Are Bernese Mountain Dogs Protective? (Answered)

One of the strongest and most powerful breeds, Bernese Mountain Dog is a true giant of a dog.

Growing up to 28 inches and weighing well above 100 pounds, Berners have an imposing and formidable presence.

Still, despite their large build and commanding stature, they are very calm and even-tempered.

Furthermore, they are a very friendly and playful breed, often to a point of being kinda goofy.

However, these personality traits are the reason why potential owners are worried if the Berner will step up when needed and protect their family in case of potential danger.

A lot of people want a dog that can provide protection in addition to being a faithful companion and loving family pet.

Below, you’ll learn are Bernese Mountain Dogs protective, do their defensive instincts ever turn into aggressiveness, and what can you do to make your Berner a trusted family and property protector.

So, let’s dive in!


Are Bernese Mountain Dogs Protective?

Bernese Mountain Dogs served people for centuries. Their main jobs were herding and protecting livestock.

However, since then, the breeding of Berners went more in the direction of making them friendly and loving family dogs,

As a result, some of the original traits were bred out. Still, the protective instincts are very much alive with this breed.

Berners are fiercely devoted to their family. From that devotion and loyalty comes the need to protect their loved ones when they feel a threat.

And, they can be very successful in this role.

Even though they don’t have the level of aggressiveness seen in classic guardian breeds, their sheer presence and strength are often enough to deter potential impostors.

While they’re not likely to engage in physical attack, Berners will bark and try to chase away any suspicious intruder.

However, they will gladly accept strangers once the owner introduces them.

Are Bernese Mountain Dogs Aggressive?

Bernese Mountain Dogs are among extremely gentle, loving, and kind breeds, especially when compared to dogs with similar backgrounds and purposes.

By nature, they’re not the least bit aggressive and are usually very friendly even towards strangers and other animals.

That being said, every individual dog can show some aggressiveness, depending on the circumstances.

A lot of the dog’s behavior depends on the owner. Investing time in early socialization, proper training, and exposure to strangers and other animals will almost certainly make sure that your Berner is not aggressive.

Unless you train them to, Bernese Mountain Dog will never attack another person or animal.

They will patiently wait while the stranger approaches and only start barking and become defensive if they feel something is wrong.

Occasionally, male Berners, especially young ones, may express some aggression towards other dogs as they try to establish their dominance.

Are Bernese Mountain Dogs Protective of Their Owners?

Incredibly devoted and loyal to their humans, Bernese Mountain Dogs see themselves as a part of the family and feel that it’s their duty to protect the owners if needed.

These are the instincts that have survived from the times they were mostly used to protect their flock of sheep or other livestock.

Just like they would courageously stand up to the wild animals back then, Berners will willingly put themselves in harm’s way if it means protecting their owners.

Of course, how successful they’ll be in protecting their owner depends on many factors.

Age, training, health, and overall mobility all influence how effective Bernese Mountain Dog can be in dangerous situations.

They’re not as lean and agile as some of the more famous protective breeds.

Berners are big and heavy dogs, and as they get older, they will lose some of the mobility and ability to quickly react.

How to Train Your Bernese Mountain Dog to Protect You And Your Family

Even though they’re not among the best guarding breeds, with proper training, you can build on Bernese Mountain Dog’s natural protective instincts and turn it into a reliable protector of you and your family.

Work on Early Socialization

The key to developing a good dog for protection is early socialization.

Spending time with strangers and other dogs will help your Berner overcome potential anxiety and fear of strange situations.

As they grow up, they should be able to successfully figure out who’s a friend and who’s a potential threat.

Basic Obedience Training

The basic obedience training should serve to teach dogs to respond to basic commands such as sit, stop, come, and others.

This will ensure that the Bernese Mountain Dog obeys you and listens to your commands in case of a real emergency.

Territory Protection

If you have a yard, define a space within it that will serve as a territory your Berner is supposed to protect.

To do this, they’ll need to learn that it’s their duty to protect the given territory and you.

This can be done by returning him to that space after giving him treats.

More Advanced Defense Training

Once your Berner is able to stay alone in his territory, find a friend who the dog has never met to test your pup out.

Make sure that your helper is wearing protective gear.

That person should walk in front and around the dog’s territory while you monitor the dog’s reaction.

On your command, the dog should bark at the impostor who should then run away and act scared.

This will help the dog gain confidence to confront the intruder if needed and protect its family.


Plenty of owners want their dogs to be able to protect them and their households.

Nevertheless, a lot of them are wary of the aggression that these types of dogs may possess.

However, dogs don’t have to be aggressive to provide reliable protection.

Bernese Mountain Dog is one of the breeds that have protective instincts and can be trained for guarding duties but are still very docile, calm, and friendly.

Owning a Berner may get you the best of both worlds – a loving family dog that is, at the same time, a fearless guardian and a deterrent for all potential intruders.

Authored By

Madeline Wright

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