First, let’s take a look at their size. Both are large dogs, but the Newfoundland beats the Bernese Mountain Dog any day when it comes to size. Where the Berner, as they are sometimes called, measure up to 27,5 inches and weigh up to 115 pounds, the Newfoundland beats this with his 28 inches and maximum weight of 150 pounds. That’s quite the difference.
They also differ quite a bit in how they look. While both breeds have amazing coats that needs to be brushed through at least once a week, the Newfoundland is usually black, brown or perhaps grey, while the Berner is tri-coloured with black and tan markings on a white bottom. They are quite striking if I may say so.
Moving on to the purpose of these glorious breeds, and how this works with family life.
Despite of one might think when it comes to these huge breeds, they were originally working dogs. The Bernese Mountain Dog has multiple tasks at Swiss farms, pulling heavily loaded carts, driving cattle, guarding and protecting property and livestock.
The Newfoundland is a working breed as well and he too has worked with pulling carts, but differently from the Berner, the Newfoundland did most of his work in the water. He helped fishermen collect nets, but most famously, he was a notorious saviour for people in distress in the water. The Newfoundland is the water counterpart of the St. Bernard.
This leads us to energy levels of these beautiful breeds. Being such large dogs, one would think they both be lazy and slow, but as a matter of fact, none of them are. While none of them neither need nor should exercise heavily due to their size, both breeds appreciate long walks in the forest, physical work, and of course, playtime with you and your family.
The Berner is the one of these two glorious breeds who have slightly higher energy than the Newfoundland. But if you’re interested in extreme physical activities with your dog, none of these breeds are for you. Because of their size, they’re just not suitable for extreme physical exercise.
So how are these two breeds when it comes to trainability, then?
Think of it this way; the Bernese Mountain Dog has worked for his people on land and has developed a deep wish to please his people. The tasks he’s done has needed him to work with his people and he didn’t necessarily have to make that many decisions on his own.
The Newfoundland, on the other hand, doing a lot of work in the water where he may not have been able to follow his handler’s lead at any given moment, he probably had to develop the ability to make decisions based on what he had in front of him.
Now, both breeds are willing to please their owner, they are both intelligent and easy to train, but the Berner might be one notch higher on this scale than the Newfoundland. This doesn’t mean the Newf is bad at it, just that the Berner might be just a little, little better at it.
As a short notice regarding training these large breeds; it is of outmost importance that you do both train and socialize them. With a dog of this size, it is extremely important you teach them not to jump on people (for example). They could easily knock anyone off their feet by jumping, and while you yourself may think that’s ok, most people don’t. So it is extremely important that they learn early on how to behave in social circumstances, and more so than for a smaller dog who won’t do as much damage when he’s happy to see you.
For dogs of this size, it is especially important to consider their health. Since they are both very large dogs, you should make sure that the breeder you choose checks his breeding stock for hip and elbow dysplasia. The Bernese Mountain Dog can suffer from hypothyroidism, which can affect skin, coat, weight and energy levels. It is not uncommon with cancer in the breed. The Newfoundland on the other hand have inherited heart issues within the breed, as well as genetic canine cystinuria which causes the formation of crystals and urinary blockages.
When it comes to how old these dogs get, the Newfoundland wins by far. He can reach the age of 10, while the Bernese Mountain Dog has an average life expectancy of 6 – 8 years. Therefore, it is imperative that you take care of your dog as best as you can to give him the best settings for living a long, healthy life with you.
To reach a conclusion for this comparison; I don’t think there’s a better choice between these two. They are both very large dogs, and while the Newfoundland may take up your whole apartment if you live in the city, they are calm enough not to be too difficult to live with in that environment. Perhaps the Berner is livelier than the Newfoundland, but don’t forget it is also individual and not a fact set by breed. So in the end, as usual it’s a matter of taste and preferences. There are plenty of things I haven’t brought up here, so I suggest you keep reading and watching our videos to get a better idea of what these breeds are really about and if anyone of them would be a good choice for you.