Bernese Mountain Dog | Dog Breed Information & Facts – Pictures

Bernese Mountain Dog
Bernese Mountain Dog

There are few dogs belonging to large breeds, which are distinguished by their soft, affectionate disposition, docile, good-natured characters. The list of such unique dogs includes the Swiss breed “Bernese Mountain Dog”. This is one of the best companion dogs. Representatives of the breed always strive to communicate with people, they are fluffy and friendly. Bern has a whole bunch of advantages, it is not difficult to maintain it, therefore this is a very popular dog breed.

The Bernese mountain dog is currently a very popular dog because it is an excellent family dog ​​which also performs very well certain tasks such as search and rescue and assistance in therapies for adults and children. It is undoubtedly an excellent dog in many ways.


Bernese Mountain Dog photos

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Physical characteristics

The Bernese Mountain Dog is a rather large dog with long black and fawn hair and white patches around the nose, neck and paws. The Bernese Mountain Dog’s so-called “smile” is considered the breed’s trademark.

The reference height at the withers for males is 64-70 cm, for females – 58-67 cm. The average weight of the Bernese mountain dog varies from 40 to 50 kg for males, from 38 to 48 kg for females.


Distinctive features

  • Head: The head is large, in proportion to the body. The skull is massive, rounded. The stop is soft and smooth.
  • Teeth: The teeth are large, strong, located on the same line. The bite is pincer or scissor bite.
  • Ears: The ears are compact in size with rounded tips, perfectly triangular in shape with a high set. In a relaxed state, they hang down, when alert, they remain in a form adjacent to the head, but the back of the ear tissue rises slightly.
  • Eyes: The eyes are small, almond-shaped, set straight. The color of the iris is dark brown.
  • Frame: The body is proportional in size, strong. The neck is slightly elongated, powerful with a well-formed withers and a prominent nape. The back is wide and regular. The sternum is elongated oval with convex ribs. The loin is shortened, narrow.
  • Limbs: The legs are straight and parallel, rather muscular. The legs are rounded, large and massive. The front legs are pointing forward. The rears are more inflated than the fronts. The pads are firm and firm. The nails are strong and solid.
  • Coat: The hairline is straight or slightly wavy. The texture is soft, extremely thick, long with a pronounced shine. Color – a combination of white, black and red, but the dominant color is always black.


The breed matures slowly, so up to two years the animal remains a small “puppy”.

Character and behavior

Gentle, affectionate, and loving, these dogs are a perfect addition to families. They can even be included during family outings and activities. That is why it is important that these dogs are trained early. So that you can mould their personality as calm and tolerant whether in the house or with people.

Because of the eventual size of the breed, a Bernese needs both obedience and household manners taught at a young age. As a breed, however, they are slow to mature both physically and mentally and should not be pushed into training too rapidly. Although they are large, they are “soft” dogs and do not do well with harsh correction.

The Bernese mountain dog is a devoted friend who will enjoy accompanying the family everywhere. They thrive on human companionship and will be most happy if allowed to be a house dog. Proper socialization will help ensure that the Bernese is patient with other dogs and with children. As with any breed, however, the level of patience varies with the particular dog. The Bernese is a good watchdog and requires moderate exercise. They make great walking partners!


The Bernese Mountain Dog is a great dog for families with small children. A brave, intelligent and loyal friend will gladly substitute his mighty back for a child who is just learning to walk.


Since the breed developed for a long time in limited conditions with a small number of individuals and inbreeding took place, the Bernese Mountain Dog has a low life expectancy (about 8 years) and a number of health problems. Namely:

  • Bloating, volvulus – if you do not take action in time, the animal can die in a matter of hours.
  • Dysplasia of the joints – accompanied by intolerable pain, lameness, immobility may occur at the last stage of the disease.
  • Eye diseases – cataract, eyelid volvulus, retinal atrophy, eyelid inversion, conjunctivitis.
  • Heatstroke – happens when an animal is exposed to too high an ambient temperature.
  • Weakened color alopecia is a disease that leads to hair loss.
  • Oncological diseases – malignant hysteocytosis is most often observed.
  • Autoimmune diseases.
  • Kidney disease.
  • Weeping eczema – occurs as a result of improper care of the dog, after stressful situations and after insect bites, ticks are especially dangerous in this regard.


It is important that the pet has the opportunity to be outdoors every day. Bernese Mountain Dog is contraindicated for a long time in hot rooms and outdoors in hot weather in direct sunlight. In summer it is recommended to walk it in the morning or evening. Being closed in the aviary, the dog should be able to hide from the sun in the shade.

Life expectancy

The Bernese mountain dog has a low life expectancy: 7 to 10 years.


The Bernese Mountain Dog has a long coat, sheds, and needs to be brushed thoroughly twice a week. Nails should be trimmed about once a week or a little less frequently. The eyes are cleaned every day or as needed, the ears should be cleaned once or twice a week. Bathe the dog 1-2 times a week.

Living conditions

The Bernese Mountain Dog can live both in an apartment and in an aviary. But, based on the fact that this dog is large, long-haired and does not tolerate heat, it will be more comfortable for his to live in a spacious aviary with a large warm booth. The coat is so thick that it is able to protect the berns from frost.

Fun facts

  • One of the most important tasks of the Bernese Mountain Dog was to pull the cart filled with dairy products. When other modes of transportation became available in the late 19th century, this breed almost disappeared. Thanks to the efforts of Franz Schertenleib, a big fan of this breed, the Bernese Mountain Dog still exists today.
  • This is a very strong dog. It can pull a load 10 times heavier than its own weight.
  • This is an intelligent, loyal and affectionate dog who is eager to please. He can be easily trained, but due to his emotional nature, he does not respond well to hard training.
  • The Bernese mountain dog is suitable for families with children and other pets. He enjoys being surrounded by family members and participating in all daily activities.
  • He does not like to be alone. Chewing on various objects, barking loudly and digging into the ground are typical symptoms of loneliness.
  • Dogs of this breed should be kept in houses with large backyards, rather in apartments. It requires a long walk and at least 30 minutes of vigorous exercise a day.
  • The Bernese mountain dog has a thick double layer designed for cold climate zones. Its activities should be limited to morning and evening in warm climate areas to avoid heat stroke.
  • This dog is excellent in competitions which test the capacities of conformation, breeding, follow-up, obedience and cart of the dogs.
  • The gestation of the Bernese Mountain Dog lasts 61 days and ends with 1 to 14 puppies (8 on average).
  • The Bernese mountain dog has a shorter lifespan than other breeds of dogs due to many health problems resulting from frequent breeding with close relatives (the genetic pool of this breed is small). Its average lifespan is 6 to 8 years.

History of the breed

Beautiful, large, tricolored dogs in ancient times were very popular among farmers. Poor people who did not have the means to buy horses especially appreciated dogs; people used dogs to transport goods. The breed was called Bernese Mountain Dog, these mountain dogs appeared in the first century AD in the green valleys of the Swiss Alps. Brought them specifically for farm work. The rise in popularity, changes in usage and appearance can be traced back to dates:

The beginning of the fifteenth century – the breed is on the verge of extinction.

  • 1489 – a decree was issued according to which all large breed dogs belonging to farmers should be destroyed. The reason for this decree is that dogs destroy the vineyards of rich winemakers.
  • 1862 – a simple inn owner started breeding Bernese Mountain Dogs.
  • 1892 – the founder of Bernese show dogs began purposeful breeding of purebred Mountain Dogs.
  • 1904 – the breed began to be recognized, before that, they were called simple large mongrels belonging to poor peasants.
  • 1907 – The first Swiss club of the Bernese Mountain Dog is founded. Representatives of the breed have taken a strong position among companion dogs.
  • 1910 – It was called “Dürbachler”.
  • 1949 – Newfoundland appeared on the list of breeds whose blood flows in the Mountain Dog.

It turned out not planned, just Newfoundland entered the nursery without permission and left behind offspring. The bitch Bern gave birth to puppies with beautiful black long hair, with white markings and fawn inserts.

Among the ancestors of the Bernese Mountain Dogs are Roman Molossian dogs, Tibetan Mastiff, later joined by the Newfoundlands.

The first people to appreciate the benefits of the Berns were Swiss peasants and shepherds. For them, hardworking and loyal dogs were irreplaceable helpers. In our time, the tricolor breed has gained popularity in all European and not only countries. Canadian and American dog lovers have also appreciated the beauty and working qualities of the Swiss dogs.

Modern Bernese Mountain Dogs are still used by farmers in parts of Switzerland. In addition, they have established themselves as mine rescuers, companions, film actors and just loyal friends.


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