Before You Purchase a Puppy.....
www.bernergarde.org (FREE database of Bernese Mountain Dog health
information. You can also find information about breeders and owners.)
www.bmdca.org (Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America's official web
www.akc.org (American Kennel Club's official web site. It has
information for PPO's / "Future owners")
www.offa.org (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals' official web site. You
can search the possible dams and sires of your puppy to see what
evaluations have been registered through them including: hips, elbows,
shoulders, thyroid, degenerative myelopathy, von Willebrand's disease
http://www.bmdca.org/health/diseases.php (BMDCA's listing and
explanation of diseases and conditions known to affect the BMD)
(A site regarding dog food, natural food, food recalls, feeding, diet,
(unearth the natural wonders of diatomaceous earth as insect killer,
animal wormer and more)
http://www.aspca.org/Home/Pet-care/poison-control (link to nationwide
Poison Control operators for animals as well as foods to avoid,
poisonous (to animals) flowers, etc.)
ppy (The Art of Raising A Puppy by the Monks of New Skete)
There are numerous people who breed dogs.
Sometimes it is difficult to determine who to buy a puppy from. It is
not an easy decision and I suggest you talk to several breeders before
selecting one. Selecting your next family member should not be "a
rush". Plan ahead and be willing to wait for that right puppy and right
breeder to come along.
As a breeder of AKC registered dogs since the age of 16, I can tell you
breeding is much more than just putting two dogs together. I have been
around dogs all of my life being raised with AKC Collies and Shelties;
and in effect, raising them since being a little girl.
Many people have asked me, "how do I know if the breeder is
legitimate?" I tell them there is no easy answer. However, there are
several things you can ask and find out before buying a puppy.
1. Go to the breed's National Parent Club's website. (ie.,
Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America) and look for puppy buyer
information. The Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America has a "Puppy
FAQ's" resource for "PPO's" or Prospective Puppy Owners.
2. When you contact a breeder, have your questions written out so that
you can compare answers amongst the breeders you are going to
3. KNOW BREED SPECIFIC QUESTIONS TO ASK (ie., for BMD's hip,
elbow, eye and other certifications concerning health are important).
4. Get clarification about stated certifications. A BMD with "okay" hips
and elbows is different than a BMD with OFA hips rated "good" and
OFA elbows verified "no evidence of dysplasia". If a dam or sire, (female
and male producing the litter), does not have a certification, ASK
WHY! Ultimately, you, the puppy buyer has to decide if you want to
purchase a puppy from a dog that does not have its clearances. Visit the
OFA web site to find more information about genetic conditions that
may affect BMD's and why certification is important. The more
knowledge you have, the more you will be able to understand the
breeder you are talking to. (also see links below for other sites to visit)
5. Does the breeder show his/her dogs in AKC breed competitions
(beauty), obedience trials, agility trials, drafting (working events) or
not? While not every breeder may do these activities, they do provide a
forum to determine the type of dog that the breeder is producing.
While beauty is important, the working events, in my opinion, are just
as important for finding a loving, family companion. Dogs that are
champions may be "beautiful" but does not necessarily mean they are
"health problem free". Dogs that are exhibited in working events are
showing that they can be obedient and trainable to perform the events
they are being asked to do. They too are not necessarily "health
problem free". Again, it is most important to see health certifications!
6. Request a pedigree for the upcoming litter and then visit the Dogs.
You can type in dogs' names and see relatives' information including
health, certifications, pedigrees, litters, etc. You can also type in the
name of the breeder and retrieve information about him or her.
Remember though, information submitted to the database is done by
the breeder and/or owner of the dog. Therefore, if the breeder, (or
stud dog owner)does not participate and/or update information
regularly, the site may not assist you as it is meant to. You may want
to ask the breeder why they do/do not utilize Berner-Garde.
7. MOST importantly, remember that you are bringing a family you
are buying a puppy from. If you do not, then keep looking. DO NOT
be afraid to ask questions of the breeders you talk to! Just as they are
interviewing you as a potential family for their puppy, you get to
interview them as a potential provider of your future family
member.Every breed, every breeder's lines has its faults. A breeder
should be honest with you about his/her dogs. If you are within
driving distance, then GO VISIT. Get to know one another, visit the
dogs, make sure this is the breeder for you! Do not be pressured by the
"sale's pitch" of having "only one puppy left-- I need to know if you
want it now" syndrome. Your puppy was "meant to be" and when you
find the right breeder, the puppy will come afterwards. Take your time,
do your homework and then enjoy the next many, many years with
your new family member.
** These are the expressed opinions of Mary Dowski, Car-Rae Kennels and may not
be the opinions or practices of other breeders or dog owners.