Lira's Bernese Mountain Dogs


Is a Berner Right for you?

Below are written descriptions of the Bernese Mountain Dog. It is a starting point. Please visit BMDINFO.ORG for a website packed full of educational material. The site is loaded with valuable knowledge. It is a must go to for anyone interested in owning a Bernese Mountain Dog. Among the vast information you will learn about health, behavior, training, history of the breed, and how to know you are getting a puppy from a responsible breeder. You may also contact us for information. We are happy to answer any questions and am involved in breed education.

Bernese Mountain Dogs


Bernese Mountain Dogs (Berners) are striking tri color working dogs. They typically have white on the tips of their tails, on all four paws, a white chest, and a white muzzle blaze. Berners have rust marks above each eye, on their cheeks, on the sides of the chest, on each leg, and under the tail. The body of the Bernese has long, jet black, wavy to straight hair. Males are distinctly masculine in appearance, females appear feminine.


As a general rule....

Males: 25-27 1/2 inches at the shoulders - 80-120 pounds

Females: 23-26 inches at the shoulders - 70-100 pounds

Some Berners do fall outside of these ranges. It is very difficult to determine the size a puppy will be as an adult. The smallest in the litter may end up to be the largest.



Berners are gentle, easy going, energetic, and very loyal dogs. They are working dogs and love to please their owners. As a general rule, they are great with children and make excellent family companions. This is provided they are given proper training and socialization. Many Berners are comedians bringing joy and laughter to their owners. Some Berners bark, others don't. Many will watch over the house and alert to strangers. Berners do best in the home with their people and not living outside. A classic Berner trait is to sit at the feet of people they like and lean on them.


The Bernese is one of 4 Swiss Mountain Breeds from the Canton of Berne, Switzerland. They are the only of the 4 breeds to have a long coat. Berners were originally Swiss farm dogs. Their purpose on the farm was to provide companionship, watch over the farm, drive cattle to and from pasture, and pull carts or wagons to and from town. As such, they are a true working dog capable of pulling loads (draft work), capable of agility and speed (needed to drive cattle), and watch dogs to alert their owners. Currently in the U.S., Bernese are used as companions, dogs to pull loads, "herding" dogs, agility, obedience, therapy, tracking, and more. The Bernese Mountain Dog's long history of a working relationship is still present in their desires to work and please today.

More Information can be found at:

BMDCA Info Series
Feel free to contact us for information as well.

AKC Bernese Mountain Dog Standard

The Bernese Mountain Dog is a striking tri-colored large dog. He is sturdy and balanced. He is intelligent, strong and agile enough to do the draft and droving work for which he was used in the mountainous regions of his origin. Dogs appear masculine, while bitches are distinctly feminine.

Size, Proportion, Substance

Measured at the withers dogs are 25 to 27-1/2 inches, bitches are 23 to 26 inches. Though appearing square, Bernese Mountain Dogs are slightly longer in body than they are tall. Sturdy bone is of great importance. The body is full.


Expression is intelligent, animated and gentle. The eyes are dark brown and slightly oval in shape with close-fitting eyelids. Inverted or everted eyelids are serious faults. Blue eye color is a disqualification. The ears are medium sized, set high, triangular in shape. gently rounded at the tip, and hang close to the head when in repose. When the Bernese Mountain Dog is alert, the ears are brought forward and raised at the base; the top of the ear is level with the top of the skull. The skull is flat on top and broad, with a slight furrow and a well-defined, but not exaggerated stop. The muzzle is strong and straight. The nose is always black. The lips are clean and, as the Bernese Mountain Dog is a dry-mouthed breed, the flews are only slightly developed. The teeth meet in a scissors bite. An overshot or undershot bite is a serious fault. Dentition is complete.

Neck, Topline, Body

The neck is strong, muscular and of medium length. The topline is level from the withers to the croup. The chest is deep and capacious with well-sprung but not barrel shaped ribs and brisket reaching at least to the elbows. The back is broad and firm. The loin is strong. The croup is broad and smoothly rounded to the tail insertion. The tail is bushy. It should be carried low when in repose. An upward swirl is permissible when the dog is alert but the tail may never curl or be carried over the back. The bones in the tail should feel straight and should reach to the hock joint or below. A kink in the tail is a fault.


The shoulders are moderately laid back, flat-lying, well muscled and never loose. The legs are straight and strong and the elbows are well under the shoulder when the dog is standing. The pasterns slope very slightly but are never weak. Dew claws may be removed. The feet are round and compact with well-arched toes.


The thighs are broad, strong and muscular. The stifles are moderately bent and taper smoothly into the hocks. The hocks are well let down and straight as viewed from the rear. Dew claws should be removed. feet are compact and turned neither in nor out.


The coat is thick, moderately long and slightly wavy or straight. It has a bright natural sheen. Extremely curly or extremely dull-looking coats are undesirable. The Bernese Mountain Dog is shown in natural coat and undue trimming is to be discouraged.

Color and Markings

The Bernese Mountain Dog is tri-colored. The ground color is jet black. The markings are rich rust and clear white. Symmetry of markings is desired. Rust appears over each eye, on the cheeks reaching to at least the comer of the mouth, on each side of the chest, on all four legs, and under the tail. There is a white blaze and muzzle band. A white marking on the chest typically forms an inverted cross. The tip of the tail is white. White on the feet is desired but must not extend higher than the pasterns. Markings other than described are to be faulted in direct relationship to the extent of the deviation. White legs or a white collar are serious faults. Any ground color other than black is a disqualification.


The natural working gait of the Bernese Mountain Dog is a slow trot. However in keeping with his use in draft and droving work, he is capable of speed and agility. There is good reach in front. Powerful drive from the rear is transmitted through a level back. There is no wasted action. Front and rear legs on each side follow through in the same plane. At increased speed, legs tend to converge toward the center line.


The temperament is self-confident, alert and good natured, never sharp or shy. The Bernese Mountain Dog should stand steady, though may remain aloof to the attentions of strangers.

Disqualifications blue eye color; any ground color other than black.