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Bernese Mountain Dog


General Description:

Did we mention the hair? This is a wonderful breed but is a large dog with some serious health issues. Though easy to get along with they do require training in order to be a well-mannered adult. Most Bernese in rescue are turned over because they lack training and are out of control or are suffering from ill health. The most common behavior problem we face is a dog that has become aggressive towards strangers. We virtually never have dogs to place that are under 2 years old. At this time we have only 2-4 dogs a year in need of re-homing. All require being an integral part of a loving, affectionate family willing to provide a fenced yard and go to training classes.



Males: 24-27 inches, 90-110 pounds. Females 23-26 inches, 70-90 pounds.



Tricolor-black ground color with rust and white markings.


Energy Level:

Moderate to low


Life expectancy:




Good with children when trained and socialized well. Due to their size we generally will not place adult dogs in a home with young children unless the dog was raised and well introduced to children in their previous home. In addition, puppies are not recommended for families with children under six, due to the BMD’s size (around 40 lbs. by 4 months) and activity level (that madly wagging tail at face level hurts and can easily knock a toddler down).


Other animals:

Good with other animals when trained and socialized well.



Were bred as an all-purpose farm dog, so they do not specialize in any one task and do moderately well in different jobs.



They shed a lot. Though they actually “blow” their coats seasonally the amount of hair left on a daily basis is high. The hair is fine and soft and ‘fly away.’ Daily brushing is recommended, weekly brushing is a must. If you do not like hair in your food (and everywhere else) you should not own this breed.



Hip and elbow Dysplasia, cancer, immune-related illnesses common, PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy ).


Best with:

Devoted owners who will not be deceived by their easygoing nature. Training for a dog this size is a must and must be started early with clear guidelines about acceptable behavior. Due to a sensitive nature and soft temperament, positive training methods are a must, as is a fenced yard. Very dependent on their people - best with someone wanting a close and constant relationship with their dog.


Not for:

People who have a problem with dog hair in EVERYTHING. Fragile people that would be damaged by an affectionate, leaning dog with large feet. Homes with decorative accessories located at tail level. People who like to throw balls and play fetch with their dogs-Berners don't generally get the point of this game. Someone who wants a dog for their children to grow up with -short life span prohibits this. The extremely active lifestyle-runners, hikers, etc.-unless you want someone waiting for you at home. People wanting an outside only lifestyle for their dog. People who don't want to get to know their Vet on a personal level. People who don't want to go to training classes.



Very affectionate with their families. Want to be with them wherever they are. Not generally vocal. Like to train and work in reasonable amounts but also enjoy down time.



Lots of hair! Very dependent on their people. Short life span. Serious health issues (bone problems and cancer at a young age are (common). The aloof nature of the breed can easily lead to aggression problems with strangers or over protectiveness of owners when dogs are not properly socialized and trained. These dogs generally do not think that every strange human is their friend.


Further Information:

Breed Details

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