Hepper is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Are Bernese Mountain Dogs Good for First-Time Owners?

Jordyn Alger

By Jordyn Alger

Bernese Mountain Dog

If you are expecting to be a first-time dog owner and aren’t sure what breed to bring into the family, consider a Bernese Mountain dog. This breed is an excellent choice for first-time dog owners, as it is calm and good-natured. However, plenty of other dogs are great choices for first-time dog owners. To decide whether the Bernese Mountain dog is a good fit for you, read this article to learn more about the breed.

divider 9What Are Bernese Mountain Dogs Like?

This breed is known for its strength, beauty, and good temperament. Many features make the Bernese Mountain dog desirable to dog owners, no matter if they are new to the world of dogs or long-time veterans.

bernese mountain dog at the beach
Imagee Credit: ArtTower, Pixabay


The Bernese Mountain dog is a large dog breed, standing around 25–27.5 inches for a male and weighing up to 115 pounds. Females are 23–26 inches tall and weigh about 95 pounds. For comparison, most Labrador retrievers reach 70–80 pounds maximum.


These dogs are strong and capable of keeping up with more athletic owners, but they are also calm and willing to relax with less active types. A half-hour of casual exercise per day is the perfect activity level for this dog.

They are not overly vocal barkers but will alert you of strangers passing by. They don’t tend to bark at everything they see. However, training and proper socialization are still necessary to teach the Bernese Mountain dog how to behave in unfamiliar situations or with unknown people.

Bernese Mountain dogs are eager to please their owners. They are much easier to train than some large breeds and are more likely to listen to your commands.

Image Credit: Hebi B., Pixabay

Interactions with Others

The Bernese Mountain dog can be accurately described as a “gentle giant.” These dogs are incredibly affectionate with their family. Although they will have plenty of love to go around, they will commonly form a special bond with one specific person in the household. They are careful with young children and good with other pets.

The Bernese Mountain dog may initially be wary when it comes to strangers. But once they see the stranger welcomed into the home, they will gradually warm up to the newcomer. Then, they will be more than happy to shower their new friend with affection.

Do Bernese Mountain Dogs Live Well in Apartments?

Some breeds do better than others when it comes to apartment living. If you live in an apartment and want a dog that can thrive in that setting, the Bernese Mountain dog is more than up to the task.

While they enjoy outdoor activities, they prefer to spend more time indoors. They are calm dogs that do not require intense exercise to burn off energy, making them suitable for apartment spaces.

If you think your space is too small for the Bernese Mountain dog to navigate, you may need to rearrange some furniture. Because of its immense size, you should brace yourself for someone or something getting knocked over by accident. However, this breed’s relaxed temperament can ensure that they will not be destructive when properly trained.

divider 10How to Care for a Bernese Mountain Dog

While personality and behavior are something to consider when adopting any dog, it is also essential to determine whether you are prepared to offer the level of care that a Bernese Mountain dog needs.

For instance, Bernese Mountain dogs do not like being left alone for prolonged periods. These dogs are family-oriented, so if they cannot spend adequate quality time with their loved ones, they may exhibit undesirable behaviors.

Bernese Mountain dogs are also sensitive. During training, it is important to be gentle and patient with them. Since they are so eager to please, harsh corrections do not sit well with them.

Bernese mountain dog
Image Credit: david muscroft, Shutterstock


Bernese Mountain dogs are known to be a healthy breed. Still, it is crucial to monitor their health regularly. To maintain good health, you should regularly clean your dog’s ears and teeth.

Large dog breeds are susceptible to a medical condition known as bloat. This is a sudden and potentially fatal condition, and around 30% of dogs that develop bloat will not survive.

Bloat occurs when the stomach fills with air and twists. The pressure from this sets off the entire body. Once the stomach flips, it can also push down the spleen and pancreas and prevent blood flow. When the pancreas is limited on oxygen, it releases hormones that can stop the heart. At the same time, as the stomach inflates, blood near the hind legs cannot return to the heart, which can send the dog into shock.

This is a horrific condition, and it is vital to recognize the signs early and get emergency care. Symptoms include stomach enlargement, vomiting or retching, drooling, restlessness, and pain.


Grooming is an integral part of caring for a dog. Since the Bernese Mountain dog has a double coat, it will shed somewhat frequently. Weekly brushing will be needed to keep the Bernese Mountain dog’s coat healthy and free of loose fur.

A Bernese Mountain dog’s nails should be trimmed regularly. If a dog’s nails grow too long, they may cause pain and injuries to the dog’s body.

divider 10Other Good Dog Breeds for First-Time Dog Owners

We gathered a small list if you want more ideas for great breeds for first-time dog owners. Plenty of breeds could have made this list, and just because we didn’t add them does not mean that they are not an excellent choice for a new dog owner.

1. Labrador Retriever

Image Credit: Angel Luciano, Unsplash

Almost everyone is familiar with the Labrador Retriever. This dog has been the most popular canine in the United States for many years, mainly for its excellent temperament, intelligence, and liveliness.

2. Papillon

papillon jump
Image Credit: BIGANDT.COM, Shutterstock

This little pup is an excellent choice for a new dog owner. They are small, so apartment living is not a challenge, and they are known to be remarkably affectionate. The Papillon is very vocal, so training will be needed if you don’t want your dog to bark at everything it sees. Thankfully, this dog is easy to train.

3. Golden Retriever

golden retriever dog lying on the sand beach
Image Credit: alexgo.photography, Shutterstock

The golden retriever is another incredibly popular dog breed. They are friendly, obedient, and intelligent. They are athletic dogs who will require a lot of exercise, but at the same time, they will love to just snuggle on the couch with you.

divider 9Final Thoughts

A Bernese Mountain dog is a great choice for first-time owners, but only you can determine if this breed is the right fit for your home. Consider the breed’s size, personality, and needs when making your decision, and don’t be afraid to seek out people who currently own or have once owned a Bernese Mountain dog to get their insight. These dogs can be remarkable companions, and when given a loving home, they become devoted family members.

Featured Image Credit: othmarsigrist, pixabay

Related Articles

Further Reading

Vet Articles

Latest Vet Answers

The latest veterinarians' answers to questions from our database