Bernese Mountain Dog

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Bernese Mountain Dog


Bernese Mountain Dog

Recommended for: Singles, families

Maintenance Level:  Medium

Lifespan:  6-8 years

Temperament: Easy going, friendly, loving

Health Risk:  High probability of health issues during its lifetime, hence it is one of the more expensive breeds to insure.



The Bernese Mountain Dog is a larger breed of dog with a tri-coloured thick double coat. This dog makes the ideal family pet as it has a great temperament and just loves to be around children and whatever else is happening.

The Bernese has a tri-coloured thick double coat that is full black with a white neck and chest, and brown on the legs and around the face. It does shed all year round and tends to shed the most fur during Autumn and Spring. That means that this handsome looking dog requires grooming at least once a week. Bathing is also recommended at least once every two months.

Banner-BreedSelectorA female Bernese Mountain Dog can grow up to 63 cm and weigh up to 44 kg. A male Bernese Mountain Dog can grow up to 70 cm and weigh up to 53 kg. Like many large dogs the Bernese does not have a long life span, with the average being 6-8 years.

Bernese are usually outdoor dogs, but they can be well-behaved once trained inside. This breed likes to go out exploring and enjoys adventurous exercise like hiking and bush walking. If the Bernese Mountain Dog doesn’t get a good amount of exercise, he or she can become restless and start barking.




The Bernese Mountain Dog was once called a Dürrbachhund. Similar to the German Shepherd, this breed was once employed as a farm dog used for many duties like herding cattle.

It is believed that this breed has been working on Swiss farms for over 2000 years. They were often employed on farms as a worker and a friend to the farmer because of their devout loyalty and compassion. The end of World War I saw the beginning of the spread of the Bernese Mountain Dog to other countries and its increase in popularity around the world.

In 1981, the American Kennel Club accepted the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America as a member.

Bernese Mountain Dog



The Bernese Mountain Dog has a soft-hearted and placid approach to people and they make extremely loyal and devoted pets. They are relatively easy to train and enjoy being part of the family. Because of their gentle and kind nature they are often used as therapy dogs.

Bernese tend to have a laid back approach to life. This means that they get along well with just about everyone and enjoy the company of other dogs and cats.

Like all dogs they do require regular exercise and enjoy nothing more than a long walk with their family.

If the Bernese is left alone for a long time and doesn’t get a lot of exercise, they can tend to bark.

Bernese Mountain Dog



The Bernese may be susceptible to the following conditions:

  • Von Willebrand’s Disease

This is a disease that is quite common in the Bernese Mountain Dogs. Von Wiellebrand’s Disease causes clotting problems in the blood. Failure for the blood to clot properly can result in a number of serious health issues.

  • Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA)

This is a disease that will occur in Bernese Mountain Dogs and can lead to blindness. The nerve cells at the back of the eye degenerate over time and will cause cataracts to form.

If you suspect your dog has signs of PRA, see your vet for observation as soon as possible. If there is still vision in the eye, corrective surgery may be an option.

  • Osteosarcoma

Osteosarcoma, an aggressive bone cancer, is one of the most common cancers in Bernese Mountain Dogs. The first sign is lameness, but x-rays are needed to determine if the cause is cancer. It is treated aggressively, often with chemotherapy and amputation.

  • Elbow dysplasia

Elbow dysplasia is common in large dog breeds and is believed to be caused by varying growth rates in the dog’s elbow. This leads to joint laxity, pain, and lameness. Surgery is available, but medication and weight loss may be prescribed by a vet to help control the pain.

Hip dysplasia is a condition where the thigh bone and hip joint do not fit together properly, causing pain and lameness. Less severe cases can be treated with anti-inflammatory medications, but surgery may be required for serious cases.

Bernese Mountain Dog



Many celebrities have owned Bernese Mountain Dogs, including Courtney Cox & David Arquette, Ben Roethlisberger, Joel Benenson, Frank Ocean, and Hilary Duff.

Due to the adventurous history of the Bernese Mountain Dog, they love to play and this makes them great friends for children and adults.

The Bernese Mountain Dog was originally bred for pulling dairy carts and herding cattle.



Bernese Mountain Dog Club of Victoria:


Bernese Mountain Dog Pet Insurance Quote

Getting pet insurance for your Bernese Mountain Dog will help ensure you can always afford the best vet care for them. Bow Wow Meow offers a range of flexible pet insurance options including cover for accidental injury, illness and routine care.

Wondering how much it would cost to insure your Bernese Mountain Dog if you got one? It’s quick and easy to get a pet insurance quote.
(Note: dogs must be over 8 weeks old to take out insurance, so please enter a birth date to reflect this when getting an indicative quote.)

Kerstin Keiming
November 24, 2017
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