Adopt a Bernese Mountain Dog: Finding the Right One for You

August 19, 2021
Posted in blog
August 19, 2021 Bryan Striegler

Adopt a Bernese Mountain Dog: Finding the Right One for You

adult Berner playing with Berner puppy

Are you looking for a new dog to adopt? If so, adopting a Bernese Mountain Dog may be the best decision. These dogs are known for their loyalty and gentleness with kids. They have been bred as family pets and companion animals in Switzerland since the 17th century! In this blog post, we will discuss why adopting might be better than buying, where to find them for adoption, and what tips to keep in mind when adopting your first Bernese Mountain Dog.

What you need to know about a Bernese Mountain Dog

In the next few paragraphs, I’ll do my best to tell you as much as I can about what to expect from a Bernese Mountain Dog. Still, I would suggest that you do even more research before deciding on the breed. If possible, try to meet a few different Bernese Mountain dogs and interact with them to form your own opinion.

Temperament and Personality

The Bernese Mountain Dog is a large, gentle dog that makes for an excellent companion. They are extremely loyal to their family. My dog Finn has basically been by my side since I got him three years ago. If he can’t be with me, you can tell he gets sad. He also has this happy look on his face all the time and a real gleam in his eye.

Male Bernese Mountain Dog sitting outside

Bernese Mountain dogs were bred to work on farms, so they can sometimes be suspicious of outsiders, but they quickly warm up to your guests. With this also comes barking at strangers or people outside, but that’s normal for most breeds of dogs.

They are known to be intelligent and obedient animals, which make them ideal for any family. I can personally say that both of my Bernese have amazed me at how intelligent they are. They pick up on all types of things, and focused on pleasing their masters.

Fun facts

Bernese Mountain Dogs are so strong that they can easily pull a cart full of things. If you look around on the internet, you’ll see them towing children around a backyard. Swiss Cheese producers used them in 1850 as cheese-cart pulling machines. This novelty started on other countries as far away as Belgium and as far as Canada.

Health and Life Span of a Bernese Mountain Dog

Bernese Mountain dogs can live up to 12 years old in the right home with the proper care. On average, though, most live 6-8 years. That’s the sad thing about most large breeds; they have shorter life spans.

Bernese puppy under bed

Also, like other big dog breeds, Bernese Mountain dogs have certain health concerns. They can problems with their joints like the hips or elbows, get bloat or cancer.

I believe several of these issues can be dealt with by feeding them high quality food and giving them enough exercise. We have been feeding our dog a RAW diet, so it will be interesting to see how that affects their life and overall health.


One of the things I really love about the Bernese is the big, fluffy coat. The problem is long hair means shedding and brushing. The coat needs brushing once or two times a week and much more frequently when shedding. You might decide to do grooming a few times a year as well to get rid of any buildup or knots.

Why do people put their Bernese Mountain Dogs up for adoption?

All types of dogs are surrendered and put up for adoption. It doesn’t matter if it’s a dog that was free or $2000 dog. Things happen, and sometimes people have to let go of their dog.

With Bernese Mountain Dogs, there are certain things that I could see becoming an issue.

One, the size. They are big which means they take up a lot of space, can get underfoot, knock you over, and they eat a ton! They like activities and have a lot of energy, so it’s a good idea to get training. Some owners don’t put effort into training and then wonder why their Berners misbehave.

Bernese mountain dog looking at bananas

Two, there could be some separation issues. Like I mentioned before, Bernese Mountain dogs love people, and if they are stuck at home all day and alone, there could be issues.

Three, there could be some kind of incompatibility with the breed. Maybe you really like a clean home, and it frustrates you that they shed. Maybe you live in a really hot part of the world, and you can tell they are unhappy. Whatever the reason, people do put Bernese Mountain dogs up for adoption.

How much does a Bernese Mountain Dog cost?

A few weeks ago, I wrote a whole post about how much does a Bernese Mountain dog cost. Feel free to go back and read it all. The short version is that it will vary but expect to spend $1000-$2500.

How much does it cost to adopt a Bernese Mountain Dog?

The cost to adopt a Bernese Mountain Dog will vary widely as well depending on the situation and age of the day.

Very rarely will you find one for free. Most likely you will be paying a rehoming fee. That could be anywhere from $200 to $900.

Two Bernese Mountain dogs in Arkansas

I know that is still expensive, but I am totally for a rehoming fee. This makes sure that the owner is committed and can take care of the pet. Berners deserve someone that will take care of them.

Where can I adopt or rescue one from and what are the steps involved?

There are tons of places to look to rescue or adopt a Bernese Mountain dog. The main issue you are going to run into is the quantity. Bernese Mountain dogs are relatively rare in America, so the numbers available for adoption are low. That doesn’t mean it’s not possible, but finding a Berner is going to be a lot harder than finding an organization that rescues Labrador Retrievers

Bernese Mountain Dog Rescue Organizations

The first place to search would be rescues. These are a good place because an organization is highly respected and trusted. They have put out the effort to create and help these pets. They generally focus on one type of dog, so they have experience with the breed and connections.

Most rescues will have a website that lists all of their available dogs, but you might have to contact them as well.

adult Berner playing with Berner puppy

A few random ones I found were BFW Rescue, Mason Dixon Bernese Mountain Dog Club, Bernese Mountain Dog Club of Nashoba Valley, Bernese Mountain Dog Club of Alaska, and Mason Dixon Bernese Mountain Dog Club. I also saw that Heartland Bernese Mountain Dog Club mentioned Arkansas and several other states.


I have mixed feelings about finding a dog or puppy on Facebook. It’s easy for people to create a fake account, and there are a lot of scams and bad situations out there.

If you choose to find a Berner to adopt on Facebook, do your research. Look at the person’s profile and see how many friends they have, how long they’ve been on Facebook, and what they post. This should give you a general idea of who the person is and if they are trustworthy.

Business pages and groups are more likely to be a trustworthy place on Facebook. It takes longer to create these and Facebook watches them more closely than personal accounts.

Is there anything else that I need to know before Adopting a Bernese Mountain Dog

Once you decide you want to rescue or adopt a Bernese Mountain dog and you’ve found a trusted source, you still should do a few more things.


First, try to see the dog in person. This will let you see his or her personality and temperament and see if they are gentle, more reserved, or even aggressive. If possible, bring your family as well to see how they do with everyone.

Next, find out about their health. Again, seeing them in person makes this easier. Do they look healthy? Do they have thick hair? Also, see what you can find out about their bloodline. Are there hip or elbow issues? Another common thing is to check for heart worm or other parasites.

After you Rescue a Berner

Getting a rescue dog is just the first step. Now you have to go through the process of making him or her part of your family.

Things will vary depending on the situation. A Bernese Mountain dog puppy is going to be easier to mold into the perfect pet while an older dog might require work.

when we got our bernese mountain dog puppy

No matter what, it’s a good idea to focus on training, exercise, proper nutrition, and a lot of love. So much about your Bernese Mountain dog will be based on the owner, so all the work you put in will go toward having a loving, great looking and acting pet.

Adopt or Buy a Bernese puppy?

You might be wondering why someone that sells Bernese Mountain dogs is suggesting you rescue one. The thing that matters to me the most is that dogs find a good home and people have a healthy, happy relationship with their dog. Whether the Bernese Mountain dog comes from me or a rescue, doesn’t matter.

Now, as I mentioned before, it might be difficult to find an organization or an available dog for rescue. If you are really interested in getting a Bernese Mountain dog buying one might be faster and easier. One of the big advantages is you have more options and can find a puppy that is a match of what you want.

If you need more help finding a Bernese Mountain dog rescue or if you are interested in one of mine, please contact me through the link below. I’d love to help in any way possible.