Bernese Mountain or Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, which is best for you?

Bernese Mountain or Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, which is best for you?

Life As A Pet Parent

There are quite a few breeds native to Switzerland and all of them have been highly prized not only for their working abilities, but also as family pets and companions thanks to their kind natures. If you are thinking about sharing your home with one of these dogs, but are not sure which breed would best suit your lifestyle, this article covers just two of them, being the Bernese Mountain Dog and the Greater Swiss Mountain dog which could help you make that final decision on which would be best for you.

Country of origin

The Bernese Mountain Dog is native to Switzerland where they have always been highly prize working dogs and family pets.

Country of origin

The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is also native to Switzerland and again, these lovely dogs have been a firm favourite both as a working dog and family pet in Switzerland.

Care and maintenance

Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs tend to be slightly less maintenance than their Bernese counterparts thanks to the fact their coats are shorter and therefore easier to keep in good condition. A Bernese is an athletic, large dog and they need to be given a lot of daily exercise and mental stimulation for them to be truly well balanced dogs. The Greater Swiss is also a large dog, but they are not high-energy although being so clever, they still need to be given lots of mental stimulation and daily exercise too. With this said, both breeds need a minimum of 60 minutes exercise a day and more if possible with as much off the lead time as they can manage.


The Bernese Mountain Dog sheds more thanks to their longer coats and dense undercoats. A Greater Swiss Mountain dog does not shed so much, however, both breeds shed steadily throughout the year and even more so during the spring and autumn.


Bernese Mountain Dogs are intelligent and therefore they are easy to train providing their education starts early and it is consistent throughout a dog's life. Leaving it too late can make training a Bernese a lot more challenging. The Greater Swiss is also a highly intelligent dog and they are extremely amenable too which makes it that much easier to train them.


Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs are not high energy as previously mentioned, but they need at least one hour's exercise every day. The Bernese too needs to be given adequate daily exercise and again this should be a minimum of 60 minutes every day. Both breeds benefit from being given as much off the lead time as possible, but only in a safe environment.

Children and pets

Both breeds are known to be good around children and other pets more especially if they have grown up together. The Bernese is often called a gentle giant"" when they are around kids and the Greater Swiss adores being in a family environment.

Bernese Mountain Dog life expectancy

The average life span of a Bernese Mountain Dog is between 7 and 8 years.

Greater Swiss Mountain Dog life expectancy

The average life span of a Greater Swiss Mountain dog is between 8 and 11 years.

Bernese Mountain Dog health

The Bernese Mountain Dog is known to be a healthy dog, but they are prone to certain health issues which includes hip and elbow dysplasia. Other conditions they are known to suffer from although not all dogs would develop these health issues are as follows:

  • Osteochondrosis dessicans
  • Hypomyelinogenisis
  • Cancer
  • Bloat

Greater Swiss Mountain Dog health

The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is also known to suffer from a few health issues and this includes hip dysplasia, distichiasis, epilepsy and bloat. With this said, not all dogs will develop any health issues during their lives.


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