Bernese Mountain Dog Breeders
Bernese Mountain Dog Breeders
In your journey as a dog owner, good Bernese Mountain Dog breeders will play a role of utmost importance. These very first stages – searching for and finding a good breeder – will define whether you will get a healthy, well-bred pup that will be a source of joy for you and your family, or an expensive problem that could break your heart. There is no such thing as a bad dog. But there is definitely bad breeding, or worse, backyard breeding with the only purpose of commercial benefit, and some very problematic dogs come as a result of it.
Because of this, it is critical that you invest enough time and effort at these early stages, while only beginning to look for a breeder. I will give you a few pointers as to what things to pay attention to when looking for a breeder, what red flags you should be cautious of, and what type of breeders you should definitely avoid. Further below you will also find a list of breeders in various areas of the US and some other countries, which will hopefully help you narrow down your search.
How to choose a Bernese Mountain Dog Breeder that you can trust
Here are a few things that a good breeder should do/have if they really care about breeding healthy, happy animals. This, really, is the only type of breeders that you can trust.
Genetic and health testing of the parents
Genetic and health testing is critical when it comes to producing sound, healthy litters. According to Berner-Garde foundation, here are a few conditions that the Bernese should be tested for to exclude genetic conditions passed on to the puppies:
- Hip Dysplasia screening
- Elbow Dysplasia screening
- Eye exam, including evaluation for cataracts, ectropion, entropion and PRA.
- Thyroid Health Tests (Hypothyroidism)
- Patellar luxation
- Heart exams
- Shoulder Osteochondrosis
- Degenerative Myelopathy
As you can see, there are quite a few conditions that can affect the Bernese Mountain Dog lifespan and health, and it is always good to ask your breeder if they provide some sort of guarantee or assurance that their puppies will not have these conditions.
Another thing a good breeder will provide is a general health check of the pup right before it is ready to go to a new home (yours). This check up will include: heartbeat, lungs, skin/coat check to find any allergies/ticks/fleas/dermatitis etc, weight, body temperature, cleanliness of the eyes, ears, anus and a deworming as well as all the needed vaccines. It needs to be mentioned here that some Bernese Mountain Dog breeders will not vaccinate their puppies before they go to your home (before 12 weeks of age) and recommend vaccinating at a later point (after 12 weeks of age).
As in the human world, there is a bit of a controversy in the dog world when it comes to vaccines, and some breeders decide not to vaccinate at all but normally vaccinations are just slightly postponed by individual breeders. It depends on the breeder and, of course, your own opinion on the matter. In general, it is safe to vaccinate a puppy close to or just after 12 weeks of age.
Breeding environment/Kennel/Breeder’s home
A lot can be learned about the breeder judging by the state of their home and/or kennels. A good breeder will keep the premises clean and tidy. Breeding and taking care of little puppies can be a messy business. Puppies run, tumble around, get crazy, and most importantly, poop and pee. And, until a certain age, they are not very careful about where exactly they do any of those things.
Taking care of the resulting mess is not easy, especially combined with the fact that an average breeder normally has a day job and then has to take care of the dogs: feed, clean, check up on their health and well-being etc. Don’t forget that a breeder will normally have some human kids too! All of this makes for a very busy life and work schedule. However, hygiene and tidiness is a factor in the puppies’ health, and a good breeder will do their best to keep their premises clean.
A messy, untidy, stinky kennel overcrowded with dogs is your first sign to turn around and say no to this particular breeder. A clean environment not only inspires trust in you and other potential owners, but also helps prevent the spread of infectious diseases and parasites in puppies.
No Many questions asked
A good Bernese Mountain Dog breeder will also ask you some questions, and this shouldn’t surprise you. After all, every puppy is like a breeder’s own child in that so much energy, time and money and most importantly, love, is invested in each one of those little fur balls. A good breeder will be deeply invested in each pup, and will have their well-being as their main concern, even higher than your well being as an owner.
Because of this, they will ask you questions to make sure you are the best possible owner for the pup, and that your home and family will suit the pup’s needs just as much as the puppy will suit yours. You will be asked about your family composition and whether there will be someone to make your dog company most of the days, or whether the dog will be on their own most of the time. You may be asked about your income levels and whether you will be able to afford good food and vet services should something happen to your dog.
They could ask you about the amount of time you will have with your dog and whether you are planning to take them on hikes/walks in the park or any other activities. You may be asked if you travel a lot, and if so, what your plans would be in terms of taking care of your pup while you are away.
All of these questions will give the breeder a better picture of you as a future owner of the pup. It also is a sign for you that the breeder cares about their pups, which is a sign of a good breeder. Don’t hesitate to answer the questions truthfully: it will allow you and the breeder to have a better connection, and will help them choose the best pup for you if they find that you are going to be a suitable owner.
Bernese Mountain Dog Breeders you shouldn’t trust
Some of the Bernese Mountain Dog breeders are better than others, and then there are some that you just shouldn’t trust at all. Here are a few “red flags” that you should pay attention to and that indicate a less than trustworthy breeder.
A breeder does not offer you a contract
A good bernese Mountain Dog breeder will always have you sign a contract detailing the purchase of the puppy, with a description, price and other details. If a breeder doesn’t offer you a contract, or refuses to sign one when you mention it, it is a big red flag and you shouldn’t work with this breeder. Never buy a puppy without a contract. A contract is a legal paper documenting the fact of purchase, protecting both you and the seller by stating certain conditions under which the sale is considered effective, such as, for example, the puppy’s health. The contract may also state the terms of “return” if you are unable to care for the puppy, or if there is something wrong with the puppy. Which brings us to:
A breeder refuses to take the puppy back
A good breeder always cares about their dogs, and understands that sometimes a new owner’s life situation may change. This may include the owner not being able to care for their young Berner any longer. In that case, most good breeders will want the dog to be returned to them. They will not provide you a refund. But they will want to help you by taking the pup off your hands and also make sure the pup is in the next best hands after yours – theirs! If a breeder doesn’t care about what happens to their dogs after the sale, it is not a sign of a good breeder.
A breeder does not provide you with health certificates
As discussed above, a respectable Bernese Mountain Dog breeder will have done extensive health checks of both their pups and the puppies’ parents. This is not the same as a quick vet check-up before sale. If a breeder does not do genetic and health testing on their dogs, it’s as sign they don’t care about good breeding practices and the health of their litters.
A breeder doesn’t encourage you to visit their premises to meet the dogs
A good breeder normally has separate “quarters” set up specifically for the dogs and is normally pretty happy to have the potential owners come to see the kennel and the pups. Some state that, due to the amount of visitors they can’t allow everyone to come. They can also state that they keep the dogs in their own home and thus cannot allow strangers. Both of these excuses may not be a great sign. First of all, unless it’s a puppy mill, a breeder will not have that many visitors to see their pups.
If they do have hordes of people coming, that means they ARE a puppy mill and you want to avoid them anyway. Keeping puppies at home is also not ideal: if breeding is a serious pursuit, the breeder will have a special place within their home that is specifically set up for the dogs and will be OK for strangers to visit. In any case, never agree to just “meet” the breeder somewhere, especially to pick up the dog right away. That’s just not how it’s done.
A breeder that asks you to pay full price for the puppy right away, especially online
Most of the respectable Bernese Mountain Dog breeders do require a small deposit to secure a pup once you have met them, read the contract and are sure that you want the puppy. However, if a breeder wants you to play full price, or to even pay the deposit before you actually meet them, this smells fishy and may be (and most likely is) an internet scam. Not only will you not get a good, healthy puppy – you likely won’t get any puppy!
A jack-of-all-trades breeder
Breeding is hard enough work to breed just one breed of dogs. But if the breeder breeds several types of dogs, and maybe cats too, no matter how big their “farm” may be, it’s a bad sign. You don’t go to a dentist that also works as a taxi driver and repairs shoes too, do you? A good breeder is normally very passionate about a particular breed – that passion is what makes them strive to be a good breeder in the first place. If your breeder breeds Bernese Mountain Dogs, German Shepherds and Minipoos, you might want to look somewhere else.
Breeding dogs is certainly magical, but if your breeder breeds puppies for Christmas (“perfect gift for your kids”, etc) – that’s a very bad sign. No breeder will recommend anyone to buy their dog as a present for any occasion, especially Christmas. A dog is not a toy car or a doll. Choosing the right dog is an important task that needs lots of consideration from the hwole family. Same goes for choosing the right breeder, as well as for the breeder to choose the right owner.
This is why no good Bernese Mountain Dog breeder would want to sell their puppy to a random person looking for an impressive Christmas gift for their kid/family member. What would happen to the puppy after the glitter of Christmas is over and the responsibilities of caring for the puppy begins in earnest? Too often dogs get discarded and abandoned after the holiday craziness. No good breeder would want that for their puppy!