Got Pups?

The purpose of this page is to give you some ideas that may be useful as you search for a Bernese Mountain Dog puppy.  Most people who are new to the breed are amazed at how challenging it can be to locate a puppy from a reputable breeder. We apologize, in advance, for any frustration that may arise from your search for that perfect puppy! The most important things you can take into your search for a puppy are patience, patience, and patience. If you must have a puppy this week, you are likely to be disappointed or wind up supporting a puppy mill (not a good thing).
The search for a puppy starts with becoming educated about the breed. This website is designed to help with that process, and our “Links” section includes a variety of other sites that can assist you in becoming more knowledgeable about the breed. As you read through the material, think about what goals you have for your puppy. Do you want to show in obedience or agility? Do you have an interest in breeding? Or are you looking for a family pet?
No matter what goals you have for a puppy, we hope you agree that finding a sound and healthy puppy is the number one priority. An unhealthy puppy is expensive in every way imaginable – money, heartache, and quality of life for the dog. All the potential in the world can’t help a performance dog if s/he is lame from elbow dysplasia. So how do you find a puppy that is likely to grow into a healthy and sound dog?
Breeding dogs is a lot like gambling because we really cannot predict outcome with certainty. However, it is possible to stack the deck in your favor – and that should be your goal when looking for a puppy. In other words, you want to find the puppy that represents the best chance of a good outcome. What is a good outcome? A puppy that will live many years as a sound, healthy dog.
Your chances of obtaining a puppy that will live as a sound and healthy dog are greatly increased if the puppy comes from sound, healthy parents who themselves come from dog families that are sound and healthy. Therefore, you can see the importance of information in your quest to get the best possible puppy.
As someone who is going to invest a lot of time, money and emotion in a puppy you have every right to receive a great deal of information about a puppy’s family in order to make the best decision possible. What kind of information should you expect? First, you want the registered names and registration numbers of both parents so you can verify their health clearances (see “Checking Clearances” on this web site). If you cannot verify the clearances via the on-line databases, ask the breeder to send you copies of the clearances – and make sure to read them! One new puppy owner failed to notice that the OFA certificate indicated dysplasia! If clearances for hips and elbows are not available for both parents, do yourself a big favor and walk away.
A quick word about health clearances – hips and elbows are the bare minimum and quality breeders do more. We like to see the following clearances on berners who are being used for breeding: hips, elbows, eyes (called a “CERF number”), cardiac, thyroid, and information with regards to a bleeding disorder call vonWillebrand (vWD) and a condition called Degenerative Myelopathy (DM).  Remember – verify all clearances!! And don’t accept excuses – and you will hear them when you inquire as to why certain tests have not been done and/or affected dogs were bred -- so be prepared!
If the parents have health clearances, your next task in finding a great puppy is to ask about the grandparents of the puppy – have their hips and elbows been evaluated? How old are the grandparents, and if dead, what was the cause of death and at what age? We have some genetic cancers in our breed and early deaths from those cancers close up in a pedigree should be a concern. What about the siblings of the parents – are they alive and well? What about their hips and elbows?
If the parents and grandparents of the puppy seem to be healthy and sound, and you have verified that information, it is time to consider temperament. A dog’s temperament is strongly influenced by genetics and so it is in your best interest to meet the parents and/or find out as much as possible about their personalities. A confident, friendly puppy typically comes from confident, friendly parents.
If the “genetic deck” seems well stacked for puppies that will grow into sound, healthy dogs with good temperaments (and you have verified this information), then maybe you have found the perfect puppy for your family! Make certain that you understand all that is expected of you by the breeder, and make certain the breeder is clear about what you expect from him/her.
It may take some time to find a puppy that is most likely to grow into the sound, healthy dog you deserve – but she or he will be worth the wait. Impulsive puppy buying increases your chances of years of expense and heartache. The perfect puppy for your family is one that has been carefully bred and from a litter thoughtfully selected by you – the patient, educated future puppy owner.
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