Bernese Mountain Dog

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    History & Overview

    The Bernese Mountain Dog, originally named “Dürrbächle,” is a farm dog of ancient origin which was used as a guard dog as well as for driving cattle in the pre-alpine regions and the midland areas around Bern.


    Despite their large size, the Bernese Mountain Dog is very gentle and friendly, especially with children. Make sure your Berner gets regular but not too stressful exercise. Although Berners are outdoor dogs at heart, they need lots of human companionship and must be allowed inside the house. They can move with incredible bursts of speed for their size when motivated. Stray cats and similar intruders must beware of the Berner!

    At A Glance

    Other Names:


    Country of Origin:



    Originally used as a guard and draught dog and for driving cattle in the Kanton Bern; today also multipurpose, companion and family dog


    FCI Classification: Group 2: Molossian type and Swiss Mountain and Cattle Dogs; Section 3: Swiss Mountain and Cattle Dogs
    AKC Classification: Working Group


    Large (23 – 26 inches at shoulders)


    Jet black with rich tan markings on cheeks, over the eyes, on all four legs and on the chest, and with white markings.

    Litter Size:


    Life Span:

    The life expectancy of Bernese Mountain Dogs remains low when compared with breeds of similar sizes, such as flat-coated retrievers (mean, 9.5 years) or German shepherds (mean, 10.3 years). This is attributed to the high incidence of cancers in this breed (28% – 55% of all deaths). In addition, some previous studies indicate a lower life expectancy of male Bernese Mountain Dogs compared to females.

    Grooming Requirements:

    These dogs are natural and need only occasional brushing.


    Heavy seasonal or year-round


    Self-confident, attentive, vigilant, fearless in situations of everyday life, good-natured and devoted to his own people, friendly towards strangers.

    Social skills:

    Berners must be socialized with other small animals at an early age.

    Suitability for Children:

    Very patient with children of all ages and are usually protective of them.

    Exercise Needs:

    Needs daily exercise for at least 60 minutes

    Train Ability:

    These dogs are highly intelligent and extremely trainable, although training must be approached with a gentle approach

    Health & Behavioral Issues:

    Brain disorders, inflammation in blood vessels, cancers (histiocytic sarcoma, a very aggressive cancer with poor prognosis)

    Video Credits: AnimalWised
    Image Credits: Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America


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