The Miniature Bernese Mountain Dog is a cross between a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and a Bernese Mountain Dog. Most of the time, the Mini Bernese Mountain Dog looks similar to its purebred counterpart with the added advantage of being a smaller dog. They make a great family companion for owners who love the Bernese Mountain Dog look, but don’t have space for a large dog breed.
Because this is a mixed breed, a Miniature Bernese Mountain Dog can take on the traits of either or both of their parent breeds. In general, a Mini Berner is friendly, sweet, intelligent, and obedient. They love people and crave human attention and affection. Both of the parent breeds have a prey drive and an urge to chase, so they may not make a good candidate for being off-leash unless they are in a securely fenced-in area.
Because they are so friendly, they also do not make good watchdogs or guard dogs. They may bark at a stray animal or stranger at the door, but they don’t tend to be overly noisy unless they have been trained into the habit. Overall, they are versatile, sturdy dogs that are loving and affectionate companions.
Due to its smaller size, a Mini Bernese Mountain Dog is a highly adaptable dog breed. They fit well into almost any environment, including apartments. Their thick coat serves them well in colder climates. However, as with most dog breeds, they are sensitive to extreme heat. Because they love company, they do not do well with a lot of alone time. So, it’s important to make this dog feel like an active, included part of the family.
As with any cross-breed, a Mini Berner can inherit the health conditions common to either or both of their parent breeds. They can also sometimes ‘win the genetic lottery” and inherit none of them. Regardless, some health conditions to be aware of include hip dysplasia, patellar luxation, mitral valve disease, syringomyelia, and elbow dysplasia.
Responsible breeding practices reduce the probability of passing on these conditions, so be sure to ask the breeder about the genetic history of the parents. That, and asking to see any relevant health clearances, can help allay potential health concerns.
Both the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and the Bernese Mountain Dog are intelligent dog breeds that are eager to please and highly trainable. This makes a Miniature Bernese Mountain Dog a good fit for owners of any experience level, even first-time dog owners. They are sensitive souls, so they will respond best to training that is consistent, positive, and reward-focused and do not tend to do well with harsh tones or corrections.
Most Mini Berners have the classic tri-color look of purebred Bernese Mountain Dogs. They will likely have a longer coat that will need to be brushed a few times a week to remove tangles and prevent mats. You can also expect this dog to shed relatively regularly throughout the year with two heavier seasonal shedding sessions. Brushing more often during these times can help remove loose fur to keep your pup more comfortable. This also helps keep shedding contained to the brush instead of all over your house. An occasional bath with one more often as needed will suffice for this pooch.
In addition to coat care, you will also need to trim your dog’s nails, care for their teeth, and check their ears. Monthly nail trimming is usually sufficient to keep nails from getting too long and snagging on things or affecting movement. Proper dental care for dogs often includes brushing your dog’s teeth or using an enzyme toothpaste at least a few times a week, if not every day, implementing a dental health diet, and/or using dental chews. Floppy ears tend to trap dirt, debris, and moisture, which can lead to ear infections. Because a Mini Bernese Mountain Dog has floppy ears, it’s important to check them weekly and carefully clean them as needed.
Although this dog breed will not grow to be huge, it’s still a good idea to get your puppy used to having their mouth, paws, and ears handled. Getting them used to it early on and making sure it’s a positive experience will make grooming and general care much easier for both of you throughout your dog’s life.
A Miniature Bernese Mountain Dog has a moderate energy level. They are not a high-energy dog breed, but may have some bouts of intense playtime. They tend to play hard until they are tired and will be ready to go again after some naptime and rest.
A few daily walks plus playtime or another activity will ensure this dog gets plenty of exercise. Depending on what your pup ends up liking to do, they may enjoy going for a swim, going on a hike with you, playing a game of fetch, running with you on a leash, taking a trip to the dog park, or training for dog sports like agility or flyball.
A fully-grown Mini Bernese Mountain Dog usually stands between 17 and 22 inches tall at the shoulder and weighs between 35 and 65 pounds.
A Miniature Bernese Mountain Dog generally lives 8 – 13 years.