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Can Bernese Mountain Dogs Live Outside? (Important)

Bernese Mountain Dogs are a resilient breed known for their strength and work ethic. What’s common among working breeds is living and sleeping outside.

So if you’re wondering whether your Bernese Mountain Dog can live outside, this article has your answer and more. Let’s get to it!

Although Bernese Mountain Dogs are capable of living outside, it’s not recommended. Berners have a strong social need and living outside can prove too lonely. Berners are family dogs that should ideally live inside.


Should Your Bernese Mountain Dog Live Outside?

Technically, Berners Mountain Dogs are more than capable of living and sleeping outside, even in winter. They are big, strong, and weather-resistant. But, if you ask whether they should live outside, the answer isn’t the same…

The main reason why Bernese Mountain Dogs should not live outside is due to the isolation and lonilness.

The Berner was bred to have a close-knit relationship with their owners and families, despite also being a working dog.

This means that Berners crave human-company and they need to be around people in order to be happy, well-behaved, and content. Living outside will likely have adverse effects for a breed that requires so much human-attention

Related article: Leaving Bernese Mountain Dogs Alone

Can Berners Live Outside In Packs?

You may be wondering how the answer changes if you have a pack of dogs, can your Berner tolerate it then?

The answer is that it depends…

The truth is that dogs will never replace us. And dogs who deeply crave human attention will still need that, regardless of having multiple canine siblings and friends to live with.

Sure, a pack of dogs will undoubtedly act as a social support mechanism for each other and it’s said that dogs who have another dog, are often happier.

But it doesn’t change the fact that it’s you who they want. Depending on the breeds you have, the chances are, you will now just have a pack of dogs longing for your attention, instead of just one.

When it comes to Bernese Mountain Dogs, the answer is that it’s still preferable to live inside your home, regardless of whether they are part of a pack or not.

This is original content produced and published by The Puppy Mag:

Recommended Reading:
How Often Should You Bathe a Bernese Mountain Dog
How to Keep a Bernese Mountain Dog Cool

Important Tips For Outside Living & Sleeping

If you have no choice but to keep your Berner living outside, there are a few things you’ll need to ensure. Let’s run through them below.

Best Practices: Shelter Requirements

The shelter (dog house) is the most important part of safely keeping your dog outside.

The shelter should be completely weather-resistant meaning it’s leak-proof, wind-proof, and insulated.

It’s crucial to raise the floor level off the actual ground. This is because the ground will act like a giant sponge to any heat inside the shelter. It would be ideal to put a layer of insulation between the ground and the wooden floor to the shelter.

The size of the shelter also affects its ability to warm up. A shelter that’s too big will simply store all of the heat at the very top, leaving your Berner cold at the bottom. 5-6ft in height should be enough for you to crouch in and clean while not being too big to heat up.

The best kind of bedding will be soft blankets or even hay. Hay is soft and has great insulating properties, allowing your Berner to remain warm even throughout winter.

Consider Adjusting Diet During Cold Weather

If your Berner is living outside during the winter, many veterinarians suggest increasing his caloric intake. (consult with a vet first)

This doesn’t mean you should make your Berner overweight, but increasing his protein + healthy fat intake just a small amount will help him gain some healthy weight, which will assist in keeping him warm throughout winter.

Adding cooked Salmon will be a great addition to the diet, which is an excellent source of highly digestible protein as well as being high in healthy fats. This is a favorite amongst working dogs who live outside.


Water should be provided throughout the day and it will need to be changed frequently.

During the winter months, water can freeze which will leave your Berner without drinkable fluids. This can quickly lead to dehydration and many other subsequent health problems.

Keep water in a large bowl inside of his shelter away from the main entrance/exit to reduce the chance of it freezing.

Recommended: Bernese Mountain Dog Shedding Tips

Make Frequent Visits: Keep Your Berner Company

As explained at the beginning of the article, Bernese Mountain Dogs don’t respond well to being left alone. And unfortunately, that’s part of living life outside.

You’ll need to make sure you visit your Berner frequently to prevent him from getting too lonely, bored, and stressed.

One of the worst things that could happen is for your Berner to develop anxiety from living outside, and this could even lead to depression.

Keep him company whenever you can throughout the day, evenings and mornings.

If You Haven’t Yet Got a Bernese Mountain Dog

It’s more than possible you are doing research into which breeds can and can’t live outside. And if it’s that so, I would strongly recommend choosing a different breed, if you know beforehand that they are going to live outside.

Bernese Mountain Dogs should live inside the home with the owner and family, and many owners would argue it to be unfair if you acquire a Berner knowing that you need to keep them outside.

Recommended: Are Bernese Mountain Dogs High Maintenance?

Last Thoughts

If you can keep your Bernese Mountain Dog inside your home with you and your family, you should do that. These dogs are working dogs, but they are also extremely family-orientated.

Although Bernese Mountain Dogs are very capable of living outside, they will likely become lonely, stressed, anxious, and even depressed.

Back to more Bernese Mountain Dog articles >>

Helpful resource: RSPCA: Dogs Living Outside (what to do)


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.