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Bernese Mountain Dog Pros and Cons: Is This Dog For You?

Written By: Sowmya Sankaran

Last Updated:

Bernese Mountain Dogs are highly playful, energetic, adventurous, comfortable in cold weather, intelligent, and loyal. As a result, they make excellent pets for most people. However, they shed and drool often, are costly, and aren’t always friendly with strangers.

Bernese Mountain Dogs are highly playful, energetic, adventurous, comfortable in cold weather, intelligent, and loyal. As a result, they make excellent pets for most people. However, they shed and drool often, are costly, and aren’t always friendly with strangers.

Do you want to learn more about the main Bernese Mountain Dog pros and cons? Keep reading for all the necessary information!

Bernese Mountain Dog Pros and Cons

What Are The Pros & Cons of a Bernese Mountain Dog?

Throughout history, dogs have earned their rightful place as our best friends and continue to hold that title to this day. It’s no surprise that they are the most popular pets in our homes, offering companionship, loyalty, and endless love.

However, owning a dog is not all sunshine and rainbows. While they bring many advantages to our lives, they also come with their own set of challenges. Bernese Mountain Dogs, in particular, are known for their unique traits that can test their owner’s patience, financial stability, and time management skills.

When considering the Bernese Mountain Dog’s pros and cons, it’s important to compare each point to make the right choice. 

Bernese Mountain Dog Pros Bernese Mountain Dog Cons
Bernese Mountain dogs are highly playful Bernese Mountain dogs shed long, fluffy fur
Bernese Mountain dogs are energetic and adventurousBerners are not suitable for small children
Berners are comfortable in cold weatherBernese Mountain dogs have severe health issues
Bernese Mountains are highly intelligentBernese Mountain dogs are expensive
Bernese Mountain dogs are highly loyalBernese Mountains have moderate drooling
Berners aren’t always friendly with strangers
Bernese Mountain dogs aren’t ideal for small spaces
Bernese Mountain Dog Pros and Cons

Bernese Mountain Dog: Pros

Anyone interested in adding this friendly breed to the mix must first think about the Bernese Mountain Dog’s pros and cons. So first, let’s look at the pros!

Bernese Mountain Dogs Are Highly Playful

Bernese Mountain Dogs, also known as Berners, are highly playful, especially with their owners. They enjoy going for walks and playing games like fetch, so be prepared to keep your Berner entertained for at least an hour a day.

Puppies are particularly playful, and it’s important to play with them enough during the first few months of life so that they become socialized with dogs and humans. 

Due to their excessive playfulness, they shouldn’t be left alone for long periods. 

Of course, you can train a Berner to stay alone, but you should aim to be around them as much as possible to prevent too much stress and anxiety. If left alone for too long, some Berners might be unable to eat. 

To learn more about dogs not eating their food, check out this article on the 9 reasons dogs won’t eat unless you watch him.

Bernese Dogs Are Energetic and Adventurous

A Bernese Mountain Dog is a good choice if you’re looking for an energetic and adventurous dog to bring with you on your travels and excursions. They’re always up for an adventure, whether to the park, mountains, or anywhere in between, as long as it’s not too hot.

When bringing your Berner on an adventure, expect it to sniff around and examine everything within reach. They like to run around, so consider going to a dog-friendly park where you can let your furry friend run off the leash and burn energy.

Since Berners are so energetic, especially in the first few years of life, you must aim to go out with them every day. Failure to do so could result in your pooch developing bad behavior out of boredom, such as barking or destroying furniture.

Berners Are Comfortable In Cold Weather

As they are originally from Switzerland, Bernese Mountain Dogs enjoy the cold weather and can handle freezing conditions. So, if you live somewhere with severely cold weather or heavy snowfall, expect your Berner to be just fine.

Their thick coat keeps them warm throughout the winter, so you generally don’t have to worry about giving them extra layers, as you do with many other dog breeds. Those living in cold climates are the most appropriate Bernese Mountain Dog owners. 

A Berner is not the best choice if you live in a tropical climate or somewhere that gets hot during the summer.

Bernese Mountain Dog Waiting for Food

Bernese Mountain Dogs Are Highly Intelligent

Many dog breeds are intelligent, and the Bernese Mountain Dog is no exception. 

Due to their high levels of intelligence, these dogs are easy to train if you start early. It’s best to teach basic commands, such as sitting, lying, and fetching, as early as possible.

Positive reinforcement is the best way to teach a Berner special commands and other tricks, so always have dog treats handy. You’ll notice your Berner is eager to please once you start the training process, meaning they will quickly adapt and learn.

Despite their intelligence, they are large and can sometimes be challenging to control physically in the early stages. However, the rest is smooth sailing if you can gain full control over the situation. 

“Who knows? Their intelligence can make you fall in love with them almost instantly just like how I experienced!”

World of Dogz

One of the best ways to make training easier is to get someone to help you. One person can hold the leash while the other does the training.

Bernese Mountain Dogs Are Highly Loyal

Bernese Mountain Dogs are the most loyal to their owners and immediate family, so expect yours to protect you if it senses any threats. You’ll also notice it wants to be near you and close family members more than anyone, particularly strangers.

According to the American Kennel Club, many Berners are aloof with strangers and tend to become loyal to one specific person over time. They’re also loyal to children in the family and are playful with young kids, so you can expect your Berner to get along well with any young family members.

However, don’t expect it to instantly connect with strangers or distant family and friends. 

Even though they’re often cold with strangers, they are highly unlikely to get aggressive. A study by Science Direct states that Bernese Mountain Dogs are some of the least aggressive toward humans and dogs.

Bernese Mountain Dog: Cons

Bernese Mountain Dogs aren’t all fun and games. As with all animals, they have their bad points too. For example, small children shouldn’t be around them, as they might get injured due to Berner’s playful nature. They sometimes don’t know their strength and can accidentally do something dangerous.

Also, they have serious health issues that might turn you away from adopting one of these lovely dogs.

Thick fur of Bernese Mountain Dog

Berners Shed Long, Fluffy Fur

Bernese Mountain Dogs are some of the worst in terms of shedding. 

Unfortunately, they shed so much due to their super thick coat, often full of long, fluffy hairs. It takes a lot of effort to keep up with the mess from the dog hairs, so you’ll need to vacuum regularly.

Any Bernese dog owner knows their hair is often found in random places, including places your dog can’t even get to. 

Things like clothes, couches, and bedding will quickly become hairy once you add a Berner to the house. The heaviest shedding seasons are late spring/early summer in preparation for the warmer weather and winter.

Bernese Mountain Dogs Are Not Suitable for Small Children

There’s no question that Bernese Mountain Dogs are loyal, playful, and friendly with their owners. However, if you have very young children, like infants and toddlers, it might be best to hold off for a few years or go with a smaller breed.

The main reason is that Berners are very large and strong dogs that may injure a young child without meaning to. Additionally, young children don’t always understand how to act appropriately around animals and might provoke them accidentally, which can lead to someone getting hurt.

If you still plan on getting a Bernese Mountain Dog, even with young kids, supervise them when near your pooch. Never leave a child alone with a Bernese Mountain Dog or any other breed!

Bernese Mountain Dogs Have Severe Health Issues

Like many purebreds, Bernese Mountain Dogs are prone to certain medical conditions, especially as they age. One example of such a health condition is histiocytic sarcoma (HS), a breed-specific illness that affects Berners.

Unfortunately, it is a highly aggressive form of cancer, so the prognosis isn’t good. However, if caught early or in localized areas, it can be treated through surgery and chemotherapy.

Another health issue affecting many Bernese Mountain Dogs is glomerulonephritis, which causes damage to the kidneys

According to a study by Europe PMC, glomerulonephritis is generally inherited as a recessive trait, so there’s not much that can be done to prevent it if your dog already has the gene.

Other health issues affecting Bernese Mountain Dogs, and many other purebreds, include:

  • Eye problems
  • Hip dysplasia and other bone problems
  • Blood illnesses

If you’d like to hear from a pet owner about health issues, here’s an exclusive video for you:

Bernese Mountain Dogs Are Expensive

Berner dogs are beautiful, so people are willing to spend a lot of money on them. If purchasing from a reputable breeder, expect to pay over $1,000 for your Bernese Mountain Dog.

It’s not just the initial purchase cost that’s expensive. There are other expenses to consider, including:

  • Veterinary costs can be high if your Berner experiences health problems, which are quite common.
  • Insurance to reduce some of the veterinary costs.
  • Food can be costly due to how big Berners are and how much they need to eat.

Of course, many breeds are expensive to purchase and look after, but Berners are some of the most costly. Make sure you have the budget before making a final decision.

Berners Have Moderate Drooling

While Bernese Mountain Dogs aren’t the biggest droolers in the dog world, they still emit enough saliva to warrant regular cleaning, especially in warmer weather or when they’re excited.

If you find moderate to excessive drooling off-putting or dislike cleaning wet patches off the floor, a Bernese Mountain Dog is not the right choice. In that case, it would be better to go with a smaller dog that isn’t as prone to moderate drooling.

Berners Are Not Always Friendly With Strangers

A Bernese Mountain Dog will be its owner’s best friend, but it likely won’t be too friendly with strangers and other people outside its close circle.

Unfortunately, it’s in their nature to be unwelcoming a lot of the time. If you’re looking for a dog that’s friendly to everyone and every animal it comes across, a Berner likely won’t fulfill your needs.

Despite their coldness toward others, they rarely, if ever, become angry or aggressive. Instead, they will simply ignore or stay away from people they don’t like.

Small Spaces Are Not Ideal For Your Bernese Mountain Dog

With females weighing up to 100 lbs (45 kg) and males weighing up to 120 lbs (54 kg), Bernese Mountain Dogs are certainly not small. As a result, they need plenty of space in their daily lives to walk around and keep moderately active.

Having such a large dog in a confined space day in and day out can harm its mental health and general well-being. 

Berners in small spaces might also become accustomed to sitting around with no place to go, making them lazy and encouraging weight gain. They also like to explore and run around regularly, so a backyard or outdoor area is ideal.

Although small houses and apartments are not ideal, they can be appropriate if you take your pooch outside for daily physical activities, like walks.

Bernese Mountain Dog enjoys outdoor time

Should I Get a Bernese Mountain Dog?

You should get a Bernese Mountain Dog if you’re looking for a loyal, friendly companion with a big heart. It’s also a good choice if you want a large dog that enjoys colder weather, particularly snow. You shouldn’t get a Berner if you want a small dog or one that doesn’t shed and drool a lot.

Here are some indications you should get a Bernese Mountain Dog:

  • You love big furry friends.
  • You have the time for at least 30 minutes to an hour of physical activities each day.
  • You live in a cold climate.
  • You’re looking for an extremely loyal dog.

Here are some indications a Bernese Mountain Dog might not be right for you:

  • Excessive shedding bothers you.
  • Drooling is off-putting.
  • You’re looking for an affordable breed.
  • You live in a tiny space.
  • You have very young kids, such as infants or toddlers.
  • You want a dog that’s always welcoming toward strangers.

Do Bernese Mountain Dogs Bark a Lot?

Bernese Mountain Dogs will bark a lot if they are bored, untrained, or sense a threat. However, a well-trained Berner is unlikely to bark a lot because these intelligent dogs are generally well-behaved and quiet. Excessive barking should be corrected early to prevent bad habits from developing.

If you ever notice a Berner dog barking a lot, some of the following could be the causes:

  • Boredom: Although Berners don’t need constant stimulation, they can become bored if left alone in a room for hours on end. As a result, they may bark excessively to get your attention.
  • Hunger: Many dogs, including Berners, will bark for food if they are hungry. They may also bark when looking for a treat, so you might not want to give in. 
  • Lack of training: If Berners are never taught that barking excessively is inappropriate, or if you continue to give them what they want due to their barking, they will never stop. Train them from an early age to avoid problems in the future.

Final Thoughts

Bernese Mountain Dogs make excellent pets for several reasons. They are loyal, energetic, adventurous, and highly playful. However, there are some instances when they are not ideal pets. Some downsides include excessive shedding, moderate drooling, and coldness toward strangers. Be sure to compare the pros and cons before getting a Bernese Mountain Dog.

Photo of author

Sowmya Sankaran

Sowmya Sankaran is crazy about dogs, rabbits and birds! An avid rescuer and rehabilitator of dogs and other animals, she runs the Life With Equality Charitable Trust, an animal shelter in Chennai, India. She is also the founder of Petsmond, a pet website, in which she shares her experiences in raising different creatures and paying attention to intricate aspects of their health.