Bernese Mountain Dog Training Profile
Weight: 70 to 115 pounds
Height: 23 to 27 inches
Lifespan: 7 to 10 years
Bernese Mountain Dog Temperament and Behavior
These dogs are gentle giants, which means they’re not a good fit for small apartments. They’ll work best if they have a large home that they can roam around in.
Berners originated in the mountains of Switzerland and are named for the agricultural region of Bern, where they worked on farms. They were called on to perform many vital tasks, including protecting their properties and managing cattle. But they also made friendly companions.
Despite how helpful these dogs were, they experienced a decline in the late 1800s. But their many admirers, especially Professor Albert Heim, worked hard to increase the number of Berners in Switzerland. They were able to stabilize the population by the early 1900s.
The Bernese Mountain Dog eventually gained popularity in the US after a Kansan imported a couple to use on his farm.
Berners have a need to be around people as much as possible. They love families and are exceptionally gentle and playful with children. But over time, they tend to gravitate to one particular person if they live with a family. They are usually stand-offish around strangers.
Due to their large size, Bernese Mountain Dogs are very strong and — going back to their days on the farm — have often been used to pull massive amounts of weight, as well as carts or wagons.
At least thirty minutes of exercise per day is good for a Berner. They love long walks and participating in canine sports, such as herding, tracking and agility.
Bernese Moutain Dog Training Tips
Berners are highly intelligent animals with a strong desire to please their owners and are generally easy to train. Early socialization and obedience training are both highly recommended.
However, they need to be trained early, as it is much more difficult to control an untrained Berner when full-grown. They are rarely aggressive, but some males have problems getting along with other male dogs of both their own and other dog breeds.
Males can also express dominant behaviors, which can come off as stubbornness.
However, in training situations, Bernese Mountain dogs can be very sensitive to harsh or unkind training, despite their size. They respond well to compassion and some firmness.
Because of their strong desire to be around their owners, they can suffer separation anxiety and develop unpleasant behaviors if they’re alone for too long.