Breed Characteristics

Amongst the four breeds of Sennenhund, this breed is otherwise known as the Berner Sennenhund. This large, heavy dog has a distinctive horseshoe-shaped marking around the nose and a white Swiss cross on its chest. A Swiss kiss can also be noted behind its neck. However, some of these markings may be absent from other individuals.


Breed Highlights

This breed has a lot of notable characteristics and aspects that you must take note of. Some of these are stated below.

  • SiccaroYou have to know that Berners are highly susceptible to health problems. Breeders posit that this may be due to the lack o f genetic diversity. However, others say that the reasons still remain unknown. Hence, the average Bernese mountain dog lifespan is just around 7 to 8 years.
  • SiccaroBefore adopting one, you have to make sure that you are willing to spend for veterinary care. Remember, these dogs may have a lot of health problems.
  • SiccaroBerners are heavy shedders. Seasonal shedding, as it is technically called, happens during the spring and fall.
  • SiccaroWhenever Berners are separated from their human family. They tend to release their frustration through barking, chewing, or digging. Therefore, they should not be left alone for a long time.
  • SiccaroBeing obedience training as early as possible. When these dogs reach maturity, they love knowing what they have to do.
  • SiccaroBe wary whenever this dog is around children or toddlers. Even though they are known to be gentle, they can accidentally knock them over.


A Bernese mountain dog is a form of Mastiff. Most likely descended from an ancient breed called the Molosser. These dogs are developed from four Swiss dog breeds called the Sennenhund. Developed through the hybridisation of native farm dogs and Molosser dogs or other Mastiffs for over a millennium. These dogs were brought into the Alps during the Roman invasion in the first century B.C.

In fact, it is theorised that these dogs have been working on farms for over 2000 years. Throughout the centuries, these dogs are used to pull carts, guard livestock, watch over properties, and provide loyal companionship to their owners.

In 1888, the number of Swiss people working on farms dwindled to only 36 percent. Consequently, this also meant that the need for this magnificent canine has also decreased. In spite of this though, the general population began an interest in preserving this Swiss breed. They established a dog club named Berna with memberships open only for those with purebred dogs.

Then, in 1902, the Swiss dog club held a show at the Ostermundigen. This drew a lot of attention from the public. Soon, this breed was addressed as Bernese during an international dog show in Bern.

bernese mountain dog


Regarding its weight, males are notably heavier than the females. A typical male dog would weigh around 80 to 120 pounds, whilst females would be about 70 to 110 pounds. They are also tall as the average height of male dogs are at around 61 to 70 centimetres whilst the females are at around 56 to 66 centimetres at the withers.



Gentle, affectionate, and loving, these dogs are a perfect addition to families. They can even be included during family outings and activities. That is why it is important that these dogs are trained early. So that you can mould their personality as calm and tolerant whether in the house or with people.

However, even with their large size, this breed can mature slowly. You have to bear in mind that they may still act like a puppy even well beyond their adult stage. So you have to be very patient.

On the other hand, these dogs are often overprotective and alert. Although they may not be aggressive, these dogs tend to become aloof with strangers and are typically shy. Exposing a Bernese puppy around people is said to prevent this negative behaviour.

Heredity, socialisation, and training are just some factors that may affect a dog\s temperament. Nonetheless, the ideal puppy is curious, playful, and willing to be approached and held by people.


Berners are normally born healthy puppies. However, like all other dog breeds, they are prone to particular health conditions. These are listed below to simply give you a heads-up.

  • SiccaroCancer
  • SiccaroHip Dysplasia
  • SiccaroElbow Dysplasia
  • SiccaroProgressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
  • SiccaroPortosystemic Shunt (PSS)
  • SiccaroVon Willebrand's Disease
  • SiccaroGastric Torsion

When adopting or buying a Bernese mountain dog from an authorised breeder. You have to make sure that you see health clearances for security reasons.

Care and Grooming

These dogs are not meant to live in a flat nor in a condominium. Since this dog has a lot of energy, they need a large open space to play in. This includes 30 minutes of active exercising and soon your pup will be in tiptop shape.

If you are worried about your lovely canine getting wet and dirty. You do not have to fret anymore. Introducing the Supreme Pro WetDog robe! Perfect for your happy pup. It prevents wet dog stench from developing and is 100 percent comfortable. Made from organic material, this can remove 80 to 90 percent of moisture within a matter of minutes.

On the other hand, these dogs have a beautifully thick tri-coloured coat. They better suit colder climates and would love playing in the snow. Extremely hot days may be a huge health threat as these dogs are prone to heat stroke.

You just have to be very careful when handling Berner puppies. Their growth spurt occurs between four to seven months, and so they become susceptible to a lot of bone disorders and injury.

Feeding Requirements

It is recommended that they only are fed with about 3 to 5 cups of two dry food meals every day. Nevertheless, you always have to base the rations on the weight, size, build, age, activity level and metabolism of your dog.

Reminders for those with Children

An excellent pet for families, they are typically affectionate and gentle towards children who are kind and careful with them. However, because of their large size, they may unintentionally knock over small and very young children. So just be watchful.

To prevent any accidents, it is better if you teach the children how to touch and approach dogs. Never leave your child unsupervised around these canines. Also, never let them go near when the Berner is eating or sleeping. Dealing with Berners is no different from other dog breeds.

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