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Bernese Mountain Dog vs. Saint Bernard — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman & Fiza Rafique — Published on February 10, 2024
The Bernese Mountain Dog is a tri-colored, agile working dog, while the Saint Bernard is a larger rescue dog, known for its gentle nature. Both are Swiss breeds.
Bernese Mountain Dog vs. Saint Bernard — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Bernese Mountain Dog and Saint Bernard


Key Differences

The Bernese Mountain Dog originates from Switzerland, bred as a farm dog for herding and pulling carts. The Saint Bernard also hails from Switzerland, historically used for rescue operations in the Alps. Both breeds have a strong working dog heritage.
Bernese Mountain Dogs are known for their distinct tri-color coat - black, white, and rust. Saint Bernards are larger and more robust, with coats that can be either short or long and typically in shades of red with white. Both breeds have a powerful, muscular build.
Bernese Mountain Dogs are known for their loyalty, affection, and intelligence. Saint Bernards are famously gentle and patient, making them excellent family pets. Both breeds are good-natured and bond closely with their families.
The Bernese Mountain Dog has a shorter lifespan, typically 7-10 years, and can be prone to specific health issues like hip dysplasia. Saint Bernards have a similar lifespan, with their large size contributing to health concerns such as joint problems. Both require regular health check-ups and care.
Bernese Mountain Dogs are large, but Saint Bernards are significantly larger. A Bernese Mountain Dog weighs around 70-115 pounds, while a Saint Bernard can weigh between 120-180 pounds. Both breeds need ample space to live comfortably.

Comparison Chart


Switzerland, farm dog
Switzerland, rescue dog

Coat Colors

Tri-colored: black, white, and rust
Red with white, short or long coat


Loyal, affectionate, intelligent
Gentle, patient, good-natured

Health and Lifespan

7-10 years, prone to hip dysplasia
8-10 years, prone to joint problems

Size and Weight

Large, 70-115 pounds
Very large, 120-180 pounds

Compare with Definitions

Bernese Mountain Dog

Originating in Switzerland, the Bernese Mountain Dog was bred for farm work.
The Bernese Mountain Dog enjoyed pulling the cart on the farm.

Saint Bernard

Known for their patient and calm demeanor, Saint Bernards are excellent family pets.
The Saint Bernard lay peacefully as the children played around it.

Bernese Mountain Dog

The Bernese Mountain Dog is a versatile working dog known for its tri-colored coat.
The Bernese Mountain Dog herded the sheep efficiently with its strong work ethic.

Saint Bernard

With a similar lifespan to Bernese Mountain Dogs, Saint Bernards also face joint health issues.
The Saint Bernard received special care to support its large frame and joints.

Bernese Mountain Dog

With a life expectancy of 7-10 years, Bernese Mountain Dogs require careful health management.
The Bernese Mountain Dog visited the vet regularly to monitor its health.

Saint Bernard

Saint Bernards are significantly heavier than Bernese Mountain Dogs, weighing up to 180 pounds.
The Saint Bernard's impressive size was evident as it lounged in the living room.

Bernese Mountain Dog

Bernese Mountain Dogs are large but less heavy compared to Saint Bernards.
The Bernese Mountain Dog played energetically in the yard, showcasing its agility.

Saint Bernard

Saint Bernard is a large, gentle breed, originally used for rescue in the Swiss Alps.
The Saint Bernard was admired for its heroic rescues in the snowy mountains.

Bernese Mountain Dog

Bernese Mountain Dogs are renowned for their affectionate and loyal nature.
The Bernese Mountain Dog waited patiently for its owner at the door.

Saint Bernard

Saint Bernards can have either short or long coats, typically red with white.
The long-coated Saint Bernard looked majestic as it walked in the park.

Common Curiosities

Are Saint Bernards good with children?

Yes, Saint Bernards are known for being gentle and patient with children.

What type of coat does a Bernese Mountain Dog have?

Bernese Mountain Dogs have a distinct tri-colored coat - black, white, and rust.

Are Bernese Mountain Dogs easy to train?

Yes, they are intelligent and usually respond well to training.

How much does a typical Saint Bernard weigh?

A Saint Bernard can weigh between 120-180 pounds.

What is the typical lifespan of a Bernese Mountain Dog?

The Bernese Mountain Dog typically lives for 7-10 years.

Do Bernese Mountain Dogs require a lot of exercise?

Yes, they are active dogs and need regular exercise.

How often should a Saint Bernard be groomed?

Regular grooming is necessary, especially for long-coated varieties.

Are Saint Bernards prone to any specific health issues?

They can have joint problems and other issues related to their large size.

How much food does a Saint Bernard typically eat?

Given their size, they require a significant amount of food, tailored to their activity level.

What were Saint Bernards originally bred for?

Saint Bernards were originally bred for rescue work in the Swiss Alps.

Can Saint Bernards live in apartments?

Due to their size, Saint Bernards are better suited to homes with more space.

Do Bernese Mountain Dogs shed a lot?

Yes, they have a thick coat and shed, especially seasonally.

Do Bernese Mountain Dogs get along with other pets?

Generally, they are sociable and get along well with other pets.

What is the ideal environment for a Bernese Mountain Dog?

They thrive in cooler climates and need ample outdoor space.

Are Bernese Mountain Dogs good for first-time dog owners?

They can be, as long as the owner is prepared for their size and exercise needs.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.
Co-written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.

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