Male vs. Female Bernese Mountain Dog: Which Is Better?

Male and female Bernese Mountain Dog smiling while sitting on the grass

Both male and female Bernese Mountain Dogs are highly likable pets. In fact, they are gentle giants, and when you’ve set your eyes to open your home to one, you might ponder what gender is better suited for you.

Generally, male Bernese Mountain Dogs are ultimate people pleasers. They are more obedient, trainable, and laid-back. Meanwhile, their female counterparts are a bit more independent and stubborn. Overall, both male and female Berners make fantastic guard dogs and family protectors. 

Male and female Bernese Mountain Dogs have many similarities and pros, just like other breeds. But they also have a few differences and cons.

All of which we will discuss in this article to help you out before you decide. Hopefully, by the end, you will reach a conclusion on what gender suits your home and lifestyle.

Physical Differences

Male and female Bernese Mountain Dog puppies playing in the forest

Male Bernese Mountain Dogs

When it comes to physical traits, male and female Berners look alike. They have the same coat colors, coat types, and sweet expressions. However, their size and weight really set them apart from each other.

As young puppies, you can’t tell significant physical differences between the two genders. But once Berners are full-grown adults, the differences become more prominent.

According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), male Berners stand around 25 to 27.5 inches tall and weigh between 80 and 115 pounds. They are an inch taller and around 10 to 15 pounds heavier than female Berners.

In addition, male Berners are more muscular and athletic-looking with broader shoulders and coarser furs than their female partners, making them more energetic and in need of physical activity.

In comparison to females, these characteristics also mean more food intake and a more frequent grooming routine for male Bernese Mountain Dogs.

Female Bernese Mountain Dogs

In contrast, female Bernese Mountain Dogs are slightly smaller and thinner. They are about 23 to 26 inches tall and weigh around 70 to 95 pounds on average, according to the AKC.

Female Berners are as strong as male ones, and if they need to, they can show anyone how much force they have on them despite being a few inches shorter and a few pounds lighter.

Additionally, their size difference is not always notable. At first glance, it may be difficult to spot. They must be at least 18 to 24 months old before you can distinguish and see an apparent difference between them.

Compared to male Berners, female Bernese Mountain Dogs are much neater. This makes their grooming routine less frequent while still maintaining their natural shine. 

Moreover, despite being energetic, they usually mean business and are generally less playful, making them unexposed to unnecessary dirt and filth compared to the playful male Berner.

Temperamental Differences

Male Bernese Mountain Dogs

Generally, Bernese Mountain Dogs are known to be affectionate and kind. However, males are more laid-back and are extra-loving and clingy towards their families.

A friend of mine has a one-year-old male Bernese Mountain Dog named Bernie, and he will always tell me that his dog does not seem to have an idea of how big it is. It is so sweet and affectionate that it would oftentimes sit down on his lap as he sits on the couch or will just lay above him as he sleeps on the bed.

Bernie does this gently and slowly, though, given its laid-back personality, so it does not pose a risk of causing injuries.

They spread love to everyone in the household, especially if they know that they are not the alpha in the pack. Compared to females, they also do not play favorites.

Without early socialization, they may minimally show signs of being stubborn, but it won’t be engraved in their personalities growing up, given they get trained to behave appropriately in different situations. 

Often, their stubbornness is due to immaturity and lack of focus rather than the intention of disobeying their owners.

In fact, male Berners usually prioritize being able to obey and please their owners as long as they remain firm with them. Additionally, they don’t have mood swings compared to females, making them more predictable.

However, you can expect zoomies here and there and a handful of unwanted behaviors, such as nipping and mouthing, if you don’t give them enough daily exercise and activities. 

For male Berners, they should get at least an hour of physical and mental stimulation to keep them healthy and happy. Plus, it keeps your home damage-free as well.

Overall, the temperament of male Bernese Mountain Dogs varies on the type of environment and upbringing they grew up in. The more you invest time and effort in teaching them as puppies, the more desirable adults they become.

Female Bernese Mountain Dogs

Female Berners are also loving and charming as family pets. However, they are more independent than male ones. This female dog may likely be less clingy than its male counterpart despite enjoying being in your company.

Often, they don’t need or want all of your attention and are fine with having a space in the household that they can enjoy alone. Due to this, they also tend not to prioritize pleasing their owners.

Since they are female dogs, they have heat cycles and sometimes experience hormonal changes and cramping. When this happens, despite them loving your cuddles, you must know your boundaries, as they may get irritated at you.

Moreover, they are intelligent and obedient but may exhibit more stubbornness and mood swings. But don’t worry, since female Berners are not aggressive to other pets and family members when given early socialization. 

Furthermore, they are fierce, loyal dogs that make excellent protectors. They may not be as showy as the male Berners, but they are fantastic family companions.

To learn more about the temperament of the Bernese Mountain Dog, watch this video:

BERNESE MOUNTAIN DOG - Characteristics and Care

Behavior and Training

Female Bernese Mountain Dog during training

Male Bernese Mountain Dogs

Male Bernese Mountain Dogs are slower to reach maturity. Therefore, they may be easily distracted and play rather than train. But don’t fret. They are intelligent, so a little firmness and a change of tone can direct their attention.

Since they are enormous dogs, it’s best if you train them in a secured backyard initially rather than an open park. This way, if they ever get distracted and run around, it is easier for you to take control of the situation.

Moreover, male Berners are sensitive dogs, So do not ever be harsh or aggressive with them when they are a little stubborn. Use positive reinforcements, rewards, toys, or treats, and they will respond well.

Like other breeds, Bernese Mountain Dogs tend to mark their territory by urinating on it. In fact, this trait is carried over to some Bernese Mountain Dog mixes. 
This trait is usually more common in males than in female Berners. Hence, it is important to correct this behavior early on. 

Female Bernese Mountain Dogs

Female Berners act maturely and mean business earlier than males. They are also brighter and wiser. At the age that males still want to play, the female is already eager to learn and explore her capabilities.

However, because of their dominance and independence, they sometimes do what their mind is set on doing. That’s why they may be more stubborn than males but are easier to control. 

Moreover, these female dogs are often faster in finishing tasks. But what usually stops them from being obedient is comfort.

Because female Bernese Mountain Dogs are intelligent, they always weigh whether following your orders may be comfortable or convenient for them. So you may need a little more patience in dealing with them during training.

You can switch to lighter activities, such as using lick mats to stimulate them mentally and emotionally. In addition, since they are naturally fast learners, they can easily pick up where they left off easily and successfully.

Health Differences

Male Bernese Mountain Dogs

Regardless of gender, Bernese Mountain Dogs have a 7 to 10 years short lifespan, and both genders are susceptible to the same disease.

Nevertheless, male Bernese Mountain Dogs are usually prone to reproductive diseases if they are intact and weight-related illnesses in general because of their size.

Here’s a list of conditions a male Bernese Mountain Dog may be prone to:

  • Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH): BPH is caused by androgenic stimulation or an altered androgen-estrogen ratio and can exhibit painful urination and bleeding. It is the most common disease in an intact male dog.
  • Hip Dysplasia: Though female Berners can acquire this, males are more prone to hip dysplasia since they are bigger. This is usually genetically linked and is caused by an abnormality in the conformation of the dog’s hip joints while growing up.
  • Obesity: Male Berners can gain weight fast. Since they are large dogs, an added weight can easily lead to obesity. However, this disease is highly preventable through proper diet and exercise.

Another tip to keep your male Bernese Mountain Dog healthier and lessen their unwanted behavior is to have them neutered. 

Once your male Berner is fixed, it will exhibit less aggressiveness towards females in heat and other male dogs and the tendency to pee everywhere and mark territory.

Female Bernese Mountain Dogs

Similar to male Bernese Mountain Dogs, we also advise pet owners to spay their female pets mainly for the same reasons. It lessens their aggression and mood swings as it helps with hormone regulation.

Moreover, like their male partners, female Bernese Mountain Dogs have reproductive issues and other diseases they are prone to. 

Here are some health issues to watch out for in female Bernese Mountain Dogs:

  • Pyometra: Pyometra is known as the infection of the womb. A bacterial infection can cause this after your female dog has finished its heat season. If untreated, pyometra could be fatal in the long run.
  • Lymphosarcoma: Lymphosarcoma or lymphoma is a common cancer in female Bernese Mountain Dogs that comes from the dangerous growth of lymphocytes. This is a type of white blood cell that helps the immune system fight against infection.
  • Vaginitis: Vaginitis is known as the inflammation of the vagina. This can be caused by many factors, such as urinary tract infections, foreign bodies, vaginal tumors, and anatomical abnormalities. It is usually treated with antibiotics and vaginal antiseptics.

Most of these health issues can be prevented by having your Bernese Mountain Dog spayed. This medical procedure is highly recommended if you want to prolong your dog’s life.

Additionally, the biggest factor that affects your Berner’s health, regardless of gender, is acquiring them from reputable breeders. So make sure you stay away from puppy mills and backyard breeders.

With Other Dogs and Pets

Male Bernese Mountain Dog sitting on the snow with other breeds

Male Bernese Mountain Dogs

Male Berners tend to be aggressive to other dogs, especially if it is a male, since both will fight to be the alpha in the pack. But they won’t cause actual damage compared to females. 

Aside from challenging each other, these fights often happen when both male dogs are intact, and you have a female dog in heat inside your home.

However, this can be prevented through early socialization and training. Introducing them to other dogs through pet parks or doggy daycare can also help them be at ease with other dogs around. 

Once they are socialized and trained, male Bernese Mountain Dogs tend to be their best versions. They become more sociable with other dogs and pets.

In addition, you must know that since they are massive dogs, they have high prey drives and hunting instincts. So if they grow up untrained, they may have tendencies to chase small animals such as hamsters and rabbits.

Female Bernese Mountain Dogs

On the other hand, female Berners can be more dangerous. They are more likely to kill and hurt other dogs due to their assertiveness, mood swings, and desire for dominance.

This doesn’t mean that you female Berner will always start fights even if they can. Their instinct is usually protective, and their goal is always to eliminate what they perceive as threats to keep the surroundings safe.

Unlike male Bernese Mountain Dogs, females are more cautious and protective of themselves, making them less trusting of other pets. They may have difficulty socializing initially, so it’s up to owners to teach and guide them. 

However, the good side is that they mature and learn swiftly, making them easier to control and use commands, especially in the presence of other dogs and pets.

Aside from socialization and training sessions, you can tame their mood swings by spaying them at the right age, as they may be aggressive to other dogs while in heat.

With Children

Male Bernese Mountain Dogs

Bernese Mountain Dogs, regardless of gender, are excellent with children. Males, specifically, are the more playful and fun ones. So they may enjoy bonding around with children, like playing fetch.

Given that your male Berners are socialized and trained, these dogs may see children as playmates and part of the pack, resulting in their protective response if they feel that they are not safe.

Since male Berners are more extensive than females, it is best to supervise when your small children play with them. Despite meaning no harm, these dogs can easily knock them down accidentally because of their size.

Female Bernese Mountain Dogs

Female Bernese Mountain Dogs are more severe and independent than males, but they are still loving and tolerant of children. They even protect them, primarily when they have formed a deep bond already.

Moreover, female Berners are more nurturing and careful with children because of their parental or motherly instinct. In addition, since they are less energetic than males, they are much calmer during playtime.

However, aside from the socialization and training sessions for the dog, it’s also best to teach your children how to handle Berners gently. 

Being too hard on playing with them or intensely grabbing them is a big no for any dog, especially female Berners.

Pros and Cons of Male and Female Bernese Mountain Dogs

Male and female Bernese Mountain Dog walking side by side

Male Bernese Mountain Dogs

Like other dog breeds, a male Bernese Mountain Dog is not perfect. They have good and bad sides, which we will discuss in this section.

Firstly, these dogs are fun to be with. They are playful and would always want your affection and attention. They don’t have mood swings and are rarely unpredictable.

Moreover, since they are energetic and enormous, they are great as cuddling companions and adventure buddies. They are also more relaxed with strangers or guests at your home.

However, they may be harder to train, especially when they are younger, since they are easily distracted and would love to play rather than train. They can also be aggressive to other dogs if not socialized.

In addition, they may frequently exhibit undesired behavior, such as marking territory and humping things or people if they are not neutered.

Laid back and highly affectionateHarder to train
PredictableCan be aggressive to other dogs
Excellent companionsTend to hump and mark territory
PlayfulExtremely hyper
Eager to please peopleMore likely to develop separation anxiety
More sociableEasily gets distracted

Female Bernese Mountain Dogs

On the other hand, Female Bernese Mountain Dogs have their own pros and cons to be considered as well.

To start, these female dogs are brilliant, and they mature quickly. So picking up commands and obedience training will run smoothly as long as you keep each session interesting for them.

Female Berners are strong and protective, making them excellent guard dogs. They are also independent dogs, so you don’t have to worry about them developing separation anxiety since they like their own space.

In contrast, they can have a lot of mood swings and may be unpredictable and stubborn at times. At worst, they can initiate fights, especially if they are unspayed.

They won’t pee anywhere or hump, unlike male Bernese Mountain Dogs; however, they can break things or dig holes in your backyard if they don’t get the daily exercise they need.

Excellent guard dogsMoody and unpredictable
More independentCan start fights
Brilliant and easy to trainTendency to break things and dig holes
Nurturing to childrenSelective to a favorite family member
More loyalLess sociable
Matures earlierDistrusting to strangers and other pets

Should You Get a Male or Female Bernese Mountain Dog?

The best way to know which gender you should get is not only by looking at their pros and cons but also by looking at your lifestyle to see if it matches the particular gender of the dog.

If you’re looking for highly affectionate and people-pleasing companions to be with or if you have lots of time and patience to deal with their playful and clingy attitude, then the best choice for you is the male Berner.

They are perfect for ample-sized homes and people with work-from-home jobs. In addition, they are also great for active and adventurous owners, preferably those who know how to train them properly.

On the other hand, acquiring a female Berner is best if you want a more independent and trusty guard dog. They are easier to train, and they learn fast. However, you should be patient enough to handle their mood swings.

Moreover, they won’t need too much of your attention compared to males. Just make sure you love them right and exercise them daily. They are most suitable for experienced owners, preferably without other female dogs.

Regardless of your choice, Bernese Mountain Dogs are considered all-around dogs, and they will surely be a loving ball of energy in your household.

Frequently Asked Questions

Male and female Bernese Mountain Dog playing on the sand

Are Male or Female Bernese Mountain Dogs Calmer?

Generally, male and female Bernese Mountain Dogs are not aggressive, especially if socialized early. However, male Berners are seen to be calmer than their female counterparts. They don’t have mood swings at all.

Female Berners are independent and quiet in their own world, but due to their unpredictability, mood swings, and protective nature, they tend to fight if needed.

Are Male or Female Bernese Mountain Dogs More Affectionate?

When it comes to Bernese Mountain Dogs, males are more affectionate and clingy to their owners rather than females. Male Berners have a sweeter nature, while females prefer some independence at particular times.

However, this doesn’t mean that female Berners are snobbish. They are also loving towards their owner and are loyal at all times. But they are not as showy as their male counterparts.

Are Male or Female Bernese Mountain Dogs Easier To Train?

Female Bernese Mountain Dogs are easier to train than males. They mature much earlier and faster, making them able to understand commands and training sessions more manageable.

In fact, a male could be the same age as a mature female and still want to goof and play around rather than pay attention to learning. The only time females are difficult to train is when they are in heat.

Final Thoughts

Coming up with a decision is tough, but now that you’re more knowledgeable about male and female Bernese Mountain Dogs, it’s much easier to weigh all the factors, as well as the pros and cons.

Remember, regardless of breed and gender, every dog is different. Their personalities can vary from each other. As usual, only proper training, unconditional love, and a healthy upbringing can make a dog perfect.

For the most part, you can’t go wrong with either a male or female Bernese Mountain Dog. As long as you have the budget to cover the costs and the right attitude in taking care and training your pet, you’ll surely have a great time.

Have you decided on which one to bring home? Let us know your own thoughts about male and female Berners in the comments below!

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