Choosing the right dog breed ensures a happy and harmonious relationship between you and your furry friend. In this post, we’ll compare Bernese Mountain Dogs and Rottweilers, two popular breeds each known for their unique traits and appeal.

Whether considering the gentle and affectionate Bernese Mountain Dog or the confident and protective Rottweiler, understanding their histories, temperaments, and care needs is essential. This guide aims to provide you with all the information you need to decide which breed might be the right fit for your lifestyle and household.

Bernese Mountain Dogs vs Rottweilers: Which Is Right For You?

The main difference between Bernese Mountain Dogs and Rottweilers lies in their temperament and exercise needs, making them suitable for different types of households. Bernese Mountain Dogs are known for their gentle and affectionate nature, ideal for families with children and first-time dog owners seeking a loyal companion. In contrast, Rottweilers are more protective and require an owner who can provide firm, consistent training and more vigorous daily exercise.

While both breeds share traits like being large and having high grooming needs, your choice should depend on whether you prefer the calm, friendly demeanor of the Bernese or the confident, active presence of a Rottweiler. This decision will influence the happiness and harmony in your home, making it crucial to consider your lifestyle before choosing between these two beloved breeds.

FeatureBernese Mountain DogRottweilerIdeal Owner
SizeLarge (70-115 lbs)Large (85-130 lbs)Both are suitable for owners who can handle large dogs.
Lifespan7-10 years8-10 yearsOwners prepared for a potentially shorter companionship due to health issues.
TemperamentGentle, affectionate, loyalConfident, calm, courageousBernese for families with kids; Rottweiler for those needing a guard dog.
Exercise NeedsModerateHighBernese for less active owners; Rottweiler for active, engaging owners.
Grooming NeedsHigh due to thick, shedding coatModerate with occasional sheddingOwners who don’t mind regular grooming sessions should consider Bernese; less grooming-intensive households might prefer Rottweilers.
TrainabilityEasy to train, sensitive to harsh wordsHighly trainable, responds well to firm, consistent trainingFirst-time owners might find Bernese easier; experienced owners can do well with either.
Health IssuesProne to hip dysplasia, cancerProne to hip dysplasia, heart issuesOwners who are prepared for potential health management.
Ideal Living ConditionsNeeds space to move, tolerates cold wellRequires ample space, tolerates moderate climatesOwners with adequate living space; Bernese for colder areas, Rottweiler for various climates.
Cost of OwnershipHigh due to health care and groomingHigh due to health care, training, and food costsOwners who are financially prepared for high maintenance costs.

Origins and History

Bernese Mountain Dog
Image: Envato Elements

Bernese Mountain Dogs

Originating from the Swiss Alps, Bernese Mountain Dogs were initially used as farm dogs in the Bern region of Switzerland. These large, sturdy dogs were bred for drafting (pulling carts) and driving cattle. Their history dates back over 2,000 years to when Roman soldiers brought mastiff-type dogs into Switzerland.

Over centuries, these dogs were crossbred with local farm dogs, developing several Swiss breeds, including the Bernese. They are one of the four types of Swiss Mountain Dogs, and their striking tri-color coat and gentle disposition have made them beloved companions worldwide.


Rottweilers trace their lineage back to ancient Rome, where they were used as herding and guard dogs. Their name originates from the German town of Rottweil, where these dogs were integral in driving cattle and pulling butchers’ carts. Known as ‘Rottweiler Metzgerhund’ (Rottweil butchers’ dogs), they were valued for their strength, intelligence, and loyalty.

As rail transport replaced cattle drives, Rottweilers found new roles in law enforcement, military, and as service dogs. Their robust build and protective nature have consistently placed them among the most respected and versatile working breeds.

Name Ideas for rottweilers
Rottweiler. Image: Envato Elements

Rottweilers vs Bernese Mountain Dogs: Who Should Choose Which Breed?

Deciding between a Bernese Mountain Dog and a Rottweiler depends largely on your lifestyle, living environment, and what you expect from your relationship with your dog. Each breed offers unique qualities that make them suitable for different types of owners and families.

Bernese Mountain Dog: Best for Families and Gentle Companionship

  • Families with Children: Bernese Mountain Dogs are renowned for their gentle and patient nature, making them excellent companions for children. They are affectionate and protective of their family members, often showing a sweet disposition that makes them a safe choice for households with kids.
  • First-Time Dog Owners: Bernese Mountain Dogs’ friendly temperament and eagerness to please also make them a good option for first-time dog owners. They are relatively easy to train due to their willingness to follow commands and their sensitivity to their owner’s tone of voice.
  • Owners Seeking a Low-Key Companion: If you prefer a more relaxed lifestyle but still want a dog that can enjoy moderate exercise like walks or short hikes, a Bernese might be ideal. They do require space to roam, so a home with a yard is preferable.
  • Cold Climate Dwellers: Bernese Mountain Dogs’ thick, long fur makes them well-suited for colder climates, where they can play and exercise outdoors without discomfort.
Bernese Mountain Dogs vs Rottweilers

Rottweiler: Best for Active Owners and Those Needing a Guard Dog

  • Experienced Dog Owners: Rottweilers are best suited for those with experience handling and training dogs. They require a confident owner who can provide firm, consistent guidance and assert leadership, ensuring the dog’s energy and protectiveness are channeled positively.
  • Active Individuals or Families: Due to their high energy levels and strength, Rottweilers are ideal for active individuals or families who enjoy daily activities like jogging, hiking, or canine sports. They thrive on being given jobs to do and participating in vigorous exercise routines.
  • Owners Looking for a Guard Dog: Rottweilers have natural protective instincts, making them excellent guard dogs. They are intensely loyal to their families and can be wary of strangers, making them effective at guarding your home.
  • Homes with Adequate Space: Rottweilers need ample space to move around, so a large yard or access to open spaces is beneficial for their physical and mental well-being.

Ultimately, choosing between a Bernese Mountain Dog and a Rottweiler should align with your ability to meet the needs of the breed in terms of environment and the emotional and physical investment you are willing to make.

Both breeds require commitment, but the joy and companionship they offer in return are immeasurable.