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Are Bernese Mountain Dogs Smarter Than the Average Dog? The Surprising Answer!

Gregory Iacono

By Gregory Iacono

bernese mountain dog sitting near the edge of the hill

If there was ever a dog that epitomizes the term “nanny dog,” it’s the Bernese Mountain dog. It’s big and fluffy and is also gentle, caring, and fantastic with children. That said, you might wonder if this big, lovable bruiser of a dog is also intelligent. The answer is that, among nearly 140 of the most popular dog breeds, the Bernese Mountain dog ranks 27, putting it close to the top of the list.

Along with its innate intelligence, the Bernese Mountain Dog, affectionately known as a Berner, learns very quickly from the situations it experiences and uses that knowledge when needed. The combination of high intelligence and quick learning makes the Bernese Mountain dog one of the smartest breeds around.

Knowing that Berners are a very intelligent breed, you might have more questions about their intelligence level, like how it’s measured and what it means about your Berner as a pet and family protector. If you do, read on! We have information below that will illuminate why Bernese Mountain dogs are at the top of the pack regarding brains.Divider 5

How Is the Bernese Mountain Dog’s Intelligence Measured?

It would be easy to say that the Bernese Mountain dog is intelligent because of how they behave around their humans and the obvious intelligence markers they exhibit, like trainability and social skills. The markers are the same for all dog breeds and make an easy, albeit unscientific, method to determine their intelligence. Scientist researcher and sociologist Stanley Coren wasn’t satisfied with leaving it at that and developed a now-famous series of tests for dogs that can measure their intelligence quotient or IQ.

When tested using Dr. Coren’s parameters, Bernese Mountain dogs did very well, landing in the 27th spot on a list of more than 140 dog breeds. Bernese Mountain dogs also do well with behaviors Coren’s tests don’t take into consideration, such as protecting young children, understanding human emotions, and being highly adaptive to their environment. When you take both into account, the picture is clear; the Bernese Mountain dog is intelligent and one of the smartest dog breeds.

Bernese mountain dog in winter with harness
Image Credit: Jennifer McCallum, Shutterstock

Which Dogs Have a Similar Level of Intelligence to the Bernese Mountain Dog?

While Bernese Mountain dogs are one of the smartest breeds, they aren’t the only intelligent dogs and don’t even break the top 10. That means there are more than a few dogs with the same or higher intelligence than the Bernese. Some of the dogs that can match doggie wits with it include the following breeds;

Are Bernese Mountain Dogs Easy to Obedience Train?

Because of their high level of intelligence as well as their gentle, affectionate temperament, Bernese Mountain dogs are one of the easiest dogs to train and have a trainability level of 4 out of 5, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC). Dog experts go so far as recommending Bernese Mountain dogs for 1st-time pet owners and large families because of how easy they are to train, thanks to how eager they are to please their human families.

bernese mountain dog running in the yard
Image Credit: Rita_Kochmarjova, Shutterstock

Are Bernese Mountain Dogs Easy to Potty Train?

According to an article in Newsweek magazine, the Bernese Mountain dog is one of 17 dog breeds that are easiest to train, and that includes potty training. The article states that, because the Bernese is so eager to please their owners, they quickly pick up on potty training and thus are a good choice for 1st-time dog parents.

Do Bernese Mountain Dogs Get Along Well with Other Dogs and Pets?

Intelligent dogs can get along with other dogs and pets, which can be helpful if you have them in your family. All dogs are different, and some Bernese Mountain dogs will get along fantastic with other dogs and even cats, especially when they’re brought up together. However, some male Bernese Mountain dogs can act aggressively toward other male dogs.

If you want your Bernese Mountain dog to get along with the rest of your pet family, proper and persistent socialization from the time you bring them home as a puppy is essential to your success. The more they see and feel that other dogs and cats are part of their “pack” and deserving of their love and respect, the better.

Are Bernese Mountain Dogs Good with Kids?

With a dog as massive as the Bernese Mountain dog, it’s not surprising that many people ask if they’re good with children. The good news is, the Bernese is the epitome of a “nanny dog” and is very similar to Nana, the Newfoundland nanny dog in the Disney movie Peter Pan.

Bernese Mountain dogs are incredibly protective and affectionate with small children. They are calm dogs who won’t nip or bite if a child accidentally pulls on their ear or takes their favorite toy. Most importantly, a Bernese Mountain dog will protect its family with its dying breath, and they have been known to save children and adults in dangerous situations.

Mini Bernese Mountain Dog puppy sitting
Image Credit: Julissa Helmuth, Pexels

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Final Thoughts

Are Bernese Mountain dogs smarter than the average dog? While every dog is different, the unbiased answer is that, as one of the top 25 most intelligent dog breeds in the world, a Bernese Mountain dog is probably smarter than your average dog.

They learn quickly, adapt to new situations, and stay calm under pressure. Plus, Bernese Mountain dogs have a protective instinct that you and your family will appreciate each night when you turn out the lights.

Featured Image Credit: Jumpstory

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