Bernese Mountain Dog vs Husky: Full Breed Showdown

Huskies and Bernese Mountain Dogs are two very active and intelligent dogs that make great members of the family.

Huskies are even more active, but they’re also more challenging to train, whereas Bernese Mountain Dogs take to training better but tend to be more relaxed at home.

This is only the start of the comparison, though, and in this guide, we’ll break down all the similarities and differences between these breeds to see which one is more suited for you.

The infographic below outlines the major points, but stay tuned for the complete comparison below.

An infographic detailing the similarities and differences between the  Husky vs Bernese Mountain Dog

Difference In Appearance

Before we get into the more specific differences between the Husky and Bernese Mountain dog, let’s address the most obvious one first – appearance.

A husky on a leash in a field

There’s no denying that these breeds look very different. Huskies have a classic Spitz-type appearance with erect ears, fluffy coats, and a thick curly tail and are often compared to wolves.

A Bernese Mountain Dog sat down on some wood bark

Bernese Mountain Dogs are larger in both height and weight and have floppy ears.

They have a thick double coat with a jet-black base color and distinct rust-colored markings on their cheeks, paws, and chest. A white blaze on their forehead and a white chest patch are also typical.

Bernese Mountain Dogs have broad heads, expressive brown eyes, and a friendly, intelligent expression. They typically have a bushy tail that hangs down and a powerful, well-proportioned body with strong legs.

Want to see what happens when you mix these two dogs? Click here to check out our guide on the Bernese Husky mix.

Other Differences Between The Bernese Mountain Dog vs Husky

There are many more differences between these two dog breeds outside of their appearance.


The Bernese Mountain Dog originates from Bern in Switzerland, where they were used for many different functions on farms, including as guard dogs, as well as for driving cattle and pulling heavy weights.

Siberian Huskies also originated as working dogs, but their purpose was quite different.

Huskies were domesticated by the Chukchi people of Siberia and used mainly to pull light sled loads over very long distances. They were also used for hunting and other purposes, but their primary function was as sledding dogs, and this remains the case for working Huskies today.


Bernese Mountain Dogs, aside from looking very different from Huskies, are also much larger than them:

  • Huskies reach 20 to 23.5 inches in height and 35 to 60 lbs in weight on average.
  • Bernese Mountain Dogs are larger, reaching 23 to 27.5 inches in height and 70 to 115 lbs in weight.

With a bigger dog comes more food, expensive bills, a requirement for more space, and much more, so this difference is very important to consider.

Coat Color Variation

Bernese Mountain Dogs are typically black, rust, and white, although there is some variation, including rust and white and black and rust.

Huskies have a much wider range of coat colors than the Bernese Mountain Dog, ranging from classic black and white to all white, red and white, and much more.

Energy Level

Huskies have a higher energy level than Bernese Mountain Dogs, thanks to their sledding backgrounds.

Huskies can exercise almost endlessly and need at least 2 hours of exercise every day, whereas Bernese Mountain Dogs need an hour to 90 minutes a day.

A Siberian Husky sat on some grass

Ninety minutes to an hour daily is still obviously quite a lot, but after exercise, Bernese Mountain Dogs like to relax at home, whereas Huskies can keep going all day long if they feel like it.

Protective/Suspicion Of Strangers

Huskies have no suspicion of strangers at all, which means they’re pretty terrible guard dogs.

Bernese Mountain Dogs have a natural suspicion for strangers due to their origin as watchdogs, so they can be more aloof with strangers and require lots of socialization from an early age to help them be more friendly with other people.


Another key difference between the Bernese Mountain Dog and Husky is their trainability.

Bernese Mountain Dogs can be independent (more on this later), but they are generally quite eager to please and take to obedience training well.

Huskies are much more stubborn and often refuse to listen to their owners, making them much more difficult to train.

Life Expectancy

Unfortunately, larger dogs do tend to have smaller average lifespans, and this is the case for the Bernese Mountain Dog, with a life expectancy of 7 to 10 years.

Huskies have a longer lifespan, with an average of 12 to 15 years, which is to be expected for a smaller dog.


Despite the clear size and appearance difference between the Siberian Husky and Bernese Mountain Dog, there are many similarities between these two dogs.

Thick Double Coats

Both dogs have a thick, medium to long double coat.

This means that their coats are split into two layers: a short, dense, wooly undercoat, which provides insulation in both cold and warm weather, and a long guard layer, which protects the coat and skin below.

A Bernese Mountain Dog up close with its tongue out

It also means that they will blow their coat roughly twice per year, which is a process where they seasonally shed much of their undercoat to prepare for the summer/winter months.

Grooming Requirements

Double-coated breeds like the Husky and Bernese Mountain Dog benefit from regular grooming to keep their coats in good condition.

This includes a quick daily groom with a grooming comb, as well as a more intense grooming session that should be done a few times per week.

You can find the full details for this process here, and it may need to be done daily if they are blowing their coats.


Bernese Mountain Dogs are known for their exceptional intelligence; quickly taking to obedience training under positive reinforcement, they can learn commands and tricks quickly.

Huskies are very intelligent, too, but they’re intelligent in their own way.

Remember how stubborn Huskies are? Well, this plays a significant role in their trainability and, hence, perceived intelligence.

Huskies definitely understand you (most of the time), but they’ll often refuse to listen. This can make them seem stupid, but they’re actually the opposite, and anyone with experience with the breed would back me up on this point.


Bernese Mountain Dogs are known as gentle giants for a reason; they’re incredibly affectionate and friendly and have an ideal disposition to be around children.

Huskies are also incredibly affectionate and friendly and will try to make friends with strangers rather than be suspicious of them.


Huskies and Bernese Mountain Dogs share an independent trait.

Huskies developed this as sledding dogs, where listening to commands was not as important as having extreme endurance and being able to make decisions on the go.

Bernese Mountain Dogs gained their independent trait as watchdogs over farms, often working alone for many hours at a time. Independent dogs like the Husky or Bernese Mountain Dog often like time to themselves when they feel like it.

Pulling Capabilities

Huskies are obviously very capable of pulling sleds due to their background as sledding dogs. Huskies specialize in pulling light loads specifically and can do so for many miles at a time.

A Husky Puppy sat in front of the camera.

Bernese Mountain Dogs are also renowned for their pulling capabilities, and the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America sponsors drafting and carting events today where they can compete and show off their pulling strength.

Bernese Mountain Dogs are much stronger, whereas Huskies are more focused on endurance, but they both share this pulling trait.

Suited For Family Life

Both breeds are highly suited for family life; they’re affectionate and safe around children and babies with supervision and love to spend time around people.

They might be demanding in terms of exercise, and they can be problems with other animals (see below), but if you can get over these hurdles, they’re great for families.

High Prey Drive

The last significant similarity between the Husky and Bernese Mountain Dog is their high prey drives.

A high prey drive means both dogs are prone to chasing after small animals instinctually, making it difficult to keep them with smaller dogs or animals like cats.

As long as they’re socialized together from a young age, there shouldn’t be many problems, but older unsocialized dogs might not be suited for living with other small animals.

In Summary

So that’s it!

Hopefully, you’ve got a better idea of how the Husky and Bernese Mountain Dog compare after reading this guide. They’re both incredible dogs, and it really depends on which qualities you value above others if you’re choosing between the two.

Want to read more Husky comparison articles? Check out some of our other recent comparisons below:

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About The Author

Caitlin is the owner and lead writer for The Malamute Mom. She has over 10 years of experience with Alaskan Malamutes and Huskies. She is currently working on getting her PhD in materials science but continues to write for The Malamute Mom in her spare time.

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