Bernese Mountain Dog vs. Saint Bernard: Differences & Similarities

Both the Bernese Mountain Dog and Saint Bernard are large, friendly breeds. They’re known for their loyalty and love of family. However, there are differences between these breeds.

The Bernese Mountain Dog is slightly lesser in weight and height compared to the Saint Bernard. They are energetic, good-natured, and excellent with children, making for a great family pet. They are also trainable but need consistent, positive reinforcement training methods.

Saint Bernards, on the other hand, are famously known as gentle giants. They are larger, not just in height and weight, but also in overall bulk. These dogs are known for their patience and restraint with children. However, their large size means they may accidentally knock over smaller children.

When it comes to grooming, the Bernese Mountain Dog requires regular grooming due to their thick, long coat. On the flip side, Saint Bernards don’t require as much grooming but are heavy droolers.

Finally, their life expectancy; Bernese Mountain Dogs typically live 6-8 years, while Saint Bernards have a slightly longer lifespan of 8-10 years.

Last Updated on September 20, 2023

*. Are you comparing the Bernese Mountain Dog with the Saint Bernard to be your next fluffy-haired companion ?? These dog breeds may look very similar, but they have different personalities and traits.

If you think they look identical, you would be correct! They are actually related in some ways. What are the differences between them? There are some differences that can help you choose between them.

Both dog breeds can be quite large so no matter which one you , feel is the better match, you will need to be ready to allow a lot of dogs into your home. You might be able to handle their size and drool.

We will compare them in this guide. We will also discuss their differences and similarities. This is all in an effort to help you identify which breed is best for your family and lifestyle. Let’s talk about Swiss puppies.

Bernese Mountain Dog vs. Saint Bernard

Breed History

Let’s first look at their history and how are they linked to one another. It is often possible to determine what a dog will be like as family pets by looking at their original breed purpose. It’s a good place to start.

Bernese Mountain Dog

The Bernese Mountain Dog, affectionately called the Berner, is the name we will use throughout this guide.

This guy hails from Bern, Switzerland ,. He is a relatively young breed in comparison to the Saint Bernard. The area of Bern is known for its beautiful rolling pasture lands, and it’s still home to over 12,000 dairy farms. The Berner assisted his farmer to drive cattle and pull heavy carts loaded with cheese .. The Berner lost popularity as farmers started to prefer tractors for transport.

A Swiss doctor and most renowned dog breeder in his day, Albert Heim, established a breed club in 1907 and sought to save the breeds, as wells as other Swiss mountain dogs.

A pair of fine Berner specimens were imported to Kansas in 1926, and the rest was history. He is the most loved Swiss mountain dog ,, and celebrities like Michelle Gellar or Courtney Cox are in love with this breed.

Saint Bernard

The Saint Bernard , is not, contrary to popular belief. They do have the same ancestors which is why their appearance is similar. His size, just like the Berner led him to farm work. He is most well-known for his extraordinary relationship with humanity. He was born in the Swiss Alps , where he is now a resident.

His forefathers were Roman war dogs that traveled through the Swiss Alps. He settled down in Switzerland to help the monks. The Saint Bernard was responsible for finding and returning to safety all the wayward tourists , to establish a hospice.

He developed the ability to predict when avalanches would occur. It is estimated that he has saved 2,000 lives during his three centuries at the hospice. Because of their size and handsome appearance, they are popular parent breeds for several designer dogs.


Giant dog breeds that share traditional Swiss colors look very similar. The smaller Berner weighs between 70 and 115 pounds, and he measures between 23 and 27 1/2 inches tall. The Saint Bernard weighs much more, between 120 and 180 pounds, and he measures 26 to 30 inches tall. This is often the deciding factor in choosing which breed of dog they will adopt.

The Saint Bernard has droopier jowls , and his eyes are often described to be sad-looking. His jowls around his eyes pull at the skin. Both are handsome dogs with large paws and muscular bodies. We would say they have more ‘dadbod’ than ripped muscle.

The Berner is the only mountain dog to have a long and silky coat. The choice between two coats , that are either shorter or longer. It is medium in length. Both have the iconic Swiss black, white and rust colors. Their white foreheads blaze from their muzzles to the top of their heads. There are many other colors that the Saint Bernard can wear, some of which are rarer. These include brindle grizzle and brown and white, red, white, and orange.


These two breeds have a similar temperament to each other, but they are not identical in appearance. They are both great family dogs. However, the Saint Bernard is well-known for his affinity for children . He is also known as the nanny dog, and is given the role of ‘Nanny in the Peter Pan stories.

The Berner also loves children, but not as much than the Saint Bernard. The Saint Bernard is a good choice if you have children who need help entertaining. They are affectionate and full of love for their families . The Berner is loyal to his family and is a popular therapy dog.

Neither one of them is aware of their size and love to snuggle on the couch. Both are big goofballs , and they’re also known to be very clumsy. If you have ornaments or vases that you love, it’s best to keep them out of reach of the dogs. Both are great fun and enjoy playing in the yard with their families.

The Berner has a higher level of energy that the Saint Bernard and needs to be surrounded by more activity. He needs more exercise and more intensity. He needs to be more involved in the day. If he is bored, he will get restless.

The Saint Bernard is notorious for having a slightly lower intelligence level than other breeds, and also being potentially aggressive if not socialized early. Although we don’t think this is normal, it’s something you should consider if you want to adopt this breed.


The Saint Bernard only needs around 30 to 45 minutes of exercise a day. He doesn’t like to do intense activities like jogging or mountain climbing. He enjoys taking a leisurely stroll around the park. The Berner needs around 60 minutes a day. He doesn’t enjoy doing anything too intense. He could go on a few mountainous walks every now and again.

The Berner is the best choice for active families looking for a dog to accompany them on mild adventures. Keep in mind that both are giant dogs and their activities shouldn’t be too disruptive , to cause joint problems. If you’re looking for a partner for jogging, these two breeds are not the right choice. These gentle giants are mild but not wild.


Both breeds are smart and eager to please humans when it comes to training. Both breeds respond well to training. This is why they have been so successful in human-oriented occupations in past. And with a treat in hand, you can be sure that positive reinforcement training is the most efficient way to train them.

Because they are both giant dogs, they must be socialized well at an early age . The most crucial part of their socialization period is between 8 to 16 weeks, and your breeder will begin the process. You will need to continue training them and get to know other dogs and people. If you do it correctly, they will become gentle, loving giants everyone loves.


Both dog breeds are healthy ,, but their large size means they have a shorter life expectancy than other dogs. Their lifespan is 7 to 10 years and 8 to 10 years, respectively. If they are to be bred, they will share the same health issues. You can ask reputable breeders for health clearances.

Both the Saint Bernard and Berner are susceptible to elbow, and hip dysplasia .. They can also be affected by eye conditions such as progressive retinal loss, ectropion and entropion. They are both susceptible to heart conditions, including dilated cardiomyopathy. The Bernese Mountain Dog must also be tested for Von Willebrand disease.


The Berner will consume between three to four cups of food every day, and the Saint Bernard eats around six cups of food a day. This can have a significant impact on the food bill, sometimes even doubling it. If you want to adopt a Saint Bernard, finances will be a major consideration. Their age, energy level, and size all affect what they eat.

They will both be able to eat high-quality kibble .. They will enjoy a balanced diet and kibble that is tasty enough to be enjoyed by your giant dogs. Giant dogs should be fed kibble that is suitable for giant or large breeds. They need to be fed the best levels of calcium, phosphorus and protein during their development. This will help control their rapid bone growth, which will reduce the chances of them developing skeletal diseases such as joint dysplasia.

They are both susceptible to obesity and weight gain so don’t overfeed them This can put additional pressure on their joints, and cause other health problems. The best way to support their joints is to use kibbles with chondroitin and glucosamine. You can also use glucosamine or fish oils.


The type of coat a Saint Bernard has will affect the grooming schedule. He will only need to brush once or twice per week all year if he has a shorter haircut.

If you adopt one with a longer hair, similar to the Bernernese Mountain Dog, they will need to have their coat brushed twice or three times per week. The Saint Bernard in general will shed about the same amount as a Berner.

They both have double hairs and shed similar amounts throughout the year. If you want to control their shedding, both will need to be brushed every day during the shedding season. These breeds are both droolers ,, so if you don’t like doggy drool then neither one of them is right for you.

The breeds both need to be bathed once every 8 to 12 weeks. A concentrated shampoo and conditioner will be beneficial for their thick and fluffy coats. Both of them have eye problems so make sure you keep an eye out for any redness or changes.

Puppy Prices

The price of both the Berner and the Saint Bernard starts from approximately $1,500. You can expect to pay more for a show dog or a lineage. This is only the puppy cost. This does not include any other costs such as toys, crates, beds or harnesses. Giant breeds of dog are generally more expensive. This includes getting them an extra-large dog crate, bigger toys, bigger beds, harnesses, etc.

It is important to work with a respected breeder who will (hopefully!) produce healthy puppies. They will check their puppies for any of the above health issues. Remember, the healthier your dog is, the more time they can spend with you. You will see a happier, more obedient dog if they start socializing early.

Final Thoughts

The Berner, and the Saint Bernard are stunning breeds that will make heads on the street. Both will steal your heart and that of everyone in the family. They are closely related which is why they look so similar. However, their subtle differences such as their size and activity level, financial commitments and grooming needs will hopefully help to resolve the breed dispute.

They are full of love, affection, and doggy drool. Both love children and pets, as well as humans. Ultimately, welcoming either of these giant Swiss breeds will guarantee that you have the best 7 to 10 years of your life!

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