Bernese Mountain Dog: Breed Guide

Country of origin: Switzerland
Shoulder height: 58 – 70 cm
Weight: 40 – 50 kg
Age: 8 – 10 years
Colour: black with reddish brown and white markings
Use: working dog, companion dog, the family dog

The Bernese Mountain Dog has its origins in Switzerland, where it was originally kept on farms as a guard, draft, and driving dog. Today, the large, beautiful, tri-colored Mountain Dog is a popular and widespread family companion dog.

Origin and history

The Bernese Mountain Dog is a farm dog of old origin that was kept in the foothills of the Alps and parts of the Central Plateau around Bern as a guard dog, draft dog, and cattle dog. The Bernese Mountain Dog has been purebred since 1907. Today, the Bernese Mountain Dog is a very popular and widespread family dog ​​due to its attractive tricolor, simplicity, and adaptability.


The Bernese Mountain Dog is a large and rather massive dog with a strong bone structure. Its fur is long and soft, smooth to slightly wavy. The high-set hanging ears are also hairy.

Typical of the breed for the Bernese Mountain Dog is the characteristic three-colored markings: it is predominantly black (rump, neck, head to tail), with a white stripe running from nose to forehead (blaze); the color white is also found on the chest and paws. A white tail tip is not a must but is considered particularly pretty. There are also reddish-brown spots above the eyes, reddish-brown cheeks, and similar markings on the side of the white chest hair and the legs.

Grooming the dense coat is time-consuming. If not cared for properly, the fur can quickly develop an unpleasant smell.

Temperament and attitude

The Bernese Mountain Dog is good-natured, particularly affectionate when dealing with those they trust, and peaceful with strangers. He is alert without being aggressive. Bernese Mountain Dogs are pleasant companion dogs, but they require adequate living space and love to be outdoors, making them unsuitable for a city apartment.

Active and very lively as puppies, Bernese Mountain Dogs tend to be more relaxed and leisurely as adults. Raised with loving consistency, they are also suitable for dog beginners.

Due to its weight, the Bernese Mountain Dog is not suitable for fast dog sports such as agility. He is also not particularly heat-tolerant and loves the cooling water in summer. However, it is a reliable working search dog and can be used for tracking or as a rescue dog or avalanche search dog.

Unfortunately, life expectancy is not particularly high. Like many large dog breeds, Bernese Mountain Dogs are particularly prone to joint problems. They are also more prone to kidney disease and cancer.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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