Dog Breed 101: Bernese Mountain Dog


Written by Dr. Muqeet Mushtaq DVM, MS ABG (Animal Breeding and Genetics)


The Bernese Mountain dog is an alert, good-natured breed and eager to satisfy and welcome all the jobs to do as a family pet.

The Bernese creates a good watchdog and is even good at herding and draft work.


The original Bernese Mountain Dog was a farm dog that raised cattle, protected the farm and pulled milk carts. The Bernese Mountain Dog almost translates in German as "bernersennenhund," which means Bernese Alpine Shepherd's Dog.

Professor Albert Heim saved the breed from extinction near the end of the century. He carefully bred the breed, and by crossing with the Newfoundland, he improved the dog's temperament and size.


The Bernese Mountain Dog is easy to train dog with a very sharp memory. Upcoming from a working background, they enjoy the challenge of learning new things. They must be given obedience training at an early age because of their large size to make them a pleasant family companion. The ability to care and work on the farm runs in their blood. Bernese looks good and is even better at drafting. The dogs are judged on their ability to pull and control a cart. As a family pet, Bernese will enjoy some physical work and exercise. They want to make you happy!


Due to the huge size of the breed, the Bernese Mountain dog needs domestic etiquette. However, as a breed, they mature both physically and mentally and should not be pushed into training too fast. While they are large, they are "soft" dogs and do not work well with a complex environment or routine.

Bernese's coat is thick, long and shiny, with a natural sheen. This beautiful coat will need to be brushed daily to keep it clean and prevent the mat. Grooming is recommended at least every three weeks. Shedding may continue throughout the year (usually twice a year). The Bernese dogs are devoted friend who will enjoy being with family everywhere. They foster human companionship and would be happiest if they were allowed to be domestic dogs. Proper socialization will help ensure that Bernese is patient with other dogs and children. Like any breed, however, the level of patience varies with a particular dog. They make the best-walking partners!

Breed Characteristic

Weight Range:
  1. Male: 90-120 lbs.
  2. Female: 70-100 lbs.

Height at Withers:

  1. Male: 26 in.
  2. Female: 25 in.

Other Features

  • Ears: Floppy (naturally)
  • Exercise Requirements: 20-40 minutes/day
  • Energy Level: Moderate
  • Longevity Range: 7-9 yrs.
  • Tendency to Snore: Low
  • The tendency to Drool: Low 
  • The tendency to Bark: Low
  • The tendency to Dig: Low 
  • Social/Attention Needs: Moderate
  • Bred For: Draft work
Coat Characteristic
  • Coat Length: Medium
  • Coat Characteristics: Thick, straight
  • Coat Colours: Tricolored: black with tan marking with white
  • Overall Grooming Requirements: Moderates
Club Recognition
  • AKC Classification: Workings
  • UKC Classification: Guardian Dog
  • Prevalence: Not much

The Bernese is a massive and large dog with a beautiful triangular coat. This dog breed is strong and muscular because it is a working dog.

The primary colour is black, and the markings are red and rusty or white. The coat is thick and quite long; it needs to be brushed frequently to keep it healthy and free from fleas or ticks.

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