A Bernese mountain dog Australian Shepherd mix, sometimes referred to as a Berner Aussie mix, is not one of the purebred dogs, so you won’t find it on the breed registry. The Bernese Aussie mix is a crossbreed created from – you guessed it, a Bernese mountain dog and an Australian Shepherd.
These smart and beautiful breeds both make wonderful working dogs and fluffy companions in your loving home. However, there are still pros and cons to owning one of these dogs.
So if you’re looking to buy or adopt a Berner Aussie, or if you’re curious about the background and also the nature of owning one of these breeds, then we will give you everything you need to know.
But What Do They Look Like?
If you’re still unaware of what these adorable pooches look like, then take a look at this short video of Mortimer the Bernese mountain dog x Australian Shepherd. Even as a puppy you can see a glimpse of the nature of these crossbreeds, how attentive they are to their owner’s needs and commands.
Some pups will inherit different appearance attributes from both their parents, although it’s not uncommon for some of these crossbreeds to look more like one breed than the other.
The History of The Dog Breeds
There isn’t much history to the origin of this crossbreed, however, we can look into the history of the parent breeds – the Bernese mountain dog and the Australian Shepherd dog to find out what they both bring together as a crossbreed.
We can’t be too sure whether the original mixing of these two breeds was accidental or if someone intentionally bred them to make the beautiful Berner Aussie – either way, we think it worked out.
Bernese Mountain Dog
Bernese mountain dogs were brought to Switzerland, particularly the area called Bern, by the Romans over 2000 years ago. They are one of the most popular of four Swiss mountain dog breeds that were bred from mastiffs and guard-type breeds and soon became known as a farm dog breed.
Farmers who were too poor to afford big horses to transport produce used Bernese mountain dogs instead and also used them to protect their farms as well as herding cattle around. In 1907, a Swiss innkeeper re-developed the dog breed by finding the finest specimens to become man’s best friend and sometimes show dogs or herding dogs#.
The Bernese mountain dog first made its appearance in America in 1926 and became recognized by the AKC (American Kennel Club) in 1937.
This is far from what we know the breed for these days, with most of them being big soft family pets that don’t guard anything but the dinner table at food time. These dogs are not rescued dogs.
One of the most surprising things about this breed is that they’re in fact NOT from Australia. They originate from the Western part of the US in the early 19th century. However, these breeds are believed to be genetically related to collies and other shepherds from the Basque area in Europe.
They were used as working farm dogs on cattle ranches as they were easily trainable and were used to herd livestock.
However, it wasn’t long before these working dogs were to be considered family pets when there was a boost in popularity after WW2 after these dogs were featured in Western Movies and every family wanted their own Australian Shepherd.
What Is The Combined History Of A Bernese Mountain Dog & Australian Shepherd Mix Like?
So both of these parent breeds have originated from working backgrounds where they spent the early parts of their existence working on farms. They’re both intelligent and attentive dogs, yet still affectionate so it’s unsurprising that they quickly become popular within homes across the country as family pets.
Personality & Nature Of The Breeds
Whilst these dogs may have similarities to their backgrounds, they do still have unique personalities which gel well together.
There’s no definite personality that each Bernese Aussie mix will have, maybe they’ll inherit more traits from one breed than the other. Their nature will also depend on their upbringing with their mother and also when they’re blended into a human family as well.
We’ll be giving you an overview of what you can expect from a Berner Aussie mix when it comes to their personalities by looking into the two parent breeds individually.
Bernese Mountain Dog
These dogs are known for being gentle giants, whilst they may be large and overwhelmingly energetic at times they are loveable characters who soon become devoted to their owners.
They’re not as energetic as Australian Shepherds, especially as they get older but they’ll still need plenty of stimulation through walking, playing, and interacting with other dogs whilst also occasionally trying to squeeze on your lap for a cuddle.
As they were used as guard dogs and farm dogs, they’re protective of their companions but in a non-aggressive way that makes them a great fit in the family home.
Australian Shepherds have a lot of energy so you’ll often find them wanting to play and interact a lot with you. They’re incredibly intelligent and having been used as working farm dogs in the past have a lot of drive to please their owners, so if they’re not being used for these purposes then their energy will have to be put into something else like training or playing.
However, they are very loyal and loving to their families, so great companions to have but are warier when it comes to meeting new people or other dogs due to their protective natures.
What Personality & Temperament Will A Bernese Mountain Dog & Australian Shepherd Mix Have?
With the correct training and socializing with other dogs and humans, this cross breed will be an outgoing, confident and loveable character that will bring a lot of fun and love into your family.
On the whole, these dogs are good-natured and will be able to be kept within homes that have children, other pets, and regular visitors, although time and care should be taken to ensure that they are well socialized before giving them freedom when out on their walkies.
Appearance Of The Breeds
Bernese Mountain Dog
Bernese mountain dogs are definitely on the upper end of the dog scale, they’re relatively large and fairly heavy. You’ll only manage to pick these pups up and cuddle them for the first month or two of having them in your home before they become too big and heavy for you to hold.
Male Bernese mountain dogs can range up to 27.5 inches in height whereas females will only grow up to 26 inches in height. They can weigh between 70 and 115lbs which is the weight of some grown humans, so don’t underestimate them.
They’re sturdy breeds with big paws and have medium-length coats that can be both wavy and straight on various parts of their bodies. They have three colors that feature throughout their coat, black, white, and rust with black being the predominant color on their backs and white on the center of their chest and face.
Australian Shepherds are around a similar height to Bernese mountain dog Berners, ranging from 18-23 inches depending on whether they’re male or female, but they weigh half of what Bernese mountain dogs do, only reaching around 65lbs at most.
The most prominent feature that Aussies are known for is their unique colorings and markings which can be made up of colors such as blue merle, red (liver) merle, black and red with many if not all having white markings throughout their coats.
This medium-sized dog has a medium-length coat and its undercoat can get very fluffy when it is situated in colder living environments. Their coats can be both wavy and straight but tend to be shorter on the face and more well-feathered around their legs and paws.
Puppies of this breed tend to have piercing light eyes which do tend to darken as they mature but they’re still noticeably lighter than other dog breeds.
Berner Aussie Mix Appearance
This crossbreed is still a larger breed and can still grow to weights of up to 100lbs, however, they are still more lightweight than Bernese mountain dogs.
They’ll grow to around 23-25 inches depending on being male or female and will have a thick coat with mixed colorings of both of the parent breeds, however, some will display more prominent colors, markings, and features of either breed.
Training & Exercise Needs Of A Bernese Mountain Dog Australian Shepherd Mix
As both these breeds were working dogs, they can be easily trained, however, they are highly intelligent so thorough training and socialization are key to keeping them well-behaved and comfortable in different environments.
You’ll want to start teaching your Berner Aussie pup commands and rules as soon as you get them home. You’ll also need to reinforce your rules against biting and chewing from a young age as they’ll learn not to be destructive as they get older.
It’s recommended to take your Berner Aussie pup to puppy training classes with other dogs to help them socialize and be gentle from a young age.
As cute as it is having your Berner Aussie jumping all over you for kisses as a pup, you’ll need to quickly get them out of this habit as they’ll be too big and forceful before you even know it.
These dogs will need regular stimulation otherwise they’ll become bored and destructive in your home. Take them on long walks or hikes every day, if not twice a day to keep their energy levels stable. Try throwing a ball or a frisbee for them to retrieve to tire them out more easily. 60-90 minutes of exercise a day is recommended to keep them happy.
You should also try supplying your Berner Aussie pup with some stimulation toys in the home to keep them occupied when you’re busy or at work.
Grooming, Shedding, And Looking After A Bernese Mountain Dog Australian Shepherd Mixes Coat
If you’re looking for a low-maintenance breed when it comes to grooming then a Berner Aussie mix just won’t be for you.
These Bernese mountain dog mixes have a very thick coat that will continuously be shed throughout the year, especially during the summer months. You’ll need to be prepared to be finding fur all around your home and in places you didn’t expect.
Their back undercoats can get tangled and smelly very quickly, so it’s important to brush and wash your Berner Aussie after long muddy or wet walks.
These breeds are not hypoallergenic so if anyone in your family has allergies then you’ll want to keep them well away or at least give them some antihistamines.
They’ll need regular brushing which will help minimize their shedding as much as possible as well as having them regularly trimmed and groomed at the doggy parlor in the shedding season.
As with any other breed, they’ll also need regular toenail clippings as well as having their teeth brushed and their ears cleaned out occasionally. However, you can get this included at your doggy grooming appointments.
Life Expectancy & Health of Bernese Mountain Dog Australian Shepherd Mix
Mixed breeds dogs tend to be healthier than purebreds as they’re less susceptible to hereditary diseases that come from just one breed.
Aussies can live for up to 15 years, however Bernese mountain dogs only have a life expectancy of around 7 or 8 years so the average life expectancy of a Berner Aussie mix is around 8-11 years.
When well looked after, these dogs are commonly happy, healthy, and active dogs, however, some common health conditions do come with having a crossbreed of these two.
As these are big active dogs, common conditions they are prone to are hip and elbow dysplasia. As they’re active and require lots of high-quality dog food, they’re likely to eat the dog food quickly which can cause bloating and discomfort for them, so buying a slow-feeding dog bowl is recommended to reduce this risk of dog food.
Regular checkups of your Bernese mountain dog Australian Shepherd mix should catch any problems or dog’s health conditions early and make it easier to treat or at least more comfortable for them to get by every day.
Make sure they are always up to date with their shots, screenings, and flea treatments to keep them in top health condition.