Bernese Mountain Dog

Bernese Mountain Dog Breed description: Character & Co

Bernese Mountain Dog


If you are currently debating whether to buy a Bernese Mountain Dog, you will find a lot of important information about this dog breed in the list below. If you are thinking about a Bernese Mountain Dog puppy, you will certainly be able to find out more about Bernese Mountain Dog breeding as well as breeders in your area on our platform. An outdated name for this mountain dog from Switzerland is 'Dürrbächler'.

What is the origin of the Bernese Mountain Dog?

The Bernese Mountain Dog originates in Switzerland, in the village of Dürrbach. This is a small village in Switzerland. Therefore this breed of dog was called Dürrbächler to begin with. However, these dogs soon became very popular outside this village and its surrounding area. After a dog show in Berlin in 1907, the dog breed was renamed after the Swiss canton of Berne to 'Berner Sennenhund'.

What are the breed characteristics of the Bernese Mountain Dog?

Bernese Mountain Dogs are very big and well-suited as family dogs, even though they were originally used as rescue dogs, tracking dogs, herding dogs for sheep and even as draft dogs for small carts.

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Alternate Name Dürrbächler
Origin Switzerland
Life expectancy 6 - 8 years
Care requirements high-maintenance
Activity level average
FCI group Swiss Mountain- and Cattledogs
AKC group working group
KC group working group

The Bernese Mountain Dog is well suited as a

  • family dog
  • rescue dog
  • tracking dog
  • herding dog
  • draft dog

What are the typical character traits of the Bernese Mountain Dog?

The Bernese Mountain Dog is affectionate and loyal and extremely tranquil. They get attached very closely to the people they feel they belong to, including you. They will always be a little reserved towards strangers. This breed of dog is particularly calm and relaxed. The Bernese Mountain Dog loves to learn and is extremely attentive when you want to teach them something new.

Typical characteristics of this dog breed are

loyal tranquil
able to build strong relationsships
eager to learn reserved
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What are typical diseases of the Bernese Mountain Dogs?

Depending on the breed, Bernese Mountain Dogs tend to suffer from

  • hip joint dysplasia,
  • elbow dysplasia, but also 
  • cancer diseases and
  • kidney disease.

If you want to buy a Bernese Mountain Dog, of course this does not have to apply to the Bernese Mountain Dog puppy you choose. It makes sense, however, to ask the breeder of your choice about their Bernese Mountain Dog breeding and possible pre-existing conditions.

What should be considered when breeding Bernese Mountain Dogs?

If you would like to breed this dog breed yourself, it is definitely advisable to use only healthy dogs for breeding, considering the above mentioned risks for certain diseases. Only if all breeders adhere to this rule will it be possible that all breed-related diseases of the Bernese Mountain Dog will become less common over time.

One aspect you should know when breeding Bernese Mountain Dogs is the number of puppies a bitch can give birth to. The biggest known litter of a Bernese Mountain Dog was 15 puppies at a time. This dog breed is therefore characterised by a particularly large number of puppies per litter. Even if it can be different in your breeding, you should be prepared that you should be able to find a buyer for each of these puppies later on. It can be helpful to stay in contact to potential buyers when considering breeding this kind of dog. A Bernese Mountain Dog puppy costs about 1300 Euro.

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The Bernese Mountain Dog has long, silky and dense fur. Their coat colour is generally black, white and brown. Head and back are always black, chest and belly are white. Their paws are also white and all Bernese Mountain Dogs also have white markings on their faces. The brown coat covers their eyes, muzzle, legs and often the parts around their white chest.

As this is a dog breed with a very long and dense coat, a few more important tips for grooming.

  • The Bernese Mountain Dog is not sensitive to the cold.
  • When it is hot, the Bernese Mountain Dog needs a shady place and lots of water.
  • The Bernese Mountain Dog sheds hair all year round.
  • Dürrbächler must be groomed often and thoroughly.

The Bernese Mountain Dog is not sensitive to the cold at all, but they are sensitive to heat. When it is hot outside, these dogs need a lot of shade and you must also make sure that they drink a lot of fresh water.

Their dense and long coat must be groomed very often and thoroughly, so that it does not become matted. You have to take your time when you make the decision whether to chose a Bernese Mountain Dog as your family dog. The Bernese Mountain Dog sheds a lot of hair all year round, which you should be aware of to begin with.

What is the average size of the Bernese Mountain Dog?

The Bernese Mountain Dog reaches a height of 58 to 70 cm measured at the withers and is therefore considered a very large breed of dog.

How much does a Bernese Mountain Dog weigh?

Bernese Mountain Dogs are large and heavy dogs and weigh 36 to 50 kg on average.

What is the average lifespan of the Bernese Mountain Dog?

The average life expectancy of the Bernese Mountain Dog is 6 to 9 years. The fact that the average life expectancy is so low with this dog breed has to do with its size on the one hand, because large dogs unfortunately never grow as old as small ones. On the other hand it also has to do with the fact that there are unfortunately still some typical hereditary diseases that are breed related. These are described in more detail in the next paragraph.

Fur length medium
Fur flat coated
Ear shape Floppy Ear
Tail fanned out
Anatomy massive, hefty
Size ♀ 58 - 66 cm
Weight ♀ 36 - 48 kg
Size ♂ 64 - 70 cm
Weight ♂ 38 - 50 kg
Suitable For Children


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  • Hip dysplasia (HD)

    Hip dysplasia (HD) is a genetic condition in dogs where the hip joint is not shaped properly. This leads to pain, stiffness and restricted movement.

  • Cancer

    May be common in older dogs.

  • Kidney disease

    Symptoms of kidney disease in dogs: increased urination (polyuria) increased water intake. Inflammation of the mucous membrane of the mouth. Loss of appetite

  • Overweight

    Often, unfortunately, the dogs very much under excess weight. But the dogs themselves are never to blame!

  • A puppy costs about 2500 Euro.

  • On average, you should spend 2-3 hours a day outdoors with a Bernese Mountain Dog. Of course, there is always room for improvement. There is rarely too much. In addition, there is mental exercise at home with intelligence toys and search / retrieve games.

  • The oldest Bernese Mountain Dog in the world was named Penny and lived to be 25 years old.

  • Bernese Mountain Dog is written like this: Bernese (because it comes from Bern - city in Switzerland) and Sennenhund (species / genus of the animal). Sometimes you could think it is one name. But in fact it is two parts. Bernese Mountain Dog. There are also other mountain dogs. They are called Swiss Mountain and Cattle Dogs.

Sources and relevant links

Offizielle Seite des FCI

Accessed on 16.01.2023

Gabriele Lehari (2004). Ulmers Großes Lexikon der Hunderassen. Ulmer.

Horst Hegewald-Kawich (2015). Hunderassen von A bis Z: Über 200 beliebte Rassen aus aller Welt. Gräfe und Unzer Verlag.

Verein für Schweizer Sennenhunde Österreich

Accessed on 16.01.2023


Accessed on 24.01.2023

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