Labernese (Bernese Mountain Dog & Labrador Mix)

Height: 24 – 27 inches
Weight: 70 – 105 pounds
Lifespan: 7 – 12 years
Colors: Black, chocolate, rust, yellow, white
Suitable for: Families with a lot of space, families who can spend most of their time with him, families with young children, multi-pet households
Temperament: Sweet, friendly, fun, affectionate, loyal, adaptable, anxious when alone

The Labernese is one-half America’s favorite breed, the Labrador Retriever. And one-half Bernese Mountain Dog, who is the most popular of the Swiss mountain dog breeds. Being the best of both worlds, and more versatile than his purebred parents, what’s not to love about the Labernese?

The answer is nothing, BUT as with all breeds, you must do your own research to ensure that there is nothing that will put you off him. Here in this breed guide, we’ll make sure that you know everything you need to so that you’re not left guessing.

This big friendly goofball has a whole lot of love to give, and he is as sweet as strawberry wine. He craves time with his humans, so much so that he is very anxious without them around, so you need to make sure that you can keep him company. He is thick and large, so you also need to have enough room for him inside the home, as well as plenty of outdoor space.

Thinking that he sounds like a wonderful mixed pup for you and your family? Read on to find out everything that you need to know.

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Labernese Puppies – Before You Buy…

labernese puppy
Credit: Anne Richard, Shutterstock

The Labernese is one of the sweetest and kindest pups you’ll ever come across. He is loving and affectionate with his immediate family, and there isn’t anything that he wouldn’t do for you. In turn, he expects you to be there for him too, and he becomes quite anxious if you aren’t. So he needs to be placed with a family that can be with him for most of the day. Otherwise, he will suffer from separation anxiety. If you work long hours, or love to travel pet-free, this is not the breed for you.

For this reason, you should crate train him to minimize his anxiety. Not only will this give him a safe place to retreat to when he does feel anxious, but it also gives you peace of mind when you have to leave him for a few hours. Considering how large he is, you also need to make sure that you have enough space for his extra-large crate.

You don’t just need extra space for his crate, though. This guy thinks of himself as a lapdog, and he’ll expect his own spot on the sofa and your bed. He also likes the fresh air, so he needs access to ample outdoor space that he can roam and play to his heart’s content.

Your local climate is also something to consider because he is used to the snowy Swiss Alps and freezing Newfoundland lands and lakes. Although he could cope with hotter weather, he is much happier and comfortable in a colder state. He is likely to spend much of his free time chilling outdoors, so he would really appreciate a sheltered place to lay outside.

He needs lots of exercise too. Not intense exercise like a Husky or an Australian Cattle Dog needs, but long hours to keep his heart healthy and pumping blood around that large body of his. His ideal exercise session would be a long and steady walk up a mountain, or a few hours playing fetch in the local park with his family. Being sweet-tempered, he is also super friendly with other dogs. So he would really appreciate some time down at the local doggy park to make new friends.

He doesn’t have the longest lifespan, which is almost entirely down to his enormous size and Bernese Mountain Dog genetics. This is something to think about because he will not be with you for as long as other canines might be. If this is something that you are prepared for, his 7 to 12 years (or possibly longer!) will be years well-spent.

Energy
Trainability
Health
Lifespan
Sociability

What’s the Price of Labernese Puppies?

The price of a Labernese is quite high compared to other designer dogs, mainly because he is one-half America’s number 1 breed mixed with a giant dog. You can expect that he will cost between $1,000 and $1,200 from a reputable breeder.

Anything much more or less than this price should ring alarm bells in your mind, and it may be a sign of a puppy mill breeder. Be sure to conduct your own research online, meet the breeders, pups and their parents in-person to ensure that they are all healthy and happy dogs. Be sure to see the health certificates of each parent, and ensure that they have passed their respective breed health checks.

Further to the initial cost of the Labernese puppy, remember that everything you buy for him will be extra-large in size. Be that collars, harnesses, beds, bowls, and toys, and his insurance is likely to be higher too. So he will always be more costly compared to your average pooch, and this is something to think about in the long run.

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3 Little-Known Facts About Labernese

1. The Labernese was created to be the best possible assistance dog

In 1991, the Mira Foundation in Canada bred the first Labernese puppy. They wanted to combine the traits of their Labrador and Bernese Mountain Dogs to combine their kindness, intelligence, loyalty, and calmness for their disabled customers.

2. The Labernese is almost always black

Unlike many other mixed breeds, the Labernese is nearly always black in color. Compared to many other designer dogs who tend to share a mix of their parents’ colors.

3. The Labernese will be a water-baby

Thanks to his Labrador genes, he will love the water. For this reason, you need to be prepared for wet walks and adventures. Pack your bags and car with towels, because he will be soaked through by the time he has finished.

The parents of the Labernese
The parents of the Labernese. Left: Labrador Retriever, Right: Bernese Mountain Dog

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Temperament & Intelligence of the Labernese

The Labernese is the best of both his parents. His Labrador parent is described as friendly, active, and outgoing, and the Bernese Mountain Dog is described as good-natured, calm, and strong. So you can expect that he will be a mixture of his parent’s best attributes.

Being so friendly and lovely means that he craves human attention, and he needs to feel loved. Leaving him for more than a couple of hours will feel like an eternity to him. So you need to expect a super clingy dog that will become your second shadow for the foreseeable future. If you aren’t keen on needy canines or you prefer much more independent dogs, you should seek a different breed altogether.

Both of his parents are known to have soft-spots for children, and so you can expect this boy to be doubly soft. Just like any other dog breed, you should always supervise them around children just in case of accidental bumps. Because of his size, you also need to be careful that he doesn’t squash smaller children too. But, when you are relaxing in the garden, you can watch the Labernese entertain the kids while you have 10 minutes to yourself.

Although the Labernese is not aloof with strangers, he is also not overly friendly with them either. He will give strangers a tail wag if greeted, but he saves all of his puppy kisses for his loved ones.

The Labernese is a seriously intelligent dog. Both of his parents are canine brainboxes, so you can expect him to be a very trainable and loyal pooch. Although the Labernese is naturally smart, he will still need training and shaping so that he develops into the most talented pooch that he can be.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪

Yes, the Labernese makes a fantastic family companion. Just as long as you have the time, love, and space for him, he will fit into your life effortlessly. His idea of the perfect afternoon is chilling with his family in the garden, playing games, retrieving balls, and messing about with the garden hose.

Families who work long hours away from home, spend their free time traveling, or seeing friends without their dogs in tow are this guy’s worst nightmare. If this is you, or you think your lifestyle could change in a few years and you might not be able to accommodate his family needs, please don’t put him through the heartache.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets?

Yes, as long as he is socialized well as a puppy, the Labernese gets on well with all other animals. It is unlikely that he will display any fear-aggression behaviors against other dogs, nor will he protect his yard from cats or hunt squirrels.

Instead, he is likely to welcome every pet and neighborhood visitor into his world with open arms. This makes him an ideal pet to have if you are a multi-dog or multi-pet household. Not so great if you are looking for a guard dog.

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Things to Know When Owning a Labernese:

Now that you know he is an all-round adorable pooch let’s take a look at what else the Labernese needs from you.

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

The Labernese is likely to eat approximately 4 cups of kibble every day. You should feed him with the best quality kibble that you can. The MSD Veterinary manual suggests that all dogs should be fed a protein content of at least 18%, and puppies should eat a minimum of 22%. Because he is a large breed dog, he would benefit from a higher protein content so that his muscle maintenance needs and energy requirements are met.

It is also crucial that you feed him a kibble specially designed for large breed dogs as they have unique nutritional needs. This is especially true during puppyhood because they need a precise calcium and phosphorus level that will control their rapid bone growth. Feeding him large breed kibbles is scientifically proven to decrease the chances of him developing osteopath diseases in later life, so nothing else will do.

Labradors and Lab mixes are obsessed with food, so you will need to monitor his food intake. Otherwise, there is a high risk that he will become obese, which will put extra strain on his already heavily laden joints. Don’t fall for his puppy dog eyes, and save the treats for training.

Something else to think about when it comes to his diet is bloat, also known as gastric dilation volvulus. This is a life-threatening condition, so you need to be aware of the symptoms. Be sure to leave at least an hour between mealtime and exercise to decrease the chances of this occurring.

Exercise 🐕

The Labernese needs around 60 minutes of exercise every day. This doesn’t need to be intense or vigorous, simply because of his size. He will be more than happy with an afternoon full of games and playtime and an hour stroll every day. Equally, if you want a weekend of trekking around the mountains, he will keep up with you with no trouble.

Because of his Labrador water baby genes, he would also appreciate playtime in a local lake or stream a few times a week. Be sure to mix up his routine and keep his intelligent mind stimulated. Although he will never get bored with your company, his mind would appreciate new challenges to tackle.

He would love a treat-filled puzzle toy to stimulate his mind during the day. These toys are great for those dogs who are obsessed with food because they will play for hours and hours without getting bored.

Training 🎾

For the Labernese to be the best-behaved dog that we all know and love, he must be socialized well as a puppy. Showing him the ropes will increase your chances of having a polite pooch.

Because he is so intelligent and loyal, this guy is an excellent dog for those with no previous dog training experience. With the positive reinforcement training method and consistent training sessions, he will be trained in no time. He is a dream to teach, but he still needs to be trained, so don’t take his sweet nature for granted.

There is a reason why he is bred to be the perfect assistance dog by the Mira Foundation, and the main reason is that he is so trainable. Just remember to research crate training, because both you and the Labernese will benefit from this hugely.

Grooming ✂️

The Labernese has a lot of hair, and this is another area of his life where he will need a lot of time from you. He will require brushing every day to keep on top of his long and wavy hair. Otherwise, it can tangle and matt quickly, especially around his armpits and belly. A slicker brush will be the secret to detangling his coat.

His large floppy ears are the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and infection, so you must clean his ears a few times every week. His eyes and teeth will need brushing weekly too, and his nails will need checking weekly and trimmed accordingly.

A bath every 8 weeks or so will also keep him smelling and looking fresh. Be sure to rinse his coat correctly and wash away all the soap suds and dry him properly too. A damp coat will irritate his skin and can even become moldy. Because he has a thick double coat that is water-resistant, you will need to invest in a concentrated doggy shampoo that will penetrate his out layer.

Health Conditions 🏥

The Labernese has a shorter lifespan compared to the average canine. This is almost entirely down to his Bernese Mountain Dog parent, whose lifespan is only 7 to 10 years. However, being a mixed breed, he is likely to enjoy the Labrador’s slightly better health. Let’s take a look at what you should look out for during his lifetime.

Minor Conditions
Serious Conditions
  • Hip and elbow dysplasia
  • Cardiac concerns
  • Eye conditions
  • Cancer
  • Bloat

 

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Male vs Female

Generally, there is not much difference between male and female Laberneses. The main difference is that the males tend to be on the larger end of the size scale compared to the females. Although this isn’t usually that significant in breeds, with this large breed, it could make a 45-pound difference. This could be a deal-breaker for some families, so this is worth thinking about.

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Final Thoughts:

Unlike some other mixed breeds, there isn’t a lot to remind you with the Labernese. All he needs is a lot of love, company, and space. If you can provide him with all of this, he will be the happiest and smiliest pooch in your neighborhood for sure.

You just need to be mindful that as he is an extra-large breed, his maintenance costs are going to be higher compared to smaller breeds. And you also need to be prepared for the chance that he might have a shorter lifespan.

Other than that, he is a delightful doggy that is sweet and loving. He will cherish every moment he has with you, and we guarantee that you and your whole family will love every moment with him, too.


Featured Image: Anne Richard, Shutterstock