Characteristics and Varieties of Mountain Dogs You Need to Know

Mountain dogs, as the term implies, are the dog breeds that originated from mountain regions or work in the area. Historically, majority of the breeds were used as guardians for human’s livestock, such as to watch cattle herds or flock of sheep in order to protect the animals from natural predators or thieves. A portion of them continue to be the herding dogs, while some others work in the team of search and rescue. To get to know these canine breeds group better, continue to read below.


Mountain Dogs Breeds Characteristics

Selecting a particular dog breed to be kept and raised in your household might be hard. Different breeds have different lifespans, grooming requirement, as well as activity and energy level. This process can be made easier by narrowing your choice to certain grouping of breeds.

If you have set your decision on getting mountain dogs, then you can consider this article useful to get familiar with various breeds in this specific group of breed category. Not all of them are the same, but they have several common traits. In terms of physical feature, their built are larger in average, with athletic frame, and powerful strength. Most of them are best to be left under the owners with expert-level experience, who know how to handle and train them.

However, despite their intimidating appearance, they are known to be family-oriented breeds. So, if one of some of their traits are well-aligned with what you’re looking for in a canine companion, mountain dogs breeds might be a good fit for you.

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8 Most Popular Mountain Dog Breeds

Here are some of the most popular mountain dogs breeds:

1. Bernese

Bernese Dog

Bernese breed is amongst four related Swiss cattle dogs – and besides being the larger ones, it is also the only one that has long coat. The name is inspired from its origin area, Berne, where farm dogs are commonly being worked by their owner to be carting dog, property guard, or watchdog.

Known as clever and loyal to family, Bernese dogs has good reputation with children and like to interact with other pets. Despite naturally possess protective trait, it is rare for them to be aggressive. They require moderate amount of daily exercise and coat brushing at least once a week to control the shedding.

2. Greater Swiss

Greater Swiss

Let’s move into Bernese’s sibling – the oldest and the largest of the Swiss cattle dog breeds. Being famously known as hardworking farm dogs, Greater Swiss dogs are skilled breed. They can guard property, work in pastures, herd livestock, and pull hefty carts. They also make exceptional watchdogs that are going to keep you alarmed in case there’s a suspicious stranger around your house.

These dogs are extremely devoted to family. They need moderate everyday exercise, such as pulling carts. To prevent adult shyness, it’s best to make them do a lot of socialization during puppy stage.

3. Saint Bernard

Saint Bernard

Saint Bernard is more than a majestic-looking mountain dogs breed, it also has steadfastness that makes it popular as rescuer for travelers that explore Swiss Alps’ snowy slopes. They are originally developed by Monks at Great St Bernard Hospice, that was established by Bernard de Menthon around 11th century.

In today’s age, they are known as faithful and gentle companion. They tend to get along well with family and kids. Being physically large and generally very laidback, they only require short walking as daily exercise, but many wouldn’t refuse more challenging activity.

4. Newfoundland


The breed’s name is derived from its native region, the rocky and hilly area of Newfoundland. The dogs have thick coat to protect them from snowy and frigid winters, as well as icy waters.

Even though they aren’t originally come from mountain region, they make great search and rescue dog in mountainous and water across the world. Newfoundland dogs are outstanding working animals, but they have affectionate and calm characteristics too.

5. Tibetan Mastiff

Tibetan Mastiff

If you’re looking for a tough and well-built mountain dogs, then you wouldn’t be disappointed by Tibetan mastiff. They are able to survive the high-altitude area like Tibet and Himalayan.

This particular breed is accustomed to being guard livestock, that’s why most of them are more active during nighttime compare to the day. They like to be around open space and aren’t the friendliest breed to the strangers, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t be magnificent family dogs.

6. Kuvasz


Being easily recognizable due to their large physical and white coat, this mountain dogs breed is actually have been used as livestock guardian since Middle age in Hungary, to protect cattle, sheep, and horses. Although they come from Hungary, they are more likely to have originated from Ural Mountains of Siberia.

In general, Kuvasz can get along quite well with children. They are also protective, devoted, and loyal to their owner. As puppies, they are required to be trained to socialize and need rather heavy daily exercise.

7. Great Pyrenees

Great Pyrenees

Similar to Kuvasz, the main visual characteristic points from Great Pyrenees are their great size and all-white fur. The name is inspired by the Pyrenees mountains area between France and Spain. That’s most probably why they work so well on mountain slopes to guard human’s livestock from the threat of wolves and bears.

Great Pyrenees dogs are greatly devoted to their owner. Although their built is large, they have calm demeanor. They only require moderate amount of exercise daily to be under control.

8. Caucasian Shepherd Dog

Caucasian Shepherd Dog

This breed is originally come from the mountain area of Caucasus, which is located between Asia and Europe. Caucasian shepherd dogs are commonly use as homestead and livestock guardian, due to their fierce, confident, fearless, and bold characteristics.

Caucasian shepherd dogs make lovely pets for families with children. However, training them can be quite challenging as they have powerful physical and mental trait, so they are best left with experienced owners.

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All of the breed types above might be bred for various purposes, but they generally are hard workers. You may use the list to broaden your insights about mountain dogs – whether you want them to be herders, rescuers, or simply just a house pet.

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