There’s something quintessentially dog about the Bernese Mountain Dog. They’re substantial creatures, weighing 70 to 110 pounds; they’re tough and sturdy but covered in gorgeous, soft fur; and their colors and markings give them an almost Platonic dog appearance. They’re an ideal combination of robust and cuddly. You just can’t get more doggy than this—it’s no wonder this breed offers ample inspiration for the plush toy industry!
The real-life (and equally good-looking) Bernese Mountain Dogs are thought to be descended from the Molosser dogs brought to Europe by the Romans. hail from Switzerland, where they were bred as working farm dogs. They’re known in their native land as the Berner Sennenhund for the canton of Bern, the region of Switzerland where their lineage arises. Farmers used this Swiss dog breed to protect and move herds of cattle and as a draft dog to pull milk carts from farm to market.
These hard-working, lovable giants are a marvel to watch and a pleasure to behold. Their human fans know their special quirks by heart and take endless pleasure in the dogs’ companionship. And here’s five reasons why!
1. With a Bernese, It’s Puppy Time Forever!
If you’ve ever wanted your dog to never grow up, the Bernese might be perfect for you. This large breed matures more slowly than others and tends to exhibit puppy behavior later than most. A Bernese Mountain Dog puppy is beyond adorable with a huggable thick coat and high energy level, but it can tire you out. Heavy to moderate exercise, obedience training, and lots of play time will help.
2. The Bernese Have Eyes in the Back of Their Heads
While this breed may seem immature at times, this is likely a function of their open, easy temperament. They love to goof off and have fun! But this silly personality is balanced with strong intelligence and deep loyalty to family. The Bernese were bred to protect the homestead, and owners notice their vigilant, watchful nature. Whether they’re goofing off or lying around, they’re always keeping an eye on things.
3. Berners Are Cool with It
If you absolutely need a dog to babysit your small child, the Bernese Mountain Dog should be top your choice. (This would not be the most irresponsible idea you’ve had, but also: don’t allow dogs to babysit your children.) Despite their large size and tough build, the Bernese Mountain Dog is extremely friendly, gentle, and loving. If you don’t believe it, just watch this video of Berners and babies, and enjoy a total love meltdown.
4. Those Paws Are Luscious Pillows
Let’s get a little more superficial and just marvel at these unbelievable paws. Try not staring at them all day. Seriously. Try. It’s not easy. These paws are the stuff of mastiff-type dogs, but with that silky coat of fur, they’re also super-soft.
5. A Smile That Delivers Eternal Happiness
Now close your eyes. Think about a terrible thing that’s happened to you. Remember the sadness, the disappointment, fear, the pain. Ugh, sorry. I know it’s horrible. But now open your eyes and feast on this beaming dog smile! Feel better? Feel like becoming friends with your mortal enemy? Absolutely. Because the Bernese smile is legendary, transformative, and brought to you by angels. This family companion is happiest by your side.
You’re no doubt ready to adopt a dozen Bernese Mountain Dogs and prepare for a lifetime of obnoxious bliss. But you must be practical! Berners are the original working dog. This Alpine dog breed needs plenty of exercise and lots of quality hang time (as they become deeply attached to their humans). Their stunning double coat, developed for cold weather in the Swiss Alps, requires regular grooming and means they’re not an ideal pet for warm or hot climates. So, you must first make sure you’re compatible—because Berners deserve all the happiness in the world.
Berners: The Final Word
Keep in mind that like any large breed dog, Berners have a shorter-than-average lifespan (typical life expectancy is 6-8 years of age). The Bernese Mountain Dog breed is also prone to large dog health issues like hip dysplasia (and/or elbow dysplasia) gastric torsion, and mast cell tumors. That said, they’re a generally healthy, hearty dog breed that makes a wonderful family companion.
Whether or not you can commit to a Bernese soulmate, you should, at the very least, get to know one of these doggy dreamboats. Your life will be changed forever. And for the better.
The American Kennel Club (AKC)
Bernese Mountain Dog vs. Greater Swiss Mountain Dog
Breed Club: Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America