Bernese Mountain Dog Breed Caring and Family, Social Life, Physical Traits, Diet Info

Bernese Mountain Dog Breed Caring and Family, Social Life, Physical Traits, Diet Info

The flashy white “Swiss cross” on the chest of the Bernese Mountain Dog is a dead giveaway of its origin. These beautiful, gentle dogs have traditionally been used as herders and draft dogs in Switzerland. In addition to being strikingly good-looking, the Bernese Mountain Dog has a lovely temperament. They’re known for being intelligent, affectionate, eager to please, and loyal.

Called Berner Sennenhund in their home country of Switzerland, these gentle giants crave human interaction, and if adequately socialized, they make excellent family pets. They make the best companions that adore the whole family. They love kids, and even newcomers to the home are greeted warmly. They’re easy to train and have a happy-go-lucky attitude about life.

The Bernese Mountain Dog is a large dog breed, one of the four Sennenhund-type dogs from the Swiss Alps. Berners stand between 23 and 27.5 inches high at the withers, and their average weight is 90 pounds. Female Sennenhunde have an average of six puppies per litter once a year, and their lifespan is 7 to 10 years. 

Bernese Mountain Dogs are examples of a flexible breed, capable of performing a wide variety of tasks. They are the hardworking ranch hands of the dog world with the muscles to back it up. And they’re not afraid to show off their skills—harness them to a cart, and they’re more than happy to pull the kids around the yard.

View Table of Contents

What are the Breed Traits and Characteristics of Bernese Mountain Dogs?

Bernese Mountain Dogs were bred to work. They pulled carts, herded livestock, and stood guard. These dogs like to keep busy so a home with a fenced yard is ideal for them. Berners, as their fond fans like to call them, tend to overheat easily when the weather is hot so it’s best to let them stay inside in the air conditioning.

They are loyal and affectionate and adore children, though because of their size they might accidentally knock over toddlers. These gentle giants love to spend time with their families and enjoy a good snuggle. There aren’t too many dogs of this breed type left, so you’ll be lucky if you can find one.

Berners take longer to mentally mature than other breeds. Physically they mature at around two years old. Still, they will remain puppies until they reach mental maturity at about three years. Because of this, most Berners will carry the “Training in Process” title for several years.

More of the Bernese Mountain Dog breed’s traits and characteristics are listed in the table below.

Bernese Mountain Dog Breed Traits

Bernese Mountain Dog Information


Male 25 to 27.5 inches

Female 23 to 26 inch


Male 80 to 115 pounds

Female 70 to 95 pounds

Relation with family

Loyal, Affectionate, Guardian, Strong-willed

Relation with children

Playful and lovable if socialized

Relation with other dogs

Good, if raised together

Shedding level


Drooling level


Coat type 

Double water-proof coat

Coat length

Topcoat Medium length wiry and coarse.

Inner coat short, soft, dense.

Coat grooming frequency

Frequent Brushing

Openness/Reaction to strangers


Playfulness level


Adaptability level


Trainability level


Energy level


Barking level


Mental stimulation needs level



7 to 10 years 

How Does the Bernese Mountain Dog Interact with Family?.

Bernese Mountain Dogs have an affectionate temperament, making them great as companion dogs and family pets. Give your Berner lots of attention because it isn’t a dog who wants to be left alone in your yard outside. They might get bored and start barking at the birds to keep themselves entertained. Berners also love to explore, so take them with you on your adventures. And at the end of the day, they’ll love nothing more than to cuddle up with you, enjoying the quiet times as much as they enjoy playtime.

Berners are gentle giants who are not always aware of their size, and proper training and socialization will help them learn self-control and manners around smaller or more fragile members of your family. They can even get along well with the family cats if they’re properly introduced. Berners have impressive herding and prey drives, but you can avoid your kids and pets being herded or chased. Ensure your Bernese Mountain Dog and your children receive adequate training on respecting each other. 

Berner Sennenhunde can have a slight stubborn streak, which means their owners need patience and calm to balance them. Using positive training techniques, you’ll need to be confident in your abilities to guide the pup to channel the dog’s powerful playfulness in the right direction. Reward their good behavior with praise, toys, and, of course, treats.

How Does the Bernese Mountain Dog Interact with Other Dogs?

The personality of each individual dog may vary. Still, in general, Bernese Mountain Dogs are very friendly, and they express that friendliness both towards people and other animals. They are welcoming towards their fellow canines and are known to get along with other dogs and pets in the household and those they meet in the park or anywhere else.

However, to ensure that your Berner is kind and peaceful towards other dogs, they should go through proper and early socialization. It’s never too early, and you should expose them to other dogs even while they’re still puppies.

How are Bernese Mountain Dogs with Older People?

Bernese Mountain Dogs are okay with older people; however, their energy level might be overwhelming. Berners need 60 to 90 minutes of brisk walking each day. However, older Berner Sennenhunde can live happily in apartments despite their size as long as the dog is taken out for walks daily. While young and teenage Berners enjoy spending a lot of time outside, older dogs are happy to lie by your feet or cuddle on the couch for most of the day.

Importantly, Bernese Mountain Dogs take longer to reach adulthood than most dogs. It could take up to four years for Berners to calm down and stop behavior like jumping onto their human family members for hugs. Therefore, they will only be safe companions for older people, particularly frail ones, once they are adults.

How are Bernese Mountain Dogs with Children?

Bernese mountain dogs are known to be great with children, and they are affectionate and are usually very playful around kids. However, if there is an infant in the house, special care might need to be taken since the Bernese mountain dogs are enormous and can knock over a child unintentionally. Usually, Bernese mountain dogs get attached to one particular family member, most likely the children.

The Bernese Mountain Dog is a great companion for older children who can stand up to his size and energy level. They particularly enjoy spending time with children, although parents need to be vigilant as Berners can be very enthusiastic and forget their size when playing, toppling younger children in the process. Proper training and socialization will help them learn self-control and manners around smaller or more fragile members of your family.

Although Bernese Mountain Dogs are an excellent choice for homes with children, it is still essential that your new canine companion and your kids understand how to interact. Ensure that your children know how to treat a dog and behave around an animal properly. It’s also critical to review any special rules regarding your new pup pal.

Likewise, as soon as you bring your new Berner home, it’s imperative that you begin training him right away and set clear expectations about what behavior is acceptable and what is off-limits. The earlier you socialize your Bernese Mountain Dog with kids, the better they will be around kids later. If you don’t have kids when you get a Bernese Mountain Dog, make sure you socialize and train it to behave around smaller kids and babies for times when there are children around. Likewise, parents should teach children how to respectfully interact with dogs from an early age, even if they don’t have dogs.

How are Bernese Mountain Dogs with Neighbors or Guests?

Despite being super cuddly and affectionate, not all Bernese Mountain Dogs extend this to strangers. However, neighbors and guests who are frequent visitors to your home will be like family members to your Berner Sennenhund. Of course, if you’re present, your Bernese Mountain Dog will accept anyone you introduce, and when the neighbors and guests become familiar faces your Berner might warm up to them, and even welcome them upon arrival. 

What are the Physical Traits of the Bernese Mountain Dog?

Bernese Mountain Dogs are large and powerful, but their playful brown eyes reveal their affectionate, sweet personality traits. They have a muscular, proud gait that lends them an almost noble appearance. Their thick, distinctly marked tri-color coat is mostly black in color, with white markings and rust-colored highlights. Their eagerly wagging bushy tails when they see you show they’re always ready to please.

The Bernese Mountain Dog’s physical traits are summarized in the table below. 


Trait information




Male 80 to 115 pounds

Female 70 to 95 pounds


Male 25 to 27.5 inches

Female 23 to 26 inch



Broad and slightly rounded. It has a slight furrow leading to a well-defined, but not exaggerated, stop

Strong but not too massive, in balance with the size of the dog


Intelligent, oval-shaped eyes are typically brown. Their eyes might be blue in rare cases, but this is not standard.


Their gently rounded, triangular ears hang close to the head when relaxed.


Strong and straight muzzle. 


The Bernese Mountain Dog’s nose is always black and prominently displayed on a straight snout.


A full complement of strong, white teeth meet in a scissors bite.

Exercise Needs



7 to 10 years


Double, consisting of a medium-length outer coat and a dense, short undercoat.

Coat color

Distinctive tri-colored coat black, glossy rust-red, and white


A bushy tail that they sometimes carry higher when alert.


Strong and straight

How to Feed a Bernese Mountain Dog?

Your Bernese Mountain Dog’s expected adult size determines its dietary needs through all life stages. Thus, base your Berner’s diet on a large breed’s unique nutritional and digestive needs throughout its different life stages. Most dog food companies have breed-specific formulas for small, medium, large, giant, and even toy breeds. 

It is always a good idea to discuss your dog’s dietary needs with your vet to ensure you are prepared to deal with age-related issues as your Berner Sennenhund grows. A veterinarian can advise on diets, portion sizes, meal frequencies, and all nutrition matters to ensure your furry friend lives a long life with optimal health. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times, and some essential nutrients are listed below:

  • Protein
  • Fatty acids
  • Carbohydrates
  • Minerals
  • Vitamins

Avoid feeding your canine companion from the table; all it does is add weight; instead, follow the advice below to ensure your furry friend’s optimal health.

Despite the Bernese Mountain Dog’s large size, it is an agile, athletic breed that needs food containing animal proteins and carbohydrates for energy, vitamins and minerals for digestive and immune health, and omega fatty acids for coat and skin wellness. A dog of this size, activity level, and demeanor will thrive best on premium dry food because this food type contains balanced portions of the above-listed ingredients.

However, your gentle giant’s daily portion depends on life stage, health, metabolism, activity level, and the brand and formula of food it eats. Feed your Sibe food formulated for a large breed with recipes for puppies, adults, and seniors, or look for a brand developed for all life stages.

Berner Sennenhund’s daily cups of food should be spread over 2 to 3 meals per day. Feeding Berners several meals instead of one meal per day can prevent life-threatening bloat. However, fresh drinking water must always be available for your furry friend. When in doubt, consult your veterinarian. 

An example of premium food specially formulated for Berner Sennenhunde and its benefits are listed below:

The best dog food for Bernese Mountain Dogs is Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Grain-Free Dry Dog Food Large Breed Recipe.

Below is a list of the benefits offered by the seven Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Grain-Free Dry Dog Food Large Breed recipes in this range:

Keep your gentle giant healthy with Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Grain-Free Dry Dog Food Large Breed Recipe. This freeze-dried dry food for dogs features real deboned chicken as the very first ingredient. It’s combined with duck and lamb into a protein-rich and highly-digestible formula.

This grain and gluten-free dry dog food contains freeze-dried raw-coated kibble and freeze-dried raw bites to give your doggie dude all the benefits of a raw diet. It’s developed with high levels of omega fatty acids to help promote healthy skin and a shiny coat while glucosamine and chondroitin support hip and joint function. It’s perfect for helping large breeds of adult dogs build healthy muscles and maintain a high level of energy throughout the day.

  • Freeze-dried raw-diet dry food for large breeds of dogs.
  • Features real deboned chicken as the very first ingredient.
  • Contains freeze-dried raw-coated kibble and freeze-dried raw bites.
  • Includes duck and lamb in a protein-rich and highly-digestible formula.

When Berners are healthy and active, every day is an adventure. That’s why Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Grain-Free Dry Dog Food Large Breed Recipe is crafted with everything dogs need to thrive, starting with real protein as the first ingredient.

How Much Should a Bernese Mountain Dog Puppy Eat? 

The Bernese Mountain Dog is a large breed whose puppies need high-quality puppy food formulated for a large breed dog like the Bernese Mountain Dog. It is essential not to feed puppies all their food at once, and they should have it spread over the day. When Berner Sennenhund puppies become three months old, owners can provide them with three meals per day until they reach six months, reducing the food intake to 2 meals per day. Only high-quality and branded puppy food is acceptable. Guidance for feeding puppies is listed below.

  • Bernese Mountain Dog puppies need slow, sustained growth to help prevent orthopedic problems, such as hip dysplasia. Raise them on a diet designed for large-breed puppies. Whatever diet you choose shouldn’t overemphasize protein, fat, and calorie levels.
  • Bernese Mountain Dogs should be fed according to a schedule, spreading meal times two or three times per day. Getting the puppy accustomed to meals at specific times is better than leaving food out to allow feeding throughout the day.
  • The exceptions are Bernese Mountain Dogs with medical conditions like hypoglycemia or low blood sugar because they need to nibble bits of food throughout the day.
  • Never feed your puppy from the table. It only encourages begging. Everyone in the family must follow this rule.

What are the Health Tests that a Bernese Mountain Dog Should Take?

Bernese Mountain Dog can be affected by several genetic health problems. Not all of these conditions are detectable in a growing puppy. It can be hard to predict whether an animal will be free of these diseases, so you must find a reputable breeder committed to breeding the healthiest animals possible.

The Bernese Mountain Dog Society of America, which is the American Kennel Club parent organization for the breed in the United States, participates in the Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) Program. Breeders must agree to have all test results, positive or negative, published in the CHIC database. You can check CHIC’s website to see if a breeder’s dogs have these certifications.

Do not purchase a puppy from a breeder who cannot provide you with independent certification that the parents of the dog (and grandparents, etc.) have been screened for genetic defects and deemed healthy for breeding. Having the dog’s vet checked is not a substitute for genetic health testing.

For potential Bernese Mountain Dog puppy buyers, CHIC certification is a good indicator that the breeder responsibly factors good health into their selection criteria. The breed-specific list below represents the basic health screening recommendations. It is not all-encompassing. There may be other health screening tests appropriate for this breed. And, there may be other health concerns for which there is no commonly accepted screening protocol available.

The Bernese Mountain Dog Society of America recommends the health screens listed below

  • Hip Dysplasia: 

OFA Evaluation OR

OVC Evaluation OR

PennHip Evaluation

  • Elbow Dysplasia:

OFA Evaluation OR

OVC Evaluation

  • von-Willebrand’s Disease

OFA Evaluation from VetGen

  • Eye Examination by a Board-certified Ophthalmologist

Results registered with OFA OR

Results registered with CERF

  • Congenital Cardiac Database

FA evaluations with an exam by cardiologist 

What are the common health problems of Bernese Mountain Dogs?

All dogs have the potential to develop genetic health problems, just as all people have the potential to inherit a particular disease. The Bernese Mountain Dog has some health conditions that can be a concern. However, even healthy Berner Sennenhund should have regular veterinarian checkups. Owners should ensure the following list of health conditions are monitored throughout the dog’s life.

  • Hip Dysplasia: This is an inherited condition in which the thighbone doesn’t fit snugly into the hip joint. Some dogs show pain and lameness on one or both rear legs, but others don’t display outward signs of discomfort. (X-ray screening is the most certain way to diagnose the problem.) Either way, arthritis can develop as the dog ages. Dogs with hip dysplasia should not be bred.
  • Elbow Dysplasia: Similar to hip dysplasia, this is also a degenerative disease common to large-breed dogs. It’s believed to be caused by abnormal growth and development, which results in a malformed and weakened joint. The disease varies in severity: the dog could simply develop arthritis, or he could become lame. Treatment includes surgery, weight management, medical management, and anti-inflammatory medication.
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): This is a family of eye diseases that involves the gradual deterioration of the retina. Early in the disease, affected dogs become night-blind; they lose sight during the day as the disease progresses. Many affected dogs adapt well to their limited or lost vision, as long as their surroundings remain the same.
  • Panosteitis: Commonly called pano, this condition causes self-limiting lameness. At about five to 12 months of age, the dog may start to limp first on one leg, then on another—then the limping will stop. There are usually no long-term effects.
  • Von Willebrand’s Disease is a bleeding disorder caused by a protein deficiency (von Willebrand factor) that helps platelets stick together and form clots. While most dogs with the disease never show symptoms, some dogs may get a spontaneous nose bleed or have prolonged bleeding after injury or surgery. Drug treatment is available to treat certain cases.
  • Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (GDV) or Gastric Torsion – often known as ‘bloat’, is a life-threatening disorder that happens when a dog’s stomach fills with gas and becomes twisted. To protect your pup from GDV, feed your dog smaller meals throughout the day and wait an hour before and after mealtimes before exercising.
  • Cancer: Various forms of cancer afflict a large number of Bernese Mountain Dogs and can cause early death. Symptoms include abnormal swelling of a sore or bump, sores that don’t heal, bleeding from any body opening, and difficulty with breathing or elimination. Treatments for cancer include chemotherapy, surgery, and medications.
  • Portosystemic Shunt (PSS): This is a congenital abnormality in which blood vessels allow blood to bypass the liver. As a result, the blood is not cleansed by the liver as it should be. Symptoms, which usually appear before two years of age, can include but are not limited to neurobehavioral abnormalities, lack of appetite, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), intermittent gastrointestinal issues, urinary tract problems, drug intolerance, and stunted growth. Surgery is usually the best option.

You can minimize the chances of serious health concerns in a Bernese Mountain Dog by purchasing a puppy from a reputable breeder who engages in responsible breeding practices and screening for common diseases and conditions.

What is the Exercise Need of a Bernese Mountain Dog?

The Bernese Mountain Dog craves activities that provide both mental and physical exercise. So, take your pup on at least one 30- to 60-minute walk every day, which gives your Berner a chance to sniff and explore the world around them.Start training your puppy the day you bring him home. Even at eight weeks old, he is capable of soaking up everything you can teach him. Don’t wait until he is 6 months old to begin training or you will have a more headstrong, giant-sized dog to deal with. 

They have moderate energy levels, so you can’t keep them cooped up all day and expect to meet their exercise needs. They prefer to do their “workouts” with you, their exercise buddy when they get outside. So make sure your gym routine includes time exercising with your furry workout partner. Berners are sensitive to heat and humidity. If outdoors, they need access to plenty of shade and freshwater.

Berners love dog sports, structured games, and other challenging activities. Consider getting your Berner involved in obedience trials, scent work, or agility. Since they historically pulled carts for farmers, they’ll love carting or drafting exercises. Check with your veterinarian first to make sure they’re healthy and ready to join in the new activities you’re considering because large dogs are typically prone to joint problems.

What are the nutritional needs of Bernese Mountain Dogs?

The nutritional needs of a Bernese Mountain Dog include high levels of specific nutrients. The essential nutrients for the Swissieare listed below.

  • Protein: Bernese Mountain Dogs need natural animal protein, valuable for the amino acids essential for Berner Sennenhunde’s health. Equally important is the fact that protein builds lean muscles and provides energy.
  • Fat: Animal protein provides adequate fat, an additional energy source that boosts the Bernese Mountain Dog’s metabolism. However, there is a fine line between enough and too much. Excessive fat levels in the dog’s daily diet could result in weight gain and obesity. Most importantly, adults and senior Berners need lower fat levels than puppies.
  • Carbohydrates: Although carbs are not essential nutrients, they are crucial energy sources. Giving the Bernese Mountain Dog sufficient carbs will provide energy, encouraging the body’s protein absorption to build lean muscle. Beware, though, that too many carbohydrates can lead to obesity.
  • DHA: DHA is one of the components of omega-3 fatty acids. It promotes proper eye and brain development in Bernese Mountain Dog puppies, and DHA develops cognitive development in puppies and slows cognitive decline in older dogs. Furthermore, omega fatty acids benefit aging Sennenhunde by treating chronic kidney disease and canine arthritis. Omega-3 oils improve the coat health of the Bernese Mountain Dog.
  • Micronutrient: Taurine is one micronutrient that aids heart health, and other valuable micronutrients for promoting strong joints in Bernese Mountain Dogs are chondroitin and glucosamine.
  • Minerals: Beneficial minerals for a Bernese Mountain Dog’s growth include a healthy balance of phosphorus and calcium. Pre- and probiotics and chelated minerals provide additional health to the diets of Berners.

What is the Shedding Level of Bernese Mountain Dogs?

Bernese Mountain Dogs have a double coat with average shedding throughout the year, except for the two shedding seasons. Berners blow their undercoats during spring and fall in preparation for warmer weather in summer and the cold of winter. During those times, the Berner needs more frequent brushing to remove clumps of undercoat fur to prevent matting and skin infections.

What is the Coat Grooming Frequency of Bernese Mountain Dogs?

Since the Bernese Mountain Dog has a thick, double coat, you’ll spend lots of bonding with your dog as you maintain it. It’s essential to brush your pup three to four times a week to keep tangles and shedding manageable.

Berners undergo “coat blowing” when the seasons change (spring and fall). They shed their undercoat in thick tufts of fur as the weather turns warmer, then they shed their lighter coat to make room for a thick winter coat when the temps start to cool. You’ll find yourself brushing your Berner multiple times a day during these seasons.

Berners are really good at staying clean. They only need to bathe every couple of months, depending on their activities. They need their nails trimmed regularly like any other dog. You’ll know it’s time when you hear their nails tapping on hard surfaces.

Brush your pup’s teeth at least a few times a week, although some veterinarians might recommend daily brushing. Your veterinarian can help teach you the best tooth-brushing techniques for your dog. Also, don’t forget to have your vet professionally clean your Berner’s teeth once a year.

Note: Overbathing will strip them of their protective oils and destroy their coat’s water resistance. So keep bathing to a minimum; it would be best to rinse any dirt off with clear water without shampoo or other chemicals if the nature of the dirt allows that.

Coat grooming is essential for various reasons, as listed below.

  • Grooming gives your dog a healthy look and promotes hygiene. 
  • Proper grooming lowers the risks of skin infections.
  • Grooming promotes the growth and development of a lustrous and shiny coat.
  • Grooming allows you to check for fleas and take early preventive and treatment measures.
  • Proper grooming lowers the risks of ear infections since you can check the ears and wipe them dry after grooming regularly.
  • While grooming, you can check the skin folds for any skin problems and alert the vet before they worsen.
  • Grooming boosts the bond between you and your Bernese Mountain Dog.

You and your Berner should be calm during grooming. Short walks before the grooming session could calm your Berner enough to make the grooming process the ideal time for bonding with your furry friend. You can also give your Berner Sennenhund its favorite treat to munch on while you groom them. Grooming must be enjoyable and a stress-free process for your Bernese Mountain Dog. 

What is the Drooling Level of Bernese Mountain Dogs?

Bernese Mountain Dogs don’t typically drool a lot. However, if an individual Berner has looser jowls or lips that hang more, then they might drool more often. Unfortunately, that is not something you can train out of your canine companion.

However, drooling is a natural process, and all dogs drool, but some more than others. The primary triggers of drooling are listed below. Some are natural, but sometimes drooling can be a red flag for a health issue. In unusual excessive drooling, a trip to the vet is recommended.

  • The thought of delicious meals like a favorite treat or meat
  • Sexual excitement, like when a male Berner Sennenhund spots a female Swiss Mountain Dog in heat, causes drooling. Likewise, a female in her heat cycle might drool if she picks up the scent of a male
  • Excessive heat, especially during summer
  • Excitement and agitation make dogs drool.
  • Mouth and throat problems like fractures in the mouth, throat, or esophagus.
  • Plaque build-up can also irritate the mouth and cause excessive saliva.
  • A foreign object stuck in the throat prevents swallowing, thus causing drooling. 
  • Growth in the mouth also stimulates drooling.
  • Stomach upsets
  • The main symptom of diseases like kidney disease, liver problems, seizures, botulism, and rabies is drooling.
  • Motion sickness and anxiety. Dogs who do not like traveling will get anxious whenever they board a car. Stress makes a dog pant and breathe with open mouths, thus causing drooling.

What is the Coat Type of the Bernese Mountain Dog?

The Bernese Mountain Dog has a functional double coat that protects him from wet and cold conditions and rough or heavy underbrush.

What is the Coat Lenght of the Bernese Mountain Dog? 

Berners are a double-coated breed with a dense topcoat that is about two inches long. The undercoat is soft and dense.

What are the Social Traits of the Bernese Mountain Dog Breed?

Bernese dogs are best-suited for cold climates and absolutely adore playing in the snow. They can, however, adapt to warmer environments as long as they have access to lots of air conditioning. So, in the hotter months, schedule outdoor time in the early morning or evening when it’s cooler.

Berners do pretty well in households with pets or children, although Bernese puppies and dogs younger than 4 years old might need supervision around kids or cats; it takes them some time before they realize their own strength. But, overall, a well-socialized Berner is sweet with their family, thriving in active homes where they’ll find plenty of outlets for their energy and curious mind.

They’ll love playing with you in a big yard, but they don’t need huge acreage to be happy. If you’re in a small apartment, take your Berner for a long walk and adventures every day. What Berners crave is love, attention, and playtime with their family. Give them exercise and lots of love every day, and they’ll be happy.

Other social traits of Bernese Mountain Dogs are listed below.

  • Elderly-friendly: Bernese Mountain Dogs love interacting with their family, from children to grandparents. They are known for their calm dispositions and undying devotion to their favorite person; these giant furballs make affectionate companions for seniors. Berners are keen on daily walks; they’re up for short hikes but love cozy nights indoors.
  • Children-friendly: The gentle, loving Bernese Mountain Dog is a beautiful choice for households with kids. He loves children and often takes it upon himself to watch over them. He usually gets up and walks away if play becomes too rambunctious, as he would if he needed a break from misbehaving puppies. Berner’s large size and adolescent clumsiness should be considered, as he may knock over a small child during play. Though the breed is large and sturdy, children should never be allowed to climb or ride on a Bernese Mountain Dog or any other breed, as it may injure the dog or instigate a bite.
  • Family-friendly: Bernese Mountain Dogs are an affectionate breed, craving the love and affection of their families. They show their love through physical contact. They’re likely to sit on your feet, place their paws on your chest, give hugs, try to sneak in a wet kiss, and rest their head on you whenever the opportunity arises. Physical contact is an important part of bonding for Berners.
  • Pet-friendly: Berner Sennenhunde can get along great with cats and other animals, especially if they’re raised with them. Bernese Mountain Dogs are affectionate and easy-going, making them a great addition to households with pets, including cats. However, younger dogs might accidentally injure cats because they’re so large with puppyish energy. You may need to monitor Berners with cats during their more playful years, up to about 4 years of age.

How Do Bernese Mountain Dogs Interact with Strangers?

Bernese Mountain Dogs are friendly toward strangers, although they can initially be wary and suspicious. While most dogs get over their suspicions when they see their owners are not threatened by the strangers, Berners that were not socialized tend to remain wary. The dog’s sheer size makes this a potentially dangerous situation if your dog reacts with aggression when it misreads the stranger’s actions as threatening your safety. 

Socialized Berner Sennenhunde are wise enough to identify who is a threat and who isn’t. They watch their owners’ cues and will soon display a welcoming and loving personality with “approved” strangers. They also often display protective traits, which means you could train a Bernese Mountain Dog to be a good watchdog. 

Is the Bernese Mountain Dog Playful?

Bernese Mountain Dogs are very playful with children, adults, and even senior citizens and make excellent family dogs. Unlike most large dogs, the Sennenhund instinctively knows to be careful when young children are part of the play. However, their size makes them dangerous for small children because one of these gentle giants can unintentionally knock a toddler down.

Although that is one of the character traits of the Bernese Mountain Dog, there are no guarantees that your small child will be safe if left unsupervised to play with the furry family pup. Supervision and adequate socialization could give you peace of mind.

Are Bernese Mountain Dogs Protective?

The Bernese Mountain Dog makes an admirable watchdog because he was bred to protect farms and pastures. He tends to protect his family and territory and will bark to alert intruders but is not aggressive. He may be standoffish with strangers but will accept them once his owner reassures him.

What is the Adaptability Level of Bernese Mountain Dogs?

Bernese Mountain Dogs are highly adaptable. Even if relocating from a farm or a ranch to an apartment in the city, they will quickly adapt if they are not separated from their human families and if they have ample outside play space. However, older Berners find it easier to adapt to apartments because they don’t need much more than a daily walk, nutritious food, and a whole lot of love.

What are the Personality Traits of Bernese Mountain Dogs?

It’s difficult to not fall in love with the sweet disposition of a Berner. They are affectionate, very intelligent, and gentle dogs. Their high tolerance makes them excellent pets for a house with children, and their playful spirit will ensure that no one is bored around them. While these dogs may be playful, they are not high-energy, making training and everyday interaction easy and enjoyable. The Bernese Mountain dog is protective of its family but isn’t known to be aggressive.

 Don’t be surprised if your Bernese is a bit hesitant when meeting new people, so be sure to introduce them to all kinds of people and situations while they are still young. That way, you will have a patient and well-rounded dog when they grow up. Early training is essential for a Bernese Mountain Dog as they can be challenging to control once they are full-grown and have reached their average weight. Leash training and self-control will be beneficial if you own a Bernese Mountain Dog.

Can Bernese Mountain Dogs be Dangerous?

Bernese Mountain Dogs aren’t aggressive and dangerous, even though they are big dogs. They are affectionate, loving, and even patient with kids. They’re a little cautious with strangers, but they do well as long as they’re socialized as puppies. They may not know their own strength, but they’re not aggressive or mean.

Do Bernese Mountain Dogs Ever Attack?

Bernese Mountain Dogs are more standoffish than aggressive with people they don’t know. If they weren’t properly socialized as pups, they could be aggressive towards other dogs of the same sex. But for the most part, Berners stand their ground and won’t go on the offensive unless clearly provoked or they sense immediate danger to themselves or their family.

Can Bernese Mountain Dogs Kill Humans?

Yes, although unlikely, Bernese Mountain Dogs can kill humans. Berner Sennenhunde are undoubtedly big and strong enough, but they are not aggressive enough to launch deadly attacks unless provoked or maltreated. 

These dogs may appear dangerous to some, but they are more likely to attack other dogs that threaten their status in the family than to kill humans. However, parents should not overlook the danger of leaving small children unsupervised in the company of dogs. To be safe, always train the dogs early to get them used to human interactions.

Do Bernese Mountain Dogs cope with being left alone?

Berners are loyal dogs who become attached to their family. They prefer to spend time with their people, but with enough exercise and mental stimulation may be left home alone for several hours. They can develop destructive behaviors when lonely, so crate training may be necessary.

Can I Leave my Bernese Mountain Dog at Home?

Bernese Mountain Dogs tend to become anxious and withdrawn when being left alone for some time, and they prefer to be at home with one of their human companions present. Berners are highly sociable dogs and desire a lot of human interaction. These gentle giants tend to develop strong bonds with their owners and human family and therefore struggle when left alone for many hours on end.

In today’s world, it’s very typical for the average family to be out of the house from early morning to evening. Whether it’s work, college, school, or running errands, most households remain empty throughout the day. This is a big problem for our dogs, who are highly social animals. Although it’s “normal” for the humans in most households, it’s detrimental to their dogs’ mental health and behavior.

Your Berner Sennenhund will be less anxious if one or two family members remain home when others leave. Even if it is not the Bernese Mountain Dog’s chosen bestie, not being alone will keep him calm.

Can Bernese Mountain Dogs be left alone for 8 hours?

Berners need company, and they do not enjoy spending time alone for many hours and may develop separation anxiety. Don’t get a Bernese Mountain Dog if you must leave him on his own for hours on end. You can, however, leave him alone for short periods. Leaving your Berner Sennenhund alone for more than four hours at a time is not recommended. If there is no other way, getting a dog walker or a sitter for a part of the day could prevent separation anxiety.

One way to keep your Bernese Mountain Dog from suffering separation anxiety is the unwashed t-shirt method. A dog’s sense of smell can be 10,000 to 100,000 times greater than ours. And the scent of you on an unwashed t-shirt will keep your canine companion feeling calm and relaxed, and it can even “trick” him into thinking you’re still in the house.

How to Train a Bernese Mountain Dog?

Start socializing your Bernese Mountain Dog as a puppy, even if you don’t have children or smaller pets. An adult Bernese dog can grow to be 100 pounds or more robust, so socialization is critical. They aren’t prone to biting, but like any dog, they’ll do better in unfamiliar situations if trained early as a young Bernese puppy.

Since Berners have a high degree of intelligence and are eager to please, they thrive with positive reinforcement training. Because they can grow so big, it’s a good idea to start teaching them when they’re young that doing the things you want can earn them a treat. Berners are smart enough to learn almost anything you want to teach them, and they won’t get bored quickly with routine. If you wish to help train your pup, find a certified trainer in your area who uses positive reinforcement to help you.

Obedience training is essential for all Berners, whether they’re puppies or fully grown. Your dog needs to learn basic commands like sit, stay and come. Bernese Mountain Dogs are genetically hardwired to pull carts, so they’re prone to pulling you along on walks. Focusing on leash training will curb that tendency, and it’ll be a rewarding bonding time for dogs and parents alike. Use rewards like treats, praise, and playtime to encourage your pup when they do a good job.

How Frequently does a Bernese Mountain Dog Bark?

Bernese Mountain Dogs are calm, naturally protective, intelligent, and loving. And although a Berner Sennenhund isn’t known to bark incessantly, they can get quite loud and aggressive if they detect impending danger. After all, they have innate guarding tendencies, and one quality of a good guard dog is its ability to intimidate an aggressor through barking.

However, Bernese Mountain Dogs bark only when they have a reason to do so. Most dogs have different-sounding barks for different purposes, and remember, that is the only way canines can have their say.

Below is a list of bark types that owners will learn to recognize. 

  • Bernese Mountain Dogs hate being left alone, and one way of coping with loneliness is barking. 
  • A lack of exercise and anxiety can also trigger barking.
  • Alarm barking is when your Berner Sennenhund is barking to alert you of approaching danger. Alarm barking can save you from danger; however, Berners may bark before ascertaining that there is a real danger. 
  • Another type of barking is demand barking, where a Berner Sennenhund feels entitled to something or your attention and would bark as a way of demanding their rights. This type can be lowered through proper training and ignoring the barking.
  • The Bernese Mountain Dog uses arousal barking to show their frustrations.
  • Boredom barking signals that your Bernese Mountain Dog is tired or bored due to being left alone or infrequent exercises. 
  • Frequent barking can be a nuisance to both the owner and neighbors. Some types of barking tend to be monotonous and continuous. 

What is the need for Mental Stimulation of a Bernese Mountain Dog?

Your Bernese Mountain Dog needs constant stimulation throughout the day to keep him happy. Brain games are a great and easy way to stimulate his mind, so be sure to rotate a few of these games throughout the week to keep him occupied.

Berners are smart and learn fast, and they need regular mental stimulation. The playful and intelligent nature of Berners further calls for frequent mental activity. There are different ways of mentally stimulating your Sennenhund, and some of them are listed below.

  • Playing with interactive games or toys, including dog puzzles and canine board games.
  • Encourage sniffing during regular evening walks.
  • Provide healthy chews like dehydrated sweet potato strips. Chewing for extended periods calms the brain, thus lowering stress levels.
  • Hide and seek games
  • Drop and fetch games
  • Regular walks

These mental stimulation techniques should start at an early stage. Bernese Mountain Dog who are six years and older tend to have problems with their thinking ability and other cognitive functions. The primary signs of mental disorientation are listed below.

  • Excessive anxiety
  • Frequent accidents
  • Failure to recall previously learned commands
  • Changes in sleep and wake patterns
  • Low interest in physical activities
  • Poor social skills

What are the Breed Standards of Bernese Mountain Dog?

Bernese Mountain Dogs are large and powerful, but their playful brown eyes reveal their affectionate, sweet personality traits. They have a muscular, proud gait that lends them an almost noble appearance. Their thick, distinctly marked tri-color coat is mostly black in color, with white markings and rust-colored highlights. Their bushy tails wag eagerly when they see you, as they’re always ready to please.

Some of the breed standards of Bernese Mountain Dogs are given in the table below.

Breed Standards 

Bernese Mountain Dog Breed Information 


Berners have a distinctive tri-colored coat. The three colors include the colors black, white, and rust. They have white on their chest, muzzle, and the tips of their tails. They sometimes have white on their feet, too.


Bernese Mountain Dogs are classified as a large breed

Eye Color 

Hazel to chestnut brown in color and the rims are dark

Average Weight 

Bernese Mountain Dogs’ average weight is 90 pounds.

Average Height

Bernese Mountain Dogs’ average height is 25 inches

Average lifespan 

Bernese Mountain Dogs have a lifespan of 7 to 10 years

What is the General Information about Bernese Mountain Dog?

The Bernese Mountain Dog traces back to the war dogs of Julius Cesar, who brought his armies The Bernese Mountain Dog is one of four mountain-dog breeds long at home in the canton of Bern, a vast agricultural region vital to the dairy production required for two of Switzerland’s most profitable exports: chocolate and cheese. Even today, Bern’s website tells us, “Over 12,000 farms are spread over the canton’s valleys, hills, and mountain areas.”

Berners earned their keep by droving cattle, guarding farmyards against predators, and serving as gentle companions when the day’s hard work was done. Perhaps their most extraordinary claim to working-dog fame is their ability to pull many times their own weight as drafting dogs, with their broad and muscular hindquarters generating immense strength.

Where to Buy or Adopt a Bernese Mountain Dog?

Depending on the breeder and availability, Bernese Mountain Dog puppies will cost anywhere between $700 and $2,000. Of course, show-quality dogs will be more expensive.

If you want to bring a Bernese Mountain Dog home, you should not rush. “Purebreds” available upon request are typically not the real thing and are likely bred on puppy farms. The more realistic way is to put your name on a waiting list, and while you’re waiting for your perfect pup, you can all about this giant dog with the temperament of the cutest little dog.

Finding a reputable breeder or rescue facility is crucial. A good breeder will match you with the right puppy and will, without question, have done all the health certifications necessary to screen out health problems as much as possible. They are more interested in placing pups in suitable homes than making big bucks. 

Be wary of breeders who only tell you the good things about the breed or make irrational promises to promote the dogs. Be especially suspicious when you are offered a two-for-the-price-of-one deal. 

Bernese Mountain Dog puppies are adorable, and it’s one of the reasons they are so popular. Cute puppies sell, making the Berners a favorite of puppy mills and greedy, irresponsible breeders. Do your homework before buying one of these little dogs, and you’ll be well rewarded with a beautiful companion dog.

The best way to ensure you get a healthy Bernese Mountain Dog puppy from a breeder or a rescue organization is to reach out to the registered organizations for the specific breed, if available. The Bernese Mountain Dog is recognized by the AKC, UKC, and FIC, listed below, along with other registered kennel clubs, some of them breed-specific, that might put potential Berner Sennenhund owners in touch with reputable breeders. 

  • Fédération Cynologique Internationale (International)
  • United Kennel Club (International)
  • The Kennel Club of Great Britain
  • American Kennel Club Market Place
  • Europetnet
  • Canadian Kennel Club
  • Continental Kennel Club
  • United All Breed Registry
  • Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America 
  • The Bernese Mountain Dog Club (United Kingdom).
  • Swiss Peaks Kennels, London, Ontario, Canada
  • Powder Keg Farm Park City
  • Utah Mountain Bliss Candia, New Hampshire Blue Mountain Kennel Boise, Idaho
  • Arundel Bernese Mountain Dog Kennel Rochester, New York
  • Majestic Bear Hug Bernese Mountain Dog Bowling Green, Kentucky
  • Swiss Destiny Bernese Mountain Dog Otsego, Minnesota

If you manage to track down Bernese Mountain Dog breeders, make sure you go to the facility and insist on meeting both the puppies’ parents so that you can get a feel for their temperament. Bernese Mountain Dog puppies are often peppy and playful—all should have cheery expressions and kind eyes. 

It might take some time to find a legitimate breeder, and travel may very well be in the cards. Steer clear of backyard breeding by avoiding sales sites and ad pages. When you select a breeder, make sure they have proof of successful, healthy litters with any documentation necessary.

You might find a Bernese Mountain Dog puppy or a rescued adult to adopt or buy from abroad, but not all countries allow importing adopted dogs. Those whose countries will enable the importation of Bernese Mountain Dogs may find the logistics challenging. 

Procedures include obtaining certification from a vet to prove the Bernese Mountain Dog is fully vaccinated and providing all the additional required veterinary documents before the travel. Furthermore, your country must approve the veterinarian to authorize the importation, and it will be your responsibility to ensure you use the services of a certified vet.

What are the Rescue Clubs for Bernese Mountain Dogs?

There are millions of homeless dogs worldwide; many are purebreds needing homes. Adopting a Bernese Mountain Dog can be life-changing, not only for the dog but also for the adopter. If you prefer adoption over purchasing a pup from a breeder, then your first stop should be the National Bernese Mountain Dog Rescue website. A Bernese Mountain Dog rescue group is an excellent idea if you want to adopt an older dog or even a Bernese Mountain Dog mix. 

The adoption fee for a Berner Sennenhund from a rescue group or animal shelter will probably be between $150 and $200. Most dogs from rescue groups and shelters will be vaccinated, microchipped, spayed/neutered, and vetted before adoption

You can also reach out to your local rescue organization or animal shelter and ask if they have any Bernese Mountain Dogs or related mixes available for adoption. If not, you can always put your name on a list so that when one comes in, you’re the first one they call.

Below is a list of registered rescue centers and kennel clubs to reach out to for guidance.

  • Canada Bernese Mountain Dog Rescue Group
  • US Bernese Mountain Dog Club’s rescue network
  • Bernese Mountain Dog Rescue Foundation
  • BFW Rescue Inc US From coast to coast
  • 14 Best Bernese Mountain Dog Rescue in the U.S.

Facebook is another resource for pet adoption. You can search for Bernese Mountain Dog rescue groups in your region.

You can also search for adoptable Bernese Mountain Dogs online through reliable websites such as

  • AnimalShelter 

Wherever you acquire your Siberian Husky, make sure you have a good contract with the seller, shelter, or rescue group that spells out responsibilities on both sides. Petfinder offers an Adopters Bill of Rights that helps you understand what to consider normal and appropriate when you get a dog from a shelter. 

In states with “puppy lemon laws,” be sure you and the seller of the dog understand your rights and recourses. Puppy or adult, take your Husky to your veterinarian soon after adoption. Your veterinarian will be able to spot problems and will work with you to set up a preventive regimen that will help you avoid many health issues.

Bernese Mountain Dog mixes may be available for adoption in shelters and rescues. If you want to adopt an AKC registered or a mixed-breed Bernese Mountain Dog, the best first step is to contact shelters and breed-specific rescues to let them know you’re interested.

Below is a list of several Bernese Mountain Dog mixes.

  • Bernese & Poodle Mix = Bernedoodle
  • Bernese & Labrador Mix = Labernese
  • Bernese & Golden Retriever Mix = Golden Mountain Dog
  • Bernese & Aussie Mix = Berner Aussie
  • Bernese & Husky Mix = Bernese-Husky
  • Bernese & Border Collie Mix = Bordernese

Bernese Mountain Dog mixes adopted from a shelter may share physical characteristics of the breed, but their temperament may not match the breed standard. Furthermore, the adopted mixed-breed dog may also be predisposed to additional health issues. Shelters and rescues attempt to determine each dog’s personality through a series of evaluations; even if the dog’s temperament does not follow the breed standard, you can get the dog that suits your home.

What is the History of the Bernese Mountain Dog?

The Bernese Mountain Dog, or Berner Sennenhund in his native Switzerland, was used as an all-around farm dog by Alpine herdsmen in the canton of Bern. The dogs drove cattle to pasture, pulled milk carts to the dairy, and acted as watchdogs on the farm. Generally, Berners hauled milk in pairs, so it was common to see two of them hooked to a cart.

Berners are thought to have descended from mastiff-type dogs who came to Switzerland along with Roman armies some 2,000 years ago. They interbred with local dogs and were developed to help with farm work. With industrialization, however, the dogs almost disappeared. The breed was revived in the early 20th century to become a companion dog. However, many still carried out their traditional farm duties as well.

The American Kennel Club recognized the Bernese Mountain Dog in 1937. He currently ranks 39th in AKC registrations, up from 58th a decade ago

What is the Average Maintenance Cost for Bernese Mountain Dogs?

The prices of Bernese Mountain Dogs range between $700 and $2,000. The cost of a puppy from a registered breeder could vary, depending on the breeder you select, the location, the sex of the puppy, and, of course, the demand for the breed at the time. Puppies for family pets are typically significantly lower proceed than those meant to be show dogs.

The bloodline of the puppy and its parents could also affect the price. You will be hard-pressed to find this breed in a shelter, but if you do, the price could be $300 to $500, based on the cost of care provided while keeping the Bernese Mountain Dog and extras like vaccinations and sterilizations. 

It is always best to consider annual expenses related to maintaining your Bernese Mountain Dog and its well-being before purchasing. The first year will be the most expensive, as puppies require extra vet care and more one-time purchases like microchips, sterilization, licensing, etc. You can expect to spend about $6,900 for your dog’s first year. After that, the price will go down to about $2,100 a year. 

Food and medical only, excluding toys, food and water bowls, cages, doggy blankets, beds, etc., could cost an average of $850 per month. The most regular annual expenses for dogs similar to the Bernese Mountain Dog are listed below.

  • Food items
  • Veterinary care
  • Vaccinations
  • Preventive medicine
  • Toys
  • Pet insurance
  • Pet Supplies

Other potential expenses include training, socializing, doggy daycare, dog sitters, dog walkers, etc. Grooming would likely not affect the maintenance costs of Bernese Mountain Dogs because they don’t need professional grooming about once per month to trim and bathe them.

How to Name a Bernese Mountain Dog?

Choosing a name for your Bernese Mountain Dog involves essential building blocks, including the significance of the sound. The Berner Sennenhund’s name will mean something to the humans in the dog’s life, but for your canine companion, only the sound matters.

Bernese Mountain Dogs respond best to two-syllable names that are not short enough to be confused with single-syllable command words like “sit,” stay,” “come,” and “down.” However, the names should not be long enough to become puzzling.

It is always a good idea not to rush into choosing a name. Spend a week or so with your new Berner Sennenhund pup, and its character traits might be all the inspiration you need. Call out any name ideas, using different tones and sounds for the two syllables, and watch your puppy’s reaction to the sound. Remember, you must compose a sound that your Berner Sennenhund will recognize from a distance, among many other sounds. 

Choose a name that could sound different in regular interaction and yelling or calling your Bernese Mountain Dog. Below is a list of suggestions of names inspired by your Berner Sennenhund’s ancestors and country of origin. 

Bernese Mountain Dog Names

Honoring their Swiss Roots

Bernese Mountain Dog Boy Names

Bernese Mountain Dog Girl Names


Inspired by the world’s oldest dog who died in January 2010 shortly before his 21st birthday.


Means beautiful, so it’s ideal for your gorgeous, four-legged, furry friend.


Ideal for the energetic pooch.


The chief city in Switzerland.


Honor the popular Swiss watchmaker by naming your canine who enjoys the finer things in life “Rolex”


Means dazzling; of Swiss origin


It is a great name for a pup that is clumsy and funny.

Swiss Miss

For the sensitive and devoted companion


A name for a fiercely loyal canine 


Means strong and resolute

What are the Different Types of Bernese Mountain Dogs?

Sennenhund, called Swiss Mountain dogs or Swiss Cattle Dogs in English, is a type of dog originating in the Swiss Alps. The Sennenhunde are farm dogs of the general molosser type. There are four breeds of Sennenhund, all sporting a unique tricolor coat. 

What Dog Breeds are Similar to the Bernese Mountain Dog?

Bernese Mountain Dogs may be difficult to find and purebreds are expensive and involve long waiting lists. Finding a Berner Sennenhund at a rescue center might be equally challenging because they are so popular. However, as wonderful of a dog as the Bernese Mountain Dog may be, they aren’t for everyone. Some dogs that are similar to the Bernese Mountain Dogs are listed below.

Below is a list of similar breeds that might be a good match for your family.

  • Greater Swiss Mountain Dog: This breed of dog is particularly similar to the Bernese mountain dogs in appearance as it usually presents the same body fur color as the Berners. It is a strong animal and is usually gentle.
  • Anatolian Shepherd: These dogs are courageous powerful and sturdy, much like the Bernese Mountain Dogs. However, they also differ from the Berners in the sense that they are not very sociable. more about Anatolian Shepherd Dog Breed Social life care & diet information.
  • Bullmastiff: This type of dog has a temperament similar to the Bernese Mountain Dog as it is calm and loyal. It is also great with children and presents a very affectionate behavior towards the family it shares space with.

Michael Brady

Michael is an animal-lover who specializes in marketing. He started running Dog Food Care with his mother, Sarah, after leaving his office job. Michael gained enough flexibility in his schedule to be able to adopt a dog of his own and welcomed Emmie the dachshund into his home in 2020.