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Bernese Mountain Dog


Bernese Mountain Dog Facts

  • Group
  • Working
  • Affiliations
  • Height
  • 23" - 27" (58.4 - 68.6cm)
  • Weight
  • 90 - 120lbs (40.8 - 54.4kg)
  • Lifespan
  • 10 years | Add yours

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  • Exercise Requirement
  • Moderate - This breed enjoys typical daily activity
  • Training Requirement
  • A Quick Learner
  • Grooming Requirement
  • Moderate
  • Colors
    • Tri-color (white/tan/black)
  • Breed Characteristics
    • Can be trained as a watch dog or guard dog
    • Good with children
    • Ok outdoors

True Cost Of Ownership

Alternate Names

The Bernese Mountain Dog is also known as Berner sennenhund, Berner, and Bernese Cattle Dog.


The Bernese Mountain Dog breed originated in Switzerland.

Date Of Origin

The Bernese Mountain Dogs traveled to Switzerland with Roman soldiers over 2,000 years ago.


The Bernese Mountain Dog was brought to Switzerland with the Roman soldiers. They are one of the four ancient Swiss Sennenhunds, developed when the invading Romans bred their mastiffs to local flock-guarding dogs, and while they all share the same tri-color markings, this is the only one with a full coat. The Bernese Mountain Dog was refined in Berne and was used for many different jobs including farm work, guarding property and livestock, and they were even used by the Romans in battle, armed with metal studded collars.

The Bernese Mountain Dog had almost disappeared in the late 1800's when Franz Schertenleib, a breeder investigating the history of Swiss mountain dogs, found several good specimen in the Berne region. By the early 1900's, breed fanciers exhibited the few examples of the large Bernese Mountain Dogs at shows in Berne. In 1907 a few breeders from the Burgdorf region founded the first breed club, the "Schweizerische Durrbach-Klub", and wrote the first standard which defined the dogs as a distinct breed. By 1910, there were already 107 registered Bernese Mountain Dogs.The Bernese Mountain Dog first arrived in the USA in 1926.

The Bernese Mountain Dog was recognized by the AKC in 1937 and by the UKC in 1948.


The Bernese Mountain dog is a large, powerfully built square shaped dog with a large head; a flat, broad skull; and straight muzzle. The breed has dark brown eyes, a black nose, and medium sized, triangular drop ears that are set high. The chest is deep and the tail is long and bushy. The coat is long shiny and straight or slightly wavy. It is tri-color with a black base with rust and white markings. Males are slightly larger than females, with a distinct gender differentiation between male and female.


The Bernese Mountain Dog is an easy going breed that is easy going and gentle. Some may be weary of strangers, but they generally get along with everyone, including children and other animals. It generally

The Bernese Mountain Dog is energetic, affectionate, loyal, faithful, stable, and intelligent. The majority of Bernese Mountain Dogs are even tempered, good-natured, and friendly with people and other dogs. They often get along well with other pets such as cats, horses, and other pets. Bernese Mountain Dogs are great with children but activities should be supervised given the size of this breed. Bernese Mountain Dogs are slow to mature, and may display noticeable puppy-like tendencies until 2.5 years of age.

Training and socialization should begin early and continue after basic obedience classes. Bernese Mountain Dogs do not like being isolated and should not be considered yard dogs.

The Bernese Mountain Dog will need daily exercise, but is not designed for fast, sustained running. A long brisk walk followed with a game of fetch will suffice. Dog sports such as agility, carting, herding, and others will be welcomed joyously.


The military background of the Bernese Mountain Dog created excellent guardians of livestock, especially in the hilly regions of Switzerland. The Bernese Mountain Dog makes for an excellent general purpose farm dog capable of pulling carts, herding, and guarding. Their large, sturdy frames and confident temperaments make them good home guardians. Breeding has developed this herd dog into a wonderful family companion.

Health Concerns

Possible health concerns for the Bernese Mountain Dog include autoimmune disease, bloat, a higher than average rate of cancers, hip dysplasia, eye disorders, skin and coat problems, subaortic stenosis, von Willebrand's disease, and thyroid disorders.

Additional Information

Resistant to the coldest winters, the Bernese Mountain Dog is not suited for hot climates.

The Bernese Mountain Dog requires a through brushing twice weekly to keep the coat clean and healthy. During the heavy-shedding seasons of spring and fall, the coat will need daily brushing. Although the Bernese Mountain Dog is shown with a full-length coat, many owners choose to trim the long hair on the paws and ears to help with cleanliness.

Health surveys of Bernese Mountain Dogs in Denmark, the UK, and USA/Canada all show that this breed is very short-lived compared to breeds of similar size and purebred dogs in general. Bernese Mountain Dogs have a average lifespan of 7 years in USA, Canada, and Denmark and 8 years in the UK. By comparison, most other breeds of similar size live for an average of 10 - 11 years.

The Bernese Mountain Dog will do best with an active, dog-experienced owner in a suburban or rural setting.

Show Sources & Contributors +


The New Encyclopedia of the Dog

Publisher: Dorling Kindersley Publishing, 2000

Website: http://www.dk.com

Author: Bruce Fogle

Simon & Schusters Guide to Dogs

Publisher: Simon & Schuster inc, 1980

Website: http://www.simonandschuster.com

Author: Elizabeth Meriwether Schuler

Dog Bible

Publisher: BowTie Press, 2005

Website: http://www.bowtiepress.com/bowtie/

Authors: Kristin Meuh-Roe, Jarelle S. Stein

The Howell Book Of Dogs

Publisher: Wiley Publishing Inc, 2007

Website: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/

Author: Liz Palika


Publisher: WikiMedia Foundation, On Going

Website: http://en.wikipedia.org/

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