We strive to be open and honest about our breeding program. The following list of questions are ones recommended for puppy buyers to ask of breeders by the Bernese Mt Dog Club of Oregon and the Bernese Mt Dog Club of Greater Seattle. We are always happy to answer any other questions you may have.
• What genetic screening/testing do you routinely perform on all of your breeding stock?
All of our dogs certifications include hips and elbows through OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals), eyes through CERF (Canine Eye Registry Foundation), heart, DM (Degenerative Myopathy), and vWD (von Willebrand's Disease).
• How long have you been a breeder? Do you breed other breeds? Which ones?
We began breeding Bernese Mountain Dogs in the 90’s being mentored by my mother and sister that began breeding in the 80’s. Early 2000 we bred Norwich Terriers as that was our sons’ junior dog. We decided it was too difficult to give full justice to two breeds at a time and put all of our efforts into the Berners.
• Are you a member of any dog clubs?
We belong to the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America and participate in the National specialty about every other year. We also belong to the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of Oregon.
• Do you show your dogs and what other titles do they have?
All of our dogs are shown by us in conformation shows mostly AKC, some in Canada as well. Fred is a professional dog handler so we show our Bernese as well as others. Fred also handles other breeds and has shown a Pembroke Welsh Corgi and Bernese Mt Dog "Chandler"at Westminster Kennel Club. Benny is a certified therapy dog that attends Selah Middle School with me daily.
• Do you temperament test your puppies before placing? Where were the puppies raised? How have you socialized them?
We don’t do a formal temperament test. Our puppies are raised in their own room in the house until about 4 weeks of age then they are moved to our outside dog building which is off our back door. Here they have a puppy yard with toys, tubes and a slide.
When the puppies are old enough they interact with our adult dogs and our cats. We have a lot of visitors to play with and interact with the puppies. They spend their days in our house and outside wherever we are.
We spend countless hours with all of the puppies as we are always looking for our next show/ breed prospect. In this way we learn every puppy’s personality and nuances. This gives us the ability to match the puppy to the family. Therefore, the more we get to know about you and your family the better. This assists us in making that perfect match. We welcome you to visit the puppies as they grow. There are also weekly updates on our website and Facebook.
• Will you take the dog back/help find another home for it if for some reason in the future I can no longer look after it?
Our contract states that we will take any puppy/dog back at any time for any reason for rehoming. Dogs cannot be rehomed without our written permission.
• Do you require spaying/neutering?
All of our puppies are placed on spay and neuter contracts. We require your puppy to be spayed/neutered between 6-12 months of age. Companions are on a limited registration. They can participate in performance events but can’t be shown in conformation or bred.
• What health clearances/procedures do you require from puppy buyers?
Companion puppy buyers are required hip to have and elbow x-rays at a year of age at the veterinary clinic we recommend.
• Do you have any puppies or will you have any in the future? How many litters do you have a year?
We breed anywhere from 0-3 litters a year. It depends on the girls we have in our breeding program at the time and the availability of quality males to breed to.
• How much does a non-show or show quality puppy cost?
All puppies are $2000. Companion puppies are placed on spay/neuter contracts, with limited registration. Show puppies are placed with a co-ownership contract which contains special stipulations pertaining to breeding.
• What are the parent’s temperaments and personalities like? Do you have the parents on site? Can I see them?
The moms live with us and you are welcome to meet them and get to know them. We often have an offspring of hers you can meet as well. The dads are carefully selected to augment our females. We do not just breed to our own males because of convenience. Therefore the dad may live anywhere. Most of their owners are open to visitors to meet their male, we are happy to assist you in arranging this if you wish.
• How old are the Mother and Father of this litter.
Our girls are bred after the age of two and completion of their health certification. We only use males that are over 18 months of age and have their preliminary health certification.
• Is there any special health problems I might need to watch for in this particular breeding?
Every dog has its health issues in its pedigree. Therefore each is carefully researched so that no health issue is repeated too many times. Many factors go into putting together a pedigree. Temperament, health, structure and longevity are all taken into consideration. All of this information and all of our dogs can be found on Bernergarde.
• What is the likelihood that I might be able to get a puppy from this litter?
Each litter is unique. It depends on how many puppies we are expecting and how many people we have on or waiting list.
• After receiving my questionnaire, how and when do you notify me if I am on your approved list?
Once we review your questionnaire we invite you to visit to meet us and our dogs. A visit is vital for us to determine if a Bernese is the right breed for you. Priority is given to families that take the time to visit. If a visit is not possible because of location, we will contact you by phone. After we have had a chance to learn more about you we will let you know if we are able to offer you a puppy.
• What do I have to do to reserve a puppy and do you need a deposit? If I place a deposit with you, under what conditions will/can my deposit be returned?
Deposits of $500 are taken after puppies are actually born. Sex may or may not be definite at this time. Your puppy is then considered "sold" and other buyers will be placed on a waiting list for a future litter or referred elsewhere. For this reason, deposits are non-refundable unless the puppy is not available.
Breeder Red Flags
Dogs are only listed by their call names.
WHY THIS IS BAD: Call names are simply the names that we use daily with our
dogs. They are not unique. Every REGISTERED dog has a UNIQUE
REGISTERED name. Using this registered name, you can check health
clearances, health records, & titles on this dog through Bernergarde
Breeder charges more for females, for registered vs. non-registered,
or for full vs limited registration.
WHY THIS IS BAD: First you should not be charged more to have a registrable
dog registered. This is simply unethical. If a breeder is selling a dog on limited
registration, that means that the breeder feels that this dog should not be bred or
shown in conformation. This judgement should not be overturned by an
additional payment. And females cost the same to produce & raise as males.
Background information, such as pedigrees and health clearances are
not available until AFTER you have paid a deposit.
WHY THIS IS BAD: Ethical breeders want you to have this information so that
you can make an informed decision on whether this is the right litter for you. If a
breeder is trying to conceal this information, that usually means that there is a
problem. This would include breeders who get angry when you ask for
documentation of health clearances.
Breeder’s only questions revolve around payment & s/he discourages
you from coming to their kennel. Breeder requires non-refundable
WHY THIS IS BAD: Responsible breeders want to meet the whole family & make
sure that breed & individual puppy are a good fit. You want to see whether the
dogs are kept in a safe & clean environment & how the puppies are being
Breeder sells puppies through third parties (brokers, dealers, retail
WHY THIS IS BAD: Responsible breeders want to make sure that their puppies
are going to the right homes. Then they are available to the puppy’s buyers if they
have problems (training, health) to give support and advice. Responsible
breeders will take back any puppies they produce for the life of the dog.