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Are Bernese Mountain Dogs High Maintenance: 7 Things To Know

Bernese Mountain Dogs appeal to many people and are becoming increasingly popular, but how difficult is it raising and owning such a giant dog?

This article looks at whether or not Bernese Mountain Dogs are high maintenance, and what future owners will want to know in advance.


Are Bernese Mountain Dogs a High Maintenance Breed?

Bernese Mountain Dogs are not to be considered an exceptionally high-maintenance breed. They are typically calm, mellow, and make excellent family dogs. They do, however, require basic needs and have a few quirks that some people may find to be additional work.

So let’s get right into this and cover the most important things that owners should know beforehand.

Whether or not you think a Bernese Mountain Dog is high maintenance, will come down to how you feel about the following 7 key points.

1. Bernese Mountain Dogs hate being left alone

Berners quickly get attached to their owners and human family, and therefore find it really difficult spending time alone. For some owners that either have long work hours or just prefer spending most of their day away from home, having a dog that constantly wants someone with them might not be ideal.

Owning a breed that really craves having company usually means juggling around your daily routine, even changing work hours, or hiring a doggy sitter to help, and for some, this is already too much hassle.

And if this isn’t taken seriously, a Berner will likely resort to frustration, disobedience, destructive behavior, stress, and anxiety which will without a doubt make him high maintenance, that’s in anyone’s book.

2. Bernese Mountain Dogs need a lot of brushing

If you don’t like dead hair on your floors and clothes, this could be a huge stumbling point. Bernese Mountain Dogs shed, and they shed a lot.

To stay on top of what’s likely going to be constant, yearly shedding, you’ll need to stay on top of grooming. This means having a brushing routine ideally every single day. If you want the best results.

Additionally, if you like your floors hair-free, then prepare for a lot more sweeping and vacuuming. This might be part of many owners’ daily routine anyway, but for others, it could be seen as a lot of extra maintenance.

Overall, with good daily routines and knowing some handy grooming tips, shedding is manageable and not too much of a problem. But this is certainly a huge part of owning a Berner and will add a few extra tasks to your daily life. So it’s worth thinking about.

3. Bernese Mountain Dogs still need a fair amount of exercise

Some owners assume that because Berners are so big, that they don’t require (or shouldn’t receive) as much exercise as some other breeds like collies, or labradors, for example. But this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Now, it’s true that Berners are vulnerable to joint, bone, and even spinal problems, but that doesn’t mean they should be exercised less. It’s all about the type of exercise and the intensity. Berners shouldn’t be made to sprint long-distances or jump or do anything explosive. But they still need to be very active.

Berners are hard-working dogs that are no strangers to physical exercise. Keeping them active plays a very important role in keeping them healthy. And in some situations can even be what helps prolong the life of a Berner.

So, what does this mean for you? It means that you need to have a fair amount of spare time every day to exercise your Berner. And spare time is one of the rarest commodities these days!

Two hours a day (low intensity) is standard for a healthy adult Berner. And this is a must. Hiking is a great example, and in fact, I have an entire article about Berners and hiking you might want to check out.

4. Bernese Mountain Dogs are prone to health issues

Unfortunately, these friendly giants are prone to many health issues that could involve a lot of unanticipated veterinary check-ups and procedures.

Not to mention the money that this could cost, but also the toll it can take on your Berner and the increased amount of care that he or she will need.

Of course, health issues may or may not happen, but if you’re going to commit to owning a breed like a Berner, it should be known from the beginning it might not be as smooth sailing as you think.

5. Bernese Mountain Dogs are working dogs at heart

Another crucial thing to be aware of is that Berners are true working dogs at heart. This means they need to be put to work! Which will be left up to you to facilitate.

I’ve already covered the importance of physical exercise above, so let’s focus on mental exercise (mental stimulation).

You’ll need to ensure your Berner is sufficiently mentally stimulated as well as physically. This means training him on a daily basis, providing him with tasks and challenges in the form of games, and socializing him with new dogs and people frequently.

Without these things in his daily routine, it will be easy and likely for him to become frustrated, stressed, disobedient, and exhibit undesirable behavior (in many ways).

Working dogs need activity, and are not ideal for those who prefer couch-potato dogs.

Recommended article: Do Bernese Mountain Dogs Like Water?

6. Bernese Mountain Dogs need a fair share of space

This isn’t so much a maintenance issue, but it will have a big impact on you and your family’s living space. So it’s worth mentioning.

Berners grow to be very big, bigger than most people anticipate (even though they already know they’re going to grow big).

The classic statement I hear from almost every Berner owner is how much bigger their Berner ended up being, compared to what they anticipated.

And depending on your living space, this will either be just fine or quite a problem.

So in conclusion, you should only be getting a Berner if you are ready to share a lot of physical space with your future giant.

7. Are Berners Really That Much Maintenance?

Compared to what you could face with a lot of other breeds out there, Bernese Mountain Dogs really aren’t to be considered a high-maintenance breed!

The truth is that if you have the time, and desire to properly care for your Berner, then they’re absolutely wonderful dogs that are a breeze to own!

Any dog requires a certain amount of your effort, time, care, and love. But in the grand scheme of things, a Berner doesn’t command a HUGE amount of work to keep them happy.

Perhaps the most significant element to maintaining your Berner would be handling their shedding. Apart from that, most other things are a basic entry-level requirement that any breed would need.

In my honest opinion, I don’t think Berners are a high-maintenance breed, but they will certainly require some of your time, focus, and attention (like any dog would).

Trending article: Do Bernese Mountain Dogs Drool? What Owners Should Know

Berners Make Amazing Family Dogs

Considering this article is primarily about what Berners involve (and are like as a dog), it’s important to state just how much of an awesome family dog they make.

I have an entire article dedicated to why Bernese Mountain Dogs make such great family dogs that I definitely recommend checking out.

But for the most part, Berners are fun, friendly, kind, and have a loving personality. On top of that they are very loyal to their family, serve as exceptional watchdogs and due to their size would have no problem protecting your property or your family. Yet, at the same time, they aren’t an aggressive breed by nature either. That’s a unique combination of personality traits to have, and one that’s favorable for most owners.

Is a Bernese Mountain Dog right for you? Let me know what you think!

Back to more Bernese Mountain Dog articles >>


Before making any decisions that could affect the health and/or safety of your dog, you should always consult a trained veterinarian in your local area. Even though this content may have been written/reviewed by a trained veterinarian, our advice to you is to always consult your own local veterinarian in person. Please read our full dislcaimer if you have any questions.