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Is a Bernese Mountain Dog Good for a First Time Dog Owner? Pros, Cons & Facts

Written by: Brooke Billingsley

Last Updated on April 15, 2024 by Dogster Team

man petting a bernese mountain dog puppy

Is a Bernese Mountain Dog Good for a First Time Dog Owner? Pros, Cons & Facts

It can be very intimidating to try to pick a dog breed if you haven’t owned a dog before. Dogs come in all shapes, sizes, temperaments, and care levels, so it’s important to select a dog that is well-suited to your household. Because there are so many dog breeds, many people rely on the types of dogs their friends and acquaintances have or even the dog breeds they had as children.

One dog breed that has rapidly grown in popularity, leading many first-time dog owners to get one, is the Bernese Mountain Dog. Don’t let their size fool you! The Bernese Mountain Dog is a gentle giant that is considered to be a good dog breed for families. They can make great dogs for first-time dog owners as well.

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Are Bernese Mountain Dogs Good for First-Time Dog Owners?

They have a loving, sweet temperament which is likely the primary reason this breed has skyrocketed in popularity. Although they are fantastic and loving dogs, they aren’t for every household. There are multiple things to consider before bringing home one of these dogs.

Bernese Mountain Dog
Image Credit: Othmar Sigrist, Pixabay

Cost

When bringing home a Bernese Mountain Dog, you can expect to spend upwards of $1,000, with some dogs selling for up to $3,000. As they have grown in popularity, they have become more available in rescues and shelters, but you still may have trouble finding one of these dogs with good health for a low price.

The other set of costs to consider with a Bernese Mountain Dog is the cost of ownership of a dog of this size. These dogs eat a lot and require large dog doses of flea and tick medications and heartworm medications. Even costs like boarding and grooming are likely to cost more than they would for a smaller dog.

Health

The Bernese Mountain Dog isn’t the healthiest dog breed, although responsible breeding practices can help to reduce health risks. Hip and elbow dysplasia is common in this breed, as well as heart problems, Von Willebrand’s Disease, and eye conditions. These conditions can be expensive and difficult to manage, which may make them an unsuitable breed for someone on a budget.

Bernese mountain dog
Image Credit: david muscroft, Shutterstock

Lifespan

As with most large to giant dog breeds, the Bernese Mountain Dog may have an unfairly short lifespan. Some Bernese Mountain Dogs pass away as young as 6 years of age from medical conditions and old age. Healthy Bernese Mountain Dogs can live to around 10 years, but the average lifespan is closer to 6–8 years.

Size

This is a very large dog breed, so they aren’t suitable for all home environments. Apartments and urban living can be tough on this big breed. There are also size allowances for rentals to consider, so make sure to check on the restrictions at your rental before bringing a Bernese Mountain Dog home. Female Bernese Mountain Dogs weigh 70–95 pounds, while males weigh 80–115 pounds.

Bernese-Mountain-Dog-in-the-snow
Image Credit: Nicole Denker, Pixabay

Activity Level

The Bernese Mountain Dog was bred to be a working dog, and while some of them are happy to be couch potatoes, it’s important to ensure your dog gets at least 30–60 minutes of activity daily to maintain the health of their bones and muscles, as well as preventing obesity and boredom.

These dogs can excel at dog sports, including agility, tracking, herding, and obedience. If you like to participate in hiking, camping, or going for long walks, you’ll find a great companion in the Bernese Mountain Dog.

Training

This is an intelligent dog breed that is intuitive and eager to please, which can make training relatively easy. Proper socialization is important to ensure you don’t end up with a nervous dog that weighs 100 pounds. They tend to be sensitive dogs, so stick to positive reinforcement methods and avoid harsh training methods that may create anxiety or leave your dog with hurt feelings.

Bernese Mountain Dog standing on water
Image By: Hebi B., Pixabay

Grooming

Bernese Mountain Dogs have a double coat that sheds frequently. It’s recommended to brush your dog at least once weekly, especially during the shedding seasons. Even with regular brushing, be prepared for some extra sweeping and vacuuming with one of these furballs running around.

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Conclusion

The Bernese Mountain Dog is a great option for first-time dog owners, but make sure to consider all factors before deciding on this breed. This is a commitment of multiple years and is likely to be quite costly between food and medical care. With proper care and planning, a Bernese Mountain Dog will be a committed companion for you.

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Featured Image Credit: Oleg Mitkevych, Shutterstock

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