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Your Guide to Bernese Mountain Dogs: History, Temperament, and Care

If you’ve ever doubted that animals have a sense of humor, you should spend time with a Bernese Mountain Dog. These gentle giants are goofy, happy dogs whose silly antics make life fun. 

But is a large, affectionate Bernese Mountain Dog the right fit for your family? 

At Infinity Pups, our mission is to match healthy dogs from ethical, reputable breeders with the family that’s right for them. 

Let’s find out if a Bernese Mountain Dog is your ideal companion by examining the characteristics of this remarkable breed, including temperament, care, and concerns you may have.

History and Characteristics of the Bernese Mountain Dog

When meeting a Bernese Mountain Dog, the first words that will probably come to mind are “large,” “hairy,” and “friendly.” They’re big dogs⁠—typically 23-28 inches tall at the shoulder and 80-115 pounds⁠—and males are generally slightly bigger than females.

Bernese Mountain Dogs have a distinctive black, white, and rust or tan coloring. But what makes them truly loveable is their friendly, expressive face.

Berners originated in 18th-century Switzerland. When the Romans brought mastiff-type dogs to the area, they were bred with Swiss farm dogs. The resulting breed, called “Bernese” after the town of Bern, Switzerland, made fantastic general-purpose farm dogs since they were good at herding cattle, pulling carts, and guarding farms and livestock.

Over time, breeders selectively bred Bernese Mountain Dogs for their working abilities, temperament, and distinctive tri-color coat.

Today, while Bernese Mountain Dogs are still sometimes used as farm dogs, they’ve mostly transitioned to being beloved family companions and therapy dogs because of their gentle, affectionate nature.

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Bernese Mountain Dog Temperament and Personality

When searching for your perfect pet, one of the main things to consider is the dog’s temperament. Your family may not be equipped to deal with certain traits, such as aggression or excessive energy!

Let’s take a closer look at the temperament and personality you can expect from a Bernese Mountain Dog.

Gentle Nature:

Bernese Mountain Dogs are patient, tolerant, and gentle with children and other pets, although they may be unaware of their size and accidentally knock a child over.

Affectionate and Friendly:

Berners thrive on attention and love being around people. They want so much love and enjoy cuddling with you!

Loyal and Devoted:

These dogs are incredibly loyal and devoted to their families and are protective without being aggressive.


Bernese Mountain Dogs are surprisingly intelligent dogs that respond well to training and enjoy learning new commands and tricks.

Moderate Energy Level:

Berners are moderately active and enjoy daily walks, playtime, and outdoor activities but get tired quickly. As puppies, they may be hyper, but they calm down after two or three years.


Bernese Mountain Dogs do best if they have a fenced yard to run in, but they can adapt to various living environments, including apartments.


These dogs can be stubborn, but they are trainable because they want to please their owners! Consistent training is critical.

Shyness or Timidity:

It’s essential to socialize your Berner, introducing her to various situations so she can overcome her natural shyness. 

Separation Anxiety:

Because Bernese Mountain Dogs are so loyal and affectionate, your pup may struggle when separated from you. He’ll need regular exercise, mental stimulation, a consistent routine, and gradual desensitization to being alone.


Berners aren’t typically aggressive, but they will feel protective!

Remember, the more negative traits of your Bernese Mountain Dog can be averted with proper socialization, training, and exercise. It’s also paramount to only buy from a reputable, ethical breeder to ensure healthy, well-adjusted puppies.

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Caring for a Bernese Mountain Dog

Before purchasing a Bernese Mountain Dog puppy, you should be fully aware of his care needs! After all, if you end up in a situation where you’re unable to care for your pup properly, that will be hard for both you and your Berner. 

Here’s a list of the primary things your Bernese Mountain Dog will need to be adequately cared for:

  • Nutrition: Bernese Mountain dogs are large and need lots of food! Provide a balanced and nutritious diet, including protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals, but avoid overfeeding.
  • Grooming: Berners are quite hairy, with a thick double coat of fur. They should be brushed a few times a week.
  • Exercise: Bernese Mountain Dogs need daily walks. As puppies, they may need a lot of exercise and stimulation, but they calm down as they age.
  • Heat Sensitivity: Be careful when exercising your Berner, as they have thick fur and are very sensitive to heat. They do best in cooler climates.
  • Socialization and Training: To help Berners develop good behavior, you’ll need to expose them to various environments and experiences from a young age and train them in basic obedience.
  • Healthcare: Like all dog breeds, Bernese Mountain Dogs should have regular veterinary check-ups for preventive care, vaccinations, and parasite control. Some Berners have genetic health defects, so don’t buy a puppy from a breeder without a health guarantee!
  • Living Environment: Ideally, Berners should have access to a fenced yard, but they can adapt to apartment life if you provide them with enough space and outdoor exercise. Also, they are social dogs that will become anxious if left alone for too long.
  • Love and Companionship: Above all, Bernese Mountain Dogs are affectionate pups who need lots of love and attention to meet their emotional needs!
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Potential Challenges of Owning a Bernese Mountain Dog

Many people think Bernese Mountain Dogs are the ideal pet⁠—loving, funny, dopey, and sweet. But although this breed has many charms, there are also drawbacks to Berner ownership that you should be aware of before purchasing a puppy.

Let’s explore those potential challenges!

Size and Space Requirements:

Bernese Mountain Dogs are large dogs that take up a lot of space! Although some Berners do fine in apartments, if you don’t have a lot of space, it might not be the right breed for you. 

Shedding and Grooming:

Berners have a lot of fur, and during shedding season, it goes everywhere. This is not an allergen-friendly dog, and ownership requires considerable work brushing your dog and managing fur. 

Health Concerns:

Bernese Mountain Dogs are prone to health issues and have shorter lifespans than some other dogs. This can result in high vet bills and lots of distress for the owner. Remember⁠—many health issues result from improper breeding, so if you want a healthy pup, only buy from a reputable breeder!

Drooling and Messiness:

Berners aren’t the cleanest dogs⁠. Besides their excessive fur during shedding season, they’re also prone to drooling and are big dogs that may track mud and dirt indoors. If you don’t have the energy to clean up after a large dog, this may not be the breed for you!

Separation Anxiety:

Although most Bernese Mountain Dog owners love how affectionate and loyal their pups are, there is a downside: It’s difficult to leave them alone for long periods, as they get separation anxiety. This can be alleviated somewhat with socialization and training, but if your job requires you to leave for long periods of time, a different dog may suit you better. 

Cost of Ownership:

Finally, although all dogs can be expensive to own, large dogs like Berners require more food than small dogs.

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Also, since Berners are prone to disease, they may rack up high veterinary care costs. If you hope to own a Berner, budget accordingly!

Alternative Breeds to Consider

As you’ve read through this article, have you fallen in love with the idea of owning a big, friendly Bernese Mountain Dog? Or do you feel like another breed may suit you better?

If you don’t think a Berner is suitable for you, here are some other breeds to consider:

Large dogs with gentle temperaments:

Large dogs with energetic temperaments:

Medium-sized dogs with affectionate natures:

Medium-to-large dog breeds do well in apartments:

Dogs that do well with children:

How Infinity Pups Can Help

Whether you want a Bernese Mountain Dog puppy or are looking for a different dog breed, we’d love to help!

Here at Infinity Pups, we can match you with a charming puppy that is health-guaranteed and comes from a reputable breeder

Browse our available puppies and find the furry friend that brings joy and companionship to you and your family!