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Bernese Mountain Dog


Bernese Mountain Dog is a large, sturdy and intelligent working breed. These tri color dogs, gentle and easy going in temperament, are excellent with children. Physically as well as mentally, they tend to mature a bit slowly as compared to other dog breeds. 

This breed was originally named Durrbachler. This name was derived from the name of the place (in Switzerland) where this breed was developed. These are one of the four Sennenhund type dogs developed in the Swiss Alps. They used to work as farm dogs by guarding the farm, pulling carts and driving the farm animals to their mountain pastures and returning in the same way.

Physical Appearance

These heavy and muscular dogs are characterized by square built and sturdy bones. Their dark brown eyes with intelligent expression are slightly oval in shape. Blue colored eyes are generally not preferred. The high set, triangular ears with rounded tips are medium in size and hang close to the head.

The teeth are characterized by a scissor bite, neither undershot nor overshot. The nose of a typical Bernese Mountain Dog is usually black in color. Plus, they have bushy tails that are generally carried low.
Color: These dogs have tri colored hair coats with black ground color and markings of white and rust. Ground color other than black is considered as a disqualification.
Height: On an average a Bernese Mountain Dog can grow up to 25 or 27.5 inches in height. The females, on the other hand are generally 23 to 26 inches in height.
Weight: Berner dogs are usually 80 to 115 pounds in weight. The ideal weight for female Bernese Mountain Dogs ranges between 65 to 95 pounds.

Health Problems

Cancer, especially Histiocytosis is perhaps one of the most common health issues in these dogs. They are also likely to suffer from bloating, serious autoimmune diseases, eye diseases (particularly, blindness and progressive retinal atrophy) and kidney problems.

Besides, these giant and deep chested dogs are also prone to joint problems like hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia. The chances of developing joint problems and bone cancer increase manifold in case you get your dog neutered before long bone growth.

Though large in size, still these dogs require only moderate amount of exercise as they do not have a high level of endurance. In recent times, the average lifespan of these dogs has dropped from 10-12 years to 6-8 years, perhaps because of irresponsible breeding practices.

Life Expectancy: Unfortunately, these beautiful and lovely dogs have a short lifespan of 6 to 8 years.

Grooming Requirements

Bernese Mountain Dog breed is characterized by a moderately long hair coat that can be straight or slightly wavy, but not curly. This thick hair coat is weather and dirt resistant too. Therefore, the Bernese Mountain Dog hair coat requires daily brushing and combing. Though, the coat tends to require more frequent attention during the shedding seasons when they shed heavily.

Excessive trimming of the hair coat is usually not recommended as it tends to cause damage and makes it dull in appearance. As their coats are relatively dust resistant, these dogs do not need frequent bathing. Other grooming activities like nail clipping, eye cleaning, ear cleaning etc should also be carried out on a regular basis.


Bernese Mountain Dog temperament consists of qualities like friendliness, confidence, alertness, loyalty, obedient, gentleness, cheerfulness and affection. These delightful dogs generally do not exhibit aggressive or territorial behaviors. Though, the same can not be said about stubbornness. With proper training and early socialization, they tend to get along well with other pets in the house without any issues.

These dogs are quite easy to train as they have a strong desire to please their owners at any cost. Negligence toward proper obedience training may give rise destructive dog behavior which can prove to be even more destructive in case of large breed dogs. Your Bernese Mountain Dog can be a bit reserved in front guests and strangers. Apart from this, they make excellent watchdogs on account of their natural guarding instincts.

Key Points

While bringing a Bernese Mountain Dog home, make sure you have plenty of space for the dog, not just in your heart but in your house too. These enormous dogs are not quite suited for apartment dwelling unless there is free access to large and securely fenced yard. They are inactive and lazy indoors and hence require outdoor activities.

They have moderate physical activity needs which can be fulfilled with daily long walks. Interactive play sessions provide the required mental stimulation necessary for good health. Moreover, their thick and long hair coats are not suitable for warm environments. As the name of the breed indicates, Bernese Mountain Dog breed is more suitable for mountainous terrains.


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