10 Fun Facts About Bernese Mountain Dogs

10 Fun Facts About Bernese Mountain Dogs

Are you curious about Bernese Mountain Dogs? These lovable and majestic creatures are known for their friendly nature and striking appearance. If you’re considering adding a Bernese Mountain Dog to your family or simply want to learn more about this fascinating breed, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll explore 10 fun and interesting facts about Bernese Mountain Dogs that will surely captivate your attention. From their history and origins to their unique characteristics and temperament, read on to discover everything you need to know about these amazing dogs.

Origins and History of Bernese Mountain Dogs

Swiss Origins

Bernese Mountain Dogs, also known as Berners, have their origins in Switzerland. They were initially bred in the canton of Bern, which is where their name comes from. These dogs have a long history dating back over 2,000 years, and their ancestors can be traced back to the Roman Mastiffs that accompanied the Roman armies as they crossed the Alps.

Working Dogs

Bernese Mountain Dogs were primarily bred as working dogs. They were used by Swiss farmers for various tasks such as herding cattle, pulling carts, and guarding properties. Their strong and sturdy build, coupled with their intelligence and gentle nature, made them excellent companions for farmers and ideal for the demanding tasks required of them.

Development of the Breed

The development of Bernese Mountain Dogs as a distinct breed began in the late 19th century. Swiss farmers and breeders recognized the unique qualities of these dogs and started a breeding program to preserve and improve the breed. Initially, the focus was on selecting dogs based on their working abilities, but over time, appearance and temperament also became important factors in the breeding process.

The breed’s distinct features, such as their striking tricolor coat, were gradually refined through careful breeding practices. A breed standard was established to maintain uniformity and ensure that the breed’s characteristics remained consistent.

Today, Bernese Mountain Dogs are loved not just for their working capabilities but also for their gentle temperament and loyalty. They are popular family pets and are often seen participating in various dog sports and activities, showcasing their versatility and adaptability.

In conclusion, Bernese Mountain Dogs have a rich history rooted in Switzerland. Their working abilities and development as a breed have contributed to their reputation as versatile and loyal companions. Whether as working dogs or beloved family pets, Berners continue to captivate people with their charm and distinctive appearance.

Physical Characteristics of Bernese Mountain Dogs

Size and Weight

Bernese Mountain Dogs are large and sturdy dogs. They are known for their impressive size and strength. Adult males typically stand between 24 and 28 inches at the shoulder, while females are slightly smaller, ranging from 23 to 27 inches. In terms of weight, males usually weigh between 80 and 115 pounds, while females weigh slightly less, ranging from 70 to 95 pounds.

Coat and Colors

One of the most striking features of Bernese Mountain Dogs is their beautiful coat. They have a thick, double coat that provides excellent insulation. The outer coat is moderately long, straight, and slightly wavy, while the undercoat is dense and soft. This combination helps protect them from the cold weather they were originally bred to work in.

When it comes to colors, Bernese Mountain Dogs have a unique and eye-catching pattern. Their base color is always black, with rich rust and white markings on their chest, legs, and face. The rust markings are typically found above each eye, on the sides of the muzzle, on the chest, and on all four legs. The white markings usually appear as a blaze on the forehead, a strip on the chest, and as socks on the feet.

Distinctive Markings

Bernese Mountain Dogs are known for their distinctive markings, which contribute to their overall charm and beauty. One of the most prominent markings is the white blaze on their forehead, which often resembles a triangle or a star. This marking is a defining characteristic of the breed and adds to their unique appearance. Additionally, their rust-colored eyebrows and cheeks further enhance their expressive and friendly face.

Another distinctive marking is the white chest blaze, which is often in the shape of a cross. This marking gives Bernese Mountain Dogs a regal and elegant look. Lastly, the white socks on their feet not only add to their aesthetic appeal but also serve as a practical feature. These socks help to keep their paws clean and protected, especially during snowy or muddy conditions.

In conclusion, Bernese Mountain Dogs possess physical characteristics that make them truly remarkable. From their size and weight to their stunning coat colors and distinctive markings, these dogs are a true delight to behold.

Temperament and Personality Traits

Gentle and Affectionate

Bernese Mountain Dogs are known for their gentle and affectionate nature. They have a calm and patient demeanor, making them excellent companions for individuals of all ages. These dogs are often seen as gentle giants due to their large size and kind-hearted temperament. They have a natural inclination to be loving and nurturing towards their family members, including children and other pets. Their affectionate nature also makes them great therapy dogs, bringing comfort and joy to those in need.

Great Family Dogs

Bernese Mountain Dogs are considered to be one of the best family dogs. They form strong bonds with their human family members and are extremely loyal and protective. These dogs thrive in a family environment and enjoy being included in various activities. They are known to be great with children, often displaying patience and gentleness. Whether it’s playing in the yard, going for walks, or simply lounging around the house, Bernese Mountain Dogs are always eager to be a part of the family’s daily life.

Intelligent and Trainable

Despite their large size, Bernese Mountain Dogs are intelligent and trainable. They possess a keen desire to please their owners and are quick learners. With proper training and socialization from an early age, these dogs can excel in obedience and various other training activities. Their intelligence, combined with their willingness to learn, makes them versatile dogs that can be trained for various tasks and roles. Whether it’s basic commands, advanced tricks, or even therapy work, Bernese Mountain Dogs are up for the challenge and thrive on mental stimulation.

In conclusion, Bernese Mountain Dogs have a temperament and personality that make them ideal companions for individuals and families. Their gentle and affectionate nature, along with their intelligence and trainability, contribute to their reputation as great family dogs. Whether you’re looking for a loyal and loving pet or a versatile working dog, the Bernese Mountain Dog has the qualities to meet your expectations.

Health and Lifespan

Common Health Issues

Bernese Mountain Dogs are generally a healthy breed, but like any other dog, they are prone to certain health issues. It is important for owners to be aware of these common health issues to ensure their dog’s well-being. Some common health issues in Bernese Mountain Dogs include:

  1. Hip and Elbow Dysplasia: This is a hereditary condition where the hip or elbow joints do not develop properly. It can cause pain, lameness, and arthritis in the affected joints.

  2. Cancer: Bernese Mountain Dogs have a higher risk of developing certain types of cancer, such as mast cell tumors, osteosarcoma, and lymphoma. Regular check-ups and early detection are crucial for successful treatment.

  3. Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV): Also known as bloat, GDV is a life-threatening condition where the stomach fills with gas and twists. It requires immediate veterinary attention and can be prevented by feeding smaller, more frequent meals and avoiding vigorous exercise after meals.

  4. Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): PRA is a degenerative eye disorder that can lead to blindness. Regular eye examinations by a veterinary ophthalmologist can help detect and manage this condition.

Lifespan and Care

On average, Bernese Mountain Dogs have a lifespan of 7 to 10 years. However, with proper care and attention to their health, some individuals have been known to live up to 12 years or more.

To ensure a long and healthy life for your Bernese Mountain Dog, it is important to:

  1. Provide a Balanced Diet: Feed your dog a high-quality, balanced diet that meets their nutritional needs. Consult with your veterinarian to determine the appropriate food portions and dietary requirements for your dog’s age and activity level.

  2. Regular Exercise: Bernese Mountain Dogs are an active breed and require regular exercise to keep them physically and mentally stimulated. Daily walks, playtime, and activities such as hiking or swimming are ideal for maintaining their overall health and preventing obesity.

  3. Routine Veterinary Care: Regular vet check-ups are essential to monitor your dog’s overall health, vaccinations, and preventive care. Your veterinarian can detect any potential health issues early on and provide appropriate treatments.

  4. Grooming: Bernese Mountain Dogs have a beautiful, thick coat that requires regular grooming to keep it clean and free from mats. Brushing their coat a few times a week and regular bathing will help maintain their coat’s health and prevent skin issues.

  5. Socialization and Training: Proper socialization and training from a young age are crucial for Bernese Mountain Dogs. They are a friendly and sociable breed, but early socialization helps them develop good behavior and reduce the risk of anxiety or aggression.

By following these guidelines and providing proper care, you can help ensure a happy and healthy life for your Bernese Mountain Dog.

Bernese Mountain Dogs as Working Dogs

Historical Role

Bernese Mountain Dogs have a rich history as working dogs in the Swiss Alps. They were originally bred to assist farmers and herders in the region. These dogs were highly valued for their strength, intelligence, and versatility in various tasks.

Modern-Day Working Abilities

Despite their adorable appearance, Bernese Mountain Dogs still possess their innate working abilities. They excel in various modern-day tasks and are often utilized in different working roles. Their intelligence and willingness to please make them highly trainable and adaptable to different situations.

Activities and Jobs

  1. Search and Rescue: Bernese Mountain Dogs are known for their excellent tracking skills, which make them ideal candidates for search and rescue operations. Their strong sense of smell and endurance enable them to locate missing persons in challenging terrains.
  2. Therapy Dogs: These gentle giants have a calm and friendly temperament, making them great therapy dogs. They provide comfort and emotional support to patients in hospitals, nursing homes, and other healthcare facilities.
  3. Cart Pulling: Bernese Mountain Dogs have a natural instinct to pull, which makes them perfect for cart pulling activities. They can be trained to transport goods or even participate in cart pulling competitions.
  4. Herding: Although they are primarily known for their work in the mountains, Bernese Mountain Dogs can also be excellent herding dogs. Their size and agility allow them to effectively guide and control livestock.
  5. Draft Work: With their strong build and sturdy frame, Bernese Mountain Dogs are well-suited for draft work. They can assist in pulling heavy loads, such as logs or sleds, with ease.

Bernese Mountain Dogs continue to demonstrate their working capabilities in various settings and have proven to be invaluable partners in different activities and jobs. Their combination of strength, intelligence, and gentle nature makes them a versatile breed that excels in both historical and modern-day working roles.

Famous Bernese Mountain Dogs


Barry is perhaps one of the most famous Bernese Mountain Dogs in history. Born in the early 1800s, Barry was a legendary rescue dog who lived in the Swiss Alps. He is credited with saving the lives of more than 40 people who were trapped in avalanches or lost in the mountains. Barry’s bravery and loyalty made him an icon of the breed and a symbol of rescue dogs worldwide.

Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau

Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau were three Bernese Mountain Dogs who gained fame for their mountaineering adventures. Their names were inspired by the famous Swiss mountains they climbed with their owner, Thomas Lauber. Together, they conquered numerous peaks, including the iconic Matterhorn. Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau showcased the breed’s agility, strength, and love for outdoor activities.


Sennenhund, meaning "dairy farmer’s dog" in Swiss German, is a term often used to refer to the four Swiss mountain dog breeds, including the Bernese Mountain Dog. These dogs were historically used by Swiss farmers for various tasks, such as herding cattle, pulling carts, and guarding properties. The Bernese Mountain Dog, being one of the Sennenhunds, has become a beloved and famous member of this group due to its gentle nature, striking appearance, and versatility in various tasks.

The Bernese Mountain Dog is a fascinating breed that has captivated dog lovers worldwide. With its striking appearance and gentle nature, it’s no wonder that this breed has gained such popularity. From their origins in the Swiss Alps to their role as loyal companions and working dogs, Bernese Mountain Dogs have a rich history worth exploring. Whether you’re a fan of these majestic canines or simply curious about their unique qualities, these ten fun facts have surely given you a deeper insight into the world of Bernese Mountain Dogs. So, next time you come across one of these furry friends, you’ll be armed with knowledge and appreciation for this remarkable breed.