Bernese Mountain Dog

Bernese Mountain Dog At-a-Glance

There is a television commercial you may have seen. It shows a sick child in the hospital being visited by a dog to cheer her up. Yep, that was a Bernese Mountain Dog. This friendly giant of a dog is sweet-natured, affectionate, and calm. The powerful yet gentle Bernie (as it is known) is exceptionally beautiful and loves children.

Weight (pounds)
Male: 80-115
Female: 70-95
Height (inches)
Male: 25-28
Female: 23-26
Lifespan (years)

Dog Breed Group

Characteristics Ratings

We rate 19 characteristics for each breed, divided into three categories:
Highest Rated – Characteristics for which this breed is rated 4 or 5 stars (on a 5 star scale).
Neutral Rated – Characteristics that rated 3 stars.
Lowest Rated – Characteristics that rated only 1 or 2 stars.

Highest Rated

  • Good Family Dog
  • Kid Friendly
  • Good With Other Dogs
  • Friendly to Strangers
  • Likes to Play
  • Handles Change Easily
  • Easy to Train
  • High Energy Level
  • Tolerates Cold Climate
  • High Intelligence

Neutral Rated

  • Low Drooling
  • Protective Nature
  • Low Amount of Barking

Lowest Rated

  • Low Shedding
  • Suitable for Small Yards/Apartments
  • Good for Novice Owners
  • Tolerates Being Left Alone
  • Tolerates Hot Climate
  • Good General Health

General Overview

Their size makes for an intimidating appearance, but in reality, they are gentle and loving. They make outstanding family dogs, especially around children, of whom they are particularly fond. They like nothing better than to sit on your lap and cuddle. They just don’t seem to be aware of how big they are!

They are good with other dogs, friendly to strangers, and not aggressive towards anyone who they sense post no threats. That said, they are loyal and protective over their families, particularly the younger members.

From a grooming standpoint, Bernese Mountains Dogs are fairly high maintenance. Their long hair sheds – a lot! – and you’ll be using your vacuum and lint roller frequently. The good news is they are only moderate droolers.

Their affectionate nature means they are very attached to their families and don’t do well when left alone for long periods. Separation anxiety is definitely an issue with a Bernie.

Despite their gentle and friendly personalities, Bernies are not ideal for a first-time dog owner. Their size alone, combined with a high energy level and need for mental stimulation, requires an experienced owner to ensure they are trained and socialized properly so that their size doesn’t accidentally cause problems.

Bernies have a fair amount of energy and enjoy outside activities. They make excellent companions for hiking, camping, and long walks.

Considering their immense size, you would think they would be clumsy, but in fact, they are very coordinated and excel in agility and obedience.

You’ll need a home with a large yard to keep a Bernie happy and healthy. They need both physical and mental stimulation and their large size just isn’t suitable for an apartment or small yard.

Bernese Mountain Dogs are highly intelligent and thus are easy to train, so long as the training is done properly.

They get their feelings hurt easily, because of their affectionate and gentle natures, and harsh training with stern commands simply won’t work with them. When you use positive reinforcement, however, they will easily learn commands.

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