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How to Groom a Bernese Mountain Dog? All You Need to Know

Bernese mountain dogs or Berners are gentle giants bred to protect livestock in the Swiss mountains.

Because they spent all their time outdoors in the wind and rain, they needed to develop a thick double-layered coat in order to keep warm and dry.

This coat has special grooming needs.


How to Groom a Bernese Mountain Dog?

When grooming Berners, start with brushing their coats daily. Never shave their coats as this will affect their temperature regulation. But, you don’t need to bathe them if they’re not visibly dirty.  Clean their ears once weekly, and trim their nails once they start clicking on a hard floor. 


Bernese Mountain Dog Grooming Tips


How to Brush a Bernese Mountain Dog

Brushing every day not only improves the dog’s appearance but also gives you a chance to see if the dog has picked up any minor injuries or grown a strange lump that needs looking at by a vet.

Look out for tangles and mats that need working on with slicker brushes or mat splitters.

Using a pin brush, start at the head and work your way to the back. Brush head-to-tail and top to bottom.

Don’t brush upwards as that hurts the dog. Cut out mats if they are really bad.

Using a pin brush, start at the head and work your way to the back. Brush head-to-tail and top to bottom.

Don’t brush upwards as that hurts the dog. Cut out mats if they are really bad.


What “Blowing a Coat” Means

Dogs with double coats like Berners shed their undercoats twice a year, during spring and fall.

This is called “blowing a coat” because the shedding of huge clumps is so sudden.

Brushing helps keep the shed undercoat in one place instead of blowing all over the house.

Some people use shedding blades to help speed the process. Use gently so as not to scratch the dog.

These require two hands to use, so you need a second person (or maybe even three) to hold on your dog. Deshedder brushes can be used with one hand like a regular brush.


Bathing Bernese Mountain Dogs

Berners are bathed just like any other dog. Just make sure to keep the shampoo out of a dog’s eyes and inside the ears.

Berner ears are prone to infections.

You should never shampoo inside of a dog’s ears, so they need to be cleaned separately from a bath.

Use an ear cleaner and cotton balls to help wipe out the ears, but do not go deep into the canal.

Trim any hair that gets in the way of cleaning, if necessary. Clean the ears once a week.

When you bathe them, Berners do not need any special shampoos specific for their breed. Any dog shampoo should work fine.

However, never use human shampoo as that can ruin the coat and irritate the dog’s skin.

With their incredible body build, you can choose to show off your Berner pup in dog shows. If that’s the scenario, then you should bathe them more often.

But, if you don’t have any intention of showing them off in a canine pageant, then they only need to be bathed when they really smell or if they have rolled in something terrible.


Where to Bathe Bernese Mountain Dogs

Many people train their dogs to jump in and out of the bathtub because that is the only place in the house large enough to bathe a Berner.

When warm enough, Berners can be bathed outside.


Shaving your Bernese Mountain Dog: Good or Bad?

Can you skip all this work by just getting the dog shaved periodically so the hair is always very short, like a Jack Russel’s?

This is not a good idea. Shaving a coat makes a dbog more prone to sunburn and to bites from parasites.

More importantly, double coats help regulate Berners’ body temperatures.

Even though the coat is gone, it can be harder for a dog to cool off when the double coat is removed.

Brushing a dog every day helps keep the coat working to keep the dog cool in summer and warm in winter.


How to Care for a Bernese Mountain Dog’s Teeth

You can also brush your dog’s teeth with special toothpaste made for dogs, but for many dogs, dental treats work just fine.

Always take your dog for an annual check-up, as the vet will inspect the dog’s teeth.


Trimming your Berner’s Nails

Berner pups that often walk on hard surfaces like sidewalks keep their nails trimmed, but usually, their nails should be clipped or ground any time they are long enough to click on a hard floor.

Nails usually need trimming a few times a year.

Holding the dog’s paw, use finger and thumb to isolate a single toe. Make sure there’s no stray hair while doing this step.

Stick just the nail’s tip into the clipper opening and squeeze. Only clip the tip or it will bleed.

If the nail does bleed, use styptic powder or cornstarch to stop the bleeding.

Nail grinders reduce the chance of bleeding, but bleeding can still happen if you grind too much of the nail away.

If you have never clipped or ground a Berner’s nails before, it’s best to let a veterinarian or a professional groomer show you how.

This is because the chances of making the dog’s nails bleed are very high if you do not know what you are doing.


Treats and Berner Grooming

You may also need treats or raw beef bones to help keep your dog happy while being groomed.

Many dog treats are also good for cleaning your Berner’s teeth.


When To Start Grooming a Berner Puppy

Berners are laid-back and tolerant dogs, making them easy to train.

Berners should be introduced to short grooming sessions when they are puppies to make them easier to groom when they grow up.


Tools Needed in Grooming a Bernese Mountain Dog

According to the Burmese Mountain Dog Club of America, you need the same grooming tools as for any other long-haired breed of dog, including:

  • Pin brush with stainless steel pins
  • Combs
  • Scissors or electric dog clippers
  • Nail clippers or nail grinders
  • Dog shampoo
  • Towels, hairdryer, or perhaps a special dog dryer
  • Ear cleaner and cotton balls.

Optional tools include a mat splitter, slicker brushes to help with tangles, styptic powder, and a shedding blade or deshedder brush.



Grooming Bernese mountain dogs are similar to grooming any other kind of dog.

They need regular brushing, bathing, teeth cleaning, and nail trimming.

They do shed their undercoats twice a year and need their ears cleaned weekly to reduce the chances of infections.