Bernese Mountain Dog Breed Profile

Bernese Mountain Dog breed profile

KC Group Working

Size Large

Weight Dogs: 38 - 50kg; bitches: 36 - 48kg

Height Dogs: 64 - 70cm; bitches: 58 - 66cm

Average lifespan 8 years

Good with children? Yes

Good guard dogs? Yes

Moulting level Heavy

Grooming Moderate

Exercise requirement Moderate

Jogging partner No

Colours Jet black, with rich red markings on cheeks, over eyes, on all four legs, and on chest. White markings, in a cross shape on the chest and a symmetrical marking on the head

Temperament Loyal and affectionate

Bernese Mountain Dog Breed Profile

The Bernese Mountain dog is a devoted family dog who is excellent with children. The origin of the breed can be traced to the Romans' invasion of Switzerland, where army guard dogs mated with local flock guarders.


About the Bernese Mountain Dog 

  • Lifespan: The Bernese Mountain Dog average lifespan is around seven years and eight months. 
  • Price: Around £2,000 to £2,200.
  • Height (at withers): Dogs: 64 – 70cm; bitches: 58 – 66cm. Further information on Bernese Mountain Dog size can be found below.
  • Weight: Dogs: 53 – 65kg; bitches: 47 – 57kg.
  • Coat care: A handsome Bernese Mountain Dog in full coat is a striking sight, and some regular grooming is required to maintain this. If not given any attention, the coat will develop knots, especially behind the ears and in the longer hair on the backs of the legs. More information on the Bernese Mountain Dog shedding their coat can be found below.
  • Health: Hips and elbows have generally improved over the years, but problems still appear now and again, usually if standards are relaxed. If problematic, elbows, particularly, can need careful management during the skeletal growth period. Degenerative myelopathy is known, but is not a big problem, and can be avoided by the testing of parents (two tests for each dog). Around two thirds of BMDs die of cancer, including about 25 per cent from an aggressive histiocytic sarcoma, which is known to have a hereditary element. In recent years, a world-leading, predictive test to help reduce the incidence of this has become available to breeders. 
  • Character: These friendly, confident, loyal family dogs are happiest when they are with their family. They Bernese Mountain dog is excellent with children, and generally friendly with other dogs and animals. Proper training and socialisation are essential while young; this is a large, powerful dog who needs correct training, otherwise, like any other breed, he can become unruly. However, problems are relatively rare, and good breeders will give advice in this area.
  • Trainability: Originally working dogs, Bernese Mountain Dogs are usually keen to please their owners so easy to train with food incentives. They can tackle most things, and with good training do quite well, but they’ll never consistently challenge the top obedience breeds. Most are natural carters and quickly adapt to draft work, pulling their carts around a course, or with their handler in Swiss traditional dress, the cart, decorated with flowers, reflecting their heritage.
  • Exercise requirements: Fairly flexible, but they were designed for steady rather than prolonged energetic work, and are too heavy in bone for extremely mobile activity. Sensible care must be taken with fast-growing, developing puppies up to about 15 months. Good breeders will ensure this is stressed to inexperienced owners.
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Do Bernese Mountain dogs shed?

Bernese Mountain Dogs do shed their coat. They have a thick double coat that consists of a longer outer layer and a dense, insulating undercoat. Shedding is a natural process in which old or damaged hair is replaced with new growth. While they are not considered to be excessive shedders compared to some other breeds, Bernese Mountain Dogs do shed moderately throughout the year, with heavier shedding occurring during seasonal transitions. Regular grooming and brushing can help minimise the amount of loose hair in the environment and keep their coat healthy and neat.

Bernese Mountain Dog size

Bernese Mountain Dogs are large-sized dogs. On average, males stand about 25 to 27.5 inches (63 to 70 cm) tall at the shoulder, while females are slightly smaller, measuring around 23 to 26 inches (58 to 66 cm) in height. In terms of weight, adult males typically range from 80 to 115 pounds (36 to 52 kg), while adult females usually weigh between 70 and 95 pounds (32 to 43 kg). These majestic dogs have a sturdy and muscular build, reflecting their working heritage as draft animals. Their impressive size, combined with their gentle and friendly temperament, makes them a popular choice among dog lovers seeking a large and affectionate companion.

Bernese Mountain Dog puppies

Bernese Mountain Dog puppies are irresistibly adorable. They have a distinct charm with their fluffy, soft fur, and big, expressive eyes. As youngsters, they are full of energy and curiosity, always eager to explore their surroundings. Despite their initial small size, Bernese Mountain Dog puppies grow rapidly, quickly transforming into the large and majestic dogs they are known to become. They are known for their playful nature and affectionate disposition, making them wonderful companions for families and individuals alike. Early socialisation and training are important for Bernese Mountain Dog puppies to help them develop into well-rounded adults. With their lovable personalities and endearing puppy antics, it's hard to resist falling in love with a Bernese Mountain Dog puppy.


With thanks to Stephen Green, breed health coordinator of the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of Great Britain for his help with this feature.

Big and beautiful — the Bernese.

INFO: For more information about Bernese Mountain Dogs, visit the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of Great Britain website: or check out the Kennel Club website: Contact the Bernese Facebook group on