Great Bernese

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70-100 lbs
26-27"
United States, Western Europe
Bernese Mountain dog
Great Pyrenees

Great Bernese are stoic and striking large dogs. They are fairly active and love to be around family members. Great Bernese typically live up to 12 years and weigh between 70 and 115 pounds. When they are full grown, they can be anywhere between 24 and 28 inches tall. Great Bernese have a long and ample coat that comes in tri-color variations of white, black, and brown or red. They can also be beige with badger, grey, reddish brown, and tan markings. This big designer breed is known for being well-mannered and calm, though it is not very popular. And although both its parent breeds are recognized by the American Kennel Club, the Great Bernese is not.

Purpose
Companion
Date of Origin
Mid 1900s
Ancestry
Bernese Mountain Dog, Great Pyrenees

Great Bernese Health

Average Size
Male Great Bernese size stats
Height: 26-28 inches Weight: 85-115 lbs
Female Great Bernese size stats
Height: 27-27 inches Weight: 70-100 lbs
Major Concerns
  • Bloat
  • Histicytosis
  • Addison's Disease
  • Meningitis
  • Joint conditions
Minor Concerns
  • Entropion
  • Cataracts
  • Epilepsy
  • Cerebellar Abiotrophy
  • Kidney Problems
  • Color Dilution Alopecia
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
Occasional Tests
  • Biopsy
  • Electrocardiogram
  • Spinal Tap
  • Internal Imaging (x-ray, CT scan, MRI, etc.)
  • Blood And Urine Analysis
  • Blood and Urine Tests
  • Neurological Testing
  • Orthopedic Exam
  • Ocular Exam
  • Skin and Hair Exams

Great Bernese Breed History

The Great Bernese gets its name from its parent breeds: the Bernese Mountain Dog and the Great Pyrenees – both of which have long and interesting histories. The Great Pyrenees is closely related to the Kuvasz and is thought to have been in Europe as long ago as the Bronze Age.  First though, this majestic canine developed in Central Asia or Siberia, then travelled to the Pyrenees Mountain region between France and Spain. This intelligent breed was at first used for sheep herding  but later was declared the royal dog of France where they were employed as guard dogs for the French elite. Internationally,  Canada began to import the Great Pyrenees to breed with other large dogs, as did the United States. In 1933, it joined the American Kennel Club's roster of dogs. The Great Bernese’s other parent, the Bernese Mountain Dog, is from the midlands of Switzerland where it has worked on farms for centuries. It is one of four varieties of Swiss Mountain Dogs and shares similar distinctive coloring with other varieties; however, it is the only variety with a long, silky coat. The first Bernese Mountain Dog was brought to the United States in 1926 and received American Kennel Club recognition shortly after in 1937. The mating of these two parent breeds has resulted in a very large, loyal dog that has been bred since the mid 1900s. 

Great Bernese Breed Appearance

The Great Bernese is a large dog with a regal presence. It typically weighs between 70 and 115 pounds. When full grown, Great Berneses grow to be between 24 and 28 inches tall. They have sturdy and muscular builds that are hidden under their long and ample coat. The coat is generally straight, thick, and rough and comes in tri-color combinations of black, white, brown or rust. Some Great Bernese are beige with badger, grey, reddish brown, or tan markings. This breed also has a dense and woolly under coat, which is typically a base color of white or beige. Its ears are medium in size, floppy, and triangular with a rounded tip. Great Berneses have dark brown, almond shaped eyes, as well as a strong and straight muzzle with a scissor bite. This breed also has a long, plumed tail and round, compact feet.

Eye Color Possibilities
brown Great Bernese eyes
Brown
Nose Color Possibilities
black Great Bernese nose
Black
Coat Color Possibilities
black Great Bernese coat
Black
white Great Bernese coat
White
brown Great Bernese coat
Brown
gray Great Bernese coat
Gray
red Great Bernese coat
Red
Coat Length
Short Medium Long
Coat Density
Sparse Normal Dense
Coat Texture
Great Bernese straight coat texture
Straight Wiry Wavy Curly Corded

Great Bernese Breed Maintenance

Great Bernese shed all the time with heavy bouts during seasonal change. Frequent brushing with a pin or slicker brush can control shedding to some extent, but is important to remove inevitable mats and tangles in this dog’s long coat. Great Bernese only need an occasional bath, but should have their teeth brushed daily, and nails clipped once or twice a month. Diligent dental care is particularly important for this breed since it is prone to serious plaque buildup. Owners may want to consider using a dental rinse in their dog’s water to avoid dental and gum infections. Beyond this, Great Bernese should have their ears checked regularly for wax build up and debris to avoid infection.

Brushes for Great Bernese
Pin Brush
Slicker Brush
Dematter
Nail Clipper
Brushing Frequency
Great Bernese requires daily brushing
Daily Weekly Monthly

Great Bernese Temperament

This hybrid’s temperament is dependent on the behavioral traits it inherits from both parent breeds -  some will be more like the Great Pyrenees, while others more like Bernese Mountain Dogs. In general, Great Berneses are known for their calm demeanor and loyal dispositions. They are gentle, affectionate, and intelligent animals. This breed typically gets attached to one person in the household and will seek that person’s attention and affection whenever possible. Still, this breed gets along with other people, animals and children; because of its large size, it should be monitored around very small or young companions. Great Bernese are also natural guard dogs. As a result, they can be territorial and vocal if they perceive a threat. They are not, however, known to be aggressive. They can also be playful, but prefer to romp outside in cool whether rather than indoors. When inside, they like to lounge around the house with “their person” or other members of the family.

Great Bernese Activity Requirements

Great Bernese have a fair amount of energy and require daily exercise to remain healthy. They do not enjoy playing indoors. This breed much prefers walking or hiking in cool conditions. In fact, the Great Bernese does best in colder climates due to their heavy coat and undercoat. Depending on the individual personality, they may even enjoy the occasional romp in the dog park. Beyond this, they love to lay around indoors and watch their family members or “guard” the house. Because of its size, the Great Bernese needs a lot of space – both inside and out – and is better suited for larger homes in suburban or rural areas.

Activity Level
Low Medium High
Rec. Walk Mileage Per Week
11 miles
Minutes of Activity Per Day
45 minutes

Great Bernese Food Consumption

Cups Per Day
4 cups
Daily Cost
$2.8 - $3
Monthly Cost
$80 - $90

Great Bernese Owner Experiences

Bear
3 Months
1 People
Apartment
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
She is wonderful.Biting and playing hard though.
1 week, 2 days ago
Bernie
9 Months
4 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Fetch
Cuddling
Walks
Tug-of-war
Our dog is awesome, super smart and very affectionate. Although he does have some separation anxiety
1 month ago
Hercules
5 Months
5 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Walking
lounging
Love them! So wonderful & gentle with all of our children ages newborn-9 years old (as well as all other children who have come into our home). They do tend to bark...a lot. Ours are still fairly young & aren’t quite aware of just how big they are. Mother is Great Pyrenees (ours) Father is Bernese belonging to a friend. We kept 2 (1 female & 1 male) of the litter of 9...the smallest & largest of the litter. My family adores them!
4 months, 2 weeks ago
Gypsy
4 Months
6 People
House
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Cuddling
Walking
Playing in the snow
Playfulness
Just got our baby a month ago. She is just perfect. A little rough with the house training but it's getting better.
4 months, 3 weeks ago
Book me a walkiee?
Pweeeze!
Sketch of smiling australian shepherd