Group: Working Group
Purpose of Breed: Pulling carts to market and driving cattle.
Country of Origin: Switzerland
Average Size: Bitches range from 70-95 lbs. and 23-26 inches tall; dogs range from 80-115 lbs. and 25 to 27 1/2 inches tall.
Color(s): The Bernese Mountain Dog is tri-colored with a jet black coat, brown-red markings on the cheeks, legs and over the eyes and white markings on the head. The paws and tips of the tail are often white as well.
Coat Type: The thick double-coat is moderately long, straight to wavy and has a bright, natural sheen.
Grooming: This breed sheds considerably. Their coat is easy to maintain, but should be brushed frequently to maintain a neat appearance. This breed requires standard care for eyes, ears, pads and nails.
Exercise Needs: This breed has a heritage of a working farm dog and needs plenty of vigorous exercise to stay mentally and physically fit. Their thick coats leave them susceptible to heat stroke, so exercise should take place during the coolest parts of the day. They do not fair well in warm regions unless in a climate controlled environment.
Temperament: This breed is alert and affectionate. They are easy going and tolerant by nature, but training and obedience is essential due to their large size. They do not make good outdoor kennel dogs and do not do well when isolated or left alone without their family. Socializing is recommended at an early age to overcome a tendency toward shyness. Although excellent with children, they should not be left with them unsupervised.
Common Ailments: Hip dysplasia, gastric torsions, and hereditary eye diseases. Also prone to cancer, bloat and eyelid problems.
Life Expectancy: 6 to 8 years.
Trivia: The Bernese is one of four varieties of Swiss Mountain Dog, the only one with a silky coat. This breed's ancestors were first brought to Switzerland by Roman invaders as early as 100 B.C.
More Information: Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America. Inc.
Photos courtesy of the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America, Inc.
Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.
My husband and I are thinking about getting a Pyrenees/Bernese mix and we would like some feed back. We are mostly concerned about temperament and exercise needs. We have a Bernese/Golden, now 10 mos old and we would like her to have a playmate, but we need a dog who is going to be great with little kids and isn't going to escape without a daily walk. We usually do one every couple of days with Saylah.
Realize that when you are buying a "designer" breed dog, you are simply buying a MUTT...one that you could probably find at a rescue or shelter should you take the time to do so and save a life.
With any dog it's really important to remember that no dog is ever born "good with kids" but that the owner is responsible from day 1 to teach and train.
Children should not be exposed to two dogs who play will play and "be dogs" without adult supervision at all times.
If your first dog is well trained and develops a good relationship with your new dog you have a head start since puppies do learn from the resident dog.
If your first dog is not well trained it's time to get to dog class.
Only after your first dog does well and understands boundaries concerning children should you consider another dog you will then also have to train. Hope this helps.
BIG DOGS can hurt children by accident. It's your job as the parent to be sure the dogs do not share the same play space as children for best safety. BIG DOGS and children have been a 30 yr adventure for me with six children and St.Bernards, etc. I promise you that no dog can learn without being taught correctly.
Best to you,
My sister owned 2 of these great Pyrenees dogs. She had them both for 10 years until they each died of stomach cancer. Overall, they are very nice dogs with kids and their tempers aren't bad at all.
Good luck with them, if you would like more information...send me an email at bcdd4ofus AT yahoo.com and I will get you connected with my sister. She knows all about these dogs.
We have a 2 year old pyr/bernese mix female named Lexie. She is one our favorite dogs we have ever owned. She is about 120 pounds, but the gentlest dog with our 2 grandchildren who are 2 and 4 years old. She is one beautiful dog and people always ask us what breed she it. She is a great watch dog, also. She barks to let us know if someone or something is on our property, but then loves them to death. She is best friends with our ups guy.
Those are working dogs and they need "mucho" exercise. It would be a good idea to get a springer bicycle leash attachment and let them trot alongside on the bicycle. My German Shep loves to do that. Of course, she needed to be trained to stop at corners and not chase other dogs, etc. Or maybe you could get agility equipment for your backyard if you have enough room. If you have a jogger in your family, that's an excellent way to exercise your dog. They love to do things with their folks. To have a good dog - exercise, exercise, exercise, healthy food and fresh water. Good luck!
These dogs are not "mutts". We have a 5 month old pyrenees/bernes cross named Payton. He is the sweetest/smartest pup we have ever owned. He was easy to housebreak (two accidents, I think), very receptive to voice comands. He loves the water. He gets along/plays very well with my Blue Healers and Lab mix. He loves the cats. He is not the type of pup that runs to greet everyone, he sits there and waits for them to come to him. He does have grooming needs. I am very happy with our choice. We took several months in researching a new breed before we got another dog.
I own a Great Bernese (that's what this breed is called) He is the best dog i have ever had. He is great with all childern and was easy to house break. He does shed So i brush him every other day. And he loves to get outside and run, But when in the house he is layed back and doesnt ruff house. My childern love him and Honestly I think you would make a great choice owning one.
I also have a Great Bernese and she is wonderful:gentle, intelligent, and fairly laid back. Loves to play and has no idea how to be mean. A great choice. So much so, I'd like another. Contact me if you know of any-thanks.
I can answer you on the Bernese question, I've had dogs all of my life, and never seen any dog with a better temperament than the bernese. I'm the proud owner of a three year old female, and its intelligent, obedient and has an excelent temperament and character. I've had a labrador retriever with whom I've had problems with my little kids, but with this bernese mountain dog, impossible, she is absolutely wonderful. Get one, it will change the way you relate with dogs, they are absolutely wonderful
I have owned four Bernese Swiss Mountain Dogs. I still have two females, one is 12 years old. I love the breed! I am seriously considering looking into the Bernese/Pyrenees breed mix. They're both beautiful dogs with wonderful temperaments. Where would I find a "serious" (not back yard) breeder of these two dogs? Any recommendations will be appreciated.
By V. Johnson from Birmingham, AL
Perhaps you can find one in a shelter. There are so many dogs needing homes. Check www.petfinder.com You can do a search for different breeds of dogs.
Check with the AKC in NY to find approved breeders of either breed then ask one of those approved breeders if they know of anyone breeding mixes. A local canine vet should be able to point you in the right direction too.
Or try a breed rescue group-they may have a mixed breed dog needing to be rehomed with a new human who understands their unique requirements.
I have a 2 year old male Lab and I think he's lonely now. We lost our Pit Bull a couple months ago and the Lab howls around now for her. We live out on the farm so there is lots of room to run, jump, and play. We have teenagers and a baby as well. There are also 6 horses roaming in the field. Do you think these dogs make good family dogs, will they get along with the Lab or be weird with the horses? I'm just a concerned new dog mama.
I have a 6 month old Bernese. His coat is wavy, but his tail is not really bushy. Will it get more bushy as he matures?
By Michele S
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We had Abbey imported from Spain last October. She flew to the USA from Spain all the way to northern California. Her "gotcha day" is coming up on October 9th, as a matter of fact.
Bernese Mountain Dogs are a large breed distinguished by their black, brown, and white fur. They originated as working dogs in the Swiss Alps, and were used for herding cattle, pulling carts, and as loyal companion watch dogs. This page contains photos of Bernese Mountain Dogs.