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Newfoundland vs. Bernese Mountain Dog: Breed Differences & Similarities

Comparing the Berner and the Newfie as your next fluffy four-legged friend? These two breeds may share a similar coat texture, but they are quite different in size and temperament. Find out which breed is better for your lifestyle.

Kelly Wilson

Last Updated: April 5, 2021 | 8 min read

Newfoundland Vs Bernese Mountain Dog

Are you considering the Newfoundland vs. the Bernese Mountain Dog for your next large breed canine companion? Both dogs are extremely friendly and cuddly and hold all the characteristics you could want in a big dog for your family.

While both breeds are similar in size, that’s about where the similarities stop. Both breeds are quite different, and it’s important to understand why before welcoming either breed into your home. Unless you’re a breed expert, you probably won’t know the specific differences in temperament, diet, and health risks.

In the following article, you’ll find valuable knowledge about both breeds and an in-depth comparison of the two. By the time you finish, you’ll know if either of these two gentle giants is right for you. Let’s jump in!

Breed Comparison

Newfoundland

  • Height 25-29 Inches
  • Weight 100-150 Pounds
  • Temperament Very Friendly, Loyal, High Intensity
  • Energy High
  • Health Prone to Genetic Health Problems
  • Lifespan 8-10 Years
  • Price $1,000-$1,500

Bernese Mountain Dog

  • Height 23-28 Inches
  • Weight 70-115 Pounds
  • Temperament Obedient, Inteligent, Vigorous
  • Energy High
  • Health Prone to Genetic Health Problems
  • Lifespan 6-10 Years
  • Price $1,000-$2,000

Breed History

Before adopting a dog, it’s important to understand the history of each breed. Because most dogs were bred for different purposes, they are also not a perfect fit for every family, especially very large canines like these. Let’s learn a little bit about the history of both dog breeds before we get into comparing them.

Newfoundland

Two Large Black Dogs Sitting on a Road
Today, Newfoundland’s owners affectionately refer to them as “Newfies.”

Newfoundlands were bred in the province of Newfoundland, Canada (big surprise). There are a few different theories about their origins, including extinct black wolf cross-breeding, Viking voyages in the 9th century, and the cross-breeding of mastiffs, sheepdogs, and water dogs between the 16th and 17th centuries.

In 1775 they were named by George Cartwright (an English explorer). They also came very close to extinction. In the 1780s, the Canadian Government imposed a tax on all families with one dog, which led to killings to avoid taxes. However, they survived and became extremely popular in the 1800s because of Edward Landseer. He was a famous painter and liked to include the dogs in his paintings.

Bernese Mountain Dog

One Dog Pawing at Another Dog's Face
Bernese Mountain Dog owners affectionately refer to this breed as “Berners.”

There are four Swiss Sennunhund Breeds: Appenzeller, Entlebucher, Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, and the Berner. They are a cross between the traditional farm dogs of the area and the Mollosser (an ancestor of the Mastiff) brought from the Romans around the first century.

Ever since, Bernese Mountain Dogs have roamed the mountains of Switzerland, mostly assisting in farm work due to their intelligence and strength. As the Swiss economy shifted, fewer people worked on farms, so the need for dogs dwindled.

In 1899 the Swiss, interested in retaining the lineage of their native dog species, breeders formed the club “Berna.” An international dog show held in Bern in 1904 is where they got their name. From that point forward, they were referred to as “Bernese” Mountain Dogs

Appearance

Dog Sitting With Their Tongues Out
Both breeds can be very large but Newfies tend to be solid black or brown and Berners are black, white, and tan.

Berners and Newfies both have black as one of the primary colors in their coat. Beyond having the black in common, they are also relatively similar in size and weight. Berners are slightly smaller dogs, so this can help tell the difference if you’re not familiar with the breeds. The next best way to tell them apart is the colors and patterns on their coats.

Newfies can be completely black or completely brown. They can also have spots of white or be white with black or brown spots. They have huge and thick coats, and their heads have a small tuft of fur sticking up at the top. Their jaws and heads are also very broad.

Berners are almost always brown, black, and white with the same pattern. Berners are known to have a crest of white fur on their breast between the two front legs with brown paws and spots around the jaw and eyes. Their tails are less fluffy than a Newfy.

Temperament

Happy Dogs Outside With Tongues Out
These breeds are both very friendly, mild-natured, and love to be amused.

Both dogs are similar in their behavior, like most large dog breeds. They have the “gentle giant” effect. They are energetic and playful but not aggressive or disobedient.

Both are listed as very easy to train. They might not be the best breeds for beginner dog owners because of the shedding, exercise needs, and lots of energy, but if you know how to raise a dog, they will follow and listen to your every command.

They are also both very intense. Newfies and Berners will pull you on the leash, splash water when they’re drinking, smother you with kisses when you just wanted one, etc. Dogs like this need to start training away from these behaviors early before they become habits.

The one area where these dogs differ in temperament is their potential for chewing. Heavy chewing, gnawing on hands, and biting furniture are all a lot more expected from Berners. This is probably because of their shepherd dog roots when they would be out in the fields and no one was checking their chewing.

Exercise

Energetic Dogs Running Outside
If you exercise your Newphie or Berner regularly, you won’t have to worry about it being too hyper or becoming disobedient.

Like with most large dogs, both of these breeds will need a lot of exercise. At least three walks for a thirty-minute total every day, especially when they are between the ages of 1 and 5 years old, their most active years. Adolescence comes later in larger dogs, so the maturity you are waiting for might take longer than you think.

While they have similar energy levels and exercise needs, Berners will require more exercise and have more energy than a Newphie. While you might need to take your Berner running for that thirty minutes to get him adequately exhausted, a Newphie will be satisfied with a slow stroll.

Training

Dogs Looking Up
Both of these dog breeds are similarly easy to train, even with both having a slight stubborn side.

Both dog breeds are very loving and want to please their masters. If you have a treat ready and a suitable method, you will be able to teach these dogs everything they need to know.

With most large dogs, early and frequent training is crucial. They have high energy levels and can develop habits that will wreck your house and cause a lot of frustration. Start with training immediately from when they are a puppy to get the best behaved Berner or Newphie.

One area where these dogs differ in their training is their willingness to bond with a new owner or a stranger. Newfoundlands are people pleasers. They will love you from the first pat on their head. Berners are a little more reserved. It can take some time for them to warm up to you and listen to your commands.

Health

Dogs Laying in Grass
Neither breed has a very long lifespan, but they tend to lead fairly healthy lives.

While both Bernese Mountain Dogs and Newfoundlands are prone to genetic conditions, breeders closely monitor these things. If a breeder notices a problem with one of their older dogs, that dog will be screened out of the breeding process to prevent that disease from spreading to the gene pool.

As with all large breeds, both of these breeds are susceptible to bloat. This is a condition where the stomach enlarges due to troubles with digestion. You should watch your dogs as they get older and keep an eye out for signs.

They also both have dropped ears. These are very cute but also can get infected easily. Once or twice a year, check your dog’s ear for infections, and if they are experiencing pain or discomfort, take them to the vet immediately.

Both of these large dogs don’t have a very long life span. They will be happy and healthy for most of this time, but it might be something you should consider if you have young children.

Nutrition

Hungry Dogs Waiting for Food
Since both breeds are susceptible to obesity, it is important to feed them a balanced diet of high-quality dog food.

Both breeds should do well on a high-quality dog food diet. You should avoid Cheaper dog food brands if you can. It’s affordable to buy the higher-quality brands, and your dog’s health will thank you for it. Feeding a large dog a healthy diet should cost around $60 per month.

When it comes to comparing these two dogs for nutrition, they are both prone to obesity. This means you should watch your dog’s eating habits closely and make sure they are not snacking in between meals. Treats are a great way to train your dog, but be careful because they can lead to obesity as well.

To avoid bloat, a common health condition in large and giant breed dogs, vets recommend multiple small meals per day and never feed your dog before or after vigorous exercise.

For dogs with long fur, like these two pups, the nutrition you feed them will greatly affect their coat. It can be shinier, and they can also shed less if they are on a diet with the essential vitamins they need.

Grooming

Dogs With Gorgeous Silky Coats
Since shedding is prominent in both breeds, routine brushing is imperative.

Both of these furry-coated pups have a three-layered coat of fur. Dogs with this type of fur are known for shedding, and regular grooming is essential. Both breeds have thicker coats that are meant to keep them warm in colder weather.

For a Newfie, brushing needs to take place only once a week. Sit down with your Newphie and give them a thorough once over with a brush and a comb. However, Newfies also have a shedding season that comes twice a year (depending on the climate), every day, and during this time, you will have to brush them daily. Newfoundlands that have been spayed or neutered will shed regularly and will need more frequent brushing.

Berner’s shed much more frequently than Newfoundlands. They can shed every day depending on the climate, so they require much more frequent brushing, about two to three times per week. They also have a biannual shedding season, and during this time, they will require additional brushing.

Brushing your dog regularly will prevent uncomfortable knotting in their fur and keep all those dead hairs from collecting into piles in your living room. You should also clip your dog’s nails regularly, as this can impede their movement and cause discomfort.

Price

Puppies Playing in the Snow
Expect to pay anywhere from $1,000-$2,000 for either breed as a purebred puppy.

Purebred dogs are more expensive than mixed breeds or dogs at the shelter because they require a rigorous breeding process, which takes a lot of time to perfect. As mentioned earlier, breeders have to keep a close watch on their dogs to stop genetic diseases from continuing in the breed.  

Newfoundlands cost about $1,000 – $1,500 depending on the breeder and the number of dogs available in your area. Breeders will also list things like size, fur pattern, color, and temperament into the price of their dogs.

Berners cost $1,00 – $2,000 because they are a bit rarer to find good breeders for. On top of that, they also come with their fair share of health costs. With so many common genetic diseases, regular medical visits (especially later in their lives) will begin to add up.

Newfoundlands are cheaper. When picking the right breeder, make sure you ask about the dog’s history and check to see if the breeder is registered with a national or international organization.

Final Thoughts

In the end, the choice is up to you. When it comes to comparing these two dogs, they are very similar in many ways. They both are huge, energetic, loyal, diligent, and vigorous. They may be more than you bargained for, but they will also become a joyful and obedient member of your family.

When deciding which you want to choose, make sure to factor in all the differences and similarities listed above and pick the breed that is best suited to your lifestyle. If you have a lower budget, maybe a Newfoundland is the right choice for you. If you like to run with your dog, you would probably be better off with a Berner. There is no wrong choice. Your fetch partner is right around the corner.

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