Bernese Mountain Dogs are prized for being gentle giants that get along with everyone. Male and female alike, they love their owners and can work hard at the same time. Even though both males and females are known for their numerous likable traits, there are some slight differences.
The main difference between male and female Berners is in their independence and stubbornness. Males tend to be much more predictable and have less stubborn streaks. In contrast, the females can be moody and are much more independent. At the same time, females mature faster, which means they respond to commands and training quicker.
So, you should get the male if you’re most concerned about having a likable and reliable dog but a female if you want one that is slightly easier to train.
No matter what gender you select, Bernese Mountain Dogs tend to be some of the most likable, lovable, and cuddly big dogs around. To learn more about the differences between male and female Berners, read on.
At a Glance
Bernese Mountain Dog 101
Bernese Mountain Dogs were once hard working dogs, but they are now known for their sweet and cuddly nature. Despite their large size, Bernese Mountain Dogs are wonderful pets because they love to play with adults and are notably gentle with children.
Because of their large size, Bernese Mountain Dogs don’t make great apartment dwellers. However, their thick coat means that they fit perfectly in cold environments, especially on farmlands and pasture lands. If you keep one of these dogs at the farm, they can help you with just about anything, from herding cattle to pulling carts.
One thing that’s particularly attractive about Bernese Mountain Dogs is that they are incredibly intelligent and live to please their owners. So, they aren’t very challenging when it comes to training.
That being said, Bernese Mountain Dogs can be a handful. Their size alone can make them difficult to have in small homes or to travel with. More so, these dogs shed quite a bit and drool to match. Grooming will be a bit difficult with these dogs as a result.
Another downside of Bernese Mountain Dogs is that they have a short lifespan. Because there is a small gene pool, many of the dogs experience genetic conditions similar to inbreeding. Even if you purchase your Bernese Mountain Dog from a reputable breeder, they still may experience health conditions common in the breed.
If you are willing to put up with the drool, shedding, and health conditions, you will be more than pleased with a Bernese Mountain Dog. Their excellent temperament and exquisite beauty make them a favorite among dog people everywhere.
Male Bernese Mountain Dog Overview
Most people agree that male Bernese Mountain Dogs have a slight advantage over female ones. They simply are more laid back and caring, though early socialization is a must with any large breed like the Bernese Mountain Dog.
Personality / Character
All Bernese Mountain Dogs are known for being kind, affectionate, and loving, especially to their owners. However, male Bernese Mountain Dogs are especially gentle and loving. Especially with early socialization, male Bernese Mountain Dogs tend to be very laid back.
Occasionally, Bernese Mountain Dogs can be a bit stubborn, but the stubbornness is typically short-lived. Even when your dog is acting stubborn, it will still be loving and affectionate. Often, the stubbornness happens when the dog is still growing since males take longer to mature than females.
Male Bernese Mountain Dogs are relatively easy to train. Obviously, a puppy will be much more difficult to train than a young adult. Puppies might be a bit more absentminded and stubborn, but you can easily coax your Berner into listening to you.
During the training process, establish yourself as the alpha early on. If you do this, training your male Berner will likely be very easy. During the training process, try to introduce your Bernese Mountain Dog to as many new people, animals, and situations as possible so that they are socialized from an early age.
Health & Care
All Bernese Mountain Dogs, regardless of sex, have serious health conditions to be aware of and a short lifespan. Males and females are generally prone to the same conditions, but males are prone to male-specific illnesses, such as cancer relating to reproductive organs.
Breeding Bernese Mountain Dogs can be incredibly difficult because they have such a small gene pool to begin with. Even the most diligent of Berner breeders often run into inbreeding problems, such as genetic health problems.
This is especially likely if the male dog is selected by too many breeders. Whenever a singular male is selected for mating with many females, the offspring tend to have too similar genetic information, which causes the next generation to have illnesses related to inbreeding, such as von Willebrand’s disease and progressive retinal atrophy.
For this reason, it’s important that males are not overbred. Even though it may not hurt the sire in question, it will negatively impact the gene pool of the species.
Female Bernese Mountain Dog Overview
Even though most people prefer male Bernese Mountain Dogs to females, the females are still loving, affectionate, and beautiful. In comparison to most other big dogs, the female Bernese Mountain Dog makes a great pet, although they are more independent than the males.
Personality / Character
Female Bernese Mountain Dogs are very loving and kind, but females are prone to more mood swings than males. These swings don’t necessarily lead to aggression, but it does make female Bernese Mountain Dogs less predictable or laid back.
Another difference between females and males is that females are notably more independent than males. Even though the males can have stubborn streaks at times, females are more independent, which means they might not mind you as much as the males.
Female Berners can be easier to train simply because they mature faster. Because of their maturity, they can learn tricks and commands much faster than their male counterparts.
The issue with training female Bernese Mountain Dogs is that their independence can get in the way of obeying the commands. In other words, just because your female Berner knows the commands does not mean she will listen to them.
Health & Care
Most of the conditions female Bernese Mountain Dogs suffer from are the same as the males. Certain cancers are more prevalent in females than males, notably in the reproductive system.
Much of the same issues described in the male breeding section applies to females. Females are just as likely to inherit diseases due to the small genetic pool of the breed. More so, getting pregnant and giving birth may be more difficult for female Berners if the dame has serious reproductive issues due to inbreeding.
When breeding females, you must consider frequency and age as well. As with any breed, Berner dames should only be bred one or two times a year and never more. Overbreeding the female will lead to health problems for both the dame and her offspring.
Which Sex Is Right For You?
Both male and female Bernese Mountain Dogs make great pets. The breed is known for being affectionate, loving, and gentle, even around young kids and strangers. At the same time, their large size and known health conditions mean that Berners are not suited for the faint of heart.
Between males and females, most people prefer males because they are more laid back and predictable. Although they may be a bit difficult to train when they are young, they don’t have as many mood swings or independent streaks as the female. Still, the female Bernese Mountain Dog is a wonderful pet too, just a bit more stubborn.
Select which sex you want based on predictability and age of maturing. The male is right for you if you want the most loyal and predictable Berner, but get the female if you care more about rapid maturation than predictability.
Featured Image Credit: NadineDoerle, Pixabay (top); NadineDoerle, Pixabay (bottom)