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Golden retrievers and Bernese mountain dogs are two popular breeds with very different personalities. Which is best for you to adopt?

Both golden retrievers and Bernese mountain dogs do well with families. Golden retrievers are sporting dogs that have a lot of energy. Bernese mountain dogs are in the working group and are extremely strong. Both are great options for people wanting to adopt a big, loveable dog.

In this article, we will highlight the biggest differences and most important similarities between golden retrievers and Bernese mountain dogs. We will talk about family dynamics that are best suited for each breed. We will also talk about where you might have seen or heard of these breeds before and will walk you through the process of adopting either breed of dog.

I have owned and loved dogs for my entire life. Over many years, I have researched a ton of different dog breeds, and hope to pass some of my knowledge to you. My research on dog breeds focuses on the personality traits of the dogs and family dynamics that work well with different dog breeds. I hope that my knowledge can help you find the perfect dog breed for you and your family.

Table of contents


Differences Between Golden Retrievers and Bernese Mountain Dogs

Golden retrievers and Bernese mountain dogs are both popular dog breeds. Most people are familiar with golden retrievers, as they are among the top five most popular dog breeds in the United States. Bernese mountain dogs are not quite as popular as golden retrievers, but they are not rare. It is likely that if you like dogs, notice dogs when you are out and about, or spend time with a lot of dogs, that you have come across a Bernese mountain dog.

Both of these dogs are popular to have as pets, but are very different breeds. If you are thinking about adopting one of these types of dogs, then you should consider the differences between them. Even though both have been known to be pets, each breed is best suited to a specific environment. The table below lists some of the biggest differences between the two dog breeds. Later on, we will discuss the similarities between them as well as which environments are best for each breed.


One of the biggest differences between golden retrievers and Bernese mountain dogs is their group. Dog breeds are categorized by group, which is what describes the kind of work that the dogs were bred for. By knowing the group of a dog breed, you can begin to understand the meaning behind the dog’s personality traits.

Golden retrievers are a part of the sporting group and specifically are “retrieving” dogs. Other dogs that are in this group include labrador retrievers. Golden retrievers are fast and energetic. This stems from their genetic compulsion to retrieve. The ancestors of the modern golden retriever were used to retrieve prey that their owners killed during hunting. Today, golden retrievers make great family pets, and they love to play retrieving games like fetch.

Bernese mountain dogs are a part of the working group. Bernese mountain dogs were originally found in the alps of Switzerland, working on farms. These dogs are big and strong, making them handy helpers with farm work. They would be used to drive cattle long distances as well as guard them. This makes them great watch or guard dogs today. The climate in the Swiss alps can get very cold, so Bernese mountain dogs have thick coats and are happy in cold weather.


Another difference between golden retrievers and Bernese mountain dogs is in their appearance. Both dogs are quite large, but Bernese mountain dogs usually stand a few inches taller and weigh a lot more than golden retrievers.

The color and patterns on these dogs make them look very different from each other. While both dogs have medium-length coats, golden retrievers are all one golden color while Bernese mountain dogs have a distinct pattern of black, white, and a rust or tan color. Additionally, Bernese mountain dogs require a bit more frequent grooming and brushing, and they tend to shed more than golden retrievers.


Finally, the temperaments of these two dogs are similar, but not the same. The temperament of a dog is usually the most important thing to consider before adopting them. You will want to make sure that the dog is friendly and will be inclined to get along with all members of your family.

Golden retrievers are smart, energetic, and gentle. They love spending time with their owners, especially when they get to be active together. Golden retrievers are gentle with children and get along well with other animals. Golden retrievers are a great choice if you have kids or even another pet. They can join your family on adventures as they do well with kids, other pets, and strangers.

Bernese mountain dogs are similar to golden retrievers in many ways. They love spending time with their family and other dogs. Bernese mountain dogs are usually good with kids, but their time together should be supervised. You may want to consider a different dog if you have small kids at home. Additionally, Bernese mountain dogs are likely to bond well with one member of the family over the others. They will still love and spend time with the whole family, but a special bond will be reserved for one person.

Similarities Between Golden Retrievers and Bernese Mountain Dogs

Despite the differences between golden retrievers and Bernese mountain dogs, the two breeds are fairly similar in many ways. Both dog breeds generally require a lot of social interaction. While some dog breeds do just fine staying home alone all the time, both golden retrievers and Bernese mountain dogs crave being around others.

If you adopt either of these dog breeds, be prepared to take them to dog parks and out and about with you. They will be happy if they can interact with other dogs or people.

Another similarity between these dog breeds is that they are both extremely intelligent and easy to train. Both of these dog breeds have ancestral tendencies to work with humans and listen to them. This trait is still found in these dogs today. Both of these dog breeds learn commands and tricks quickly and are obedient to their owners. Either dog would be great if you want a pet that can learn fun tricks.

Both golden retrievers and Bernese mountain dogs are not recommended for apartment living. While some large and extra-large dog breeds are known to do well in small living spaces, these dog breeds do not. Since both of these dog breeds have a lot of energy and strength, they need room to walk around and play in their home. Both breeds would also prefer to have a big yard to play in if possible.

Finally, both golden retrievers and Bernese mountain dogs are fairly adaptable to different situations. If you take your dog to a new place for daycare, boarding, or even grooming, they will usually do well and they won’t be bothered by the environmental change. Because of this, they will also respond well if you ever move houses. This adaptability makes these breeds extremely easygoing.

Should My Family Get a Golden Retriever or a Bernese Mountain Dog?

In general, golden retrievers and Bernese mountain dogs have more similarities than differences. The decision of which breed to adopt will come down to personal preference.

The biggest difference of importance between the two dog breeds is that Bernese mountain dogs are recommended to be supervised when spending time with children, while golden retrievers are usually fine. This could be a point of concern for parents with small kids. Bernese mountain dogs are not known to be violent to children, but they are large and don’t always understand their size and strength.

Aside from that trait in Bernese mountain dogs, both of these breeds are usually great with families who love to play with their dogs and are active. Both of these dogs are energetic and playful. They will be able to keep up with family activities like hiking, going to the beach, or just playing in the backyard.

Most families will do great with either breed of dog. The choice will come down to preference and family dynamics.

Where You Might Have Heard of Golden Retrievers and Bernese Mountain Dogs

When you are trying to learn about different dog breeds, it can be helpful to think about where you have seen them before. As we said, both golden retrievers and Bernese mountain dogs are fairly popular, so you have likely seen these dogs as family pets at some point.

You have probably seen golden retrievers, aside from being household pets, as service dogs. Golden retrievers are energetic but gentle and intelligent, which makes them great service dogs. They can learn commands well and are gentle and friendly enough to be a companion to anyone that needs a service dog.

Bernese mountain dogs can also be service dogs. Though not as popular as golden retrievers, these dogs are just as intelligent and friendly and make great service dogs. Bernese mountain dogs are known to form special attachments to one person. This is a great trait to have, as it allows the dog and handler to form an extremely strong bond. This bond is essential to have between service dog and handler, as the person needs to fully trust their dog. Bernese mountain dogs are not extremely popular as service dogs. However, there are no breed requirements for service dogs. Maybe someday there will be more Bernese mountain service dogs in the world.

How To Adopt a Golden Retriever or Bernese Mountain Dog

Once you have decided on which dog breed you want to adopt, it is time to pick out your dog. When it comes to adopting a dog, you have multiple options. Your choice will depend somewhat on your requirements.

Is it okay if the dog is mixed with another breed? Are you willing to adopt an adult dog? If you said yes to either of these questions, then you will be looking at rescue groups and adoption agencies. Even if you want a puppy or purebred dog, rescues are a great place to start your search.

Since you are looking for a specific breed, either a purebred dog or a dog mixed with either golden retriever or Bernese mountain dog, you will need to search for specific dogs. Websites like catalog every dog available for adoption, and you can sort by breed. Many rescue groups are for certain dogs. Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America is a national-level organization that rescues and rehomes Bernese mountain dogs. Since golden retrievers are extremely popular, there are usually multiple golden retriever-specific rescues per state.

In general, it is best to adopt a dog from a rescue rather than a breeder, though that is always an option. If you decide that going through a breeder is the best choice for you, then you need to make sure that you are buying your dog from a responsible breeder.

Some ways to know whether the breeder is responsible are if you can meet the mother dog, if the puppies and mother have been health tested, and whether your local vet knows of the breeder in question. These are all ways to make sure you are supporting ethical breeding.

Ultimately, the most important part of adopting a dog is that everyone in the family is on board with the decision and has a part in picking the dog. Adopting a dog is a serious commitment. Be sure that the entire family is ready to put in the work required to train, exercise, and bond with the dog after adoption.