The Bernese Mountain Dog is an extremely versatile working dog from the farmlands of Switzerland. He was developed to herd cattle, pull carts, and be a watchdog and loyal companion. He is one of four types of Swiss Mountain Dogs, and the only one with long hair. The Bernese Mountain Dog comes from the canton of Bern, hence his name. He’s a large and sturdy dog breed, with a friendly and calm disposition, and he’s well suited to conformation, obedience, tracking, herding, and carting competitions.
The Berner is an affectionate, intelligent, and alert dog. He’s also gentle, calm, and tolerant. He likes to be with his family and thrives when he’s included in family activities. His large size is one of his most notable features, and of course early training is essential to teach him how to behave properly in the house and with people. Slow to mature, he reaches his adult size long before he reaches mental maturity.
The Berner is protective of his family, though he isn’t usually aggressive. He can be aloof with strangers and generally a bit shy, so exposing the Berner puppy to a wide variety of people, animals, and situations is important.
Berners are often purchased without any clear understanding of what goes into owning one. There are many Berners in need of adoption and or fostering. There are a number of rescues that we have not listed. If you don’t see a rescue listed for your area, contact the national breed club or a local breed club and they can point you toward a Berners rescue.
Below are breed clubs, organizations, and associations where you can find additional information about the Bernese Mountain Dog.
The Berner is an excellent family pet, and he’s usually gentle and affectionate with children who are kind and careful with animals. Being so large, he can inadvertently bump or knock over very young or small children.
As with every breed, you should always teach children how to approach and touch dogs, and always supervise any interactions between dogs and young children to prevent any biting or ear or tail pulling on the part of either party. Teach your child never to approach any dog while he’s eating or sleeping or to try to take the dog’s food away. No dog, no matter how friendly, should ever be left unsupervised with a child.