Male vs Female Bernese Mountain Dog: 6 Key Differences

Written by Amber LaRock
Updated: October 1, 2023
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Don’t let their large size intimidate you – the Bernese Mountain is a gentle giant! These pups were originally bred to be hard-working pups that assisted their owners on the farm, but they have transitioned into well-rounded family dogs. They are sweet, affectionate, and active, and they are a wonderful addition to any active home. As long as you offer these smart pups the daily exercise and mental stimulation they need, they are sure to thrive by your side!

Once you decide that a Bernese Mountain Dog is the right dog for your home, you may wonder if you should choose a male or female. There are a few key differences between the male and female Bernese Mountain Dg, so let’s break down everything you need to know below!

The 7 Key Differences Between Male vs. Female Bernese Mountain Dogs

Bernese Mountain Dogs were originally bred to be skilled farm hands. They were used to do everything from herding livestock to pulling heavy carts.


Whether you’re looking for a family pet or a working dog, it’s important to understand the key differences between the female and male Bernese Mountain Dog. Both genders can thrive in any role, but their biology can influence subtle changes in appearance, personality, and physical capabilities. Let’s break down the differences between male and female Bernese Mountain Dogs in terms of physical appearance, temperament, trainability, and health!

1. Physical Differences

Like many other breeds of dog, the male Bernese Mountain Dog tends to have more prominent features than the female.

Male: Male Bernese Mountain dogs are often a bit more hardy than female Bernese Mountain dogs. They are often 25 to 27 inches tall and they can weigh anywhere from 80 to 115 pounds. Male Bernese Mountain Dogs tend to have more muscle mass than females as well.

Female: Female Bernese Mountain Dogs are slightly smaller than males. They are typically 23 to 26 inches tall and they can weigh anywhere from 70 to 95 pounds.

2. Temperamental Differences

Both genders of Bernese Mountain Dog are known for being affectionate and kind-natured. They often form close bonds with their owners and love to spend time with their family.

Male: The male Bernese Mountain Dogs tends to be a bit more affectionate than the female. They are especially loving and gentle, and they are always happy as long as their owners are around. Male Bernese Mountain Dogs have even been labeled as clingy by some pet parents. However, this is great if you are looking for a cuddly canine companion. Just be aware that they may struggle with separation anxiety more than females.

Female: Female Bernese Mountain Dogs are kind and affectionate, but they are known to be a bit more independent than males. Some Bernese parents state that females can be a bit stubborn throughout the training process due to their independence, but this is something that can be easily managed with positive praise and rewards.

3. Trainability

Bernese Mountain Dog Puppy 6 Month old

The Bernese Mountain Dog is an intelligent pup that can be taught basic obedience with ease. However, female Bernese Mountain Dogs tend to be a bit more stubborn, so you will need to make sure their training program is engaging!


The Bernese Mountain dog is considered highly intelligent. They catch on to training quickly when they are offered a positive and engaging training program.

Male: Male Bernese Mountain Dogs are considered a bit easier to train than females due to how easy going they are. They can be a bit distracted as puppies, but you can easily get them back on track with positive praise and rewards. Just be sure to introduce your pup to plenty of other dogs and people throughout the training process to prevent any aggression or fear down the line.

Female: Female Bernese Mountain Dogs are known for being more independent and stubborn than males. This can make it a bit more challenging to get their attention while training, but most Bernese parents find that it is easily managed with an engaging training program. Be sure to prioritize early socialization to prevent any fear or aggression around new people and animals down the line.

4. Health Differences

Both Bernese Mountain Dog genders are predisposed to hip dysplasia, osteoarthritis, bloat (GDV), elbow dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, allergies, epilepsy, and cancer. They have an average lifespan of 8 to 10 years.

Male: There are not many health differences in male vs. female Bernese Mountain Dogs. However, intact male Bernese Mountain dogs can develop reproductive infections and cancers impacting their penis, testicles, and prostate.

Female: Intact female Bernese Mountain Dogs can develop reproductive cancers and infections impacting their uterus and mammary tissues.

5. Relationships With Other Dogs

Both genders of the Burmese Mountain Dog are know for being gentle and friendly with other dogs. However, this is only the case with Bernese Mountain Dogs that are well-socialized from a young age. Even with their kind-nature, these pups can still struggle with fear and aggression if they have never been exposed to other dogs.

Male: Male Bernese Mountain Dogs need to be well-socialized at a young age to interact safely with other dogs, especially if they are not neutered. Intact male dogs are more prone to aggression towards other dogs, especially other males.

Female: Female Bernese Mountain Dogs need to be well-socialized at a young age to interact safely with other dogs. Female Bernese Mountain Dogs can struggle with fear and reactive aggression around other dogs if they have not been exposed to them early on.

6. Relationship With Children

Bernese mountain dog cuddling

Bernese mountain dogs are typically easy going and gentle around children. However, it’s still important to teach your children how to engage with dogs in a safe and respectful manner.


Both genders of Bernese Mountain Dog are known to do well with children, as they are kind natured and very affectionate. They are also incredibly patient, and this is essential for interactions with children. However, it is still important to teach your children how to interact with dogs safely and respectfully.

Though these pups are often good with children, they may not be the best fit for a home with small children. The Bernese Mountain Dog’s herding roots may lead them to nip at your child’s heels or push them over in effort to herd them. This can easily lead to injuries.

Advantages Of The Male vs. Female Bernese Mountain Dog

Based on the information we discussed above, you can better appreciate that choosing between a male or female Bernese Mountain Dog can be hard. Both genders have unique characteristics that better suit certain families. Let’s highlight some of the advantages of each gender of Bernese Mountain Dog below!

Pros Of Male Bernese Mountain Dogs

  • Incredibly affectionate
  • Forms close attachments to their owners
  • Generally easy going
  • Easy to train
  • Larger and more muscular build

Pros Of Male Bernese Mountain Dogs

  • Loving, but still independent
  • Less prone to separation anxiety
  • Intelligent and easy to train with an engaging program
  • Generally smaller build

No matter the gender of Bernese you choose, you are sure to get an affectionate canine friend that loves nothing more than going on an adventure with their family. Both genders are kind-natured, intelligent, and active. At the end of the day, gender will not play a significant role in your dog’s ability to be a wonderful companion. You will love your pup no matter what!

Final Thoughts On The Male & Female Bernese Mountain Dog

Male and female Bernese Mountain Dogs may differ slightly when it comes to their physical appearance, temperament, health, and training abilities. Be sure to review the information above to determine which gender of canine friend is right for your family!

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Eve Photography/

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About the Author

Amber LaRock is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering topics surrounding pet health and behavior. Amber is a Licensed Veterinary Technician with 12 years of experience in the field, and she holds a degree in veterinary technology that she earned in 2015. A resident of Chiang Mai, Thailand, Amber enjoys volunteering with animal rescues, reading, and taking care of her two cats.

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