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Bernese Water Dog (Bernese Mountain Dog & Portuguese Water Dog Mix) – Pictures, Info, Care Guide, and More

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By Nicole Cosgrove

Parent breeds of Bernese Water Dog - Featured Image

A Bernese Water Dog combines the Bernese Mountain Dog and the Portuguese Water Dog. Both parents are incredible dogs and have passed on most of their best traits to this mix.

The Bernese Water Dog is a new hybrid, and it is not easy to source information about them, but fortunately, we are here to help! In this article, we talk about this unique mix and what you need to know to care for one. If you can get your hands on a  Bernese Water Dog, it will surely bring years of joy, adventure, and companionship to your life.

Height: 20–26 inches
Weight: 70–100 pounds
Lifespan: 7–12 years
Colors: Black, brown, white, rust
Suitable for: Active families and experienced owners
Temperament: Loving, loyal, intelligent, easy to train, friendly, active

The Bernese Water Dog is a new designer breed that provides affection, devotion, and a high level of intelligence. It’s a healthy canine that is adventurous and has a keen love for the water.

The Bernese Mountain Dog provides strength and power, while the Portuguese Water Dog provides an appetite for work. Together they create a strong and active breed that is naturally sweet and affectionate. Predicting the appearance or behavior of a mixed breed dog’s puppies is challenging, if not impossible. However, mixed-breed dogs make excellent pets, and the Bernese Water Dog is no exception.

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Bernese Water Dog Characteristics


Bernese Water Dog Puppies

Bernese Water Dog puppies are highly affectionate, loving, and busy little pups!

They can be what some may consider naughty as they explore their surroundings, chew, lick, and experience their world. The biggest problem with a puppy may be persuading everyone in the family to stick to the same guidelines and procedures. Practicing repetition and consistency is the only way for puppies to learn.

While the Bernice Water Dog can take on traits from either parent, it’s important to speak to the breeder about their litter to understand what type of puppy you will bring home. Because it is a relatively new breed, you will most likely find a Bernese Water Dog puppy from a breeder. If you look hard enough and are patient, you may be able to find one in a shelter or rescue center.

Generally, puppies purchased from a breeder come with a 30-day health guarantee, and you should be provided with a health certificate. A qualified veterinarian must examine your new puppy within 10 days of your purchase so the vet can conclude that your puppy is healthy.

Parent breeds of Bernese Water Dog
Image Credit: Left – Andy Lyell, Unsplash | Right – Lynda McFaul, Shutterstock



Temperament & Intelligence of the Bernese Water Dog 🧠

Bernese Water Dogs are affectionate, loyal, loving, intelligent, and eager to please like their parents. They have a striking and unique appearance and are mischievous in the best way.

This mix is not as shy as the Bernese Mountain Dog, but they are more curious and intelligent like the Portuguese Water Dog. They love hiking and swimming and generally love being with and performing tasks for their owner.

They are highly intelligent canines with an appetite for work, which makes them easy and eager to train. However, they are most suitable for experienced owners.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪

Like their Bernese Mountain Dog parent, they get along with everyone in the family and are especially kind to kids, but they usually grow closer to one person. As with most dogs of any mix, they will get along with families of any size with proper, early socialization and training. They have high energy and are curious about nature, making them great for active and adventurous families.

The Bernese Water Dog is a large canine, which can be overbearing for tiny kids who do not know how to handle dogs. Preparing and teaching your kids how to handle and care for large dogs before bringing one home is essential. Other than that, this playful dog will love hanging out with children.

Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets?

The Bernese Water Dog gets along with other pets as long as they are socialized from an early age. Because they are active and thrive in various activities, having a canine friend will keep them occupied and prevent boredom.

They may be too massive for some cats, so it’s good to watch them and ensure they are well-socialized before leaving them alone together.



Things to Know When Owning a Bernese Water Dog:

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

Your Bernese Water Dog will require a high-quality, well-balanced, life-stage-appropriate diet. You can talk to your veterinarian about the appropriate food choice and portions. The number of calories your dog needs to ingest each day will be determined by considering its age, activity level, and other factors.

Protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and fat are all essential elements in dog food. Omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial to nourish the skin, coat, kidneys, joints, and heart of a Bernese Water Dog. High-quality dog food typically contains the nutrition your pup needs to thrive.

Exercise 🐕

The Bernese Water Dog will thrive from at least an hour of exercise a day, including swimming, running, hiking, and a variety of games with their owner. By providing your Bernese Water Dog with adequate exercise, you can help them expel their energy and prevent boredom which can become destructive. As long as they are exercised enough, they will also enjoy lying on the couch or bed next to their owner and are generally calm when they have little energy after a fun exercise session.

Training 🎾

The Bernese Water Dog is highly intelligent, which makes them easy to train. However, they can have a little independent streak, which may be challenging. They need a firm owner so that they know their place. It is recommended to divide training into shorter sessions to keep their attention, and like all dogs, they respond best to positive reinforcement training.

When you bring your Bernese Water Dog puppy home, consider puppy classes and ensure you start socialization and training as early as possible. The dog thrives in obedience and agility training and enjoys water sports, nose work, dock diving, and puzzle games.

Grooming ✂️

The Bernese Water Dog’s coat may be wavy or curly and similar to either parent. Generally, they are said to shed less than Bernese Mountain Dogs, but regular brushing will help remove loose hairs and prevent matting. A bath every 2–4 weeks will help keep its coat clean and healthy unless it is dirty from playing out in the mud, in which case you can give it a quick clean.

During summer, you may want to keep your dog’s coat on the shorter side, which is especially helpful for water activities.

If debris builds up around the eyes, you can gently clean them with a damp cloth, and if your dog enjoys water, which it most likely will, you can gently its ears after swimming. Monitor your dog’s nails to ensure they don’t get too long, and if you hear them tapping on the floor, they need to be trimmed.

Health and Conditions ❤️

All dogs have the potential to experience health issues, and some breeds are more prone to certain conditions than others. When it comes to a mixed breed, your breeder should be able to provide all the information you need regarding its health. The Bernese Water Dog is generally a healthy breed with a lifespan of 7–12 years. However, it may be prone to a few genetic health conditions ranging from serious to minor.

Minor Conditions
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • Addison’s Disease
  • Hypothyroidism
Serious Conditions
  • Gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV)
  • Cancer
  • Congenital Eyes Issues

Most of these conditions can be prevented, treated, and managed, but it is important to take your dog for yearly check-ups with your veterinarian and provide a healthy, well-balanced diet, as well as necessary supplements if needed.  Bernese Water Dog puppies must grow at a consistent rate because they are a big breed.

If their bones develop too quickly, the bone and joints might become weak, and increasing body weight can add additional pressure. A balanced diet with the right proportions of fat, protein, and carbs is essential for Bernese Water Dog puppies to maintain a healthy growth rate, and excessive exercise at a young age should be avoided. But as always, talk about your dog’s ideal diet and exercise regime with your vet.


Male vs Female

Male Bernese Mountain dogs are larger than females, which may be significant to people looking for a strong watchdog. It is also accurate to say that intact dogs behave differently from sterilized males and females. Unneutered male dogs may be more territorial and inclined to “mark” their territory. Furthermore, Intact dogs are also susceptible to illnesses and diseases specific to their gender.

Little-Known Facts About the Bernese Water Dog

1. They are Good Swimmers

Portuguese Water Dogs were bred to assist fishermen, which included a variety of tasks in water. They also have webbed feet, which make them great swimmers. If your Bernese Water Dog takes on these characteristics from one of its parents, you will have a dog that loves to swim.

2. Bernese Water Dogs are Highly Intelligent

The parents of this unique mix are both highly intelligent. The combination of skills from hearing, protecting, and retrieving make it a smart dog that is eager to please, obedient, and has a strong appetite for work.

3. The Bernese Water Dog is Majestic

This strong dog has a stunning, unique coat with distinguishing markings that are black, white, and rust. Their deep, intelligent eyes gleam, and their intelligence is evident.

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Final Thoughts

The Bernese Water Dog is a mix of a Bernese Mountain Dog and a Portuguese Water Dog. If you know both parent breeds on their own, you can imagine how wonderful their mix is. First, they are gorgeous, and second, their temperament is one made of mostly good traits such as affection, loyalty, playfulness, and undeniable intelligence.

Like most dogs, the Bernese Water Dog will need early socialization and training and require daily exercise and mental stimulation. Their grooming requirements are minimal, but they will be suited to an active family with a large yard. It is intelligent and may have an independent streak, which makes it more suitable for an experienced owner. You are more likely to find a Bernese Mountain Dog from a breeder as it is new and fairly rare, but if you manage to find one, you will certainly have a wonderful companion for many years to come.

See Also:

Featured Image Credit: Left – Shayna Douglas, Unsplash | Right – Jennay Hitesman, Shutterstock

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