St. Bernard vs Bernese Mountain Dog: What Are 8 Key Differences?

Written by Jennifer Gaeng
Published: April 3, 2022
Image Credit Jeff Bernhard / Creative Commons
Share this post on:

Are you debating between the Bernese Mountain Dog and Saint Bernard when it comes to choosing your next doggy companion? These two canines have a lot in common yet are also incredibly distinct. This post will examine eight critical distinctions between St. Bernard and Bernese Mountain Dog in terms of appearance, attributes, and health.

St. Bernard vs Bernese Mountain Dog: A Comparison 

Bernese mountain dogs have a shorter life expectancy than most dogs.

St. BernardBernese Mountain Dog
Height26 – 30 inches22 – 27 inches
Weight120 to 200 lbs.80 to 115 lbs.
Coat typeRough, Dense, SmoothLong, Thick, Dense
Colorsbrindle, brown, mahogany, orange, red, rust, whiteBlack and White, Rust Markings
TemperamentFriendly, Independent, SocialAffectionate, Smart, Devoted
TrainabilityBelow AverageAbove Average
Life Expectancy8 to 10 Years6 to 8 Years
Energy LevelsBelow AverageAbove Average

Key Differences Between St. Bernard and Bernese Mountain Dog

Biggest Dog Breeds: Saint Bernard
The key differences between St. Bernard and Berner are size, energy level, and lifespan.

Aneta Jungerova/

5,437 People Couldn't Ace This Quiz

Think You Can?

The key differences between Saint Bernard and the Bernese Mountain Dog (a.k.a. Berner) are size, appearance, lifespan, origin, and temperament. Saint Bernards are frequently larger and heavier than Bernese mountain dogs. Additionally, while Saint Bernard and Bernese mountain dogs are related, their origin is distinct. For instance, Saint Bernard originated in the Western Alps of Italy and Switzerland, but the Berner originated in the Berne region of Switzerland.

Let us delve a little more into their distinctions.

St. Bernard vs Bernese Mountain Dog: Height

Both canines are quite tall; the Bernese Mountain Dog is between 22 and 27 inches tall. Saint Bernard stands approximately 27 inches tall, with males standing 28-30 inches tall and females standing 26-30 inches tall.

St. Bernard vs Bernese Mountain Dog: Weight

12 Animals of Christmas From Around the World - saint bernard
Saint Bernard is heavier than the Bernese mountain dog.


The Bernese mountain dog is far lighter than St. Bernard despite its size. Bernese males weigh between 85 to 115 pounds, while females weigh 80 to 106 pounds. Saint Bernard males weigh between 140 and 200 pounds, while females weigh between 120 and 140 pounds.

St. Bernard vs Bernese Mountain Dog: Coat Type

Berner is the only mountain dog breed with a long, silky coat. Saint Bernard is available with either a shorthaired or a longhaired coat. The shorthaired coat is silky smooth but dense in appearance. The coat is slightly wavy but never frizzy or scruffy in the longhaired kind.

St. Bernard vs Bernese Mountain Dog: Color

The AKC accepts the following colors for St. Bernard: brindle, brown, mahogany, orange, red, and rust. All these colors are frequently mixed with white. All purebred Bernese mountain dogs have a tricolor coat consisting of black, white, and rust, with rust-colored markings over the eyes, around the sides of the mouth, on the front legs, and out around the chest.

St. Bernard vs Bernese Mountain Dog: Temperament

Biggest Dog Breeds_ Bernese Mountain Dog
Bernese mountain dogs are loyal companions.


The first distinction is that, while both breeds make excellent family dogs, Saint Bernards are renowned for their fondness for children. They are particularly sensitive to their owners’ criticism, to the point of destruction in self-esteem. Therefore, they require a lot of love and praise. They also lack self-motivation and are typically sedentary. Although Saint Bernards are well-known for having a little lower cognitive level than other breeds, they are amazing family dogs when trained and socialized early.

Berners adores children as well, but not as much as Saint Bernards. Berners are similarly devoted to their humans and, as a result, are gaining popularity as therapy dogs. The Bernese mountain canine is an intelligent dog that responds well to praise. Berners are livelier than Saint Bernards, and as such, they require a more active household. Not only do they require some additional exercise, but they must also be more vigorous.

St. Bernard vs Bernese Mountain Dog: Trainability

Both breeds are bright and willing to satisfy their owners when it comes to training. Both are receptive to training, which explains why they have historically performed well in human-related vocations. And with a treat in hand, you may be confident that positive reinforcement training will be the most effective method of training them.

However, it is critical to begin teaching your St. Bernard immediately, especially if it will spend most of its time indoors. While it is a puppy, professional training is best to ensure it properly understands social cues and commands. Bernese mountain dogs are easy to train and respond well to positive reinforcement and rewards.

St. Bernard vs Bernese Mountain Dog: Life Expectancy

best dog breeds - Saint Bernard
Saint Bernard lives an average of 8 to 10 years.


St. Bernard lives an average of 8 to 10 years. When it comes to the Bernese Mountain dog, some sources state that they live between 6 and 8 years, while others live between 7 and 10 years. In either case, it is notably shorter than most other dogs.

St. Bernard vs Bernese Mountain Dog: Energy Level

Bernese mountain dogs have a higher activity level than other breeds of dogs, and as a result, they benefit from 20-30 minutes of daily exercise. They demand the freedom to roam, so an enclosed outdoor area is recommended, but they will prefer to be inside when you are home.

St Bernard is a laid-back dog with lower-than-average energy levels. They are adventurers at heart but are equally satisfied napping in the house. Saint Bernard is a good companion for families who are active or sedentary.

Wrapping Up St. Bernard vs Bernese Mountain Dog

Both the Berner and Saint Bernard are huge and stunning breeds that attract attention. They are related, which accounts for their similarity, but small variances, such as their size and activity level, make them distinct. Berners are more energetic than Saint Bernards and require a more energetic household. However, they both adore humans and other animals and enjoy being with the family!

Ready to discover the top 10 cutest dog breeds in the entire world?

How about the fastest dogs, the largest dogs and those that are -- quite frankly -- just the kindest dogs on the planet? Each day, AZ Animals sends out lists just like this to our thousands of email subscribers. And the best part? It's FREE. Join today by entering your email below.

What's the right dog for you?

Dogs are our best friends but which breed is your perfect match?


If you have kids or existing dogs select:

Other Dogs

Should they be Hypoallergenic?

How important is health?
Which dog groups do you like?
How much exercise should your dog require?
What climate?
How much seperation anxiety?
How much yappiness/barking?

How much energy should they have?

The lower energy the better.
I want a cuddle buddy!
About average energy.
I want a dog that I have to chase after constantly!
All energy levels are great -- I just love dogs!
How much should they shed?
How trainable/obedient does the dog need to be?
How intelligent does the dog need to be?
How much chewing will allow?
Share this post on:
About the Author

A substantial part of my life has been spent as a writer and artist, with great respect to observing nature with an analytical and metaphysical eye. Upon close investigation, the natural world exposes truths far beyond the obvious. For me, the source of all that we are is embodied in our planet; and the process of writing and creating art around this topic is an attempt to communicate its wonders.