Bernese Mountain Dog

Breed History

Bernese Mountain Dog training

Bernese Mountain Dog is a farm dog and is one of four mountain dog breeds. The other three mountain dogs are Grosser Schweizer Sennenhund, Appenzeller Sennenhund, and Entlebuche Sennenhund.

They come from the midland region of Switzerland. Their name comes from the city of Berne where they are from and the fact that they were mountain dogs.

Unlike most farm dogs they weren’t using them just for herding sheep or cattle because there weren’t many on the farms in this region. They were known as all purpose dogs that can do a little of everything. Mostly as a watchdog to the farmers.

The product they were protecting was cheese, milk, wheat, oats, barely, maize and other foods. Bernese mountain dogs weren’t the dogs of the rich and elite but for the blue-collar farmers.

As time progresses the use of the dog came to a halt and they were in danger of becoming extinct. Due to a few people who really saw the benefits of the breed they made efforts to produce more numbers of the breed.

Staple in the working dog sporting competitions they work in agility, showmanship, draft work, herding, obedience, therapy work, and tracking.

Coming to the United States by 1927 you can see that they quickly became a favorite in the rural areas that have a lot of usage for farming animals.


Known all around the world and recognition is given by all the major dog kennels. Always ranking in the top 30 with the AKC and other kennel clubs. High levels of popularity are no surprise when looking at the beauty and working ability of the breed.

Here are the kennel clubs that recognize this breed.

Bernese Mountain Dog Size

Male Weight: 85-120 pounds

Female Weight: 75-100 pounds

Male Height:  25-27 ½

Female Height: 23-26 inches

The size of this dog is important because they need to look sturdy with a lot of weight, or big boned. Males are considerably bigger than females and can be 30 to 40 pounds heavier.

Litter Size

A litter size can be anywhere from 8 to 14 puppies for this large dog breed. Larger dog breeds normally have a larger litter and can often times reach double digits for younger moms.


The colors that are acceptable is tri color. Tri color consists of three colors.

  • Jet Black
  • Rich Rust
  • White

Jet black is the ground color meaning mostly black and the other two colors are markings.

Rust Areas are the eye brows, cheeks, side of the chest, on the legs and under the tail.

White is on the chest, tip of the tail, and on the feet.

Bernese Mountain Dog Price

The price is going to be $1,000 to $2,500 depending on the breeder is and how much quality of puppy you are receiving.

Dogs without papers, or documentation of bloodline, is going to be much less at a couple hundred. You should be able to buy at a reasonable price regardless of which route you take.


Grooming a dog should start with exercising the dog to put them in a nice state of mind for the owner to groom or for a professional. Starting the process correctly is half of the battle and should always begin the session.

Here are the areas that you need to accomplish for you to do it yourself.

  1. Brushing
  2. Combing
  3. Bathing
  4. Ears
  5. Nails
  6. Professional Help

Brush the coat often and this should make up the most time-consuming part because of the frequency and consistently you need in order to do it right.

Comb the outer coat and comb until the skin. You want to make sure you get to brushing and combing often in the grooming process.

Bathe the dog when they get dirty or display an odor. Some owners can take this approach, and nothing is wrong with it. The other way you can choose is to put the bath on a schedule, so they never get dirty or smelly.

Both ears can accumulate dirt and get an infection. That costs you money and can make for a more expensive vet bill over the course of a decade while owning the dog. Keep them clean to keep the costs down.

It is better to have the nails trim for multiple reasons. Exercise, which we recommend, can help the dog nails stay trim without much maintenance. When you don’t exercise, which we don’t recommend, you will need to trim the nails.

Although you can handle the Bernese Mountain Dog grooming without help sometimes it is best to get professional help. Being short on time is a big factor in our daily lives so paying a fee for the time is the best option for some.

Life Span

Bernese Mountain Dog has a very short lifespan. They live seven to eight years on average. That will be long enough to get you through most of a decade which is a significant amount of time.

Preparation for the duration of the dog’s life will be key. If you think the dog will live until its 15 you will be in for a rude awakening most likely. Stay aware of how long your dog will live and adjust accordingly.

Health Issues

Cataracts – this can possibly be something that causes the dog to go blind. Throughout the dog’s life you will want to get regular checkups. Eyes can lose vision depending on the level of cataracts they develop. Conditions can get worst over time.

Elbow Dysplasia – painful condition that affects the elbow joint. Dogs can be young as a few months old and start showing signs. Most of the weight is in the front legs than the back legs which makes it worst than the next condition.

Hip Dysplasia – Hip sockets that don’t provide stability can cause pain in the joints. X-rays are the best way to find out if the condition exist. Again, this is something that affects the dog young and will result in the dog not wanting to exercise.

Bloat – one of the deadliest conditions of the Bernese Mountain Dogs and is a health issue when the stomach will twist due to too much gas in the belly region.

Panosteitis – bone disease that is hard to detect in the mild stages but can be seen at later stages on the x-ray.

Breed Group

Member of the working group that has one thing in common. They all were working in some type of capacity for human benefit. There was herding, sledding, guard dog, rescues and other activities.

An amazing group of dogs that are different in nature but show intelligence, alertness, and strong willpower.

Here are some of the dogs in the group


Bernese Mountain Dog



Cane Corso

Caucasian Shepherd Dog

Doberman Pinscher

Dogue de Bordeaux

German Shepherd

Giant Schnauzer

Great Pyrenees

Exercise Needs

You will never find a dog that wouldn’t exercise without humans locking them into a house and backyard. Any documentary will show you a pack of animals that will run and walk all day long looking for food and water.

Because this is an activity that they do without humans then it is the perfect exercise to use with the dog to create a natural bonding situation. Bernese Mountain Dog is a large breed and they take to exercise quickly.

The behavior will change with this dog right away when you start a real exercise program. Not walking the dog to the mailbox or letting them outside into the backyard.

We are talking about giving them some of the exercise they would give themselves and travel for miles with the dog every day.

Here is what we recommend

Morning: Hour (Run, walk, or treadmill)

Evening: 30 min (Run, walk, or treadmill)

The second session will come in handy with a younger more energetic dog that needs the extra burn. Older dogs will need to 30 minutes sometimes but will not need it if you are consistent.

When I say consistent, I mean exercising them at least 4 to 5 times a week for the first three years.

Around 3-5 years old you will not need to exercise a lot to get good behavior.

Older senior dogs are going to need very little exercise to get tired quick. You need to make sure you don’t make the dog over exercise but just enough to where they are on good behavior and not going crazy.


Training these dogs is a rewarding experience. They’re smart and willing to learn what the owner is trying to teach them. Basics of any program is going to be the exercise routine.

You need to walk the dog as often as the homeless guy walks his dog. For some reason his dog is always going to be on their best behavior with excellent body language.

Ears back, tail down, and mouth open are all indications that the dog is in a good space. On the other hand, when the ears are up, tail up, hair up, and mouth closed you are looking at what you don’t want to create.

Work very hard to keep the body language in a good state and the only way to make sure that happens is to exercise them.

Commands are easy to train you just need to give them the proper repetition. Doing the trick ten times at a time will help you learn how to teach the dog the commands.

You will often display certain body language to get the dog to remember and then they remember the word.

Socialize this dog with other dogs at dog parks, friends’ dogs, cats, and any other animals they will come in contact with in their lifetime.

Showing commitment to exercise program will help you because they will go out in the morning and then meet animals and people in the right state of mind.

Is the Bernese Mountain Dog a Good Pet?

An excellent pet that could guard the house with strong conviction. Don’t let the soft and cuddly looks fool you. They will come for you with brute aggression to protect their home.