It can take months to find an available thoughtfully-bred Bernese Mountain Dog puppy. Don’t be in a hurry.
The Breed Standard defines and describes a Bernese Mountain Dog; good breeders pay a lot of attention to it.
Berners are a working breed that traditionally served as an all-purpose farm dog. Her/his duties included pulling milk carts to market and driving livestock in addition to keeping a watchful eye on the farm. As a result of this heritage, Berners like “jobs.”
Berners — all of them — are sadly and highly prone to certain cancers; the only breeders who say otherwise are the Foolish, the Ignorant, and the Liars. Remember — one cannot solve a problem s/he doesn’t admit to having.
It is typical to be required to neuter or spay your thoughtfully-bred puppy; a no-strings attached puppy is a giant red flag.
If Life happens and you cannot keep your Berner, a good breeder will require that the dog be returned to him/her.
“Got pups? How much?” is a really unfortunate way to start a dialog with a reputable breeder.
Berner puppies are spendy. Expect to pay in the ballpark of $1800 - $3500 for a puppy, depending a lot on what part of the country you are looking.
A reputable breeder will most likely select a puppy for you from a litter (or give you a choice of two or maybe three). This is because her knowledge of the puppies’ temperaments and traits puts her in the best position to play Matchmaker.
Hip and elbow dysplasia (and shoulder Osteochondritis dissecans) are inherited; most people know this but there are still some who make excuses — or lie — about these joint issues in their dogs. #shameonthem
No reputable breeder of Bernese Mountain Dogs is involved in any way, shape, or form in producing Berner mixes — period. None. Big Giant Red Flag. If you want a unique, one-of-a-kind mixed breed dog, please adopt one from the shelter — they are cheaper and you will be a Hero.
Health insurance for your Berner is a good idea. Yes — health insurance for pets is a Thing. Our dogs are covered by Nationwide but there are other excellent companies, including Trupanion, Embrace, and Pets Best.
Good breeders look for the best match when creating a litter — not the most convenient one. Red Flag Alert: Disreputable breeders tend to breed their own dogs to each other, over and over.
Everyone knows that puppy mills are really bad — right? Most disreputable breeders have dogs with puppy mill heritage. Therefore, buying a puppy from a disreputable breeder is a vote of support for puppy mills. Please do not support the misery that is puppy mills.
Family matters — this applies to dogs as well. Good breeders will be open and knowledgeable about the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly in all close relatives of a litter. Red Flag Alert: There is no Bad or Ugly mentioned — only Good.
Good breeders typically have waiting lists — but they know and will refer to other good breeders so do not be afraid to ask.
Average Life Expectancy for a Berner is hard to pin down with precision but is in the neighborhood of eight years. Sad but true. #cancersucks
Sales Pitch Alert: “Our Berners are from healthy European lines.” Ahem. All Berners are from Europe — the breed, after all, started in Switzerland, which is — for those who slept through Geography — in Europe.
Showing dogs is one important way a good breeder assesses how well his/her dogs “match” the Breed Standard; Red Flag Alert when a breeder does not show her/his dogs.
Good breeders want/need their puppy owners to stay connected with them for the life of the dog in order to receive feedback/information about things like health, temperament, cause of death, etc. This kind of evaluative information is necessary for making good future breeding decisions.
ALWAYS verify information given to you by a breeder; do this using the online databases of Berner-Garde and the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals. If you need help, please ask — there are many of us who will help you.
Related to above: Disreputable breeders too often have incorrect/inaccurate info (aka Lies and Sales Pitches) on their websites. Yes, I check, which is why I know to mention that.
If it sounds too good to be true, it is. Adequate and accurate information about a Berner litter or puppy should leave you feeling excited — and a bit terrified.
It bears repeating: when looking for a thoughtfully-bred Berner puppy, patience is a necessary virtue.
What did we miss? Use the Contact Us form to share your suggestions for our List of Random but Important Things You Should Know when Looking for a Bernese Mountain Dog.