Things You Need To Know
Before You Adopt a Bernese Mountain Dog Puppy
The Bernese Mountain Dog is a wonderful family companion. He is devoted, dependable, affectionate, and has an amazing temperament. He is, however, a large breed with the adult male measuring from 24 to 28 inches at the shoulders and weighing as much as 120 lbs.. Obviously, this is a breed that requires some space and is not the breed for everyone. As with all breeds, before you consider bringing any dog into your life, there are many things you should know. Once you bring a dog into your home, he becomes a family member and deserves to be treated as such. This is a lifetime commitment and you must be prepared to care for him for his entire life. Here are just a few things that you must consider:
- While every breed is different and each individual dog is unique, generally a particular breed shares certain traits. The Bernese Mountain Dog is part of the Working Dogs group He enjoys activities such as carting, herding, obedience and agility. The Bernese is not generally an overly energetic breed but he does require daily exercise to help keep him in good shape.
- The Bernese has a double coat that sheds a minimum of twice a year typically Spring and Fall. This may not be the ideal breed for those suffering from allergies nor for anyone who does not like the thought of having dog hair on your floors, on your clothes, on your counters, or in your food. Regular grooming, especially during shedding seasons, are a must for this breed.
- The Bernese Mountain Dog is very people oriented and is not a breed to be left alone for extended periods of time. He thrives on human companionship and needs to be made a part of the family. If you're away from home for long periods of time or work long hours and cannot devote the necessary time needed to spend with your dog, then perhaps you should reconsider the idea of getting a dog at this time in your life.
- Although the Bernese may seem aloof to strangers and be somewhat protective of his home and family, the Bernese is not a guard dog. If you are seeking a dog for protection, the Bernese Mountain Dog is not the ideal breed for this role.
- By nature, the adult Bernese is calm and gentle which generally makes him very good with children. However, as a puppy this is a breed which grows (physically) quite rapidly and may not be the ideal choice for very young children who can accidentally be injured by a rambunctious pup. In addition, some Berners can be "mouthy" as puppies, which again may harm a young child.
- The Bernese is eager to please, intelligent and sensitive. Training should always be done in a positive manner and early socialization is a must for this breed. The Bernese Mountain Dog should attend puppy kindergarten classes and obedience training starting at a young age. The puppy should also be taken to various places to be exposed to as many different situations as possible.
- From food to veterinary bills, to medication, to toys, to the size of the crate, to everything in between Whatever the item, the Bernese Mountain Dog is a large breed and requires more than the small to medium breed. Therefore, the cost of owning a dog this size is obviously more expensive than owning a smaller breed. If you are not prepared financially for a breed this size, then please consider a smaller dog.
If you are not familiar with the Bernese Mountain Dog breed, research is a must with the Internet today, there is an abundance of information available at your fingertips. The Bernese is not a rare breed and there are several good websites devoted to the breed. Keep in mind, however, that every breed has its negative aspects. Whether it is health problems, temperament or behavioural issues, too large, too small, too loud, too quiet. They are all different and you need to be sure that your choice of a Bernese Mountain Dog is the right one, before you make the purchase.
- BMD Puppy FAQ From the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of Canada.
- Breed Information Also from the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of Canada.
- BMDinfo.org Note: Excellent information for anyone considering a Bernese Mountain Dog.
Finding a Breeder:
Once you've made your decision that this is indeed the breed for you, the next step is to find a responsible and reputable Breeder. This is not a task that should be taken lightly and again, research is necessary. The Bernese Mountain Dog is not a rare breed and there are several breeders available. Visit as many as possible and don't be afraid to ask questions. A Breeder should always be more than willing to provide you with all the answers to your questions and then some. The Breeder should be open and honest about health and temperament testing, and provide you with certificates as requested. The Bernese Mountain Dog Club of Canada recommends health clearances for hips, elbows and eyes as a minimum. In return, you should expect to be questioned (or rather, grilled) as well A responsible Breeder is always very particular about who he/she sells his/her dogs to. If you visit a Breeder and you feel that you have revealed very little about yourself and yet the Breeder is ready and willing to sell you a pup with virtually no questions asked Walk away! This is not a responsible Breeder. Whether you are looking for a family companion; a show dog; a dog to be trained in therapy or search and rescue; a dog to have fun with in competitions such as obedience, carting, or weight pulling; the most important aspects are the dog's physical and mental health.
A responsible and ethical Breeder's main goal is to produce only the highest quality Bernese Mountain Dogs that will better the gene pool. The responsible Breeder studies the pedigrees for quality, health, longevity, temperament and working ability, sometimes travelling great distances to find the best male to match the female. The responsible Breeder views health testing of their breeding stock as the norm in their breeding program and will provide you with copies of certifications. Most responsible Breeders are involved in some aspect of competition, whether it is the show ring for Conformation titles or competitive sports such as Obedience or Carting. While this may not be something you are interested in pursuing with your new dog, it is still an important point in that it helps prove the Breeders real interest in the betterment of the breed itself. Ask for references from previous puppy buyers as well as information on any clubs that the Breeder may be a member of. Verify these references and check that the Breeder is in good standing with the club(s).
The importance of finding a reputable breeder cannot be stressed enough. It doesn't matter if you simply want a great companion dog and have no intentions of showing, competing or otherwise working with your dog you still need to find a healthy and mentally sound puppy. The only place to find this is through a responsible breeder.
For more information on finding a responsible breeder, see:
- Choosing a Breeder
- A Comparison Chart of a Responsible Breeder vs. a Backyard Breeder
- Information for the Potential Dog/Puppy Owner
Keeping in mind that you should never, ever buy a puppy from a pet store, and that many responsible breeders do not advertise their puppies in newspapers, the best places to go to find a Breeder include the following:
- The Bernese Mountain Dog Breeders section of this website Breeders listed with links to their websites where you can learn more about them, if and when puppies are available, the pedigrees of the parents are usually available, and some sites have indepth breed information available as well. Please note, in order to be listed on the Canada's Guide to Dogs website, certain criteria must be met; however, we do not recommend, endorse or support any one of these Breeder listings.
- Bernese Mountain Dog Breed Clubs Several clubs are listed here with links to websites. The clubs are a good place to go to get member Breeder listings. Please note, a Breeder's membership in any club does not guarantee responsible and ethical breeding.
In Canada, in order for any of the Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) recognized breeds to be legally sold as "purebred" dogs, they must either already be registered with the CKC or they must be eligible to be registered with the CKC within six months of the date of sale. This is the law. In addition, Breeders in Canada are fully responsible for registering the puppy at their expense. Avoid any Breeder who offers you a puppy at a cheaper price without papers.
Further Information and Suggested Reading:
- Bernese Mountain Dog Club of Canada Code of Ethics (PDF)
- BMDCA Code of Conduct
- Code of Practice for CKC Members
- Animal Pedigree Act of Canada
Like all breeds, the Bernese Mountain Dog is susceptible to certain inherited/genetic health conditions.
See Bernese Mountain Dog Health for further details.
The Bernese Mountain Dog Breed Standards are listed on the main breed page. These are the ideals for the breed and describe the Berner's appearance and temperament.
Consider an Adult Dog
Have you considered an adult Bernese Mountain Dog? In many cases, the responsible Breeder has a waiting list for puppies and, if you can't wait for the next litter, consider adopting a homeless Berner from a rescue organization or shelter. Many of these dogs end up homeless through no fault of their own and all legitimate rescue organizations ensure that the dogs are spayed/neutered, up to date on vaccinations, and they will work with you to ensure that the dog meets with your requirements the last thing they want is to see the dog come back to them.
Another consideration is that occasionally Breeders may have young adults available. There are several reasons why a Breeder may have a dog available: (1) A buyer may have returned a dog for some reason In most cases, responsible Breeders will take their dogs back rather than have them go to a shelter. (2) The Breeder may have decided to keep and show the dog for a while. (3) The Breeder may have initially kept the puppy for breeding purposes but has since changed their mind. There could be a number of reasons why a Breeder could have on hand an adult or young adult dog available.
There are many advantages to adopting a dog that is beyond the puppy stage housetrained, crate trained, obedience trained, socialized, to name a few.
Please note, the information provided here is intended as a guideline to help you in your search for a physically and mentally sound Bernese Mountain Dog. Before you buy, do your research, learn about the breed, and be certain that this is the dog for you. Once you are absolutely positive about it, take the time and effort to find a good Breeder. Remember that this dog will become a member of your family and he should never be treated as anything less.