Are Bernese Mountain Dogs Good As Service Dogs?

Berners are very popular. A common question I found often asked in dog communities, is – can Bernese Mountain Dogs be suitable as a service dog? Therefore I wanted to learn how these swiss big doggies do for physical or mental disability services? I put what I found below. Along with that, I tried my best to put real-life examples as well.

So, do Bernese Mountain Dogs make good service dogs? Berners make really good service dogs in some physical disability services like Mobility Assistance and other services. Along with that, they do really great in some mental and medical disability assistance as well. Yet, they need proper training to perform as a service canine.

Keep reading to learn how this big swiss puppy breed performs as service pups.   


Are Bernese Mountain Dogs Good Service Dogs


What Makes Bernese Mountain Dogs An Excellent Fit Breed In Some Service Dog Categories?

All dog breeds are different from physical and mental point of views. Even you can find some best pet puppy breeds, who can’t fit themselves as service dogs.

Lets me tell you some of the valuable points those make Berners a good candidate as a service canine.



For any service dog the temperament is a key! All canines do not have the same levels of temperaments to become a happy pet. For a service pooch breed, this factor is more important than anything else.

Berners are a nice breed to get stuck with one person. They have the ideal temperament to move along with their handlers all day and night. 

There are lots of examples of Berners playing in various types of service dog roles all over the world. These all indicate- with proper training your pet Bernese Mountain pup can become a smarter service dog.

I added a few examples below. You keep reading to learn about all of them.



Berners are large sized canines. Shape is a big factor when you want a guide dog. 

Large sized canines can easily mark overhead obstacles and avoid. They are able to stop the handler if needed. For this reason, a small size pooch like pug or Yorkie will struggle as a guide assistant pup. 

You must need a big Scooby-Doo while choosing a Fido for physical assistance related supports like balance assistance, or mobility support or etc. 

Medium sized mutts, for example Australian Shepherds or even Giant Poodles are unable to handle these services due to their mid shape.




Bernese Mountain Dogs need very little amount of care. This is why I put them over some other popular service dog breeds i.e. Poodles, Labradors or German Shepherds. 

A small-maintenance furry friend is a big plus point for a single handler who may need a service canine. If you want a helping pup to assist an older person in your family, you may want a low-maintenance breed as well.


The strength

The swiss breed is super strong. They can easily carry 1000 lbs of weight. Even bigger Berners are able to lift 2000 lbs.  

A physically capable Fido can help if an owner needs support to stand or move balance. This vitality helps Bernese Mountain Dogs to qualify in certain categories of service dogs.


The intelligence

For any category of service dogs one key indicator is their intelligence. Fortunately Berners are intelligent enough. They can easily learn how to identify physical or mental changes of a person. Then they can respond.

Except that, they can easily get the training about how to detect certain things from invisible elements like blood cells, allergens etc. 

I put a few cases below, so keep reading.


Hereditary breed traits

A hunting breed of pooch likes to chase naturally. Similarly, a fighting breed furry friend will show aggression very often. While choosing a service dog, consider their breed traits. That is very important.    

The Bernese Mountain Dog breed was developed for works. They are good for livestock, guard and other reliable jobs as well. 

That means, Berners are a responsible breed by nature. With proper training you can easily make these smart canines excellent service assistants. 


Easily Trained

Canine psychologist Stanley Coren featured the results of a lengthy survey of 199 dog obedience judges in his book, The Intelligence of Dogs.

He placed Bernese Mountain Dogs at position 22 in second tier. According to him, 

“These second tier canines are excellent working dogs, who tend to learn a new command in five to 15 exposures and obey at least 85 percent of the time.”

That indicates this swiss breed easily gets trained. 


Eagerness to please 

Bernese Mountain Dogs are keen to satisfy the owners. A service animal must need their own interest in completing tasks. 

As this swiss mountain canines have eagerness to in their trait to please humans. 



A well trained Berner is an obedient Fido. I know many people can disagree. However, study shows that your negative attitude may encourage them to disobey you. 

Otherwise, for positive attitudes, these mutts are very obedient to their owners. 


Roles That Bernese Mountain Service Dogs May Perform Best

You can’t fit a single dog breed in all the categories of service dogs. Even the best service pup breeds are unable to serve some assistances. In many services, where Berners perform pretty good, other large breed dogs fail. Same ways, Bernese Mountain Dogs may not suit in some categories, as well. 

It is better to learn the types of services where these big swiss Fidos perform best. 


Are Bernese Mountain Dogs Good As Guide / Visual Assistance Dogs?

A guide dog usually assists a visually impaired person to navigate the world. They also need the intelligence to ignore a command if they see any risk for the team. 

Fortunately, Berners have all the necessary qualities to be a good guide dog breed. They have the intelligence to detect dangers, as well. Proper training can make them a good Visual Assistance service pooch. 

Please note, the handler of the guide canine must need proper training as well. Once the person and his Berner is trained and certified, they can move as a team. 

However, the team should continue their weekly follow ups training practices as well. 


Can Bernese Mountain Dogs Perform Well As Hearing Support Canines?

Swiss Berners are smart to detect specific types of sounds and their sources. 

A trained Bernese Mountain canine has the ability to alert a deaf partner about some environmental sounds, smoke or other alarms, doorbells, knocking, phones, or their name. 

A hearing impaired person can offer his Berner to take some of those indoor responsibilities. 

Before that, your Bernese Mountain pooch needs good training sessions to learn how to assist as a “hearing canine”. Because, this swiss breed may get distracted by other things.


Let me show you an example. 

I know a Berner renamed Minosa. She assists her disable partner in many daily tasks including hearing as well. You can learn more about Minosa and her handler from the Instagram profile I added here.  


Does Bernese Mountain Dog Make Good As A Brace/ Mobility assistance Pup?

Study shows that Berners are a perfect breed for Brace and Mobility assistance works for any age of humans. These physically strong mutts have natural working temperaments. 

These big Scooby-Doos can easily support the weight of a disable partner. Can assist the handler up and down stairs or even help them stand up if they’ve fallen. 

Bernese Mountain Dogs can retrieve objects, open/close doors or do other tasks to assist in day-to-day life or in an emergency.

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A post shared by Caity (@serenity_bernese_service_dog) on

Let me share a case. You may like to know about Serenity, a two years old Bernese Mountain Dog. As a service canine she helps her partner for Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS). That belongs to the Mobility assistance category, as well.

You can learn more about the service Serenity and her partner from here.


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A post shared by Gretl the Service Berner (@gretltheserviceberner) on

Another service Berner I found, is doing well for Mobility assistance works. Her name is Gretl. I’ll tell you more about her later. So, keep reading. 

However, you can check more details about Gretl from this link


Can Bernese Mountain Dogs assist as A Psychiatric Services dog?

Psychiatric service mutts help people for depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or other Psychiatric issues. 

Bernese Mountain pups are able to perform these types of roles as well. A well trained Psychiatric service Berner can detect possible change in his handler. For example, symptoms for anxiety attack or a flashback or etc. 


Few days back, I came across a Psychiatric Berner pup over the internet. Her name is Bailey. She is serving well for more than three years. According to her owner, she is a multipurpose service dog that includes Psychiatric services as well. 

For you, who want to learn more about Bailey, please check here.

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A post shared by Mary Quillan (@maryquillan) on

Another example I love to share is about Chase, a Psychiatric assistance canine of that large swiss breed. That Berner is just over two years of old. His owner shared limited things about ChaseHowever you can find those here.


Are Bernese Mountain Dogs Good As Severe Allergy detection dogs?

For many kids and even old humans, few allergies become life-threatening for a specific set of people. Allergy detection pups can help them.

Trained canines smell and identify dangerous elements for their partners. These furry friends recognize the smell from foods or other objects that may come to the person’s contact and affect them. Study shows that these smart pooches detect allergens for kids and alert their parents. 

Berners are smart enough to assist as an allergy detection pup. They have a strong sense of smell. With natural intelligence they can alert a person if they smell some allergens.

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A post shared by Jillian Skalky (@creatingnewtails) on

Creating New Tails, LLC of South Florida, shared some nice videos of a Berner pup. Her name is Benzie. She does nice jobs as a Gluten detection service dog. As you can see, I added a video of Benzie, where she analyses food items and shows her responses. 

For more about Benzie, please check here


Can Bernese Mountain Dog Be A Medical Alert Dog?

Medical alert dogs are trained to detect bodily symptoms in a person. They can alert the handler about physical changes related to blood pressure or hormone levels. So that the handler can take suitable medication, rest, lie down and / or other movements, if needed. 

A Trained Bernese Mountain Fido has the ability to detect blood pressure and some hormone levels up or down. That indicates, a Berners can serve as medical alert dogs.


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A post shared by Semicolon Pup (@semicolon_pup) on

Let me tell you a real life case at this point.

Tobias, a medical alert Berner pup does great job for her Gail. The owner shared some snaps on social media that I found. And one of them I attached above.

If you like their team, you can find more details here


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A post shared by Gretl the Service Berner (@gretltheserviceberner) on

I have more cases to share with you. 

Can you remember Gretl the mobility assistance pup? Earlier I told you, we have more things to discuss about that sweet Berner. She serves really well as a Cardiac assistance pup as well for her handler. 

A trained Bernese Mountain Dog can assist multiple services for a single disabled person. Before that, both the pooch and his handler need proper training to work together.


Can Bernese Mountain Be A Wheelchair Assistance Dog?

Bernese Mountain Dogs were bred to pull carts. They can easily pull up 1000 to 2000 lbs. Service dog trainers usually train them to pull a wheelchair person. 

Study shows Berners are widely working as a wheelchair assistant dog for many years.


Over to you

As you see Berners are good breed to assist as specific types of services. However, sometimes distraction can hamper their performance as service dogs. 

For other categories of services, I could not found any example yet. I believe, Bernese Mountain Dogs have not been tested yet on some of those services. Service dog training programs may like to work with those.

If you know real cases and want to share, please feel free to write in the comment section below.


Further Readings

Choosing A Service Dog Breed

Related Topic
How Are Greyhounds As Service Dogs?

Why Do Bernese Mountain Dogs Howl?

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