Bernese Mountain Dogs are sturdy, strong dogs with compact bodies and deep, wide chests. Their broad heads have a furrow down the middle and their ears are triangular and pendant. Berners eyes are dark and expressive. They have long bushy tails which usually hang low, unless the dog is excited. They have distinctive coats are tricolored, thick and wavy. Females are slightly smaller than males, and you can often tell the sex of the dog by their appearance – males Berners have a distinctly masculine air while females have a softer, more feminine air. Both sexes, however, are extremely strong and powerful.
Size and Weight
Bernese Mountain Dogs are large, with males standing between 25 and 27.5 inches at the shoulder and females standing between 23 and 26 inches. They weigh between 70 and 115 pounds at maturity.
Coat and Color
Bernese Mountain Dogs are known for their beautiful coats. Their double coat is wooly on the underside and with a long, wavy topcoat. When well-groomed, people can't resist running their fingers through the dog's coat. Berners are most commonly tricolored with black hair covering most of the body accented with rich rust colors over the eyes, on the legs and the underside of the tail. The bright white markings appear at the chest, between the eyes and at the tail tip. The chest marking usually resembles an inverted Swiss cross.
Berners shed year round, with the heaviest shedding coming during the changes in season. Brushing at least once a week – more in spring and fall – will help keep the coat neat and will reduce the amount of hair that hits the floor or furniture. Depending on the dog's activity level and desire to romp in the dirt, they only require a bath once every couple of months.
Their ears can can trap bacteria, dirt, and liquid so weekly cleanings with a veterinarian-recommended cleanser can help prevent painful ear infections. Weekly brushing of the teeth is also recommended to reduce tartar and bad breath.
Active Berners will naturally wear their toenails down to a good length, but some do not. The general rule is if the dog's nails click on a hard floor, they are too long. Monthly trimming may be required.