Bernese Mountain Dog Breed

Bernese Mountain Dog Breed at a Glance


The Swiss Bernese Mountain Dog breed ranks as the 30th most popular dog in the United States because it is beautiful and friendly. It is also known as the Berner Sennenhund, Bernese Cattle Dog, and Berner. This good-natured, strong, and calm dog is sturdy, intelligent companion loves outdoor activities, including pulling children in a cart. Commonly referred to as a “gentle giant” they are quick to please their owner, make great watchdogs, but should not be depended upon to protect its family with an intruder. Given the adequate exercise, they are well-behaved and rarely bark or misbehave. These friendly easy-going dogs are devoted and trustworthy, and crave being with people, making them the perfect fit for families.

Breed Group: Working


Bernese Mountain Dog Puppies

HISTORY of the Bernese Mountain Dog Breed

It is believed that the Berner is the result of the native flock guarding dogs interbred with Roman mastiffs during Roman times, when Switzerland was invaded by the Romans. This interbreeding resulted in a dog later used as a flock guard, herder, a drover, a common farm dog, a draft dog, and one capable of withstanding the harsh Alpine weather.

Origin: Switzerland


The Bernese Mountain dog is extremely gentle with kids, very devoted, sensitive, and loyal. It thrives in a family environment where it is included in activities, so give it the attention it needs. The Berner is a sensitive dog that doesn’t respond well to reprimanding or punishment, and you can expect it to be considerably mouthy and to bark occasionally. It does have a high hunting drive and may wander, so be sure to keep your dog on a leash when out and about.

The Bernese Mountain dog ranks in the bottom 30% of dog attacks which include maimings, fatalities, and other injuries that require medical attention. Since 1982, there has only been one recorded incident involving an adult victim, so it is extremely unlikely for such a dog to cause human casualties.

Physical Characteristics of the Bernese Mountain Dog

The common colors are black, with distinctive reddish-brown and white markings. Its coat is medium-long and silky, with a body somewhat long and square. It is the only Swiss Mountain dog with a long and silky coat.

The Bernese Mountain dog weighs between 70 and 120 pounds, and stands between 23 and 28 inches tall, depending on its gender.

Bernese Mountain Dog Breed

Expect constant and seasonal shedding because this is a double-coated breed. Regular brushing helps, but prepare to vacuum regularly. This is not a hypoallergenic breed. The Berner also has a high tendency to drool.

HEALTH and CARE of the Bernese Mountain Dog Breed

Life Expectancy

The life expectancy of this breed is much shorter than the average for large dogs, and is expected to live between 7 and 9 years.

Common Health Concerns

Each dog breed is susceptible to certain health issues and conditions. The Bernese Mountain dog is at a high risk of developing:

  • Aseptic Meningitis
  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • Osteochondrosis

and at a medium risk of developing:

  • Hip Dysplasia


The Berner thrives in cold weather, but do not leave it outdoors alone for long periods of time, as it is very attached to its family. It also needs a moderate daily exercise to remain fit. Be careful, as it is at a high risk for gaining weight, so feed it a high-quality dog food and ensure it gets the exercise it requires.

Dog Breeds


With an average weight of 105 pounds, feed your Bernese Mountain dog approximately 4 – 1/2 cups of dry food each day.


Frequent brushing is necessary to maintain its coat. Use a pin brush and a slicker to simplify grooming. This helps remove mats and tangles. Also, it needs the occasional bath. Check the ears regularly to reduce the likelihood of an infection caused by wax buildup and debris. However, stripping and trimming are not necessary.

The Bernese Mountain Dog breed was recognized by the AKC in 1937.