Bernese Mountain Dog

Other names: Berne's cowboy, Dürrbächler, Berner Sennenhund

Bernese Mountain Dog

The Bernese Mountain Dog, of Swiss origin, is a large dog with a spectacular appearance. As gentle as he is powerful, he is a teddy-bear dog that will delight the young and old in everyday life. This is a good guard dog who is very suited for a rural way of life, with moderate exercise needs which must be met daily.

Key facts about the Bernese Mountain Dog

Life expectancy :

3

15

8

10

Temperament :

Affectionate Intelligent

Size :

Origins and history

This dog of Swiss origin (near Bern hence his name) comes, like all dogs of the molosser category, from the Tibetan Mastiffs adopted by ancient Rome before spreading through Europe following the Roman legions. From this dog followed the Grosser Schweizer Sennenhund, the Appenzeller Sennenhund, the Entlebucher Sennenhund and of course, the Berner Sennenhund. The different types vary according to their geographical region.

Originally, the Bernese was used for his guarding and herding qualities; now he is mainly considered a family dog, although he is still occasionally employed in mountain rescue scenarios.

FCI breed nomenclature

FCI Group

Group 2 - Pinscher and Schnauzer - Molossoid and Swiss Mountain and Cattledogs

Section

Section 3 : Swiss Mountain and Cattledogs

Physical characteristics of the Bernese Mountain Dog

    Adult size

    Female : Between 23 and 26 in

    Male : Between 25 and 28 in

    Weight

    Female : Between 88 and 99 lb

    Male : Between 110 and 132 lb

    Coat colour

    Black
    White
    Brown

    Type of coat

    Long
    Wavy

    Eye colour

    Brown

    Description

    The Bernese is a large and well-balanced working dog. His remarkable appearance is very harmonious and his body is powerful, flexible and well-proportioned.

    Good to know

    Michael D. Higgins, the President of Ireland, is the proud owner of two Bernese Mountain Dogs: Bród and Síoda. He loves them so much that he brings them along when he attends official events!

    Temperament

    • 100%

      Affectionate

      This big Swiss teddy bear is very affectionate, loves his family and can even be somewhat clingy with his social group.

    • 66%

      Playful

      This dog loves playing with children (but keep an eye on him).

      The Bernese Mountain Dog remains immature for a very long time, so playing is a nice way to externalise all his energy, and also to learn in a fun way, as long as games are both entertaining and educational.

    • 66%

      Calm

      “The calm force” perfectly describes this big teddy. Calm, measured, balanced and kind, he is a perfect companion for the young and old.

      Be careful though, the Bernese Mountain Dog will need daily physical and mental stimulation to remain calm indoors.

    • 100%

      Intelligent

      Like many sheepdogs and herding dogs, his intelligence is remarkable. He will quickly understand what is expected of him, but his late maturity may slow down the full grasp of certain lessons.

    • 33%

      Hunter

      The Bernese Mountain Dog’s hunting instinct is very restricted, which makes him a rather sociable dog in regards to other domestic animals.

    • 66%

      Fearful / wary of strangers

      The Bernese Mountain Dog has a pronounced guarding instinct so he can be suspicious of strangers. However, if he does not have to act as a guardian, he is kind to everyone.

      Even though he is very suspicious, the Bernese Mountain Dog will never attack, as he will prefer to remain passive while being dissuasive if necessary.

    • 33%

      Independent

      This teddy dog may be a rural type, but he does not appreciate being separated from his master. This makes him a dependent dog, even clingy to his social group. Since he is very protective and faithful, he needs interaction and tenderness.

      Behaviour of the Bernese Mountain Dog

      • 33%

        Tolerates solitude

        The faithful fidelity that this Swiss dog has towards his social group means he’s a dog who does not appreciate loneliness. He needs to be surrounded by people that give him all the affection he seeks.

      • 66%

        Easy to train / obedience

        Like many sheepdogs, this Swiss Mountain dog has a great ability to concentrate and listen to his master.

        However, he matures very slowly (it usually takes 2 to 3 years longer than other dog breeds for the Bernese to reach maturity), so it is necessary to be patient and to repeat training exercises many times so that he can completely acquire them.

        Education needs to start early in this dog breed, especially given its large size: up to 60 kg in males!

        Therefore, it will be essential to offer the Bernese Mountain Dog puppy a firm but gentle education based on positive reinforcement training and on the dog's personal learning rhythm.

        Teaching him to walk on a lead without pulling should be one of the earliest lessons to work on in order to enjoy safe walks.

      • 66%

        Barking

        The Bernese Mountain Dog has a pronounced bark which he will not hesitate to demonstrate in case of intrusion into his family’s territory. However, this is not his favourite communication tool.

      • 33%