Most people are familiar with the German Shepherd breed of dog, their intelligence, loyalty, and desire to work, are their prominent traits. They are obedient and make great family pets.
For those Shepherd fans looking to experience the latest trend in designer breed mixes, you might want to consider a Bernese Shepherd. Why consider a Bernese Shepherd?
According to AKC, The Bernese side of this mix is the Bernese Mountain Dog. Bernese Mountain Dogs have an interesting history. They are one of three breeds of Swiss Mountain dogs.
They were bred as a cross between farm dogs and Mastiffs that were brought over by the Romans thousands of years ago. Their job was to protect the Swiss farmers’ livestock, pull carts, and protect their masters and families.
German Shepherd Bernese Mountain Mix
Consider a Bernese Shepherd if you are looking for a dog who is affectionate and loving, is a hard worker, and a master at protection.
This will be a dog with the amazing traits of a German Shepherd tempered with the good nature, strong but calm qualities of a Bernese Mountain Dog.
Consider a Shepherd Designer Dog
According to LoveYourDog, Each Shepherd mix is different. A designer Shepherd is a mix of two purebred dogs.
Once a designer dog has been bred for several generations, it becomes a true breed where all the puppies will have a similar look, temperament, and common characteristics. Bernese Shepherds are relatively new and are still considered a designer dog.
At this point, Bernese Shepherds can differ greatly, even born within the same litter. There can be no guarantee of how they will turn out.
Therefore, if you are considering making one of these pups a new family member, it is important to check out the temperaments of the parents of both breeds, the Bernese Mountain Dog and the German Shepherd.
Qualities of the Bernese Mountain Dog
According to the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America, Bernese first came to the United States after World War I. Their general appearance is rather striking as they are a large tri-colored dog.
They are sturdy, balanced, strong, and are intelligent and agile enough to do the type of labor required by working dogs in the rough elements of the Swiss Mountains.
You will find the Bernese to have many expressions as they are gentle yet animated. They have large dark brown eyes that are slightly oval. The males appear masculine while the females are more delicate and distinctly feminine.
The base coat color is jet black. They have rich rust and clear white markings. The breeders like to have symmetry in their markings which includes a little rust over each eye or on the cheeks reaching toward the mouth, on the chest, and on each leg. Many times, the white marking on the chest is an inverted cross.
Hills Pet provides the specification of the Bernese Mountain Dog. They characterize this breed as alert, good natures, eager to please, and a dog who welcomes jobs as the family pet.
- Weight: 70 – 120 pounds
- Height: 25 – 26 inches
- Ears: naturally floppy
- Exercise requirements: 20 to 40 minutes a day
- Energy level: laid back
- Life expectancy: 7-9 years
- Bark tendency: low
- Dig tendency: low
- Need for attention: moderate
- Coat length: medium (thick and straight)
- Grooming needs: moderate
House Dog Traits of the Bernese
It is best to establish obedience and manners at a young age with the Bernese. They are rather slow as a breed to mature mentally and physically.
Don’t push the training too hard or too quickly because of their slow maturation. They may not be ready. They are softies, however, and take a gentler approach rather than harsh correction.
You will find the Bernese coat to be long and thick and have a naturally bright shine. Their beautiful coats should be brushed every day to keep in clean and unmated.
Regular grooming should be performed every two weeks. They are moderate shedders throughout the year but shed their heavy coats twice a year.
The Bernese will be a devoted companion that likes to travel with the family. They love the feeling of being companions and will be happiest as a house dog. In order to facilitate this, the Bernese should be socialized properly with other dogs and children.
Qualities of the German Shepherd
The German Shepherd Breed is known for his intelligence, ability to be trained for specialized services, and loves having a job. They are energetic dogs that can be high-strung without the right care or level of exercise.
German Shepherds are well-proportioned. They have a broad head that tapers attractively to their muzzle. The ears are large and stand up.
Their muscular, level back provides a strong frame and their bushy tails curve downward. The thick, rough coat, can be tan, black, grey, or black and tan.
Shepherds have made great family pets over the years. They are also known as dedicated service dogs providing a variety of helpful services from seeing-eye to bomb-sniffing and military service companions.
The origin of these dogs is from Germany. They were brought back to the US after World War I by American soldiers.
They were originally bred by crossing various herding breeds in the late 1800s. They were selected stringently for breed qualities and quickly became streamlined and developed strong breed traits. They are also known as Alsatians in order to destigmatize their association with Germany Nazis.
According to HillsPet, Known to be smart and easily trained, German Shepherds are very active and need regular activity.
Not enough daily exercise may lead to them becoming nervous and high-strung. Here are the breed traits of the German Shepherd by Hills Pet.
- Weight: 75 – 95 pounds
- Height: 23 – 25 inches
- Ears: naturally upright
- Exercise requirements: 40 minutes a day
- Energy level: average
- Life expectancy: 10-12 years
- Bark tendency: low
- Dig tendency: low
- Need for attention: moderate
- Coat length: medium (double coat)
- Grooming needs: moderate
House Dog Traits of German Shepherds
There is a reason that dogs are known as man’s best friend. The German Shepherd with his smart, confident, and loving personality certainly contributed to this phrase. Shepherds develop very special and strong bonds with their owners.
The reason these dogs make great bomb sniffers is because of their powerful sense of smell. Shepherds are known for sniffing everything. They will sniff at your window, wall, doors, and around everything in the house.
You will never be lonely if you own a German Shepherd. They are a breed that loves to be by your side at all times.
It will be a challenging job to keep this dog off your couch and bed as they like to be attached to your hip. And if you think you can skip a day of exercise and lie on the couch. Forget it. Your Shepherd will remind you that he hasn’t had his exercise.
This is a shedding dog. The double-thick coat sheds all year round. It is a part of the breed so be aware of the shedding trait.
Introducing the Bernese Shepherd
Combining the qualities of the German Shepherd and the Bernese Mountain Dog will produce an amazing mixed breed with an incredible work ethic.
The two things this dog will love most in life are his master and having a job. He will have a Shepherd’s suspicion to guard his family, combined with the love and gentleness of the Bernese.
In order to get a better feel of what the Bernese Shepherd may look like and more information about their qualities, check out this video on YouTube.
Titled “Bernese Mountain Dog German Shepherd Mix”, this video is produced by a vet tech that has adopted several of this mix. She provides extensive information on this unique mix and covers the following topics:
- Background on the mix
- Reasons to get a Shepherd Bernese mix
- Appearance and personality traits
- Grooming needs
- Exercise needs
- Health issues
- Training recommendations
- Integrating into a family
If you are considering a Bernese Shepherd, this informative video will provide lots of helpful information and give you a visual image of what your dog might look like. Check it out.
What to Expect with a Bernese Shepherd
While this mix is still considered a designer breed and does not have enough consistency yet to nail down all its attributes, there is enough of a common thread to give you some idea of what to expect.
Because he has two parents with a strong work ethic and a love for pleasing their masters, you will most likely get an excellent guard dog.
The Shepherd side will hopefully be tempered by the more fun-loving Bernese. This mix will be aware of strangers, but probably more welcoming.
Your Bernese Shepherd will be a dog with a great work ethic. If you are looking for an active working dog, this mix will be great at herding livestock or protecting an estate. He will feel most valued by contributing to a home or family.
This will be the type of dog to reciprocate his feelings so be prepared for expectations of your undivided attention and lots of kisses and snuggles.
This dog will be vigilant of strangers and will check everyone out. He will bark at strangers and give them a good sniff.
If there is no danger, you will see the wariness give-way and he will happily be the recipient of belly scratches and a game of fetch.
If there is any danger presented, this will be a dog that will spring into action as a guard dog. He will not hesitate to do his job and protect his family.
Since this dog is so sociable and takes his job of protecting his family very seriously, it is a dog that will not do well when left alone for long periods of time. This will mostly be due to the fact that he will be worried sick about his family. He will miss you.
The issue with separation partnered with anxiety may turn into negative behavior such as the destruction of property or nervousness. Having a crate or a safe space while you are away for short periods of time is a strong recommendation.
Bernese Shepherds will likely combine their social attributes with intense affection. This can create a canine goofball.
If you check out the antics of both the breeds on YouTube and Instagram, you will easily see how the combination of traits will create an adorable, funny, and crazy combination.
He will provide hours of entertainment as long as he is able to express his need for having a job. This is another example of the temperament balance both breeds bring to the mix.
Appearance and Size
Bred from two big dogs, the Bernese Shepherd will be a large dog. They will reach between 23 and 28 inches tall at the shoulder. Their weight will reach between 75 and 110 pounds. Females will typically be smaller than the males.
Depending on which parent he or she takes after will determine the end of the size spectrum they will reach.
Since this is still a breed in development, there will be no guarantee as to which parent your mix will favor. In most cases, there will be a fairly even mix of the two breeds.
He will look slightly more refined than the Bernese Mountain Dog but will be cuddlier and fluffier than a German Shepherd.
The German Shepherd ears are usually dominant in the Bernese Shepherd mix. The ears will usually stand up straight when alert or excited.
The nose will most likely be square and fleshy, and the eyes will be large, dark, and round. Sometimes the Bernese Shepherd is mistaken for a Rottweiler because of the similarities in size and coloring.
Color and Coat
What is fairly certain about the Bernese Shepherd mix is that you will have a large, fluffy dog. Since both parents have thick coats with medium to long hair, your puppy will probably have the same. The undercoat will most likely be very dense and the outer coat will most likely be straight.
There is no way to predict which colors your dog will inherit. Almost all Bernese dogs are black with tan and white markings, and the Shepherd is black and tan with typical markings.
There other colors in the Shepherd breed that may make their way into the mix. If you are looking for a particular color or marking, you should speak to the breeder once the puppies are born to see if your desired color trait has emerged in one of the puppies. Just a warning, they will all be adorable.
Finding Your Bernese Shepherd
Bernese Shepherd puppies bred by a reputable breeder will be in the $700 range. If the puppy is under $400 or over $1,000, this may be a warning signal.
Make sure the breeder has all the proper certificates to certify they are a reputable breeder. It is rare that you will find this mix as a puppy in a rescue shelter. If you do find one at a rescue shelter, consider yourself very lucky!
When integrating your puppy or new dog into your family, here are a few tips to keep in mind to keep your dog healthy and happy.
- This will be a large dog who needs a big yard and lots of room.
- Have access to a large yard or nearby park.
- This dog will need about 60 minutes of exercise daily.
- This dog will do best with an active family.
- This is a breed that loves to cuddle and loves his family.
- He will be suspicious of strangers but will warm up quickly.
- Be sure you have a camera ready, this dog will most likely be a goofball.
- This is a strong dog with a pulling background; leash and train with a harness.
- This will be a fluffy dog so be prepared for grooming and hair around the house.
- A well-socialized dog will be fine with other pets and children.
The Bernese Shepherd is a wonderful mix for the right type of family. He has a lot to offer as long as the family is active, has the proper space, and is willing to actively be a part of the dog’s life. This is not a dog for those who like to sit on the couch, or for those with small living quarters.
Be prepared for a dog that wants to have a job. He will love to travel, be an exercise partner, or even work on a farm or ranch. You will never worry about protection, but you will have a dog that quickly warms up to those that earn his trust.
If you want a dog that protects, has a fun and loving personality but takes a bit more care for grooming and exercise, the Bernese Shepherd may be the dog for you.
He will tip the scales of adorableness but also require your time, attention, and a membership to a bulk food store for the large bags of dog food you will need.
Take your time and research your decision. If you decide this dog is perfect for your family, you will not be disappointed.