Finding a PuppyYou've probably come to this page because you are hoping to acquire a Bernese Mountain Dog - now or perhaps in the future.
We have endeavored to provide you with information and resources to help you:
- Determine if a Bernese Mountain Dog is right for you and your family
- Learn the right and the wrong ways to find a Bernese Mountain Dog
- Learn all of the great things about Bernese Mountain Dogs and also learn about the health and other problems which affect our breed
- Understand terminology such as OFA, GDC, CERF
- Learn how to interpret a pedigree and to use the database tools available
BMDCSEW Puppy Buyer's Guide - An amazing compilation of information
BAD BREEDER RED FLAGS
BEHIND THE HEALTH GUARANTEES
DON'T BUY THAT PUPPY IN THE WINDOW (PET STORE)
BUY FROM A REPUTABLE BREEDER
1. They specialize in their chosen breed. They know the breed standard, temperament, and characteristics. They strive to breed only animals that epitomize these qualities. This benefits the buyer by allowing the buyer a type of quality control. You will know better what you are getting - fewer surprises, fewer disappointments. 2. They make it a point to be aware of all known inherited defects affecting their breed. Reputable breeders then screen their breeding animals to be sure they are free of such defects. This may not totally eliminate an inherited defect from showing up, but it will greatly decrease the chances of them occurring.
3. A breeder is a valuable source of information should any problems arise after your pet is in your home. They can give advice on almost all aspects of caring for and training dogs. In the event that you find it impossible to keep your pet, many breeders will help you relocate your pet.
4. Most breeders provide you with written instructions on how to feed, care for and train your pet. You also have the comfort of knowing you have a concerned individual who is only a phone call away.
5. Breeders take the time to properly socialize their puppies. They give the special handling needed during the critical developmental stages in the puppies' lives. This socialization helps the puppies adapt and adjust to life with humans as well as laying a foundation for learning. A carefully bred, well-socialized puppy makes a happy, eager to please dog that is a pleasure to live with.
6. Because the breeder has been laying the foundation for learning through socialization, and because your puppy has not been kept in a small cage for a long period, buying your pet from a breeder may make it easier to housebreak your pet. Constant confinement in a cage, such as in a pet store, leads to a loss of the puppies' naturally clean nature. This complicates housebreaking because they are no longer bothered by living with their own waste. By living in a home situation with the breeder, they maintain their naturally clean nature making it easier to housebreak them.
7. If you wish to show your pet, your pet's breeder will help you get started in whatever area you wish to pursue- be it conformation, obedience, agility, carting, herding or tracking. A reputable breeder wants to better his beloved breed by constantly striving to produce animals of high quality. This endeavor carries a high price, not only in time and money but more importantly in emotion. Along with the joy of breeding litters comes much heartache. The satisfaction of bringing joy to the lives of others through the ownership of quality, loving companions is well worth the effort. On the other hand, buying a puppy also carries a price in terms of money and emotions. It is worth spending the time and effort on your part to find a reputable breeder for the purchase of your special companion so you can both enjoy a long, wonderful relationship together.
This article is adapted from a flyer produced by the Great Lakes English Springer Spaniel Breeders Association.
TOP 10 QUESTIONS
Q. Do they shed?
A. Everyday! This is a double coated breed, so not only is there the daily shedding of the longer guard hairs from the top coat, but also a seasonal shedding of the undercoat (what is know to Berner Fanciers as “blowing coat” … as it does tend to pile up like a snowdrift in your house!) Can you handle finding Berner fur covering your toddler’s blanket? Can you explain to your dinner guest in good humor how the Berner hair got into the ice cubes?
Q. How big do they get?
A. Males 90 - 115 lbs., females 70-95 lbs. on average, so some may be smaller…some BIGGER! Look to the parents and grandparents to get an idea of how large a puppy might become, and then be willing to accept whatever your puppy may grow into.
Q. How much do they eat?
A. Not as much as you think. Figure approximately 3 to 4 cups per day for an adult dog - more for puppies. Proper weight maintenance is crucial to ensuring the health of this breed, and bigger may really only be fatter! A good quality diet is necessary, and each dog will have their own needs based on their exercise level and metabolism.
Q. How long do they live?
A. Not as long as you’d like. Surveys show the average life span is 7 to 8 years. That’s an average, meaning it takes into consideration a number of dogs that die at 4 or 5 years old, and the same number that live to 10 or 11. Learn about the particular health issues that affect Bernese Mountain Dogs, and how they can affect the overall life span of these dogs.
Q. Are they good with kids?
A. With the proper training - for both the dog AND the kids. Socializing your Berner from a very early age is critical to their becoming a good family and community member. These are big dogs, and can easily knock a child over without meaning to, so supervising play is important.
Q. Are they easy to train?
A. With love and consistency. Bernese do best with humane, positive training methods. They are fast learners, but that means they pick up both the good and the bad easily! Training needs to start the day your puppy comes home with you, and should continue throughout it’s life.
Q. Do they tolerate the heat?
A. Not as well as you do. With a black, double coat, these dogs are susceptible to heat stroke in warmer weather. If kept in a warm climate, they need easy access to shade, water and preferably interior conditioned spaces to escape the heat.
Q. Do they need a lot of exercise?
A. More than some breeds, less than others. Bernese benefit from regular exercise that includes off-leash free play. As a working dog, they should be exercised at a moderate pace several times a day. If you’re looking for a jogging partner, this is not the breed for you.
Q. How much do they cost?
A It’s a lifetime investment! Puppies can vary in price based on the breeder, the breeding, and the actual expenses involved. But the cost to bring your puppy home is only the tip of the iceberg. Food, training, toys, treats, bedding, grooming tools, screening tests and veterinary costs will add up to many times the initial purchase price over the life span of the dog. And a serious medical problem can cost thousands of dollars at once. It’s a good idea to have a “four-legger” line item in your family budget before bringing a new puppy into your life.
Q. So, how do I find a puppy?
A. Do your homework! Contact national and regional breed clubs for the Breeder Referral contact person. Meet as many dogs and breeders as you can before choosing a puppy by attending breed club social events, and going to dog shows to talk to both breeders and dog owners about their dogs. Be careful of multi-breed “Find A Breeder” internet listings - though many on the lists are reputable breeders, some may not be practicing responsible breeding methods. Ask questions!
Information and Resource Guide on this page provided courtesy of the Nashoba Valley Bernese Mountain Dog Club
THE BMD INFO SERIES