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Great Bernese: Your Guide to the Great Pyrenees Bernese Mountain Dog Mix - PawSafe

Great Bernese: Your Guide to the Great Pyrenees Bernese Mountain Dog Mix

Photo of Tamsin De La Harpe

Written by Tamsin De La Harpe

Great Bernese

You might find yourself considering a new pup to join your family, and you’ve stumbled upon the Great Bernese, a mixed breed that combines the best of two majestic dogs. This lovable hybrid inherits traits from its impressive parents, the Great Pyrenees and the Bernese Mountain Dog. The Great Bernese is known for its gentle demeanor, making it a perfect candidate for a family companion.

As a blend of these two breeds, the Great Bernese carries the friendly nature and the imposing stature you would expect. They often serve as excellent guard dogs, not just because of their size but also due to their protective instincts. When you bring a Great Bernese into your home, you’re not just getting a pet; you’re adding a devoted and watchful member to your family circle.

This dog’s friendly approach to life means it gets along well with children and other pets, but don’t let that fool you. The Great Bernese is also hardworking and loves having a job to do, which goes back to its heritage. Whether you’re looking for a guardian to watch over your home or a pup to bring joy to your everyday life, this might be the breed for you.

Remember, this is a very natural livestock guardian dog that will prefer rural areas and farm life in a colder climate. They can be great family members, but they will also do best with at least some livestock to take care of (otherwise they may start guarding the cat!).

Origin of Great Pyrenees

Originating from the Pyrenees Mountains of France and Spain, the Great Pyrenees (also called the Pyrenean Mountain Dog ) is a historic breed revered for its guarding abilities. These majestic dogs were cherished by French nobility and have a rich history of protecting livestock from predators. 

In fact, they have made a great comeback as livestock guardians even in places like Colorado!

Origin of Bernese Mountain Dogs

The Bernese Mountain Dog hails from the Swiss Alps and has worked as a versatile farm dog in Switzerland for hundreds of years. Known for their strength, these friendly giants were indispensable to the farmers and merchants for their draft work.

Development of the Great Bernese

The Great Bernese, a hybrid breed, combines the best traits of the protective Great Pyrenees and the sturdy Bernese Mountain Dog. This crossbreed is gaining popularity among dog enthusiasts for their gentle demeanor and robust nature, suitable for various roles from companionship to farm work.

Typical Physical Traits of Great Bernese?

When you’re considering a Great Bernese as your next pet, it’s essential to understand their physical characteristics. This mixed breed combines striking features from the Great Pyrenees and the Bernese Mountain Dog.

Great Bernese Size Potential?

As a large dog breed, your Great Bernese will likely weigh between 85 to 120 pounds (38 to 54 kilograms), and can stand anywhere from 24 to 28 inches tall (61 to 71 centimeters) at the shoulder. Their size and strength are considerable, making them a commanding presence.

Coat and Color

Your Great Bernese’s coat is one of their most beautiful features — it’s long, thick, and usually has the white base of the Great Pyrenees with the distinct markings of the Bernese Mountain Dog. It will be rich with color, commonly possessing blacks, browns, and whites. Since they inherit the density of their parents’ coats, you’ll find they are well-suited to cooler climates but may require some help staying cool in the heat.


A thick double coat, usually white with black and tan markings, is a defining characteristic of the Great Bernese. These markings can include spots and patches, most notably around the eyes, ears, back, and base of the tail. Beyond their coat, their build is muscular and sturdy, a testament to the working heritage of their parent breeds. Their expressive eyes and floppy ears add to their gentle but noble demeanor, and their tail usually has a notable curve. Remember, they do tend to shed, so regular grooming will be a part of your routine to manage their magnificent mane.

Temperament and Behavior of The Great Bernese

red brown and white Great Bernese puppy for sale close up rare mixed breed

When you bring a Great Bernese into your home, you’re getting more than just a pet; you’re adding a loyal companion known for its gentle temperament. These dogs often show a mix of protective instincts combined with a friendly and affectionate nature, making them suitable for families and as guard dogs.

Personality Traits

Your Great Bernese is likely to be both gentle and affectionate. They inherit a calm demeanor from their Great Pyrenees and Bernese Mountain Dog lineage. Their protectiveness means they are naturally loyal to their families, which can make them excellent guard dogs. The independent streak in them might require patient training and socialization.

Is Great Bernese Child-Friendly?

Absolutely. The Great Bernese is typically very gentle with children, making them an ideal family pet. They are known for their patience and often become protective companions to the little ones in your household. However, due to their large size, it’s important to supervise interactions with very small children to prevent accidental bumps or falls.

Interaction with Other Pets

Typically, Great Bernese dogs are friendly and can coexist peacefully with other pets if properly introduced. They may exhibit a playful side around other family pets. As with all dog interactions, early socialization plays a crucial role in how well they accept and interact with other animals.

Guarding Instincts

Your Great Bernese might show a strong protective nature, a trait that makes them reliable guard dogs against perceived threats. They can be reserved or alert in the presence of strangers, but they aren’t usually aggressive without cause. Their protective instincts towards their family will be evident, as they always aim to keep their loved ones safe.

Exercise Needs for Great Bernese?

White and red eared Great Bernese dog in winter Great Pyrenees Bernese Mountain dog mix livestock guardian dog

If you’re thinking about getting a Great Bernese, you’ll want to know about their exercise needs. You might picture yourself taking your pup on adventures, but it’s crucial to understand how much activity they really need.

Your Great Bernese is a mix of two large, sturdy breeds, the Great Pyrenees and the Bernese Mountain Dog. Dogs like yours have pretty high energy levels that need to be managed with regular exercise. Here’s how you can keep them healthy and happy:

Daily Walks

Aim for at least 30 minutes to an hour every day. This keeps their muscles strong and their mind sharp. Plus, it’s great bonding time for both of you. But be careful as these dogs are prone to heat stroke.

Play Time

They love to play! Whether it’s fetch or tug-of-war, playing is a fun way to burn energy.

Stick to Low Impact Exercise

Since they’re big, protecting their joints is important. Activities like swimming or a gentle game of fetch are ideal.

Remember, your dog’s exercise isn’t just about physical health; it’s also for their well-being. They get to explore, sniff, and discover new things, which keeps their brains active too. So go ahead, grab that leash, and enjoy your time together!

Grooming Needs Of The Great Pyrenees Bernese Mountain Dog Mix

The Great Bernese has a dense, double coat that can be quite thick and long, especially given the Great Pyrenees parentage. Regular brushing, at least three times a week, is necessary to remove loose fur and prevent matting. During shedding seasons in spring and fall, daily brushing may be needed to manage the increased shedding.


Bathing the Great Bernese should be done every few months or as needed when the dog becomes particularly dirty. Use a dog-specific shampoo to protect their skin’s natural oils. Bathing too frequently can dry out their skin and coat, so it’s important to balance cleanliness with maintaining healthy skin.

Dental Care

Dental care is crucial for the Great Bernese to prevent dental diseases such as tartar buildup, gingivitis, and periodontal disease. Brushing their teeth several times a week with toothpaste formulated for dogs is recommended. Additionally, dental chews and regular cleanings by a veterinarian can help maintain oral health.


The Great Bernese’s nails should be trimmed regularly, about once a month, to prevent overgrowth that can cause pain and issues with walking. If you can hear the nails clicking on the floor, it’s a sign that they are too long. Care should be taken to avoid cutting into the quick, which can cause bleeding and discomfort.


Regular ear checks are important for the Great Bernese, especially because their floppy ears can trap moisture and lead to infections. Clean their ears weekly with a gentle, vet-approved ear cleaner to remove debris and prevent wax build-up. Signs of an infection include excessive scratching, redness, and a bad odor.


The Great Bernese is a heavy shedder due to its thick double coat. Shedding can be particularly intense in the spring and fall, requiring more frequent grooming sessions during these periods. Regular brushing helps to control the amount of hair shed around the house and keeps the coat healthy and mat-free.

These grooming practices not only keep the Great Bernese looking good but also contribute to their overall health

Health Issues in Great Bernese?

When considering a Great Bernese, be aware of genetic health issues that can affect their quality of life and lifespan.

Bloat (Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus) 

Both the Great Pyrenees and Bernese Mountain Dogs have a susceptibility to bloat. It’s vital for you to recognize symptoms like a swollen abdomen or retching without vomit, and to seek immediate veterinary care, as this can be a life-threatening condition if not treated quickly.

Joint Issues

Hip and elbow dysplasia are common in large breeds. These conditions can result in arthritis and mobility issues, causing discomfort in your dog’s daily activities.


The Bernese Mountain Dog breed has a higher prevalence of certain types of cancers, like Histiocytic Sarcoma, a tissue cancer, which could potentially be passed down to Great Bernese.

Neurological Conditions 

Degenerative Myelopathy and epilepsy are concerns as both can greatly affect your dog’s nervous system, leading to severe health complications. You can read more about neurological conditions in our article on if dogs can get headaches.

Remember, these giant breed dogs may also be subject to a number of heart conditions as they get older too.

Expected Lifespan

Your Great Bernese is likely to inherit traits from both parent breeds, including their expected lifespan. Generally, because larger dogs tend to have shorter lifespans, you can expect a Great Bernese to have a lifespan somewhat shorter than smaller breeds. Proactive care, including regular veterinary check-ups, can help detect and manage health issues early, potentially extending their years of companionship.

Best Diet for Great Bernese?

Finding the right food for your Great Bernese puppy is critical for their growth and health. Since your loving giant has unique dietary requirements, choosing the correct high-quality dog food is key. A fresh or minimally processed diet can support your puppy’s development if it’s well-balanced. But remember, even fresh diets need to meet the AAFCO guidelines for completeness and balance.

Here’s a quick rundown of what to look for on labels:

  • Protein: 29-34%
  • Fat: 11-16%
  • Fiber: 2.4-5.6%
  • Calcium: 0.8-1.4%
  • Phosphorus: 0.7-1.2%
  • Ca Ratio: 1.1:1 to 1.3:1%
  • Magnesium: ~0.9%
  • Vitamin D3: ~700 IU/kg

Your giant breed pup needs a controlled-calorie diet to avoid rapid growth that could lead to skeletal issues. Aim for 3,200 to 4,100 kcal/kg, but don’t just adjust the amount you feed. Incorrect calorie intake can cause nutrient imbalances.

Remember, obesity in puppies can put stress on their growing bones, so keep your pup lean with portion control and appropriate play. Antioxidants are also essential for your puppy’s immune health, and you can find them in many quality dog foods.

Avoid foods formulated for all life stages or adult dogs as these won’t have the right nutrient balance for your growing Great Bernese. Stick to diets specifically designed for large breed puppies to support their growth without exceeding the necessary nutrient intake. Always refrain from adding supplements unless directed by your vet.

As you select your puppy’s food, be aware of the contents. Look for animal proteins like poultry or fish, as these are vital for growth. And steer clear of high-processed meats like bacon, which are not ideal for your puppy’s diet.

Lastly, remember the importance of balancing omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids at a ratio of about 5:1, as these fats are crucial for your puppy’s development.

Trainability of Great Bernese?

When you get a Great Bernese, you’ll find they are pretty intelligent and trainable. With their kind and eager-to-please nature, it’s important to focus on using positive reinforcement techniques during training sessions. Early socialization is also crucial to ensure your pup grows up to be a well-behaved adult dog.

Training Techniques

You’ll see the best results in training your Great Bernese if you start when they’re young. Puppies have lots of energy, so keep training sessions short and fun; about 5-10 minutes is good. Positive reinforcement, like treats or praise when they follow commands like “sit” or “stay”, will help them learn that following directions is rewarding. Always be patient and consistent, and avoid using negative or harsh methods, as they can damage your bond with your pup.

Socialization Importance

Early socialization is incredibly important for your Great Bernese. It helps them become comfortable in different environments and with various people and animals. You want to expose your puppy to plenty of different sights, sounds, and experiences in a controlled way. This process helps to ensure they grow up to be confident and not fearful or aggressive. Socialization classes can be a great place to start, combining both training and socialization in a group setting with other dogs and people.

Ideal Living Environment for Great Bernese?

When you’re thinking about the best place for your Great Bernese to live, you want to make sure they have plenty of space. These are big pups that come from two large breeds: the Great Pyrenees and the Bernese Mountain Dog. They’re used to open spaces and will be happiest with room to roam and play.

Indoor Space:

  • Ample room inside the house, so they don’t feel cramped.
  • A cozy spot with a bed or blanket for them to snooze.

Outdoor Space:

  • A securely fenced yard where they can explore without the risk of wandering off.
  • Some shade for those hot days since they can overheat with their thick coats.


  • Daily walks or playtime to keep them fit and happy.


  • Moderate temperatures are ideal because their thick coat isn’t meant for very hot weather.
  • They can handle the cold pretty well, thanks to their mountain dog heritage.

Remember, these dogs often form strong bonds with their family, so they’ll want to be inside with you as much as possible. They’re not just pets; they’re part of the family. Just keep an eye on the thermostat and remember that they might need a cool place to retreat to in the summer months.

Your Great Bernese will thank you for a living environment that considers their size, coat, and need for companionship!

Finding a Great Bernese

When you’re on the hunt for a Great Bernese, you’ll want to know what you’re likely to spend, how to pick the right breeder, and consider adoption as a viable option.

What Should I Expect to Pay for a Great Bernese Puppy?

The price of a Great Bernese puppy can vary based on the breeder’s reputation, location, and whether the puppy’s parents are show quality. Typically, you might find prices ranging from $800 to $2,000. Some breeders might charge more for puppies with exceptional lineage or if they’re registered with organizations like the American Kennel Club (AKC).

Choosing a Breeder

When selecting a breeder, it’s essential to pick someone who is not only knowledgeable but also responsible. A good breeder:

  • Tests their breeding dogs for common genetic disorders;
  • Raises puppies in a clean, safe environment; and
  • Treats animals with care and keeps them in good health.

You should also expect them to ask questions about your own living situation to ensure you’re prepared to take on a large breed like the Great Bernese. Visit the facilities and ask for references to feel more confident in your choice.

Adoption Options

Adoption is an excellent way to bring a Great Bernese into your home. Adoptable Great Bernese puppies and adult dogs might end up in shelters or rescue organizations through no fault of their own. The costs associated with adoption are usually lower, around $50 to $400, and often include vaccinations and spaying/neutering. Remember to check local shelters and breed-specific rescues as they may have Great Bernese dogs looking for a forever home.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

In this section, you’ll find answers to common questions about Great Bernese dogs that can help you learn more about this mixed breed, including their lifespan, size, and compatibility with families.

How long do Great Bernese typically live?

Great Bernese dogs have a lifespan that is typically around 7 to 12 years. Their health and longevity can be affected by the genetic traits they inherit from their parent breeds.

What size can I expect my Great Bernese dog to reach as an adult?

As an adult, your Great Bernese dog can become quite large, often weighing between 80 to 115 pounds and standing 24 to 28 inches tall at the shoulder.

Are Great Bernese dogs considered to be good family pets?

Yes, Great Bernese dogs are known for their friendly and affectionate nature, which makes them excellent family pets. They are loyal and protective, forming strong bonds with family members.

How do Great Bernese puppies differ from Bernedoodle puppies?

Great Bernese puppies are a mix of Great Pyrenees and Bernese Mountain Dogs, resulting in a larger, more protective dog, while Bernedoodle puppies, being part Poodle, are often smaller, less shedding, and more hypoallergenic.

Where can I find a Great Bernese puppy for sale nearby?

Finding a Great Bernese puppy nearby may require research, including contacting local breeders or rescue organizations that specialize in the parent breeds or the Great Bernese mixed breed.

Final Thoughts

When you’re considering a Great Bernese as your next canine companion, keep in mind this mix thrives on companionship and space. They’re big dogs, a blend of the confident Great Pyrenees and the friendly Bernese Mountain Dog, needing room to stretch their legs.

  • Space: Your Great Bernese will appreciate a spacious yard to roam.
  • Social: This breed loves being part of the family and does well with children, given their gentle nature.
  • Grooming: Expect to spend time on grooming; these dogs have thick coats that need regular brushing.
  • Exercise: Daily exercise is essential to keep them happy and healthy.

Remember, while they can be protective, proper training is vital. They respond well to positive reinforcement – so treats and praise are your friends here.

Healthwise, be aware these dogs can face joint issues and a shorter lifespan due to their size. Regular vet check-ups are crucial.

And don’t forget, your Great Bernese needs your company, not just a big yard. This mix won’t thrive if left alone for long periods. So make sure you’re ready for a big, loving addition to your family, one that’ll give back as much affection as you put in.

Meet Your Experts

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Tamsin De La Harpe


Tamsin de la Harpe has nearly two decades of experience with dogs in rescue, training, and behavior modification with fearful and aggressive dogs. She has worked closely with veterinarians and various kennels, building up extensive medical knowledge and an understanding of canine health and physiology. She also spent two years in the animal sciences as a canine nutrition researcher, focusing on longevity and holistic healthcare for our four-legged companions. Tamsin currently keeps a busy homestead with an assortment of rescue dogs and three Bullmastiffs.

Tamsin de la Harpe has nearly two decades of experience with dogs in rescue, training, and behavior modification with fearful and aggressive dogs. She has worked closely with veterinarians and various kennels, building up extensive medical knowledge and an understanding of canine health and physiology. She also spent two years in the animal sciences as a canine nutrition researcher, focusing on longevity and holistic healthcare for our four-legged companions. Tamsin currently keeps a busy homestead with an assortment of rescue dogs and three Bullmastiffs.