Breed Information: Bernese Mountain Dog

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. Bernese Mountain Dog Breed Info

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. Bernese Mountain Dog

Bernese Alison
Bernese Pulling Cart

Photos courtesy of the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America, Inc.

About The Author: Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services. Contact her on the web at

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April 12, 20060 found this helpful

Malignant histio cytosis is the cancer this breed is know for. We had an 8 year old rottweiler who came down with this cancer.... The vet said our Cinder must be part Bernese Mountain Dog as this is the only breed that gets this cancer.


It is a fast growing cancer. Once we realized she had it, she only lived another two weeks. The vet told us he has never seen this cancer in its early stages because owners only know something is wrong when the disease is in its late stage.....

If it is caught early enough, only an oncologist vet can treat this cancer and the cost is well over $4000.

Jim in Jax

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By non applicable (Guest Post)
December 11, 20060 found this helpful

I am in 4-H and I am going to be showing a Bernese Mountain Dog. This is my first showing this type of dog and I would like to know what to look for and how to show them. If anyone knows what to do or what to look for, or even a good website please let me know.

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April 16, 20070 found this helpful

BTW, Ellen, these dogs pull carts, not cars, unless you knitted the car out of steel wool. hahahahaha

Editor's Note: Whoops, must be a typo. Thanks for catching that.

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By Carol (Guest Post)
October 30, 20080 found this helpful

Looking to purchase one, want to know who to contact? I'm in Victoria.

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