Choosing the right dog breed is crucial for ensuring a happy and harmonious relationship between you and your furry friend. Whether you’re contemplating the addition of a Bernese Mountain Dog or a Bernedoodle to your family, understanding the distinctions between these two breeds can help you make an informed decision that suits your lifestyle.

Both breeds boast unique qualities and charms, but they cater to different needs and environments. In this post, we’ll talk about the key differences between Bernese Mountain Dogs and Bernedoodles—from their physical traits and temperaments to their health needs and activity levels. By the end, you’ll have a clearer picture of which breed might be the perfect companion for your home.

Bernese Mountain Dogs vs Bernedoodle: Which Should You Choose?

Bernese Mountain Dogs are Best for families or individuals with ample living space and who prefer a calm and protective large dog. They are excellent with children and make great companions for those who enjoy leisurely walks rather than intense physical activities. Bernedoodles are Ideal for active individuals or families, especially those with allergy concerns, who can handle a dog with variable energy levels and intelligence.

FeatureBernese Mountain DogBernedoodleIdeal Owner
SizeLarge (70 to 115 lbs)Varies (small to large)Bernese: those comfortable with large dogs; Bernedoodle: those preferring size variety
CoatThick, long, tri-coloredWavy to curly, varies in colorBernese: no allergy concerns; Bernedoodle: allergy sufferers
SheddingHighLow to moderateBernese: indifferent to shedding; Bernedoodle: prefers minimal shedding
Grooming NeedsHighHighOwners willing to invest in regular grooming
TemperamentGentle, calm, loyalPlayful, affectionate, loyalBernese: families with young children; Bernedoodle: active households
Exercise NeedsModerate (30-60 min/day)High (60-90 min/day)Bernese: less active owners; Bernedoodle: very active owners
IntelligenceIntelligent, trainableVery intelligent, highly trainableBoth: those looking for a trainable companion
Health ConcernsProne to several genetic issuesGenerally healthier; some risksBernese: prepared for potential health issues; Bernedoodle: seeking a healthier breed
Lifespan7-10 years12-18 yearsBernese: aware of shorter lifespan; Bernedoodle: looking for longer companionship
Living ConditionsPrefer cooler climates, need spaceAdaptable to various environmentsBernese: homes with yards; Bernedoodle: flexible, including apartments
Initial & Upkeep CostsHigh due to health care and groomingHigh due to grooming and potential health testsOwners who can budget for long-term care expenses

They adapt well to different living situations and require owners who enjoy more rigorous exercise routines and mental stimulation activities.

Overview of Bernese Mountain Dogs

Bernese Mountain Dogs originate from the farmlands of Switzerland, primarily around the city of Berne. Historically, they were used as farm dogs capable of herding cattle, pulling carts, and serving as loyal companions to the farmers. With their striking tri-color coat and robust build, Bernese Mountain Dogs are beautiful and powerful working animals.

These large dogs typically weigh between 70 and 115 pounds and stand up to 28 inches tall at the shoulder. Known for their calm and affectionate temperament, Bernese Mountain Dogs make excellent family pets. Their gentle nature makes them particularly good with children and other animals.

However, their lifespan is relatively short compared to other breeds, typically 7 to 10 years, primarily due to their susceptibility to various genetic health issues.

Bernese Mountain Dog
Image: Envato Elements

Overview of Bernedoodles

A Bernedoodle is a cross between a Bernese Mountain Dog and a Poodle, blending the best traits of both breeds. This hybrid aims to combine the strength and loyalty of the Bernese with the intelligence and hypoallergenic qualities of the Poodle.

Bernedoodles come in various sizes, largely dependent on the size of the Poodle parent—ranging from tiny (when bred with a Toy Poodle) to standard sizes. Their coats can vary widely but often inherit the hypoallergenic quality from the Poodle, making them a suitable option for families with allergies.

Temperament-wise, Bernedoodles are known for their playful, affectionate, and loyal nature. Thanks to their Poodle heritage, they are smart and generally easy to train. The lifespan of a Bernedoodle also varies but can be expected to be around 12 to 18 years. Due to the general healthiness of the Poodle breed, Bernedoodles often live longer than their Bernese Mountain Dog counterparts.

Physical Traits

Size, Coat, and General Appearance

Bernese Mountain Dogs are notable for their large size, strong build, and striking tri-colored coat, typically featuring black, white, and rust markings. They possess a thick double coat that requires regular maintenance. On the other hand, Bernedoodles vary significantly, from small to large, depending on the Poodle parent. Their coats are usually wavy to curly and can inherit a mix of the Bernese and Poodle’s colors. This hybrid often exhibits a less shedding coat, benefiting allergy sufferers.

Shedding and Grooming Requirements

Bernese Mountain Dogs shed considerably, especially during the change of seasons, and require regular brushing to manage their undercoats. In contrast, Bernedoodles typically have low-shedding coats, thanks to the Poodle’s influence. However, they require regular grooming to prevent matting and to keep their curls tidy. Both breeds need routine grooming—bathing, nail trimming, and ear cleaning—to maintain their health and appearance.

Temperament and Personality

Behavioral Traits of Bernese Mountain Dogs

Bernese Mountain Dogs are known for their calm, gentle, and friendly nature. They are exceptionally loyal to their families and tend to form strong bonds. Their patience and mild temperament make them excellent companions for children.

Behavioral Traits of Bernedoodles

Bernedoodles inherit the intelligence and playful nature of the Poodle and the loyalty of the Bernese, making them affectionate and energetic companions. They are highly trainable and often excel in obedience and agility sports. Their sociable nature makes them great for families and they generally get along well with other pets.

Suitability for Families, Children, and Other Pets

Both breeds are well-suited to family life. Bernese Mountain Dogs are protective and gentle with children, making them ideal family pets. Bernedoodles, with their playful and loving demeanor, are also excellent companions for kids and usually integrate well into households with other pets due to their friendly disposition.

Image: Envato Elements

Health and Lifespan

Common Health Issues in Bernese Mountain Dogs

Bernese Mountain Dogs are prone to several health issues, including hip and elbow dysplasia, certain types of cancer, and heart disease. Their large size also makes them susceptible to bloat.

Common Health Issues in Bernedoodles

While Bernedoodles tend to be healthier due to the hybrid vigor, they can inherit some of the health issues prevalent in both parent breeds, such as hip dysplasia and skin conditions. Regular health checks and genetic screening can help in early detection and management.

Expected Lifespan and How to Promote a Healthy Life

Bernese Mountain Dogs generally have a shorter lifespan of about 7 to 10 years, whereas Bernedoodles can live from 12 to 18 years. Promoting a healthy life for these dogs includes regular veterinary care, a balanced diet, adequate exercise, and mental stimulation to keep them both physically and mentally healthy.

Exercise and Activity Needs

Exercise Requirements of Bernese Mountain Dogs

Bernese Mountain Dogs require moderate exercise to maintain their health and happiness. A daily routine of walks and playtime, totaling around 30 to 60 minutes, is usually sufficient. Despite their size, they are not excessively high-energy but do enjoy activities like hiking and pulling sports, which cater to their working dog heritage.

Exercise Requirements of Bernedoodles

Bernedoodles have variable energy levels, often depending on the size and temperament traits inherited from their Poodle parent. Generally, they require more exercise than Bernese Mountain Dogs—about 60 to 90 minutes daily. They thrive on interactive play sessions, obedience training, and mental stimulation games.

Suitability for Active Families or Need for Outdoor Space

Both breeds adapt well to various living situations, though Bernedoodles might suit more active families due to their higher energy levels. Both breeds benefit from having access to outdoor space, but with appropriate exercise, they can adapt to apartment living as well.

Training and Intelligence

Intelligence and Ease of Training for Each Breed

Bernese Mountain Dogs are intelligent and eager to please, making them relatively easy to train through consistent and positive methods. Bernedoodles often inherit the high intelligence of the Poodle, making them quick learners and enthusiastic participants in training.

cute bernese mountain dog lying on floor in veterinary clinic
Image: Envato Elements

Tips on Positive Reinforcement and Training Challenges

Using positive reinforcement techniques, such as treats and praise, works well for both breeds. Early socialization and puppy training classes are recommended. Training challenges might include managing the stubbornness sometimes seen in Bernese Mountain Dogs and the high energy of Bernedoodles, which requires more patience and creativity in training sessions.

Living Conditions

Ideal Living Conditions for Bernese Mountain Dogs

Bernese Mountain Dogs do well in homes where they can be close to their families. Due to their size, they prefer cooler climates and need enough space inside the home to move comfortably.

Ideal Living Conditions for Bernedoodles

Bernedoodles are adaptable to various environments, from apartments to large homes with yards, provided they receive enough exercise. Their social nature makes them ideal companions for families who spend a lot of time at home.

Apartment Living vs. Homes with Yards

While both breeds can adapt to apartment living, having access to a yard is beneficial, especially for a Bernedoodle, who may require more space to burn off energy.

Costs of Ownership

Initial Costs, Healthcare, Grooming, and Feeding

Initial costs for both breeds include purchasing price, vaccinations, spaying/neutering, and initial supplies. Bernese Mountain Dogs and Bernedoodles require regular veterinary check-ups and potential genetic testing due to inherited health conditions. Grooming costs can be higher for Bernedoodles due to their coat type. Both breeds consume large quantities of food, and quality nutrition can significantly impact their health.

Budgeting Tips for Prospective Dog Owners

Plan for ongoing expenses such as high-quality dog food, grooming, and routine veterinary care. Setting aside a contingency fund for emergency health issues is wise. Consider pet insurance to help mitigate unexpected medical costs.