The Male Bernese Mountain Dog has an average height of 25-28 inches and weighs 90-120 lbs. The Females are a bit smaller than the males, with a height of 23-26 inches and weighing in around 70-100 lbs. The Bernese Mountain Dog is large, and agile, with a flat, broad skull, dark eyes and nose, triangular ears, scissors bite, and defined stop (the point at which the muzzle meets the forehead). They have a low hanging, thick tail, deep chest, and round feet. Males are larger than females, but both are very strong. The Bernese Mountain Dog is slightly longer than it is tall.
The Bernese Mountain Dog is distinguished by its beautiful tri-colored coat. It has a solid black body, legs, head and ears, rust or tan colored cheeks and calves, and white chest, muzzle (with a stripe running up to the forehead), toes, and tail tip. The only variation in pattern is the amount of white; a ‘Swiss Cross’ shape of white on the chest. The Bernese Mountain Dog has a dense undercoat and straight or curly medium-length outer coat. It is highly weather resistant and slightly rough, but not harsh. Bernese Mountain Dogs shed their outer coat year round.
It’s difficult to not fall in love with the sweet disposition of a Berner. They are friendly, vigilant, and very loyal to their family. They are intelligent, attentive, and calm. Bernese Mountain Dogs require frequent human companionship.
Bernese Mountain Dogs are great with children and will protect their loved ones. They get along well with cats and other household pets, provided proper socialization has taken place. The Bernese Mountain Dog will announce unfamiliar visitors with a hearty barking and watch them carefully. Bernese Mountain Dogs are dominant towards one another.
As a long-haired dog, the Bernese Mountain Dog requires regular grooming with a brush and comb, particularly in areas that are prone to tangles (behind the ears, neck, legs, and hindquarters). Daily combing is required when the undercoat is shedding. Ears should be cleaned and excessive hair around the pads of the feet trimmed occasionally. Bernese Mountain Dogs have an average lifespan of only 7-8 years; they are considered ‘old’ at an age of 6 years. They are susceptible to cancer and musculoskeletal issues such as arthritis (particularly in the shoulders and elbows) and hip dysplasia.
The Bernese Mountain Dog must be handled with a loving, consistent approach and on an even keel. The Bernese Mountain Dog is an eager learner and is very responsive to its trainer's voice. Early training is important for a Bernese Mountain Dog as they can be very difficult to control once they are full grown and have reached their average weight.
The Bernese Mountain Dog must be taken outside regularly because it is very fond of exercise and the outdoors. They require at least 60 minutes of activity per day. Bernese Mountain Dogs enjoy cold weather and love to run and play off the leash whenever possible. Avoid strenuously exercising the Bernese Mountain Dog when young as it needs all of its energy to put on weight and build strong bones and joints.