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10 Mountain Dog Breeds

Nicole Cosgrove

May 25, 2021

While most of us instantly recognize the likes of the Saint Bernard and may have met a Bernese Mountain Dog or two, other breeds are also considered mountain dog breeds.

These are dogs that were bred to survive in or work in mountain ranges across the world. This has led to dogs that tend to be able to withstand extreme weather conditions, that can cope with rugged terrain, and that enjoy time outdoors as much as indoors.

Below are 10 mountain dog breeds. Some of them are giants, and all of them are towering examples of tough dogs that make for excellent companion pets for the right people.

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1. Saint Bernard

female saint bernard outside
Image Credit: Artush, Shutterstock

The Saint Bernard is arguably the best known on this list and is named for the St Bernard Hospice in Switzerland. Monks here have bred the dog since the 17th century, and the giant breed has been used to parade the region looking for hapless and lost travelers.

The breed requires a lot of room, whether indoors or outdoors, and requires daily exercise. As a note, this can come in the shape of a brisk walk rather than any long-distance running.

The Saint Bernard tends to show an astute understanding of its size and can make an excellent family pet that will protect the smallest members of the family.


2. Great Pyrenees

great pyrenees in the mountain
Image Credit: Paolo Seimandi, Shutterstock

The Great Pyrenees is another giant breed, although not usually as heavy as the Saint Bernard. The Pyr, as it is affectionately referred to, looks after families and flocks in the Pyrenees mountains.

The breed is known for its ability to be able to determine and judge potential danger. It is considered a calm and level-headed dog but its size means that you will certainly know about it if you introduce the Great Pyrenees into your life. It is another large breed that is considered good with children, knowing that it is a large dog, but that will require plenty of space to be comfortable.


3. Bernese Mountain Dog

Bernese mountain dog_david muscroft_Shutterstock
Image Credit: david muscroft, Shutterstock

An adult Bernese Mountain Dog will weigh about the same as a Great Pyrenees but has a tricolor coat consisting of white, brown, and black. It is one of four well-known and closely related Swiss mountain dogs, along with the Appenzeller Sennenhund, the Entlebucher Mountain Dog, and the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog.

This breed can be traced back to the Roman Mastiffs, although it is smaller than the mammoth breeds of the time. It was used as a herding dog, is a hardy and healthy dog, and it can cope with very cold and extreme weather conditions.


4. Newfoundland

Newfoundland dog
Image Credit: Pandas, Shutterstock

The Newfoundland, or Newfie, comes from Newfoundland and is one of the giant breeds that is referred to as a nanny dog because of how gentle they are with small children.

This massive teddy bear was originally a working dog. It would have originally worked as a seaman’s dog helping to drag in nets and manage catches. He then became a water rescue dog and his influence spread across the mountains of Switzerland.

Although the breed may still be found working as a rescue dog, it is just as likely to be found playing in the yard with family children.


5. Entlebucher Mountain Dog

Entlebucher Sennenhund
Image Credit: Valery Kraynov, Shutterstock

Another Swiss mountain dog, the Entlebucher Mountain Dog is the smallest and fastest of the Alpen breeds. It was used to manage and guard livestock and needed speed to be able to easily track all of the members of its herd.

This intelligent breed is independent, so it will enjoy some time to itself, but it is also considered a loyal and devoted dog so will also enjoy spending time with you and the rest of its family. They play, get along with children, but they need a lot of exercise in order to enjoy a fulfilled life.


6. Appenzeller Sennenhund

Appenzeller Sennenhund
Image Credit: Pixabay

The Appenzeller Sennenhund is the final of the four Swiss mountain breeds in this list. It was originally bred to herd livestock and was used for draughting jobs, which essentially meant pulling heavy carts.

The breed needs a lot of exercise and it will require consistent training from a young age. It can also be very wary around strangers, which is a worry with a breed of this size and strength. It is suggested that the Appenzeller is best left to experienced handlers and owners.


7. Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

Greater Swiss Mountain Dog in winter
Image Credit: Zuzule, Shutterstock

The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is a giant Swiss breed that is usually actually a little larger than the Saint Bernard and is, therefore, the largest of the Swiss breeds.

It shares the same brown, white, and black markings as the other Swiss mountain breeds and was raised as a hardworking farm dog. It would guard property as well as herd livestock and pull heavy carts.


8. Tibetan Mastiff

Mountain Mastiff tibetan
Image Credit: Tatyana Kuznetsova, Shutterstock

The Tibetan Mastiff is an ancient, ancient breed. It was bred to survive in the Himalayan mountains, so it is a very hardy and tough animal. It was used to guard animals and the breed is virtually nocturnal because of this breeding.

The Tibetan Mastiff doesn’t like strangers. It was a guarding dog, after all, and is one of the mountain breeds that require plenty of space in which to roam, if it is to be truly happy. They can be good family dogs but require early socialization and training, and are better in the hands of experienced owners.


9. Leonberger

Leonberger close up
Image Credit: Pixabay

The Leonberger is a German mountain dog that is used for search and rescue, farm work, and in a host of other settings.

The breed has webbed feet, which is unusual although not entirely unique, which shows how good this breed is at swimming. It is also considered a gentle giant that will become a loving and affectionate family member and will get along with children as well as adults.


10. Kuvasz

Kuvasz sitting in the snow
Image Credit: La Su, Shutterstock

The Kuvasz is a large breed from Siberia’s Ural region. More recently it has become known as a Hungarian breed that has been used to protect livestock and people from predators.

It gets on well with children that know how to behave around dogs, but it can be fiercely loyal, which means that it will need early socialization to prevent any problems that might occur later in life. The dog is not recommended for first-time and novice owners.

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Mountain Dog Breeds

The mountain dog breeds above are large to giant breeds and most require early socialization and training to ensure that their size does not become a problem.

While most are gentle and caring in nature, because they can weigh 150 pounds, they do need to learn good manners. Consider your experience in owning dogs, especially large breeds, before you consider some of the more challenging breeds.

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Featured Image Credit: rokopix, Shutterstock

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.

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