You may be interested in an older puppy or young dog instead of a puppy. There are times when a breeder is undecided as to which puppy to keep from a litter for breeding purposes and will "grow out" a pup for a number of months or perhaps a year. If the pup does not become part of the breeder's program, it may become available for sale. You may want to ask breeders if they have older dogs available. Also, contact Mary McKnight, our Rescue Coordinator, if you are looking for an older pup or an adult. (See the Rescue page for more information.)
Beginning your search for a Puppy
We encourage each puppy seeker to first spend considerable time researching the pros and cons of owning a Bernese Mountain Dog before contacting breeders. We have provided a number of links to helpful sites to aid in that research. You may wish to visit dog shows in the area and talk to as many BMD owners as possible. At ringside you can meet breeders, and meet their dogs. Check our calendar and join in at one of our events. Meet our dogs and talk to their owners. Do not be in a hurry. Berners are not prolific breeders. It takes time to find the right dog.
Pet vs. Show Quality
One of the first questions a breeder may ask you is whether you are looking for a pet or show quality pup. Understanding the criteria used to determine which puppy is available to a pet home and which is destined for the show ring may be helpful.
First of all there are only two disqualifications in the Bernese Mountain Dog standard which make the dog ineligible for the show ring: a blue eye(s), or any ground color other than black (rarely a Berner is born with rust or copper as his coat color). There are other attributes that are considered "faults" in the show ring such as an undershot bite, missing teeth, high-tail carriage, kinked tails, too much or too little white, light-colored eyes, and curly coats, to name a few. AKC rules require that a male have both testicles, so monorchid or cryptorchid pups would be sold as pets.
Breeders will be looking for puppies with potential to become part of their breeding program. Structure, movement, type and personality may be deciding factors. It takes a trained eye to see and evaluate subtle differences in a litter. The pup that looks best at eight weeks, doesn't always grow to full potential.
All puppies in a litter are given the same start in life and equally benefit from the investment the breeder has made in evaluating the dam and sire, carefully planning the litter, and the time and effort devoted to deliver and raise the puppies in a safe, healthy environment. One puppy is not more important than another. The faults and disqualifications mentioned above do not affect a pup's personality, health, or longevity.
While it is not unusual to find a price difference in show and pet quality animals, many breeders do not differentiate in price. But a pet quality dog should not be sold to a show home, and a show quality pup should not go to a pet home.
Unless you are willing to raise, train and show your dog, please do not ask for a show quality animal. While showing can be a wonderful experience, it takes time, money and dedication to show a dog to a championship. Rest assured that a pet from a good litter will bring equal joy and pride as any champion of record. Note too that all purebred dogs can compete in AKC performance events such as obedience, rally, agility, tracking, herding, and, of course, any Berner can enter a carting trial sponsored by the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America.
BMDCA Information Series - The Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America, the national organization of BMD owners and breeders, has published a series of articles which will help you decide whether a Berner is the right dog for you. From the home page of bmdca.org, choose "About Berners" at the top and look for Information Series. http://bmdca.org/breed_education/
Researching Bernese - Berner-Garde Foundation - (www.bernergarde.org) This database was established to collect, maintain and disseminate information about genetic diseases observed in the BMD. A responsible breeder participates in breed research and is open about the health and longevity of their dogs. Berner Garde is an open database, and you can use it to research pedigrees and verify health information. Information is gathered by the B-G operators from sources such as the AKC, OFA, CERF, etc., but detailed health information is voluntarily submitted by breeders and owners. You can determine if a breeder is participating by checking the source of the information -- it should say breeder submitted. If the breeder you select does not participate in Bernergarde.org, ask why. Question responses such as "Berner-Garde has too many errors, or I'm too busy." You can begin your positive affect on the breed by encouraging all breeders to use this vital source of information. We can't research what we don't know.
Breeder Referral Program Coordinator: Deborah Reams
PLEASE NOTE: PVBMDC does not monitor, approve, disapprove or recommend the breeding programs of breeder members, nor is PVBMDC responsible for the health of any puppy. Prices of pups may vary from breeder to breeder, and a buyer should be aware of the terms of sale and contractual obligations before finalizing a purchase. It is the sole responsibility of the buyer to determine the suitability of any puppy he or she may purchase, and it is the breeder's responsibility to evaluate the buyer and future home of the puppy.
A list of member/breeders of PVBMDC will be presented to you when you complete and submit the form below. To ensure they are actively engaged in the Berner community, breeders must meet certain BMDCA and PVBMDC Requirements.
The information that you include on the following inquiry form will be e-mailed to all of the breeder members on the list for their information, but it will be YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to INITIATE CONTACT with the breeders.
Disclaimer: The inclusion of a breeder on this list is not an endorsement, guarantee or warranty by PVBMDC. We provide this information as a service to our guests and assume no liability in the transaction you may have with any of these individuals. Buyers should question breeders thoroughly regarding their breeding programs before choosing a puppy. Dog breeders are for the most part hobbyist, people who love their dogs and their breed and who work very hard to perpetuate the standard of the breed. Emails and Phone calls are normally welcomed at reasonable hours. Due to the frequency of calls, it may not be possible for a breeder to return your inquiry. Keep trying.
Also, please remember you are discussing living beings who are first loved by their breeders. There are no perfect dogs, but perhaps a perfect dog for you. Good luck!
Click here for Puppy Inquiry Form