I know that this is an old thread, but as I stumbled upon it on google. I wanted to clarify a few thing( being a Bernese owner).
For one Bernese are not "working" dogs in the ways you describe them. They are NOT herders they are "working" they pull heavy thing ie. sleds, cars, people, camping gear.
Also for everyone who thinks that Bernese have short life spans. This is because we (humans) are to blame for this defect as since so many have been forced to imbred that there life span has decreased. When the Berners where first discovered as a breed their average life span was anywhere from 16-20 years.. All the imbreeding and human cultivation of this breed is what's to blame for the short life span of this breed. I am not writing this for the OP but for anyone who might stumble upon a thread of mis-information like I have.. But yes they are the best dog you will ever own, cuddly, protective, not rough with kids, and they LOVE cat's and little kids.. Literally love... Pricey but always worth it with these dogs!!!