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BMD Puppy Buyer Alert
click on the link below for a
 
Warning about the selling of unregistered puppies

The CKC and RCMP have put out a warning about a Purebred Puppy Scam

Also read this article that debunks the claim that cross-bred
dogs are healthier that their purebred parents.
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The X-Factor Designer Breed or Frankenline?

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So, You Want A Bernese Mountain Dog?

Although initially Berners may seem to be the ideal pet, there are some DISADVANTAGES! Listed below are the many areas that need thought and consideration before you bring one into your home:

SIZE...Berners are large dogs. Males range from 24-28 inches at the shoulder and weigh from 85-120 pounds. Females stand 23-26 inches and weigh 65-100 pounds. They normally possess extremely active tails, making a clean sweep of a coffee table.

EXERCISE...While Berners are not a hyper breed they do require daily exercise to keep fit and adjust to the role of a calm house pet most people desire.

SHEDDING...They are a long-coated breed and shed a minimum of twice a year. This “blowing of coat” will result in more than the occasional dog hair in the butter, on the furniture, hair bunnies in the kitchen, and making the mother-in-law’s new white dress somewhat hairy. If you are fastidious in the home DO NOT GET A BERNESE! A good thorough brushing everyday during this molt is beneficial. THIS IS NOT AN IDEAL BREED FOR ALLERGY PRONE INDIVIDUALS.

HEALTH & CARE... As in any large breed, hip and elbow dysplasia are a concern to all Berner owners. Purchasing a puppy whose parents have been certified to be free from dysplasia will better your chances of having a strong and capable pup. Cancer is also a serious concern in the breed. There are several eye conditions that are known to occur in bernese, including cataracts and PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy). Other health problems that Bernese owner may have to deal with include: allergies, bloat, thyroid, epilepsy, and heart conditions. Most breeds of dog have some of the above noted conditions, and some Berners will never have any of these problems, but we feel that it is best for you to know the worst. If you wish more information on any of these conditions, there is a list of links to websites on these and other medical issues on BMD Health Information Links and Health Issues page on this website.

MAINTENANCE COSTS... Feeding one dog for a year will run approximately $300 - $600 depending on the type of food you choose. Veterinary expenses for the first year (puppy) run between $100 -$200 depending on the veterinarian and the locale.  Though many of these expenses get hidden in the grocery bill (food, dishes, collars, leashes, brushes, shampoos, toys, etc) THEY ARE THERE! (Please note: The Veterinary costs quoted are for a healthy puppy. One that needs surgery to correct hip dysplasia or another serious conditions can run up thousands of dollars.  For this reason, it is a good idea to take out a Pet Health Care Insurance policy on your puppy, for at least the first two years of its life, to offset any large medical expenses).

TRAINING...Many wish to make their Berners into good canine citizens. A good beginner’s course costs approximately $100. Berners tend to be sensitive or soft in many training situations and must be handled carefully, with a loving, firm but nonetheless GENTLE hand. Bernese respond well to positive training techniques using food, toys, and praise. Training for a dog this size is a must. GUARD DOG...Though they may bark and possibly growl defensively, when it comes down to brass tacks they’d as soon kiss the intruder and show him the silver as opposed to saving the family’s wealth, but they can be protective towards family members especially children. If you are looking for a vicious guard dog - look for another breed.

ADDICTIVE...Much like potato chips, you can’t have just one! Very few people own just one Berner. We simply find them habit forming. Contrary to popular opinion, they are not cheaper by the dozen and two Berners cannot live as cheaply as one. If you have two Berners, it will cost you twice as much to feed and so on and so on... If you are still interested, and we hope you still are.....

WELCOME TO THE FAMILY OF BERNESE MOUNTAIN DOG ADMIRERS !!

Where to Purchase Your Bernese

Assuming that you have researched the Bernese Mountain Dog and have come to the conclusion that this is the only breed for you, where do you buy one? The Bernese Mountain Dog Club of Canada, Bernese Mountain Dog Club of Ontario and Bernese Mountain Dog Club of Quebec all have a current list of breeders. However, the clubs in no way endorse or make any recommendation of any name on the list. It is the responsibility of the buyer to research and determine the breeder’s reliability. As a member the Canadian Kennel Club we do not sanction the breeding/purchasing of unregistered and/or crossbred Berners. Club members are asked to sell all puppies on CKC Non-breeding contracts. This prevents indiscriminate breeding of dogs. When a person breeds a dog it should only be to improve this wonderful breed!

DO YOUR HOMEWORK BEFORE YOU BUY. RESEARCH THE BREEDER'S REPUTATION AND AFTER SALES SUPPORT. BE AWARE THAT FLASHY ADDS AND WEBSITES DO NOT ALWAYS EQUATE TO QUALITY PUPPIES OR GOOD BUSINESS PRACTICES.

BERNESE BUYER BEWARE

With the popular demand for Bernese Mountain Dogs increasing, a number of puppy mills, pet stores and poor quality breeders are now selling Bernese  puppies. Many of these puppies are of ill-health, have serious genetic defects, and poor temperaments. After sales support is very limited or non-existent. Please do some research before you buy.

  Warning Signs of a Questionable Breeder

Be wary of a breeder who:

  1. Asks for a large non-refundable deposit to reserve a puppy for you.

  2. Sells unregistered puppies or charges additional money for registering puppies.

  3. Routinely advertises puppies for sale in the newspaper and on multiple websites.

  4. Does not provide pedigree information or know the family history of the parents.

  5. Cannot provide proof of health screening on both parents.

  6. States that there are no genetic problems in the lines of their dogs.

  7. Does not allow you to see the mother of the puppies.  

  8. Does not conduct a thorough interview before agreeing to sell you a puppy.

Finding a Bernese Mountain Dog Puppy from a conscientious, reputable breeder may not be easy.  Be prepared to wait some time to get a puppy.  Most good breeders have a waiting list for their puppies, but remember "good things come to those who wait"

What you should expect from a reputable breeder:

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A healthy, happy, and carefully bred puppy. You should be able to see the mother of the puppies as well as the entire litter. Commonly the sire of the litter is not available for viewing as quite often the bitch is sent away to be bred. If you are purchasing a puppy sight unseen, due to distance factors, most kennels will give you the names if people, who have purchased puppies previously, as references.
 

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Complete health record of the puppy. This will include the microchip or tattoo number that the puppy was identified with.
 

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Certificate of vaccination indicating what type of vaccination was administered and by whom.
 

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A four generation pedigree.
 

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Written sales agreement. A reputable kennel will provide you with a contract and/or guarantee (terms vary depending on the individual breeder) when you purchase a puppy.  Make sure you fully understand your obligations under the agreement, as well as what the breeder is willing to do for you.  
 

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The puppy's CKC registration should be provided to the owner within 6 months. The breeder should have it stated in the sales contract that the puppy will be individually registered with the CKC.
 

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According to the Animal Pedigree Act of Canada if you are purchasing an animal deemed as purebred you are entitled to the registration papers within 6 months from the time of sale.
 

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Photocopies of all health certifications for both parents of the puppy. These clearance should include hips, elbows, eyes (as a minimum). Other screening may have been completed for heart, thyroid,  vWD (a blood clotting disorder), or shoulders abnormalities. 
 

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A bill of sale, outlining the purchase price and any conditional sales clauses. This may be included as part of the sales contract.
 

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 Feeding instructions for the first year of life.
 

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General training outline for basic obedience and housetraining.
 

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Communication and support for any problems that may occur throughout the dog’s life.
 

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A life long take back policy for any unwanted puppy they sell. If the breeder is unable or unwilling to supply most or all of the above perhaps you should look further before buying. Above all you should feel completely comfortable with the breeder, as they should feel completely comfortable with you before considering selling you a puppy. Most breeders will ask a huge number of questions to determine if you would provide the kind of home they want for their puppies. You too should ask many questions.

What a breeder should expect from you.

Any breeder has the right to expect you to:

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Provide proper housing and care for your dog - this means a properly fenced yard or dog run - NOT left tied out on a chain/rope or allowed to run free unsupervised.
 

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Provide regular veterinary checks, care, and vaccinations.
 

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Provide regular exercise and grooming to keep in top condition.
 

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Obedience train your dog, even if only to a basic level.
 

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Properly socialize your dog with people and other animals.
 

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Adhere to any additional sales clauses agreed to at the time of sale.
 

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Notify your breeder should you wish to give up your dog, for any reason and give the breeder the first opportunity to take the dog back.
 

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Give regular updates on the puppies progress and possibly provide some nice photos.

Frequently Asked Questions about Bernese:

Do Bernese Mountain Dogs get along with children?
This depends on the individuals involved – the child, the dog, and perhaps most importantly, the parents. The Bernese is NOT a always the best choice of breed for a family with small children. Many Berner puppies go through a “mouthy” stage that can be unwittingly encouraged by young children. Many Berners’ bodies grow faster than their “brains” which can be a challenge to the inexperienced dog owner.

Do Berners get along with dogs or other animals?
Most Bernese puppies will be able to adjust to the other members of their new families – human, canine, feline and other pets. The greater the size difference, the more supervision and training may be required. Also, much depends on the individuals involved. Some Berners are more nurturing, while others may have a stronger prey drive. The majority are somewhere in the middle and will respond to guidance in regard to their interactions with other family members.

Do Berners have a tendency to wander?
Berners prefer to stay close to the family and do not tend to wander. However, any breed if left alone for extended periods will get bored and go looking for something to do. If the puppy cannot be watched he should be safely secured in a fenced yard or dog run. Better yet, in the house with the family.

What is their temperament like?
With the training essential for ownership of a large working breed, adult Berners are generally gentle, easygoing and tolerant. They do not do well when isolated from people or activity. This breed can be slow to mature, and young dogs can be very active compared to the trained, often mellow adult. While Berners should not be shy, this tendency does run in the breed. Due to temperament concerns it is very important to expose Bernese to a wide variety of people, places and other animals, especially in their first year of life. However, caution should be taken not to over-face a sensitive dog.

Are Bernese easy to train?
Bernese generally like to please their people, but you must earn their respect. Some dogs can be challenging and take more work. Bernese are also smart enough to manipulate their owners. Generally, most Bernese are sensitive, impressionable dogs. Some may be “soft”. Bad or scary experiences are hard to overcome and are best anticipated and avoided. Only positive training techniques should be used. These dogs have lots of heart and their owners need to understand their dogs’ unique, psychological make-up. Your breeder should be able to assist you with training advice and methods.

How much should I expect to pay for a Bernese Puppy?
Prices of puppies will depend on a variety of factors. Locality, availability, quality. The prices now average around $1500.00 in Canada.  Higher cost does not necessarily equate to higher quality.  Be sure to that you fully understand the terms to which you are agreeing when purchasing a puppy, particularly if you are asked to provide a large deposit up front--you may find it is non-refundable.    

How much exercise does a Bernese require?
Berners require a moderate amount of exercise to maintain good health and condition. Some individuals are natural athletes while others have couch potato tendencies. To keep them fit they should go for at least two brisk walks daily.

Where do I go to see a Bernese?
Dog shows are a good place to start when you are determining what type of dog your family prefers. Once you have narrowed down the selection to a couple of breeds, contact breeders and owners in your area. You can get a listing of breeders in the Dogs Annual magazine or through the breed clubs. See as many dogs as you possibly can. Even if the breeders are not planning a litter... go and see their dogs anyway. The more information and experience that you can gather on the breed the better informed you will be when you do get a chance at purchasing a family companion.

How long should I expect to wait for a puppy?
Up to a years wait is not unusual. It will depend mostly on the type of home you can provide and what interests you have in the breed. Expect to wait longer for show/breeding potential pups since they are fewer in numbers than pet quality. Likewise if you wish to purchase from a particular breeder. Most breeders will want to meet you if possible and then put you on a waiting list if you are both in agreement of you getting a puppy from that particular breeder. It is considered quite common to ship a puppy from one part of the country to another part or even to another country... do not be afraid to contact breeders outside of your area. However there are a few drawbacks... you will not likely be able to see both parents of the litter of meet the breeder in person. You can request a list of references of previous puppy buyers and a video tape or pictures of the parents of the litter and possibly littermates as well. You should expect to pay for any shipping fees and the cost of a shipping crate. Although buying a puppy sight unseen can be a bit more risky, it is done successfully time after time. As long as you are dealing with a reputable breeder, you will likely be very happy. It is common courtesy to advise all the people with whom you have left your name that you have found your companion.

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