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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Breeds > Bernese Mountain Dog

Bernese Mountain Dog

Origin: Switzerland

AKC Group: Working

Height: 23 inches (Male)

Weight: 80 pounds (Male)

Male height: 
23 inches
Male weight: 
80 pounds
A weather-resistant double coat that consists of a woolly undercoat and a moderately long topcoat.
Tricolored coat of black with symmetrical rust and white markings.

The Bernese Mountain Dog ("Berner") was named after the area in Switzerland where he was developed, Berne. For centuries, the people in and around this mountainous region kept small farms with some livestock. The Bernese Mountain Dog was their watchdog and guardian. His job was to alert his family to anyone coming onto the property, be it another person or wildlife that might threaten the farm. He also helped out with draft work, pulling a cart that could be filled with anything from rocks to milk for the market. His versatility has endeared him to many, and he is the national dog of Switzerland.

Although the Berner looks like a black bear from a distance, if you're anywhere near him, you soon realize that he's a teddy bear - friendly, easygoing and extremely huggable. The even-tempered Berner retains his watchdog instincts and is alert to anyone or anything that may be moving in on his family, while at the same time not becoming overly excited. These dogs are boisterous in puppyhood and retain a playful, outgoing personality as they grow up - some even say that they are slow to mature.
At home: 
While he may look like the perfect outdoor dog, the Berner must be made an integral part of the family. He does not like to lose physical contact with those he loves, and you may find that his favorite resting place is on top of your foot. He loves the cold, but his heavy coat can cause heat-related problems in very hot climates. The Berner needs a securely fenced yard.
The playful yet lumbering Berner needs a moderate amount of exercise. Approximately 30 minutes of vigorous exercise combined with several play or outdoor sessions a day is usually enough for most Berners. Take care to exercise him during the coolest part of the day.
The Berner needs a high-quality diet with a good protein source.
Focused on his family, the Berner takes well to training. He is happy to be rewarded for his efforts and learns quickly. He is fairly eager to please and is up for trying most things that seem enjoyable and that involve being with you.
Berners are calm and watchful with children. They also get along well with other pets.
The average life span of the Bernese Mountain Dog is 7 to 10 years. Breed health concerns include allergies; autoimmune diseases; cancer; eye problems; and elbow and hip dysplasia.
Fun fact: 

In his home country, the Bernese Mountain Dog was often referred to as "the dairyman's dog" because he often pulled a dairy cart and accompanied cows to pasture.

Grooming blurb: 
The Berner's double coat sheds - and sheds a lot seasonally. He needs to be brushed several times a week to remove dead hair and allow for new growth. He looks great after a bath, although his double coat takes time to dry.
Copyright by T.F.H. Publications, Inc. This document has been published with the intent to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter within. While every reasonable precaution has been taken in preparation of this document, the author and publisher expressly disclaim responsibility for any errors, omissions, or adverse effects arising from the use or application of the information contained herein. The techniques and suggestions are used at the reader's discretion.