Pet Wellness Guides > Bernese Mountain Dog Pros and Cons - Pet Insurance Review

Bernese Mountain Dog Pros and Cons

Posted: 07/17/2023 | BY: Jenna Bruce | Categories: Dog , Health problems , Top Tips

The Bernese Mountain Dog is very distinct with its tri-color coat and sweet, friendly face. This breed is also very large and powerful, built to do hard work (or just lay on the sofa with you!). Bernese Mountain Dogs are the perfect balance of being loving and affectionate with their family, but fierce and protective as well. Gentle, intelligent, funny? Check, check, and check! But as wonderful as this breed is, they may not be for everyone. If you’ve been wondering if the breed is right for you and your family, be sure to read this entire article to learn the Bernese Mountain Dog pros and cons.

Bernese Mouuntain Dog pros and cons

PRO: Berners are Wonderful Family Dogs

Berners integrate quickly into the family structure. They are incredibly gentle with children and are quite protective of them. This breed aims to please and is happy to learn the ropes and do what you ask of them. If you’re looking for a large teddy bear that will also scare off strangers, the Berner is for you.

PRO: Berners Love Being Given a Job

Berners were bred to help farmers haul large carts around the farm that carried tools and other supplies. Plus, they worked at high elevations up in the mountains pulling heavy items up inclines. These guys (and gals) are STRONG and love having work to do. They are great at herding and guarding livestock and hauling heavy items.

CON: Bernese Mountain Dog Lifespan

Being such a large dog, (male Berners can get up to 120 pounds) the breed tends to have a rather short life span. On average a Bernese Mountain Dog will live between 6-8 years.

CON: Bernese Mountain Dog Cost

How much is a Bernese mountain dog? Without question Berners are one of the most popular dog breeds out there. They also happen to be quite expensive, with puppies costing between $1,200 and $3,000 from a reputable and qualified breeder. This price point won’t fit all budgets. If you don’t have that kind of cash laying around, see if you can find a Berner rescue group or shelters that have the breed. 

Bernese Mouuntain Dog pros and cons

PRO: Bernese Mountain Dogs Have a Sense of Humor

Berners are so intelligent that sometimes you would swear there is a human wearing a costume. Most have a gleam in their eye, as if they do in fact have a secret. This breed seems to like to harness their intelligence to find ways to prank their humans. For instance, they love to hide your shoes or car keys or sneak up on you when you least expect it. If they can get a laugh from you, they WILL!

CON: They Need A Lot of Space and Movement

This is only a con if you live in an apartment or very small home. Berners are a very large breed and they do require a lot of indoor and outdoor space. And since Berners like to have a job, they do require a lot of physical exercise. If you are not able to take them on long walks or hikes at least once a day, this is not the breed for you. Berners do require a lot of physical activity to thrive.

PRO: Berners are Easy to Train

When you combine their intelligence with their loyalty and desire to please, you have a dog that is very easy to train. Bernese Mountain Dogs do require training, make no mistake. But if you take the time and commit to the process, you will find your pup takes to it very quickly.

CON: Bernese Mountain Dog Health Issues

All dog breeds are prone to certain health issues and the Berner is no different. This breed is at risk for developing the following health conditions:

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
  • Bloat
  • Histiocytosis
  • Von Willebrand’s Disease

Treating these conditions can be costly, as you can imagine. That’s why pup parents of Bernese Mountain Dogs are encouraged to enroll them into a pet insurance policy as early as possible.

CON: Berners are BIGTIME Shedders!

Berners were bred to be cold-weather mountain dogs. Because of this, they develop two coats each year. They have a thick coat during the winter months, and then come spring they shed this coat for a thinner summer coat. If you hate the idea of dog hair around the house or if someone in your family has a significant allergy, then Berners are NOT the dog for you.

Final Thoughts

Bernese Mountain Dog pros and cons really depend on your family’s lifestyle and activity level, the climate where you live and size of your house and property. There is no doubt these big teddy bears can make exceptional companions, but they do come with their own set of needs and behaviors, so be sure you can give a Berner what they require to live a happy and healthy life.

All Berners Need Pet Insurance

While we happen to think all dogs should be enrolled into a health insurance plan, there are those breeds that come with more health issues than some. Because of their large size, Berners are prone to developing conditions that can be quite costly to treat and manage. A pet insurance plan can help you offset those costs. In fact, some plans will cover up to 90% of the vet bill!

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  1. “7 Fun Facts About the Bernese Mountain Dog”
  2. “6 Common Bernese Mountain Dog Health Problems”



The information contained on this blog is intended for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. It is not a substitute for professional veterinary care. Always consult with your veterinarian before making any changes to your pet's health care or treatment plan.

The authors of this blog are not veterinarians and do not claim to be experts in pet health. The information provided here is based on our own experiences and research, as well as information from reputable sources. However, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this information.

We encourage you to do your own research and consult with your veterinarian before making any decisions about your pet's health.

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