Find a Good Bernese Mountain Dog Breeder

All Bernese breeders have one thing in common: they sell adorable puppies. Unfortunately that is where the similarities stop. This page discusses the primary suppliers of Berner puppies, explains the basic differences and refers to more in-depth information. Our goal is to help you be able to determine who is offering you an honest deal, and who is trying to rip you off.

 

Most suppliers of Bernese puppies represent themselves as responsible breeders and make it very difficult for the buyer to discriminate. They often have lovely web sites stating their dogs are "raised with children," "family raised," and have "Champion bloodlines" (it's hard to find any Berner, well bred or not, who doesn't have at least one Champion in his pedigree!). Look closely at the web sites: Is there any factual information there (i.e. verifiable certifications as to orthopedic status of hips and elbows, evidence of eye exams or testing for von Willebrands) or is it simply a lot of pretty photos and vague representations?

 

  • A RESPONSIBLE BREEDER is dedicated to producing healthy puppies that will live long and happy lives. Top breeding priorities are temperament, health and orthopedics.

  • A BACK YARD OR "HOBBY" BREEDER breeds without knowledge or concern of the temperament, health or orthopedics in her dog's lines. Quality of the Bernese Mountain Dog pups produced is not a consideration.

  • A PUPPY BROKER purchases bulk "lots" of Berner puppies or partial litters for resale, frequently imported from other countries, with no knowledge of the breeding stock, or the Berner pup's environment for the first crucial weeks of its life.

  • A PUPPY MILLER breeds multiple breeds of poor quality Bernese Mountain Dogs for profit with no knowledge of the characteristics, temperament, health or orthopedics of any Berner pups they produce, for selling on the Internet, to research laboratories, brokers and pet store. (Or) mass produces many different breeds of puppies, solely for profit, with no knowledge of the characteristics, temperament, health or orthopedics of any Berner pups they produce in "factory" fashion. They have no concern whatsoever for the health and well-being of their Bernese Mountain Dogs.
     

RESPONSIBLE BREEDER

  • Researches pedigrees to improve the Bernese Mountain Dogs in their breeding program, and the breed as a whole.

  • Encourages you to visit them and spend time with the Berner puppy's parents or at least mother. Bernese Mountain Dogs appear happy and healthy, anxious to greet visitors without showing fear or shyness.

  • Actively participates in dog shows (both in conformation and working events) in order to evaluate their breeding dogs against others and is a member of national and regional breed clubs.

  • Has considerable knowledge about the Bernese Mountain Dog breed standards, and explains in detail the potential genetic problems in the breed.

  • Gives you a copy of the pedigree of the Berner pup for sale, with an explanation of what information it contains, and will show you written documentation on the health certifications of the parents and lineage.

  • Provides you with a health guarantee and written contract that will include a spay/neuter requirement for non show quality Bernese Mountain Dog pups, and agreement that the breeder will take back the dog at any time, should you be unable to keep it.

  • Offers guidelines for the care and training of your Berner pup, and will be available to you through the life of your dog.
     

BACKYARD OR "HOBBY" BREEDER

  • Breeds the family pet to any available Bernese Mountain Dog, for the sake of having a litter, and/or for profit.

  • Has little knowledge of Bernese Mountain Dog genetics, pedigrees, nor any interest in improving the breed. Has no interest in producing Berner puppies with sound temperaments or breed type.

  • Will not test the parents of the litter for any genetic Bernese Mountain Dog problems (hip and elbow dysplasia, PRA, SAS, Von Willebrands). Although the Berner breeder may state their "hips and elbows are certified," they do not show you a written certification.

  • Sometimes charges different prices for males and females, and extra for a registered Bernese Mountain Dog pedigree.

  • Does not do temperament testing on the Bernese Mountain Dog litters, to ensure the best placement for the Berner pups; does not understand the value of early socialization. Does not remain available as a resource to the buyer.

  • May offer "designer" cross breeds that are Berner mixes.

  • Sells Bernese Mountain Dog pups through the Internet and newspaper ads.

  • Many Bernese Mountain Dog puppy millers masquerade as "hobby" breeders.

  • Many "hobby" breeders masquerade as responsible Bernese Mountain Dog breeders. They may ask you to complete a questionnaire to ascertain that you are a "good home" but they rarely appear to have read it or to have checked any references. They care more about whether your check will clear.
     

PUPPY BROKER

  • Does not breed the Bernese Mountain Dogs they are selling, and often has little to no knowledge of the parentage, health and orthopaedics, or the Berner pups' early environment and socialization or lack thereof.

  • Acts as the "middle man," purchasing from puppy mills or large scale backyard breeders to sell to pet stores, other brokers or the public.

  • If importing, falsely represents their Bernese Mountain Dogs as quality dogs "from healthier European lines," without written proof of certifications and testing. Their so-called "Healthier European lines" of Berner puppies for sale do not exist.

  • Will not allow you to meet the dam and/or sire, because they have not bred the Bernese Mountain Dogs themselves.

  • Has no interest in improving the Bernese Mountain Dog breed or providing the buyer with assistance after purchase.

  • Sells their Berner pups on the Internet and in newspaper ads. Their sole motivation is profit.
     

PUPPY MILLER

  • Mass produces multiple breeds of dogs, in addition to Bernese Mountain Dog puppies, for sale to pet stores, animal brokers and research laboratories.

  • Their Bernese Mountain Dogs are treated as "livestock" and viewed as a cash crop.

  • Puppy millers breed for profit. Increased numbers of breedings increases profit. Lack of quality food, little or no medical care and no health screening for hereditary problems increases profit.

  • The Bernese Mountain Dogs are typically housed in overcrowded pens with wire floors, allowing waste to drop to the ground, but causing discomfort to the dog's paws.

  • The Bernese Mountain Dogs are inbred, over-bred, lack any human socialization and are destroyed when they are no longer profitable.

  • Due to the lack of genetic testing, medical care and clean facilities, this frequently results in the unsuspecting public buying a Berner puppy facing a myriad of immediate veterinary problems, or one that will have a genetic disease surface later in life.

  • Puppy millers sell their Bernese Mountain Dog pups on the Internet, newspaper ads, or at the mill itself.