Dog Breed

Bernese Mountain Dog

Primary image of Bernese Mountain Dog dog breed
Full Name
Bernese Mountain Dog
Alternate Names
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Life Span
7 - 10 years
70 - 120 pounds

The Bernese Mountain dog is from the Sennenhund family of breeds. They are a tricolor dog with a gorgeous thick double coat. The Bernese should never be an anxious or aggressive dog- making them a perfect large family dog. They are excellent swimming dogs and are good-natured, self-assured, and docile. Finding an aggressive Bernese is very rare.

Because of their easy going temperment, combined with stunning beauty, the demand for these dogs has shot up in the last decade or so. With higher demand, also comes a higher price point. Another downside is that the average lifespan of the Bernese is only around 8 years, making them one of the lowest lifespans of any dog breed.

Bred For
Draft work and mountain rescue operations
Family Considerations
Child Friendly

Is the Bernese Mountain Dog good with children? Nearly all dogs enjoy playing with small children, but some can play too rough, or be a bit careless. In some cases dogs can get jealous of small children, or try and "herd" them due to their natural instincts.

Stranger Friendly

Is the Bernese Mountain Dog friendly with strangers? Getting a dog that is friendly with people really depends on what your lifestyle is. Dogs who are more cautious with strangers oftentimes make good guard dogs, which can be a great fit for some owners. If you are social, live in the city, or frequently have guests over, you may want to consider getting a stranger friendly dog.

Dog Friendly

Is the Bernese Mountain Dog friendly with other dogs? Of course this is particularly important if you already have another dog at home. However, it's an important factor to consider as well if you plan on frequently going to the dog park. Otherwise, even a dog who is not automatically friendly with other dogs can be an excellent fit, as they can still be affectionate with their human family.

Likes to Cuddle

Does the Bernese Mountain Dog like to cuddle? All dogs want love, but they have different boundaries when it comes to physical affection. If you plan on frequently having a dog on your lap or pushed up against you, then you should consider whether this breed enjoys that.


Does the Bernese Mountain Dog like to play? All puppies are playful, but as adults certain dogs are more playful. If you have children, or otherwise want to keep your dog active with plenty of play, there are plenty of options of breeds who will be happy to play all day.

Service Dog Ability

Does the Bernese Mountain Dog make a good service dog? When looking to train a service dog it's important to consider how they were historically bred, and if their personality makes a good fit. A service dog must be smart, patient, and obsessed with pleasing their owner. Working dogs are a good fits since service dog 'work' gives them a feeling of accomplishment from doing a job.

Overall Ease of Breed
Ease for Novice

Is the Bernese Mountain Dog good for first time owners? Dogs that are good for first time owners are ones who are easy to train, and are eager to please their owner. Very large dogs, or dogs with very high energy may also not be the best for first time owners since it adds a layer of complexity.

Training Potential

How well can the Bernese Mountain Dog be trained? This rating is about the training potential of the Bernese Mountain Dog. Dogs with high training potential oftentimes are good service dogs, police dogs, and dog show competition dogs. This does not necessarily mean they are the easiest to train, since many will be very intelligent and demanding.

Amount of Shedding

Does the Bernese Mountain Dog shed a lot?

Ease of Grooming

Is the Bernese Mountain Dog easy to groom?

Exercise Need

Does the Bernese Mountain Dog need a lot of exercise?


How smart is the Bernese Mountain Dog?

Amount of Barking

How much does the Bernese Mountain Dog bark? Does the Bernese Mountain Dog bark too much? It depends on your lifestyle, and where you live. Dogs use barking to communicate, keep guard, and alert. A strong bark can be a good characteristic for guard dogs, or flock guardian dogs who need to be vocal.In apartment living you should consider getting a dog who is less vocal.

Guard Dog Ability

Is the Bernese Mountain Dog a good guard dog?

Tolerates Being Alone

Is the Bernese Mountain Dog good at staying alone? Is the Bernese Mountain Dog independent?

Home and Environment Considerations
Good for Apartment Living

Is the Bernese Mountain Dog a good apartment dog? Can the Bernese Mountain Dog live in an apartment without becoming frustrated or destructive? Typically people immediately consider the size of the dog, but energy level and historical habitat are also factors.


How big is the Bernese Mountain Dog?

Tolerates Heat

How much does the Bernese Mountain Dog tolerate hot weather? When is it too hot for a Bernese Mountain Dog?

Tolerates Cold

How much does the Bernese Mountain Dog tolerate cold weather? When is it too cold for a Bernese Mountain Dog?

Potential to Run Away

Does the Bernese Mountain Dog try to run away? Some dogs have natural wanderlust and are escape artists... they will do everything to get out and explore.

Physical Characteristics
General Health

Is the Bernese Mountain Dog a healthy dog? The general health of a Bernese Mountain Dog should be measured not just by how many years they live, but how often they have health issues during their lives. It is important to know which health conditions your breed is prone to- hip problems, eye problems, bloating, and arthritis are all common dog health problems.

Energy Level

How energetic is the Bernese Mountain Dog? Is the Bernese Mountain Dog too energetic for your lifestyle?

Amount of Drooling

How much does the Bernese Mountain Dog drool?

Prey Drive

Does the Bernese Mountain Dog have a large prey drive? Does the Bernese Mountain Dog like to chase birds, cats, and other small animals? Prey drive can be bothersome at the park, but really an issue at home if you have small animals, since this comes as a natural instinct for dogs with high prey drive, to chase cats, birds, etc.


Is the Bernese Mountain Dog atheltic? Is the Bernese Mountain Dog fast and strong?

  • Working
  • Mountain Type
  • Bernese Mountain Dog
The Bernese Mountain Dog is a purebred dog that belongs to the Mountain Type sub group, which falls under the larger Working dog breed group.
Working group: Working dogs encompass a wide range of different breeds- but they all were bred to assist people, so they are used to working hard. It is important for them to feel they have a "job" as their roles traditionally have varied from rescuing people to pulling sleds. Because of their large size and intensity, they may be a handful for first time dog owners. On the other side, they can be trained well, so any owner who can exercise and dedicate to training their working dog, will be well rewarded. A common misconception may be that the working dog's jobs are only in physically challenging jobs; actually working dogs can also make excellent service dogs, since they are also kind and attentive to their owners.
Mountain Type sub-group: Mountain type dogs are rustic, powerful, and majestic. They are not a good dog for first time owners since they are demanding, and need an owner who they can respect and appreciate. Of course they need loving just like any other dog, but they are unique because they have these additional "expectations". In addition, mountain type dogs want to feel they always have some sort of "job" to do since they were bred to either protect a property or flock. Mountain dogs are similar to livestock guardian dogs in many ways, but have been raised on the mountains, and typically are better suited for extreme weather conditions, particularly cold weather. Mountain dogs are not always friendly with strangers or other dogs, since they are used to being in charge, and are protective. However, with family and small children they can be extremely loving, and enjoy a night cuddled up alongside you. Mountain Dogs bark a lot and love being outdoors, so they are probably the worst dog for an apartment.

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