Bernese Mountain Dog German Shepherd Mix: Breed Information

What do you call the puppy of a Bernese Mountain Dog and a German Shepherd, well a Bernese Shepherd of course! He is also known as the German Mountain or the Euro Mountain Sheparnese, but we prefer to call him the Bernese Shepherd.

He is a well-balanced dog who offers love and affection, hard work and protection! So, as long as you provide him with adequate training as a puppy, and enough exercise every day, then he will be a lovely and enjoyable canine to have around the family home.

While every designer dog breed is different, it’s important to take a deeper look into the parent breeds of this mix.  Let’s take a look at each, as well as a full and detailed breakdown of the Bernese Shepherd, including puppy costs, rescues & more.

Parent Breeds

A designer dog is simply the puppy product of two purebred dogs. Technically, all dogs were designer dogs at some point, but after several generations they become what is known as ‘breeding true’, that eventually all the puppies look the same and have consistent temperaments and characteristics.

The Bernese Shepherd is a relatively new designer dog, and therefore as he is not breeding true, he is not considered to be a purebred pup yet, and it will be some time before he is. The Bernese Shepherd pups can greatly differ, even within the same litter, and as such their looks and temperament cannot be guaranteed.

For this reason, if you are thinking about welcoming one of these guys into your home, then you must be sure that you like the temperament of both the Bernese Mountain Dog and the German Shepherd. As such, it is important to know a little bit about each of his parents.

Bernese Mountain Dog

It is believed that the Bernese Mountain Dog, along with the other three Swiss Mountain dogs, were a cross between local Swiss farming dogs and the Mastiff-type dogs that the Romans brought over when they invaded the Swiss Alps thousands of years ago. Ever since then they have been assisting Swiss farmers through protecting livestock, pulling diary laden carts and accompanying their masters and families at the end of a hard day’s work.

The Bernese Mountain Dog made his way to America shortly after the first World War, and since then he has been popular both in the family home and on cattle ranches. In 2019, the American Kennel Club (AKC) rank him as the 22nd most popular dog breed in America. If you have never met a Bernese Mountain Dog then check out this Instagram page, ‘BerneseDaily’, for a daily dose of the swiss mountain cuteness. He is described as good-natured, calm and strong, and this is where the Bernese Shepherd gets his gentle and caring side from.

German Shepherd

The German Shepherd also originally worked on farms in Germany as a herding dog, but as soon as he was created his protection and service skills were quickly recognized. He was immediately put to work as a messenger, personal protection dog, rescuer, supply carrier and Red Cross dog. Despite his serious hard working side, the German Shepherd can be quite the goofball, check out Strider’s account on Instagram if you don’t believe us!

In 2019, the AKC ranked him as the 2nd most popular dog breed in America. He is described as confident, courageous and smart, and this is where the Bernese Shepherd gets his guarding abilities and bravery from. The Border Shepherd is another common German Shepherd mix, as is the Rottie Shepherd mix.

Bernese Shepherd

The Bernese Shepherd inherited both of his parents work ethic, and he loves nothing more than having a job to do for his master. He has the ability and suspicion to guard his family, but at the same time be friendly enough to welcome strangers into the home and pretend like they were never suspicious of them in the first place. This great balance is proving to work well for families across the world.

If you are impressed by both of his parents, and you cannot quite decide which one to choose, then read on to find out everything you need to know about their puppy and if he will fit into your family home and lifestyle.  The Bernese Mountain Dog is a common designer dog parent, often getting mixed with other breeds like the Poodle Bernese Mountain Dog mix, or the Golden Mountain Dog.

Temperament

The Bernese Shepherd is a hardworking dog, so if you can, you should give him a job to do. Whether that’s herding cattle or protecting the estate, if he feels that he is a contributor to the family home then he will feel extremely valued. And if he feels valued, his love for you and the whole family will be endless, so expect a lot of snuggles and doggy kisses.

He is a sweet-soul with his immediate family. This sociability extends to strangers once he has checked them out and they have passed his stranger danger checks. An initial bark and a suspicious sniff will quickly turn into belly scratch offerings and games of fetch. If you don’t pass his stranger danger test, then he will not hesitate to jump into guard mode and protect his family.

Because he is such a sociable guy, who assumes the role of family protector, he does not like to be left alone. Whether this is because he is worried that you are not safe out of his company, or simply because he misses you, he can be quite the terror. Separation anxiety can turn into destructive behavior, so be sure to not leave him for too long. Check out our recommendations for XXL crates, for this will ensure that he cannot chew up your home when you do have to leave him, but this will also give him a safe space in which he will find comfort.

His sociability and affection with his family will also turn him into one of the biggest goofballs around! If you haven’t checked out the Instagram accounts linked above then you need to, because no words can describe how adorable and funny his parents are, so he is twice as crazy! This is an excellent personality trait for canines, as he will provide hours of endless entertainment, but he is not so intense that he is daft all day long, as he does have a serious working side. This is another great temperament balance of his.

Size & Appearance

Both of his parents are big dogs, so you can expect him to be just as big, if not slightly more. Both male and female Bernese Shepherds will measure between 23 and 28 inches in height, from paw to shoulder, and they will weigh anywhere between 75 and 110 pounds. Of course, the females will be smaller than the males, and if he takes after his Bernese Mountain Dog parent more than the German Shepherd, then he will be on the higher end of the measurement spectrum.

The Bernese Shepherd varies wildly when it comes to his appearance and it is never guaranteed as to which parent he will look like. Typically, he will be half and half, so he will look more wild and wolfy than the Bernese Mountain Dog, but more fluffy and cuddly than the German Shepherd.

Typically, he will inherit the large triangular ears of the German Shepherd that will tend to stand erect when he is excited or alert. He will have a large square and fleshy nose, with large round dark eyes. The typical Bernese Shepherd is also often mistaken for a Rottweiler, due to his larger size and coloring.

Coat & Colors

What is certain about his appearance is that he will be a big fluffer! Both of his parents have a thick double coat that is of medium to long length hair, so the Bernese Shepherd will have the same. His under coat tends to be very dense in order to keep him protected from the cold similar to his Bernese Mountain Dog parent, and his hair will always be straight.

It is not known, however, what color or colors he will inherit from either parent. Nearly all of Bernese Mountain Dogs are black, tan and white in color, with particular markings, whereas the typical German Shepherd is black and tan in color, again with typical markings. But there are plenty of other colors that the German Shepherd may be such as solid black, white, or blue, or blue and tan to name a few. So, if you are seeking a particular color or markings then it is best to speak to breeders once the puppies have been born, but whatever colors and markings he has, they are all just as adorable as one another.

Exercise Requirements and Living Conditions

The Bernese Shepherd is a high energy dog who will need around 60 minutes of exercise every day in order to keep him both physically and mentally stimulated. With both his parents being herders, he would also undoubtedly make a great herding dog should you want him to be one. However, if he is not put to work during the day then his exercise needs to be intense rather than just a walk around the block. Long and brisk walks through mountainous areas or games of fetch would satisfy his adventurous and playful personality. He would also be quite a dab hand at doggy agility courses should you wish to test his agility.

He is a big boy, so he needs a lot of living space, and for this reason he needs to be placed into a large home with access to a large, and reinforced, backyard that he can play and roam to his heart’s content. He is not suited to apartment living, or smaller homes with little space.

He is such a gentle soul that he is suited to families with children. However, because of his high energy and excitable nature, he is more suited to homes with older children whom he cannot accidentally knock over. Whilst he may inherit guarding tendencies, if he is socialized adequately as a pup, he should have no issue being raised from a pup in a multi-pet household. If you want to introduce animals into the house once he is an adult, again it should be ok if he is socialized, but just be sure to have a controlled pre-meet before a permanent decision is made, just to be sure that he will accept them into the pack.

Training

The Bernese Shepherd is a very intelligent and trainable dog. Not only is he a naturally clever pup who can pick up commands very quickly, but he is very eager to please his master, so he will do whatever he can to get those ‘who’s a good boy’ praises.

Early socialization is key with this guy because of his potential guarding tendencies, so be sure to introduce him to a mixture of other humans, dogs, animals and sounds so that he knows he doesn’t always have to be in protection mode.

It is a good idea to leash train him from a young age to ensure that he doesn’t pull on the leash. The AKC offers tips for leash training, and how to tackle dogs who pull on the leash. Because of his brute power and strength it is a wise idea to start leash training as early as you can. Make sure that you are strong enough to control him, and until he is perfectly trained do not let children or weaker individuals take the leash, because if he can pull 100’s of liters of dairy, he can definitely whip you off the ground.

It is likely that the Bernese Shepherd’s motivation will be a mix of food and praise from his master, so be sure to use them both to your advantage. Reward based training is the key to training any pup, and because he will favor both snacks and verbal applauds it will be the most effortless, and most effective method to use with this guy. Bernese Shepherds, just like his Bernese Mountain Dog parent, have a sweet tooth which often leads to obesity, so be sure to monitor his treat intake!

Health

The Bernese Shepherd is a generally healthy dog who will live on average between 9 to 12 years. Whilst this may not seem that long, both of his parents have a lifespan of 7 to 10 years, so the combination of their genes, a process called hybrid vigor, means that he enjoys slightly better health and hardiness against illnesses.

Both of his parents suffer with Elbow and Hip Dysplasia, so when working with a reputable breeder ask to see his elbow and hip scores to ensure that his parents have good elbows and hips. Both of his parents are also more at risk from Von Willebrand’s disease than most other canines, so his parents should be tested by means of a DNA test. This is a blood clotting disorder, which can be a life-threatening disease should he obtain an injury as he could bleed to death. The Bernese Mountain Dog is also predisposed to a variety of cardiac issues and eye conditions, so again, ask to see his parent’s cardiac and ophthalmologist certificates.

High-quality nutrition and adequate exercise is the best, and often easiest way, to ensure that your Bernese Shepherd is as healthy as he can be. Regular Veterinarian check ups will also ensure that any issues or conditions that cannot be seen by the human eye, such as his cardiac issues, can be diagnosed and managed effectively.

Nutrition

The Bernese Shepherd will need to eat approximately 4 to 5 cups of high-quality kibble every day. Of course, this will be dependent on his size and energy levels, for if he is larger and intensely energetic then he will need much more sustenance than a smaller and lazier Bernese Shepherd.

His German Shepherd parent is prone to sensitive stomachs and allergies, so if you find your Bernese Shepherd is suffering with the food that you are giving him, you should switch him to a kibble that is aimed at large dogs with a sensitive stomach. Kibble that is high in protein, carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins are highly recommended, If you are in any doubt then speak to your Veterinarian.

Grooming

As we have already mentioned, the Bernese Shepherd has a fluffy coat, and as such his grooming needs are quite intense. He will need to be brushed at least 3 times a week, if not most days, to ensure that his coat is kept as manageable as possible for both your household and your sanity. During shedding season, he will need to be brushed everyday to get rid of all that hair and promote blood circulation to keep his coat healthy.  A deshedding tool like the Furminator is great for this task.

He will need to be bathed once every 6 to 8 weeks. It is important to remember that after washing him with doggy products it is crucial to rinse and dry him thoroughly. Because his under coat is so dense leftover soap and dampness will cause skin irritation and even mold, which is very damaging to his skin and coat.

It is also a good idea to get him used to the grooming process from a young age, for if this big boy hates the bath it is going to be extremely difficult for you to get him in there against his will.

Puppies

The average price of a Bernese Shepherd is $700, and if a ‘breeder’ is charging less than $400 or more than $1,000 then this should act as a warning signal.

As Family Pets

  • The Bernese Shepherd is a large dog breed who needs lots of room to relax and roam.
  • You’ll need a large house with access to a backyard.
  • He is an active boy who needs at least 60 minutes of exercise.
  • This breed is best with an active family.
  • This mixed breed loves his family and loves to cuddle.
  • He tends to be initially suspicious of strangers, but will quickly warm up to them.
  • He is a playful dog who is a bit of a goofball, so expect lots of funny memories with him.
  • He is a strong dog so he needs to be leash trained and trained with a harness.
  • He is a fluffy boy so he needs a lot of grooming, and he will spread a lot of hair around the home.
  • He is suited to families with older children and other animals as long as he is socialized well.

Finding A Bernese Shepherd Breeder

Whether you choose to search for your breeder online, or you seek one through word of mouth, be sure to thoroughly research them to establish that they have all of the relevant certificates to prove that they are a reputable breeder. Ensure that both of his parents have the relevant purebred recognition, and that they also have the relevant health checks. Read reviews and be sure to meet the parents, litter and home environment, and trust your instincts as to whether they are ethical or not.

Rescue & Shelters

Bernese Shepherds are quite a rare breed, and as such it is unlikely that you will find one in a rescue shelter. If you are set on rescuing one of these guys (and trust us when we say it is such an amazing thing to do!) then be sure to visit as many shelters as possible to increase your chances of finding one, but once you do find him it will be totally worth it!

Final Thoughts

The Bernese Shepherd is a wonderful canine, who has a lot to offer his family. As long as you have the room for him, and you are an active family who has the time for his exercise, grooming and training, then he will suit you perfectly. So, give this rare boy a chance and we guarantee that you will not be disappointed!

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