, consider these popular choices:

  • Bella
  • Max
  • Luna
  • Rocky
  • Daisy
  • Thor
  • Sadie
  • Bear
  • Chloe
  • Cooper

Bernese Mountain Dog FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Here are answers to some common questions about Bernese Mountain Dogs:

How long do Bernese Mountain Dogs live?

Bernese Mountain Dogs have a lifespan of around 7 to 10 years, with proper care.

Are Bernese Mountain Dogs good pets?

Bernese Mountain Dogs make excellent pets for those seeking a large, gentle companion with a calm disposition.

What problems do Bernese Mountain Dogs have?

Common issues include hip and elbow dysplasia, certain cancers, and heart conditions.

Are male or female Bernese Mountain Dogs better?

The choice between a male or female Bernese Mountain Dog depends on personal preference, as both genders can make wonderful pets.

How big do Bernese Mountain Dogs get?

Bernese Mountain Dogs typically weigh between 70-115 pounds and stand around 23 to 27.5 inches tall.

Your Journey with a Bernese Mountain Dog

Whether you’re captivated by their giant size or charmed by their affectionate nature, owning a Bernese Mountain Dog is a rewarding experience. From puppyhood to adulthood, these dogs are loyal companions that please and protect. Remember, a well-socialized and trained Bernese Mountain Dog is not just a pet; it’s a cherished member of the family. Embrace the adventure, enjoy daily romps with your furry friend, and create lasting memories with your gentle giant.

Corey Turner
Corey Turner, owner of, draws on a lifelong love for dogs and extensive pet ownership to offer a unique perspective in the pet industry. With a successful background in project management, he excels in critical analysis, precise attention to detail, and quality assurance. This expertise allows him to effectively differentiate true value from marketing hype in the pet sector. Corey’s contributions have been featured in various publications including Rockery Press Guide Books and During his free time, he enjoys disc golfing, rock climbing, and bonding with his cherished FurBall friend, Harvey.