Below are the details and facts for the Great Bernese dog breed.
Both parent breeds are very large sized dogs. The Great Pyrenees often stands 32 inches at the shoulder and frequently weighs in over 100 pounds. The Bernese Mountain dog is only slightly smaller, reaching 80-100 pounds.
Great Bernese are naturally gentle and calm with children and may even enjoy pulling them around in wagons. They are reserved around strangers and make good watchdogs, however they are not aggressive as their size is usually enough to make someone think twice. Most agree they make a very good choice for multi pet households. Overall, these dogs should be calm, well-mannered and affectionate companions.
The Great Bernese will require moderate grooming maintenance and are definitely shedders. Weekly brushing is mandatory as well as regular nail trimming and ear cleaning. Occasional bathing is recommended. Most owners will be able to keep up with this breed's exercise needs. Thirty minutes of daily walking, hiking, or outdoor playtime in a large fenced yard is considered the minimum. Owners that have never trained a pet may find them challenging due to their independent, sometimes stubborn nature. Immediate socialization and obedience training is necessary and it is imperative to establish yourself as the dominant one with firmness and consistency.
Great Pyrenees remains can be found dating back to 1800-1000 B.C. and they have a history both in the French royal court and as a working shepherd dog. Bernese Mountain Dogs are farm drafting and droving dogs originating in the Swiss Alp region of Bern. Both parent breeds are AKC recognized, however, the Great Bernese is not. This hybrid does not have an extensive history and it is likely they gained popularity within the last few decades.
As a crossbreed, the Great Bernese will inherit physical traits from both parent breeds. Not all will inherit the same traits which means some individuals may appear more Pyrenees while others will look closer to the Bernese Mountain Dog.
The mighty Pyrenees, often described as "elegant and majestic" is typically all white but may have various colored markings. Their long coat is straight, thick, and rough with an undercoat that is dense and wooly. This coat is thicker around the neck and shoulders. The legs display feathering while the tail is long and plumed. They have v shaped ears and brown eyes that have a thoughtful, intelligent look.
The strong Bernese Mountain Dog is most often tricolor white, black, and tan or rust. These dogs have dark brown eyes and high set, triangular ears. They have a long, thick double coat that may be slightly wavy and a low, bushy tail. They are the only Swiss Mountain dog with a silky soft coat.
The images below represent the coat colors and patterns associated with Great Bernese.
The temperament of the Great Bernese is dependent on the behavioral traits inherited from its parents. Some will inherit traits from the Pyrenees, others the Great Bernese, and some will have a mix of behaviors inherited from both parent breeds.
The Great Pyrenees has been a favorite throughout its history in the United States, according to the AKC. They are famed for being calm, smart and a patiently hard worker. They are stubbornly independent dogs bred for guarding sheep in harsh mountain terrain and are recommended for owners experienced in training. Due to this independence they are naturally very dominant so new owners must be able to immediately and consistently establish themselves as the leader. Pyrenees are loyal and devoted guardians but are not aggressive.
The Bernese Mountain Dog, even more popular than the Pyrenees, also displays a calm and good-natured temperament. They are calm, good-natured, hardworking and intelligent. They typically have a favorite person in the family and will be extremely devoted to them. They will be a bit easier to train than the Pyrenees but still require immediate, firm direction.
The Great Bernese will likely be adaptable to indoor and outdoor living. Both parent breeds are not extremely active for dogs of that size and this fact coupled with the serene, good-natured personalities make them appropriate indoor dogs.
The life expectancy for this breed is anywhere from 8-12 years. The Bernese generally lives 6-8 years and the Pyrenees 10-12. Hybrid dogs will likely live longer due to the larger genetic diversity in their lineage so it is reasonable to expect the Great Bernese to reach 10-12 years. The Pyrenees is a hardy breed that has few documented health issues other than hip dysplasia and patellar luxation while Bernese Mountain Dogs are host to many problems. Hip and elbow dysplasia, eye problems, bloat, autoimmune conditions (such as thyroid disorders) are fairly common. More serious issues such as cancer, von Willebrands disease and sub-aortic stenosis should also be monitored for.
Below are potential health concerns associated with Great Bernese.