Bernese Mountain Dog vs Golden Retriever – Breed Comparison

Updated: October 17th, 2022

This article contains affiliate links. Read the full disclosure here.

bernese mountain dog vs golden retriever

Deciding to get a new dog can be very exciting, but before you welcome a new pooch into your home you’ll need to figure out which breed is best for you. If you have done all the legwork and now can’t decide between a Bernese mountain dog vs a golden retriever, you’ll want to know how these two breeds compare.

When choosing a dog, it’s important to pick a breed that will fit into your home and your lifestyle. A new dog will be a part of your life for many years to come, and you’ll want to make sure you’ll be able to fulfill their needs and take care of them long-term.

Similar in many ways but still very different, Bernese mountain dogs and golden retrievers make wonderful family companions. If you can’t decide which one of these is a better choice, keep on reading! In this article, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about Berners and goldens and help you choose the perfect breed for your family.

Bernese Mountain Dog vs Golden Retriever Size, Height & Weight

If you place a golden retriever next to a Bernese mountain dog, you’ll immediately notice they are nothing alike in terms of appearance. At this point, it will also become clear that Berners are larger than golden retrievers.

The Bernese is an extremely versatile and sturdy working dog. Large in size, the Berner stands between 23 and 28 inches tall at the shoulders and weighs from 70 to 115 pounds. 

The golden retriever, on the other hand, is an athletically built gundog and a member of a sporting dog group. Medium to large in size, goldens range from 20 to 24 inches tall at withers and weigh between 55 and 75 pounds. Female golden retrievers are smaller than males and might be a better choice if you live in an apartment or a smaller home.

Bernese Mountain Dog And Golden Retriever Coat And Color

Bernese Mountain Dog And Golden Retriever Coat And Color

Both Bernese mountain dogs and golden retrievers have thick double coats that shed moderately all year round and heavily during spring and fall. Regardless of which breed you decide on, expect to see a lot of loose dog hair around your home. Since neither of these two breeds is hypoallergenic, they won’t be a good choice if you or anyone in your family suffers from allergies.

The Bernese mountain dog has a thick double coat with a woolly undercoat and a longer outer layer. Berners are traditionally tricolored, and their gorgeous coat is the breed’s signature trait. Bernese mountain dogs have a jet-black coat with white and rust markings on the chest, between the eyes, and on the tip of the tail.

Golden retrievers also have thick double coats, but the difference is that their outer coat has water-repellent properties. The coat can either be straight or wavy and sheds moderately in the summer and winter, and heavily during spring and fall.

A golden retriever’s coat can come in all shades of gold, from light to dark. Different types of golden retrievers can have different coat colors so you may find dogs with cream-colored, golden, or dark golden coats.

Golden Retriever vs Bernese Mountain Dog Temperament

The Bernese mountain dog and golden retriever have similar temperaments and both make amazing family pets and companions. Whether you are looking for an active and playful dog or a laid-back and affectionate companion, a dog’s temperament is one of the first things you should consider when choosing a new pup.

When it comes to personality, expect your Bernese to be affectionate, gentle, calm, and alert. Bernese mountain dogs are extremely loyal to their people and thrive when they are involved in all family activities. They are protective of their families but can be aloof around strangers and can benefit from early socialization.

Not the one to run around and chase after neighboring cats, the Berner is a low-energy dog that will happily snooze on the sofa while you read a book or watch TV. Whether playing in the yard or chilling inside, the Berner will be content as long as they are spending time with their people.

Unlike the calm Berner, the golden retriever is a highly energetic and athletic dog that needs plenty of exercise and daily play sessions. Affectionate, loyal, trainable, and extremely friendly, goldens make amazing pets to active people of all ages and families with children. Due to their amicable and trusting nature, goldens aren’t good guard dogs and will more likely greet intruders with a wagging tail.

Golden retrievers are true family dogs that like to be close to their people and be involved in all family activities. As with all other dogs, early socialization and training are a must and will help your golden to grow into a well-behaved and obedient pooch.

Golden Retriever And Bernese Mountain Dog Health

Before you decide to bring a new dog into your home, it’s important to consider their overall health and be aware of any potential health problems. One of the major differences between Bernese mountain dog vs golden retriever comes down to health.

Bernese mountain dogs sometimes have serious health issues due to a relatively small gene pool and irresponsible breeding. Not all Berners will have health problems, but it’s important to be aware of them if you’re considering this breed.

Golden retrievers, on the other hand, are considered generally healthy. However, like all other breeds, goldens are prone to certain health problems that you should know about if you’re thinking of welcoming a golden retriever into your home.

The most commonly seen conditions in both breeds are:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Progressive retinal atrophy
  • Von Willebrand’s disease
  • Gastric torsion
  • Cancer
  • Hypothyroidism

While golden retrievers have an average life expectancy of 10 to 12 years, the Bernese mountain dog has an average lifespan of six to eight years. Whichever breed you choose, take your pooch to regular veterinary checkups and stay up to date with vaccinations. This way, your vet will be able to catch any potential problems early on and start proper treatment.

Bernese Mountain Dogs vs Golden Retrievers Grooming Needs

Bernese Mountain Dogs vs Golden Retrievers Grooming Needs

All dogs require a certain amount of care and grooming to look and feel their best. The Bernese mountain dog and the golden retriever require a similar amount of care and grooming weekly.

As mentioned earlier, both breeds have thick double coats that shed throughout the year. Since both goldens and Berners shed more during spring and fall, you’ll have to brush them more or risk ending up covered in dog hair.

If you decide to get a Bernese mountain dog, be prepared to brush their coat a few times a week to minimize the shedding and prevent tangles from forming. Bathing your Berner once every three months will help keep them clean without damaging their skin or coat.

However, if you decide to bring a golden retriever into your home, be prepared for a lot of grooming. Daily brushing is ideal and will help remove loose hair and prevent mats and tangles. You’ll also need to bathe your golden retriever once a month or more often to keep their coat clean and smelling fresh.

FAQs About Bernese Mountain Dog And Golden Retriever

Is a Bernese mountain dog bigger than a golden retriever?

A full-grown Bernese mountain dog is bigger than a full-grown golden retriever. Bernese mountain dogs are between 23 and 28 inches tall at the shoulder, compared to goldens that are between 20 and 24 inches tall. The Bernese mountain dog is also heavier and usually weighs from 70 to 115 pounds, while golden retrievers weigh between 55 and 75 pounds.

Why shouldn’t you get a Bernese mountain dog?

Originally from Switzerland, the Bernese mountain dog is used to cold temperatures and doesn’t fare well in hot weather. Don’t get a Berner if you live in a tropical region where the weather stays hot for long periods of time. Living in these conditions can only make your Bernese mountain dog miserable, and there are many other breeds that are better suited for warmer climates.


If you are thinking of getting a new dog, Bernese mountain dogs and golden retrievers make wonderful pets and family companions. Both breeds are very affectionate, loyal, smart, playful, and like to spend time with their human families. But, although they are similar in many ways, there are several key differences between Bernese mountain dog vs golden retriever, including:

  • Golden retrievers are highly energetic and need more exercise than Bernese mountain dogs
  • Berners are shy and aloof around strangers, while goldens are friendly with everyone they meet
  • Golden retrievers live longer and have an average life span of 10 to 12 years, while Bernese mountain dogs on average live from six to eight years

At A Glance: Best Products For A Golden Retriever

Written By

Wendy is a self-employed beauty therapist, mother of two, life-long pet parent and lover of dogs who somehow manages to squeeze in the time to satisfy another of her loves - writing. Wendy is the founder, main contributor to and editor of TotallyGoldens.

Show CommentsClose Comments

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.