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Bernese Mountain Dog Breed Information and Photos

One of four varieties of Swiss Mountain dog the Bernese is notable for it tricolored, long silky coat. Originally used to pull carts to market, these sturdy dogs have a gentle easy going manner and like to be around people. This is a guide about Bernese Mountain Dog breed information and photos.


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March 20, 20061 found this helpful
Breed Description: The Bernese Mountain Dog is a large, self-confident and attractive breed with a hardy frame and moderately long silky coat. They were originally bred for work in the farm areas of Switzerland and are known for being calm-natured and people-orientated.

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.

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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.

By 0 found this helpful
June 30, 2008

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.


Sally from Denver, CO


By Megan (Guest Post)
July 1, 20080 found this helpful

Realize that when you are buying a "designer" breed dog, you are simply buying a that you could probably find at a rescue or shelter should you take the time to do so and save a life.
I am the proud owner of two Great Pyrs. They are not easy dogs. They require a fenced yard, they bark and they require daily brushing. I would assume that rule would apply to any cross breed.

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By LynnC (Guest Post)
July 3, 20080 found this helpful

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,

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By bonnie (Guest Post)
July 3, 20080 found this helpful

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 and I will get you connected with my sister. She knows all about these dogs.

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By Tracy Best (Guest Post)
July 8, 20080 found this helpful

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. She even goes in the truck with him until he starts it up and then she gets down and he pets her on her way out. She just wants you love her and will do anything to please you. The only drawback is she is a digger. She is a whole lot better now and I think she has outgrown it now, but it drove my husband crazy for awhile! Anyway, we highly reccommend owning this mix if you are looking for a great watchdog who is a gentle giant.

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July 15, 20080 found this helpful

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!

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By Tina (Guest Post)
August 13, 20080 found this helpful

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.

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By Judie (Guest Post)
January 21, 20090 found this helpful

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.

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March 7, 20090 found this helpful

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.

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By 0 found this helpful
April 15, 2007

I have a Bernese Mountain Dog and sometimes he eats his food fine but some times he will not eat for days. I was wondering if it is the fact he has to be tied up a lot of the time.

Justin from Wingham, Ont


By Me (Guest Post)
April 16, 20070 found this helpful

No dog should go days without eating unless there's a medical reason for it. Maybe he doesn't like the food. If it's a cheap food he probably doesn't. Does he show any symptoms of not feeling well? If he's tied out to much (due to lack of a fence) maybe he's not getting enough exercise or he's depressed. They are pack animals & are only happy when they're in the house with other animals & people. If you could invest in a fence it would be a good solution. And take him for regular walks since it sounds like he's an only dog & not playing with any other dog. I would ask your vet. They are more knowledgable than anyone here.

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April 16, 20070 found this helpful

Why is this working dog tied up? Are you walking the dog daily? Why did you come here rather than take the dog to the vet?

His breed is used to working. He needs daily exercise. Forty-five minutes, let's say.

Otherwise, he may not like the food. Does it have both wet and dry? Does he get adequate water?

I don't know how long you've had the dog, but tying him up may make him develop bad habits.

This is such a magnificent breed, please consider giving him to someone who can care for him properly.

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April 23, 20070 found this helpful

P-l-e-a-s-e don't keep a dog tied up all the time. It is actually cruel. They must have regular exercise and socialization. Dogs are "man's best friend" and that's how they need to be treated. I have 3 dogs, a german shepherd, a dachsund, and a white husky I'm babysitting. I take them to the dog park every day, sometimes twice. They love it and it does them so much good. They sleep and eat better.
You must really care about your dog, and you probably don't realize how sad it is for a dog to tied up all the time.

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May 14, 20070 found this helpful

Bernese Mountain dogs can be stricken with a terrible cancer, malignant histiocytosis... This cancer is prevelent only in this breed of dog...

http://www.pubm … gi?artid=1576533

Please have your dog checked by a vet and please mention this cancer to him.

Jim in Jax

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By Cooper berner (Guest Post)
January 26, 20080 found this helpful

Males frequently don't eat if there are any females in season around. But please don't tie your berner up. They are just the most awesome dogs that are trustworthy, loyal. Give your dog some treats of roasted chicken or beef. Also join a local Bernese club. They have lots of wonderful members who can assist with knowledge on diet, club activities such as walks etc and often they will help with babysitting.

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By Gilly Girl 2008 (Guest Post)
November 6, 20080 found this helpful

Hi I have a Pyranese, so she is your dog's cousin. I agree with others: even if the dog is tied up, it must be walked for at least an hour a day. Even if that means running, walking, pauses to sniff while you drive and pause in a vehicle. Best to you both!

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December 28, 20090 found this helpful

You must remember that dogs are pack animals and do not like to be left alone. I know this post is old but dog owners need to know that dogs get lonely and bored. When a dog lays around, it doesn't burn up many calories therefore, the dog may not want to eat. There are many reasons why some dogs won't eat. Please don't tie up your dog no matter what kind of a dog it is. You may as well re-home the dog if it's going to spend it's life tied up.

A dog wants to be with it's pack even if you are the only other 'member' of that pack. A dog must have it's needs met and when you tie your dog up, what need are you meeting? None.

All of our dogs are part of our family. They are my pack and I am their pack leader. They all arrived at different times and they all get along. We play with our dogs, give them plenty of attention and exercise and everyone is happy. Our dogs love to be outside but they live indoors. Luckily we have a huge back yard and lots of trees and places to run and play. When they come inside, they are tired and happy.

No one should even own a dog if the dog is going to be left alone outside. You wouldn't want to live that way, why should your dog?

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December 18, 20110 found this helpful

No dog has to be tied up. Get a kennel. If you don't like the outdoor kennels in stores, go to a farmers' coop and choose your own panels, door panels, lid panels. All you need for assembly is a wrench, and make sure you buy enough attachment bolts and pieces. You can back up the kennel right to your sliding door, and just deadbolt the rest of the house off from the "pet area".

Or, move to a place with a fenced yard.

Or, pad train the dog. Most dogs are paper trained so that shouldn't be a problem. Unless the dog wasn't paper trained.

Or, walk the dog to poop 2X a day before & after work. Many dogs can hold their urine 11 hours with no problem. Do you errands on non-work days so you can get right home.

At least use a proper tie system so that the dog can run a long length of cable, while on the lead.

Maybe your dog is saving the food as a peace offering in case a meaner dog or bear comes by.

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April 13, 20130 found this helpful

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

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February 14, 20140 found this helpful

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.

By Natashya

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December 7, 20130 found this helpful

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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Share on ThriftyFunCheck out these photos. Click at right to share your own photo in this guide.

By 18 found this helpful
October 25, 2010

Charlotte is 3 months old and a Bernese Mountain Dog. We got her at 8 weeks old from a breeder in VA. She likes to catch flies and chew on shoes.

By Diane

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By 14 found this helpful
November 4, 2010

Boomer is a 3 month old Bernese Mountain Dog and Great Pyrenees mix. I got Boomer from a sheep farm when he was eight weeks old.

Boomer likes to dig big holes and chase the cats. He is a great dog. Very kind and cuddly, even though he is supposed to reach 110 to 140 lbs.

By Tara

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By 7 found this helpful
September 1, 2011

Charlotte is a 1 year old Bernese Mountain Dog. We got our pet in Winchester, Virginia from a Bernese Mountain Dog breeder. Charlotte loves to eat, chew on her football and basketball and play with her neighborhood dog friends.

This is a photo of Charlotte and her new best friend Grizzly on their first play date. Charlotte is on the right.

By diane0514

Charlotte the Dog with Dog Friend

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By 5 found this helpful
December 13, 2017

We got Abbey Road in October, all the way from Spain. She is a wonderful example of this amazing breed.

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May 16, 20060 found this helpful

Riley is our 5 year old Bernese Mountain Dog (possible Mix) and was rescued by a local animal shelter.

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By 4 found this helpful
November 14, 2016

Ww got our Retro from Lithuania and he was flown into California in August 2014 when he was just 13 weeks old. Retro loves to dig and I love to watch him, my hubby not so much hehehe.

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May 13, 20080 found this helpful

Gordi is one year old. He is a Bernese Mountain Dog/Great Pyrenees mix. I purchased Gordi from a breeder and my husband and I drove to Missouri and picked him up the day he turned eight weeks old.

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By 1 found this helpful
October 27, 2017

Bleu was born in our home from a pair of Bernese Mountain dogs we bred. In this photo he has just been released from the hospital after having life saving emergency surgery when he bloated and his stomach twisted! It's a genetic disorder in large breed dogs with deep chests like Bernese, Great Danes, and Great Pyrenees.

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