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Bernese Mountain Dog vs. Labrador Retriever

Bernese mountain dog on the left and a yellow lab on the right. Both photos meeting in the middle on the diagonal with the letters VS in the middle for versus.

Both these breeds are quite different from each other in terms of their origin, group, and size. Despite these differences, both Bernese Mountain Dog and Labrador Retriever make excellent family dogs. These intelligent and friendly canines are quite gentle with kids and other pets. Keep reading to know more about these breeds so that you could select the most suitable one for your family.

Bernese Mountain Dog

Bernese Mountain Dog puppies playing in autumn leaves

Bernese Mountain Dogs were developed in Switzerland (in 1892) as a guarding dog. They were used as farm dogs for guarding property as well as for driving dairy cattle (for long distances). Canines of this breed are averagely intelligent, loving, and quite friendly towards their owners and family.

These pooches have a shaggy and straight double coat. It comes in different combinations of four colors (black, tan, rust, and white). Dogs of this breed are comparatively less energetic. Hence, they won’t need a lot of exercise and long walks to stay happy and healthy.

Labrador Retriever

A yellow labrador and a black labrador retriever laying in a field of dandilions

Labradors were bred to retrieve or hunt fish for fishers. They originated in Canada in 1700 and have a long history of human companionship. This is one of the main reasons why these pooches become great family dogs. Other positive characteristics of Labs include high intelligence, resolute loyalty, and friendly nature.

These canines have a straight double coat which can have three distinct colors (yellow, black, and chocolate). Labrador Retrievers require a great amount of exercise due to their excessive energy levels. These exercises and walks are extremely useful for them because it keeps them happier and healthier by burning extra energy.

Differences Between Bernese Mountain Dogs and Labrador Retrievers

The following table shows some marked differences between these breeds.

CharacteristicsBernese Mountain DogLabrador Retriever
OriginSwitzerlandCanada
Lifespan6 to 8 years10 to 12 years
Weight70 to 120 pounds55 to 80 pounds
Height23 to 27 inches21 to 24 inches
IntelligenceAverageHigh
Exercise NeedsLowHigh
ColorMulticolor (black, tan, white, rust)Yellow, black, and chocolate

Similarities Between Bernese Mountain Dogs and Labrador Retrievers

Black lab outdoors in drizzling rain

Some of the most important similarities between Bernese Mountain Dog and Labrador Retriever are discussed below.

Purebred – When it comes to breeding, both Bernese mountain and Labrador retriever are considered purebred.

Coat Type – Both breeds have a straight and dense double coat. However, some Bernese Mountains can have shaggy double coats.

Shedding – Canines of both breeds are non- hypoallergenic and shed a lot of hair. If we look for an exclusive comparison between these pups, Bernese sheds slightly more than the Labradors.

Temperament – Both Bernese Mountain Dog and Labrador Retriever are even-tempered breeds because of their friendly, caring, and loving nature. Having said that, some Bernese can become a little stubborn if they get less attention from the owner.

Suitable for Kids – Both these breeds love children and love to be around them. This is one of the reasons why these dogs are considered ideal for families.

Socialization – Both Labs and Bernese are quite social and do well with other pets as well as with strangers. All they need is a little bit of training to teach them appropriate manners.

Trainability – When it comes to training, both these canines are easy to handle and can be trained with minimal effort. This is the reason why these pooches are considered suitable for novice owners.

What is Better about Bernese Mountain Dogs?

Close up portrait of a  Bernese Mountain Dogs

The most attractive thing about the Bernese Mountain dog is its appearance. Dogs of this breed have a multicolor coat which ultimately makes them beautiful than the Labs. They don’t have a lot of energy and won’t need any extra or additional exercise and walks. This will save a lot of time for the owners.

The overprotective nature of Bernese Mountain Dog, especially towards their loved ones, makes it an ideal guarding breed. They will protect their loved ones by any means. These pooches don’t bark much but will alert their owners in case of a potential threat. In terms of cost, Bernese mountain dog is economical as compared to Labs.

What is Better about Labrador Retrievers?

Black Labrador Retrievers standing in a stream

Labradors are more intelligent than the Berneses mountain and can stay alone for short periods. They are quite easy to groom as minimal effort is required while maintaining their straight double coats. Although they prefer backyard living, Labs can also live happily in an apartment. This is because they love to stay close to their owners and have great adaptability skills.

Who Should Get a Bernese Mountain Dog?

Bernese Mountain Dog puppy outdoors

For people who have less time or don’t want to go out with their dog for long walks, this is an ideal breed. Bernese Mountain Dogs do quite well with children and other pets. Therefore, they are ideal for families with kids and multi-pet households. In addition to that, these pups are perfect for guarding houses and properties. Anyone who is looking for a guard dog must consider this breed.

Who Should Get a Labrador Retriever?

Chocolate labrador puppy outdoors laying in grass

If you live in an apartment and want a bigger dog, Labs would make an ideal choice. Thanks to their adaptable nature, they can adjust to any living environment if they are given proper training. However, they don’t require a lot of effort and even novice owners can handle them. That’s the reason why it’s one of the most popular family dogs around the world.

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