Can Bernese Mountain Dogs Live in Apartments? A Complete Guide

Can Bernese Mountain Dogs Live In Apartments?

Bernese Mountain Dogs are a strong loyal breed. Can such a large dog live in an apartment? Many dogs will thrive in apartments, but others can not. This is not always due to size, temperament can play a large role as well. For example, a dog breed with a reputation for loud barking also won’t play well in an apartment. So considering these things, do Bernese Mountain Dogs make good apartment dogs?

Bernese Mountain Dogs do not live well in apartments. They can live in an apartment with a lot of work. But it won’t be easy and isn’t recommended. Their size and energy will be too great for such a small space. They need space to roam and exercise. Not to mention they also can be very loud barkers which could cause significant issues with your apartment neighbors.

I don’t want to be the person who tells a dog lover what they can and cannot do. We want the dog we want and we have the living situation we have. If we always wait for perfect conditions then most of our dreams in life wouldn’t be accomplished.

This being said, Bernese Mountain Dogs are one of the least apartment livable breeds there are in the dog world. Energy levels and their general noise level makes it almost impossible. But if you are determined and have a larger than average apartment you might be able to make it work for a period of time. You should, however, seek a better longer-term situation like a complex that has a fenced patio available for your unit.

Best yet, of course, would be able to provide your Bernese Mountain Dog with a yard. To make it work in an apartment is going to require a lot of work. Maybe more then you’re willing to spend. But if you are here we will give you the most complete guide possible on how to make it work.

Why Do Bernese Mountain Dogs Not Do Well In Apartments?

It might just seem like it’s their large size that is the problem. This is not the only obstacle, however. So let’s go look at each of these problems one at a time.


Bernese Mountain Dogs are a fairly energetic breed. Despite their large size, these big boys can get around and fast. They were bred originally as sheep herding dogs. So running around corraling the sheep gave them a lot of speed and endurance.

If you’re going to have them in an apartment you’re going to need to take them out for a lot of walks. These walks are going to have to be suffeciently long as well. Without burning off that extra energy, your Berner is going to develop some destructive habits.

Bored dogs without enough exercise are going to do things like chew things they shouldn’t. Your shoes, blinds, and furniture could all be fair game for them.

To make them happy you’re going to need to walk them at least twice a day. More would be even better. These walks should be at least thirty minutes long each. A good schedule would be to take them for a walk in the morning before works lets say. Then another walk in the evening.

A dog park near your complex is going to be a must. It’s going to be very hard to give them the exercise they need without someplace they can free run like a dog park. If you can manage to have a dog park close where you can take your dog almost daily then you might be able to make it work.


At a size of 80 to 120 pounds, there’s going to be too much dog to fit in most apartments. Of course, not all apartments are made to be the same size. Some are bigger while some are smaller. Those in the smaller sized apartments are probably going to face too much of an uphill battle to have a Bernese Mountain Dog living with them.

A big enough apartment would be a necessity to make it work. You’re probably going to need one in the 1000 plus square foot range to make it work.

The size of the apartment isn’t the only issue. It also needs to be set up in the right way to maximize your valuable floor space. A home in a minimalist style would do best. Every piece of furniture is going to take more space. So removing excess furniture is going to allow your Berner more space to move around. Space for these dogs is essential.

Decluttering will help. Too much pointless stuff on the floor will bite into your living space quickly. In addition, it can be a hazard to your dog’s poor paws. Dogs don’t have the delicate step that cats have. They just put their paw down where it can. If that happens to be on something hard and plastic then they could get hurt.


Besides size and energy issues, there is another obstacle to effective dog ownership in an apartment. That is the noise level. Dogs like to bark. A lot, in fact. It’s their primary form of communication with other canines. Plus, so many people living in such close quarters like an apartment complex gives a lot to bark at. There are lots of noises and smells dragging at your dog’s attention almost 24/7.

Unfortunately for this situation, Bernese Mountain Dogs are notorious barkers. With their large size, they have big vocal cords to go along with their bodies. They put out a lot of sound. So when your Berner barks in the apartment it’s going to be very loud. Depending upon how thick your walls are this could cause some serious issues with your neighbors.

Most people living in apartments aren’t going to appreciate a large dog barking late at night. Unfortunately, this is going to be a significant problem you’re going to face. Berners were designed for spacious mountain valleys barking loudly so all the sheep and their owner could hear them over large distances. It just doesn’t translate well into an enclosed space.

Going to the Bathroom Isn’t Easy

A bigger dog doesn’t equal a bigger bladder sadly. An adult dog is going to need to go to the bathroom about every 4 hours or so. The longest they can last is about 8 hours. Just think of how long you can last before you absolutely have to go to the bathroom and then just extrapolate.

With puppies, this problem is going to be even worse. On one hand, it might seem that a puppy would be easier to have in an apartment than an adult dog. Their much smaller so they should do better right? However, one of the problems with this is that puppies have to go to the bathroom a lot more often than an adult dog. Some estimate that they might need to go to the bathroom as often as every 30 minutes.

That seems a bit excessive to me. But they definitely won’t be able to go longer than a couple of hours.

This problem could be easily overcome if you can get an apartment with a fenced-in patio. Then you could make that your dog’s bathroom area. But you will still have to clean up after them otherwise you might have the apartment managers breathing down your neck. In addition, a small fenced-in patio will be no replacement for nice long walks.

Not all Apartments Allow Large Dogs

Unfortunately, not all apartments allow large dogs. Many apartments don’t even allow dogs at all. This will be the biggest obstacle to you have a Berner in an apartment. There are a few apartments without restriction but they are rare and far between.

Make sure that you check with the front desk or owner/managers of your apartment complex. To find out their rules for pets, especially dogs. Some apartments will have a restriction where your dog cant be larger than 35 pounds. So if you can find an apartment complex that is willing to accommodate a large Bernese Mountain Dog then more power to you.


Having a Bernese Mountain Dog living inside an apartment is not at all recommended. They are too energetic and require a lot of space. Taking them to the bathroom enough times a day will be a challenge but not an insurmountable one. Barking could also become a problem. Berners love to bark and it will be difficult keeping them quiet. Especially with all the noises and smells of many people living close together.

Keeping a Bernese Mountain Dog will not be impossible. But if you do it should hopefully be for only a short time until you can find a better living situation. It will rely upon being able to take them out for a lot of walks daily as well as having a good dog park nearby.

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