Bernese Mountain Dog breed information

A gentle giant, the Bernese Mountain Dog, is renowned for its thick, tri-colour coat and sturdy structure. Originating from Switzerland, Bernese Mountain Dogs were bred for physical labour like pulling carts, herding cattle, and protecting families.

The Bernese has an easy-going temperament and loves to be goofy around its owners. Sometimes forgetful of their size, they need a big, wide-open space to play and roam.

They are usually easily trainable dogs, but due to their size and strength, you’ll need a bit of muscle behind you if you’re taking them on walks.

Want to learn more about this hard working, loving breed? Read our guide below to see if Bernese Mountain Dogs are the pet for you.

Bernese Mountain Dogs breed information

If you’d like to get to know the breed a little more closely, here are a few key traits and facts about the Bernese Mountain Dog:

How long do Bernese Mountain Dogs live?

Bernese Mountain Dogs have an average lifespan of 6 to 10 years.

How big do Bernese Mountain Dogs get?

Bernese Mountain Dogs usually reach their full weight and height by 15 months old. Healthy male and female Bernese Mountain Dogs are between 58.7 - 69 cm tall and weigh between 34 - 54 kgs.

Do Bernese Mountain Dogs shed?

Bernese Mountain Dogs shed moderately to heavily all year round. 

  Should I get a Bernese Mountain Dog?

If you live on a large property or farm, the Bernese Mountain Dog is a breed you could consider getting. Conditioned to work in big spaces, you can involve a Bernese in several family activities or farm jobs. As their coats are thick, Bernese Mountain dogs are suited to cooler climates, so keep that in mind if you intend to put them to work. 

Bernese Mountain dogs are large, so early socialisation and training are key to ensure they know how to behave around people. Introducing them to different dogs, families, and children from a young age is a great way to do this.

Bernese Mountain Dog personality

Bernese Mountain Dogs have sweet temperaments and are generally affectionate with their owners. They love activities and being part of the family. Known to be ‘soft’ natured, they need a loving environment with patient people that are willing to give them time and care. Like any dog, early training is a great way to instill good behaviour, so they thrive in their environment.

Taking care of Bernese Mountain Dogs


Bernese Mountain Dogs have thick, large outer coats and wooly undercoats. As they are moderate to heavy shedders, especially around autumn and spring, they require a lot of grooming and maintenance. They need to be brushed several times a week to keep their coat clean and bathed periodically. To reduce tartar build up and maintain oral hygiene, aim to brush your Bernese teeth once a week.


Like we mentioned before, Bernese Mountain Dogs were bred for farm work and have a lot of energy, so they require a lot of exercise. Aim for three walks a day, around 30 minutes. If you don’t always have the time, make sure you have a yard big enough for them to roam in. Go for walks when the weather is cooler, as Bernese Mountain Dogs are susceptible to overheating with their thick coats.


Bernese Mountain Dogs should eat one big meal, or two lighter meals a day. Aim for a well balanced selection of fresh food and lean meat, like fresh fruit, vegetables, chicken, beef and even yoghurt, which are great ways to incorporate the right vitamins and minerals into a Bernese Mountain dogs diet.

Common Bernese Mountain Dog health conditions

Like most dog breeds, Bernese Mountain Dogs are susceptible to certain health conditions. Here are some examples:

Hip dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a hereditary skeletal condition seen in large dog breeds. The condition creates a deformity in a dog’s hips as they grow, leading to reduced mobility and range of motion. Bernese Mountain Dogs have a higher chance of developing hip dysplasia due to over breeding within their gene pool. Early signs of hip dysplasia in a dog can be limping, abnormal walking patterns, and loss of muscle in the hind legs.

Elbow dysplasia

Elbow dysplasia is another common condition in large dog breeds. It’s an inherited condition that results in developmental abnormalities and affects a dog’s elbow joints. Early signs of elbow dysplasia include reduced - range of motion, forelimb lameness, and fluid build-up in the joint.

The cost of insuring a Bernese Mountain Dog

If you’re thinking about getting pet insurance for your Bernese Mountain Dog, factors like age and location will affect the cost of your premium. Woolworths Pet Insurance offers Basic, Standard, Comprehensive and Comprehensive Plus cover that can help protect you and your furry friend. Check what each insurance cover includes.

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