Bernese Mountain Dog
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Are Bernese Mountain Dogs Too Big Or Not Too Big

Too big or not too big, that is the question. Yes, Bernese Mountain Dogs (Berners) are Big Dogs! Some can weigh over 100 pounds. They are big and strong enough to pull carts, which they did back on Switzerland’s farms.

Bernese Mountain Dogs are small dogs at heart but in huge bodies. They are affectionate, good-natured, calm, and very strong. If properly socialized, they do very well with children and tolerance being climbed on. They prefer the outdoors but can adjust very well to living indoors.

How Big Are Bernese Mountain Dogs?

The male Berner is about 27 inches tall at the shoulders and weighs between 80 to 115 pounds.  The female is a bit shorter at around 25 inches tall and weighing between 70 to 95 pounds.  Both sexes will definitely make a lapful, and despite their size, they like to sit on you.

Berners are big but not even close to the largest dog breed’s size, the Great Dane. The Great Dane is a giant dog around 32 inches tall and can weigh up to 175 pounds.

Their size and strength make them excellent farm animals.  They seem to love pulling things, and they can be trained to pull children around in wagons.

They often compete in the sport of carting.  The Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America sponsors drafting and carting events.

What Does A Bernese Mountain Dog Look Like?

Berner at 8 Months

The Bernese Mountain Dog is a distinctive tri-colored, black, brown (rust), and white.  Its coat is long and silky and should be brushed regularly.  Their coat does not need cutting, but they need baths about every two months.  They shed a moderate amount and are not hypoallergenic.

Their bodies are longer than they are tall.    They are sturdy and very muscular.  They are big and powerful and bred for hard work.

But Berners are not all work and no play.  They love to please their owners and are always up for whatever games you want to play.

Fortunately, they are not aggressive but will protect their family.

Are Bernese Mountain Dogs Smart

Berners are smart and easy to train.  They are eager to please and are quick learners.  They do well in obedience trials where intelligence is a key factor to success.

They respond to housetraining quickly and are among to easiest dogs to accomplish this most important first step.  They seem to know when they have made a mistake, although they may not feel guilty about wrongdoing.

Are Berners Good Family Dogs

Girls on the bed with Bernese Mountain Dog
Girls on the bed with Bernese Mountain Dog

Berners get along with the entire family. Like most dogs, they will probably become more attached to one lucky family member, but they will play and respond to everybody in the family.

They are very gentle with children and will tolerate youngsters climbing all over them.

They are one of the least aggressive dogs towards humans and behave well with strangers, although they may be standoffish. Some Bernese males confront other male dogs.

Early training is important for all dogs, but especially  Bernese Mountain Dog, because it is big. Otherwise, you may have the proverbial bull in a china shop living in your house.


Do Berners Like Being Alone?

Don’t leave your Bernese Mountain Dogs alone for a long time.    They need companionship and may start chewing on things when they get lonely.   Dog separation anxiety is definitely a possibility for the gregarious Berner.

Berners want to be part of the family and thrive on companionship.  If they are not allowed to be with the family, they may bark a lot and develop issues like digging holes in the yard.

Bernese Mountain Dog Health Issues

Cancer is the primary health problem facing Berners.  They are about twice as likely to die from cancer than other dog breeds.  Bernese Mountain Dogs have a relatively short life span of 7 to 9 years.  Other dogs their size live on average 10 to 11 years.

They face other health challenges: canine hip and elbow dysplasia (abnormal formation of the socket) and gastric torsion (bloat). They need protection from heat as heatstroke is a real risk for them.  


Although the Bernese Mountain Dog is big, it is such an affectionate and well-mannered pet that it is not too big for the right family.  

Similar Dog Breeds

Swiss Mountain Dogs (Sennenhunds)

Four dog breeds are Swiss Mountain Dogs: Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, Bernese Mountain Dog, Appenzeller Mountain Dog, and Entlebucher Mountain Dog.  The Greater Swiss is the larger, followed by the Bernese, Appenzeller, and Entlebucher.  Saint Bernard Dogs are very similar looking and come from the same general area but are red and white, not tricolor.


BreedHeight (inches)Weight (Pounds)Life Expectancy (Years)Popularity (AKC)Country of Origin
Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

Bernese Mountain Dog

Appenzeller Mountain Dog

18.5–23 49–70 12-15n/aSwitzerland
Entlebucher Mountain Dog

19–20 45–6511-13157Switzerland



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