Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Vs Bernese: Here’s The Comparison

Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Vs Bernese

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If you’re looking for a large, loyal companion, you may be wondering whether a Greater Swiss Mountain Dog vs Bernese Mountain dog is the right breed for you.  

Both are loving, and affectionate dogs that make great pet animals. However, there are some important differences between the two breeds that potential owners should be aware of. 

Here, we will compare the two breeds in terms of appearance, temperament, and care requirements. By the end, you should have a better understanding of which breed would be the best fit for your lifestyle.


Breed History

Here is a quick overview of the history of both breeds:

Bernese Mountain Dog

Bernese Mountain Dog

The Bernese Mountain Dog originates from the Canton of Bern in Switzerland. The dog was originally used for herding, guarding, and pulling carts on farms. However, their numbers started to dwindle in the 20th century as they were slowly replaced by tractors and other vehicles. 

Swiss breed lovers realized that they had to step into action to save the breed and that is what they did. A professor called Albert Heim established the Berner breed club in 1907 and started a breeding program to preserve the Bernese Mountain Dog. 

The breed has since become popular all over the world and is known for being an affectionate, loyal, and obedient dog.

Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is one of the dogs similar to bernese mountain dog. Compared to the Berner, the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is an older breed of dog. It is believed that the Swissy originated in Roman times. Due to his ancestry, he is known as the ‘greater’ one because his ancestors were Julius Caesar’s Mastiff-type war dogs.

Besides being the foundation of the four Swiss breeds, he is also the largest breed. The Great Swiss is also a component breed of Saint Bernard (which, contrary to popular belief, is not part of the four Swiss mountain breeds).

Unlike Berner, he wasn’t localized to one area. In addition to farm work, he was also used for draft work. 

Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Vs Bernese- A Detailed Comparison

Let’s take a closer look at Bernese Mountain Dog vs Greater Swiss debate:


One of the main differences between the Bernese Mountain Dog and the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is their appearance. The Bernese Mountain Dog is the smaller of the two. 

He weighs 70 to 115 pounds and stands 23 to 28 inches tall. Compared to the Swissy, who weighs between 85 and 140 pounds, and measures just one inch taller.

For one, the Bernese has a longer and shaggier coat, while the Swissy’s coat is much shorter and tighter. Both breeds have double-layered coats that are thick and insulating, but the Bernese Mountain Dog is more demanding when it comes to grooming. 

Both breeds sport the traditional Swiss colors of black, white, and rust. They both have the classic white blaze marking on their muzzle and forehead. However, because of the Bernese’s shaggy good looks and similar size, they are often mistaken for a Saint Bernard with a black coat.


Both breeds are loyal and protective and will do anything to keep their pack safe. However, there are some personality differences between the two that you should be aware of before making your decision.

The Swissy is the more protective of the two breeds, and he has a more dominant personality. He needs an experienced dog owner, whereas the Berner could be taken on by a first-time dog owner.

The Berner is the more cuddly of the two breeds, mainly because he is slightly more laidback than the Swissy. This is one of the reasons why he makes a great farm guard dog – he’s not as likely to pick a fight, but he’ll certainly finish it if someone tries to harm his family.


Bernese Mountain Dog

Swiss Mountain Dogs are known for being a bit more stubborn than Bernese Mountain Dogs. They are also known for being great haulers and pullers. When training a Swiss Mountain Dog, it is important to use food as a motivator. This breed does not respond well to harnesses unless they are used for hauling.

Bernese Mountain Dogs are affectionate dogs that crave attention from their owners. They are more sensitive to negative feedback and separation than Swiss Mountain Dogs. If left alone for too long, a Bernese Mountain Dog may develop unwanted behaviors.

If you are looking for a dog that is intelligent and loyal, but also has a bit more character, the Swiss Mountain Dog may be a perfect choice. If you are looking for an affectionate dog that craves attention, the Bernese Mountain Dog may be the better option.


Both breeds are giant breeds, so their lifespans are shorter than those of many other breeds. But the smaller of the two – the Bernese Mountain Dog – actually has a shorter lifespan than the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog.

The Bernese Mountain Dog is expected to live between 7 and 10 years, while the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog has a lifespan of 8 to 11 years. The difference is not that big though, so the most important thing is to make sure your pup is on a healthy diet, gets enough exercise and regular vet’s checkups.

Both breeds are relatively healthy, but the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is the healthier of the two. The Bernese Mountain Dog is prone to both elbow and hip dysplasia, as is the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog. But because the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is a heavier breed, it is also prone to shoulder dysplasia – which is much less common than other joint dysplasia.

A Berner is also recommended to be screened for various heart conditions, including dilated cardiomyopathy. A condition called Von Willebrand’s disease affects him as well. It is the breeder’s responsibility to screen for these conditions and to breed healthy dogs only.


When it comes to feeding large dogs, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. First and foremost, they should be eating a high-quality diet that provides them with well-balanced nutrition. 

This diet should include real meat proteins, carbohydrates, fiber, healthy omega fats, vitamins, and minerals. Another key ingredient to look out for is glucosamine and chondroitin, which will help support their large joints.

The Bernese Mountain Dog and Swissy are both known for their hearty appetites. As such, it’s important to be mindful of how much food you’re giving them each day. On average, a Berner will consume three to four cups of food per day, while a Swissy will eat four to five cups. 

However, this amount can vary depending on your dog’s size, age, activity level and type of food. Overfeeding can lead to obesity, which can then cause a host of other health problems. So be sure to monitor your pup’s food intake closely to ensure they’re staying healthy and fit.


Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

If you’re lucky enough to own a Berner or dogs that look like bernese mountain dog, you know that these pups need plenty of exercise. An hour of activity each day is essential for their overall health and well-being. Even if there’s snow on the ground (which they would love), they still need to get out and stretch their legs.

As giant dog breeds, Berners and Swissies will be great companions on long walks or hikes in scenic areas like nature reserves or parks. They love being outdoors and getting fresh air and can become cabin feverish if they’re cooped up for too long.

During their growth period, it’s important not to over-exercise these pups. Too much impact can cause developmental abnormalities, so it’s best to stick to moderate activity levels. Once they’re fully grown, they’ll be able to handle more intense exercise without any problems.


The last point in bernese mountain dog vs greater swiss mountain dog debate revolves around grooming. When it comes to grooming, both the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog and Bernese need good shampooing. 

The Berner would benefit from a shampoo with conditioning ingredients, as this will prevent any hair tangling. But with double coats, you should also consider a concentrated shampoo for both breeds as this will provide a deeper cleanse.

The Bernese mountain dog is the only Swiss mountain dog to have a long silky coat. This means that his grooming schedule is more intense than the Swissy. The Berner needs brushing two or three times a week, and likely a need de-shedding at least twice a year with a proper tool.

The Swissy, on the other hand, has a short double coat that is weather resistant and repels dirt. He only needs an occasional brushing, and he doesn’t require de-shedding. This makes him a better choice for families who don’t have the time to commit to intense grooming sessions.

Wrapping Up!

Finally, we would like to say that there is no clear winner between the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog vs Bernese. It all depends on what you are looking for in a dog. 

If you are looking for a big, cuddly companion who will be content to lounge around the house with you, then the Bernese is the perfect breed for you. However, if you are looking for a more active partner who is willing to protect you and your property, then the Swissy is the better choice. 

Whichever breed you choose, you’re sure to have a faithful friend for life.

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