READ BEFORE BUYING A PUP

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 

ALL BREEDS OF DOG HAVE AN OFFICIAL bREED sTANDARD OR bREED PROFILE WHICH LISTS THE POINTS REQUIRED IN THE BREED.  BUT DESPITE THAT THERE CAN STILL BE BIG VARIATIONS IN THE PHYSICAL ASPECTS AS WELL AS THE TEMPERAMENT, ACTIVITYLEVEL AND HEALTH ASPECTS OF EACH BREED AND BERNESE MOUNTAIN DOGS ARE NO EXCEPTION.

aNYONE CONSIDERING ADDING A BERNESE MOUNTAIN DOG TO THEIR FAMILY SHOULD TRY TO BUY FROM AN EXPERIENCED, KNOWLEDGEABLE, SPECIALIST BREEDER OF GOOD REPUTE WHO WILL LIKELY HAVE IN-DEPTH KNOWLEDGE OF THE ATTRIBUTES AND FAULTS WITHIN THE FAMILY OF DOGS THEY ARE BREEDING FROM

 

ARE THEY GOOD FAMILY DOGS?

 

bERNESE ARE GENERALLY SOCIABLE AND CRAVE HUMAN COMPANY SO THEY SHOULD MAKE GOOD FAMILY DOGS.  mOST BERNESE WANT TO BE INVOLVED IN ALL FAMILY ACTIVITIES BUT THEIR SUCCESS IN THAT ROLE DEPENDS ON A NUMBER OF FACTORS, THE MOST IMPORTANT BEING THAT POTENTIAL OWNERS SHOULD-

A) ENSURE THEY CHOOSE A WELL, BRED WELL REARED BERNESE FROM A KNOWLEDGEABLE BREEDER WHO IS BREEDING FROM BERNESE KNOWN TO BE BIDDABLE, MANAGEABLE AND EVEN TEMPERED AND

B) ENSURE THAT THEIR BERNESE IS WELL REARED, WELL SOCIALISED AND WELL TRAINED

ARE THEY GOOD WITH CHILDREN?

ARE THEY GOOD GUARD DOGS

 

BERNESE ARE NOT GENERALLY REGARDED AS GUARD DOG OF THE SAME CALIBRE AS SOME OTHER BREEDS BUT SOME BERNESE CAN CERTAINLY FILL THE ROLE OF WATCHDOG.  ALERTING THEIR OWNERS TO THE ARRIVAL OF STRANGERS AND VISITORS ETC.

 

DO THEY NEED TO BE KEPT OUTSIDE IN A KENNEL?

 

BERNESE CRAVE HUMAN COMPANY SO THEY THRIVE BEST WHEN THEY ARE LIVING IN THE HOME AS A MEMBER OF THE FAMILY.  bERNESE MADE TO LIVE IN KENNELS OR OUTBUILDINGS ARE BEING DEPRIVED OF WHAT THEY CRAVE MOST.

 

DO THEY NEED A LARGE GARDEN

 

BERNESE LIKE TO SPEND TIME IN THE GARDEN BUT A MODEST SIZED GARDEN IS SUFFICIENT FOR TOILET PURPOSES AND GENERAL RECREATIONS SO LONG AS THE DOG RECEIVES REGUALAR EXERCISE AND EXCURSIONS OFF THE PREMISES TOO

 

HOW BIG ARE THEY?

 

aN ADULT BERNESDE MALE WILL IDEALLY MEAUSRE 64 AND 70 CMS (25 - 271/2 INCHES) AT THE SHOULDER AND COULD WEIGH ANYTHING WITHIN THE RANGE OF 36 TO 55 KILOS (APPROX 80 - 120 LBS.)

AN ADULT BERNES BITCH WILL IDEALLY MEAUSRE BETWEEN 58 AND 66 CMS (23 -26 INCHES) AT THE SHOULDER AND COULD WEIGH ANYTHING BETWEEN THE RANGE OF 34 TO 46 KILOS (aPPROX 75 -100 LBS).

(FOR COMPARISION, A GERMAN sHEPHERD DOG (aLSATION) MALE SHOULD BE 64 CMS (25 INCHES) AT THE SHOULDER, AND gERMAN sHEPHERDOG DOG BITCHES SHOULD BE 58 CMS (23 INCHES)AT THE SHOULDER WITH A WEIGHT RANGE OF 35 - 40 KILOS ORR 77 - 85 LBS)

 

DOG OR BITCH?

 

tHE CHOICE OF GENDER OF BERNESE MAY DEPEND ON A NUMBER OF FACTORS

A) IS THE DIFFERENCE IS SIZE AND STATURE A FACTOR ON HOW THE BERNESE WILL FIT INTO HOME AND LIFESTYLE?B)

THE GENDER AND AGE OF ANY CURRENT DOGS YOU ALREADY OWN OR THOSE DOGS BELONGING TO NEIGHBOURS OR FRIENDS YOUR NEW BERNESE WILL MEET REGULARLY MAY DETERMINE WHICH GENDER WOULD BE BETTER INTERACT WITH THOSE.

C)

YOUR 'GUT FEELING 'OF WHH GENDER YOU MIGHT PREFER OR FEEL MORE COMFORTABLE WITH

 

HOW MUCH DO THEY COST TO BUY

 

THE UK PRICE IS 2013 FOR A CAREFULLY PLANNED, WELL BRED BERNESE PUPPY FROM A SPECIALIST EXTABLISHED, REPUTABLE BERNESE BREEDER IS APPROX £1200 - £1400.00 INCLUSIVE OF KENNEL CLUB REGISTRATION CERTIFICATE AND PEDIGREE PLUS A FEW WEEKS INITIAL INSURANCE COVER WHICH IS ARRANGED AND PROVIDED BY THE BREEDER.

 

HOW MUCH DO THEY COST TO FEED


During the first year when puppies are growing very fast a Bernese will consume more food each day than when fully grown. The cost and type of different foodstuffs varies tremendously but if opting for a moderately priced dog food it would be wise to budget for approx £10 - £15 per week to feed a Bernese not including treats etc. 


HOW MUCH EXERCISE DO THEY NEED?

Bernese need enough exercise to maintain good physical condition and provide 
mental stimulation and enjoyable recreation. During the first year when growing fast Bernese puppies need sensible but limited amounts of exercise to prevent too much stress occurring to immature bones and also to prevent injury from over exertion.

HOW MUCH GROOMING DO THEY NEED?Mature Bernese have a thick, double coat comprising of a dense, fine, short undercoat overlaid by longer, silky guard-hairs. Many owners of Bernese find that a thorough grooming once a week with a less thorough brushing every couple of days will keep a Bernese coat in order. Bernese moult heavily for a few weeks at a time once or twice a year and during those times daily grooming will be required. DO THEY DROOL AND SLOBBER?Bernese should have well-fitting lips (flews) and be dry mouthed. Some Bernese will drool if you are eating a bacon sandwich in front of them (!) but they should not produce copious amounts of slobber like St Bernards or Newfoundlands - although a few Bernese do.

ARE THEY DESTRUCTIVE?Bernese tend not to be inherently destructive but some dogs who have a greater need to be occupied and so may engage in chewing or shredding things if the opportunity arises

ARE THEY INTELLIGENT?Many Bernese are but some are less so! A Bernese was originally bred as a multi-purpose farm dog who is strong enough and intelligent enough to work alongside his master and be useful in a number of tasks around the farm. ARE THEY EASY TO TRAIN? Yes - so long as the owner starts training a newly acquired pup immediately and the training method chosen is kind, clearly understood by both owner and dog (!) and applied consistentl

DO BERNESE GET ALONG WITH OTHER DOGS AND ANIMALS?

There is no reason why and Bernese cannot get along amicably with other animals so long as they are introduced correctly and sensibly and all subsequent interaction between them is overseen in a controlled and sensible manner

.DO THEY HAVE HEALTH PROBLEMS?All breeds and crossbreeds of dogs may be affected by both inherited and acquired health issues. Some specific health issues occur more commonly in some breeds of dogs more than others. Bernese can be affected by some health issues.

DO THEY NEED TO HAVE A KENNEL CLUB AND PEDIGREE CERTIFICATE?

Yes. Dedicated Bernese enthusiasts will only breed from dogs who are Kennel Club Registered. The pedigree certificate is usually provided by and should always be signed by the breeder of the puppy or dog as it confirms the heritage of the dog. The Kennel Club can also supply a their official Pedigree certificates for registered dogs. The Kennel Club Registration Certificate confirms the dog appears in the Kennel Club database. Only Kennel Club Registered dogs can compete in Limited, Open or Championship Shows and only the progeny from Kennel Club registered dogs can themselves be eligible for Kennel Club registration. Bernese sold without pedigrees or Kennel Club Registration Certificates should be priced much lower than those sold with those documents.

WHY DON'T THEY LIVE VERY LONG?

Bernese are as varied in lifespan as some other dog breeds of similar size and stature. Large breeds of dogs tend to have a shorter expected lifespan than medium and smaller sized breeds of dogs. It is true that some Bernese are considered 'old' at 7 years of age and some die before reaching that age but there are also a lot of Bernese who reach an age well into double figures. Some health initiatives have compiled data from reported Bernese deaths but only a tiny percentage of Bernese owners report the age at death of their Bernese (and those who have experienced what they considered to be a premature loss are more likely to report a loss) so any data may provide indications but any conclusion reached at this time is not a factual representation of the whole Bernese population.

WHAT DO HIP SCORES & ELBOW GRADES MEAN?Dogs aged over 1 year old may undergo x-rays of their hips and elbows and the radiographs will then be sent to the British Veterinary Association (BV) where an official scrutineer will award an official Hip Score or Elbow Grade dependant on how much deformity (Hip Dysplasia and Elbow Dysplasia) is present in the hip or elbow joints. The more 'points' awarded, the higher the degree of deformity present.Hip Scores may range from 0 - 53 for each hip - combining for a total score of between 0 - 106. A hip score of 4 on each hip (4+4) totalling 8 out of 106 confirms a lesser degree of Hip Dysplasia than a score of 10 + 10 = 20 out of a maximum 106.The Mean HD Score for UK Bernese in 2010 is 15 (total score adding together the score for both hips.)elbow scores are from 1 - 3best scores are 0 on each elbow

WHERE CAN I SEE SOME BERNESE AT SHOWS AND EVENTS?go on to IKC site and they give a list of dog shows or also in Ireland go towww.dogshowireland.iealso for both Irish and UK shows the papers OUR DOGS and DOG World give details

. THE CANINE CONTRADICTION! Many people believe a dog is a dog is a dog. Despite the huge variations in size and shape, the physiology of all dogs is basically the same but that’s where the similarities end. We have a Breed Standard which sets out what the ideal Bernese Mountain Dog should be like, but even that carefully thought out description falls far short of describing what the Bernese that we actually HAVE are REALLY like! I am sure that owners of every breed think their breed is unique, but I suspect that Bernese are even more unique than many of us expected

Having owned and worked with dogs of varying breeds all of my life, I have found Bernese to be particularly peculiar (in the nicest possible way!) because they are a complex mix of so many traits. Bernese are;BIDDABLE yet STUBBORN: Bred as a general-purpose farm dog, Bernese do not exhibit one strong, over-riding trait (unlike herders with an enhanced hunt/chase instinct etc or the carry/retrieve nature of some gundogs). Selectively bred to fulfil various jobs around the farmyard, Bernese were created to work alongside their master and so they are generally happy to comply with their masters wishes. But don’t be fooled – some Bernese have a stubborn streak too and they take great delight in testing their owner’s power of leadership and control whilst reminding their owners (often all-too-regularly!) that the 40+kilos of this particular tri-coloured dog has a mind of his own tooIRREPRESSIBLE yet SENSITIVE: Bernese definitely have the ability to enjoy life to the full. Happy and carefree with the sunniest of natures, they exude a vitality and zest for life that cannot help but instil an infectious joy in anyone who sees them. Yet just below the surface of that happy-go-lucky exterior lies a sensitive core that should never be underestimated. Bernese are very quick to respond to stress, anxiety and negative vibes

occurring around them, and your jolly carefree dog can, overnight, change into an unhappy and confused shadow of his previous self. The sensitivity also lends itself to depression, and Bernese can and DO suffer just as badly from depression as any human can. ROBUST yet DELICATE: This big, powerful breed is sturdily built, broadly set and heavy and their physical strength cannot be denied. The extreme growth rate from a half kilo newborn to a massive 40+kilos at around a year old requires a robustness to cope with the stresses and strains of such extreme physical development. Anyone standing in the path of a strong, vigorous but fast-moving Bernese will bear the bruises of just how robust they are compared to us mere mortals! Unfortunately, many owners are ill-prepared when a seemingly insignificant bump or knock to their Bernese renders a degree of lameness far in excess of what we might expect for such a large strong looking dog. Even minor illness and injury and common complaints such as ear and skin problems, digestive upsets etc. can be a heavier burden to a Bernese compared to some smaller, slighter-built breeds who seem to cope better. LOYAL yet MANIPULATIVE: Bernese are completely devoted to their owners and portray the classic image of the ultimate faithful canine companion. They put their owners on a pedestal and the love and respect they have for their “leader” cannot be denied. Bernese are very ‘tuned in’ to people and body language, they are ‘people watchers’ extraordinaire from a surprisingly young age; puppies arriving at their new homes at around 7 or 8 weeks will already have memorised the lessons their mother gave them on “How to manipulate humans” and these young innocents are more than capable of recognising and exploiting our weaknesses and inconsistencies. Bernese puppies have a cuteness factor second-to-none plus all the basic skills required to ensure we shower them with affection, meet their every need (and whim!) and grant them privileges which may encourage routine behaviour in our beloved pet which we live to regret but can’t possibly withdraw. ACCOMMODATING yet DEMANDING: Bernese are renowned for having an easy-going nature. They don’t need huge amounts of daily exercise, they are fairly straight-forward to groom and don’t cost a fortune to feed. Bernese do not need a huge amount of space, they are more than happy to live in our houses and ‘bunk down’ in our beds with us (!) and they will even fit into a small car. Bernese definitely seem accommodating in those respects – but that doesn’t give any warning to the HUGE demands they make of you and your time. Bernese crave attention- they need attention - they will do ANYTHING to get your attention – and there is no way that you can ignore their unrelenting demands! A Bernese wants to be with his master above all else, following you around, leaning up against you and watching you and listening for you all the time. Living with a Bernese is like having a child hanging on your apron strings – they never let you go. CONFIDENT yet DEPENDENT: “Self confident” is the actual phrase used in the Breed Standard and that attitude is important in both a working dog and a family companion. Anyone seeing their Bernese going off on his own, strutting his stuff within a group of strangers or bounding off into the horizon to greet unsuspecting joggers or walkers will know that Bernese ooze confidence. BUT…. Bernese are also extremely reliant on human company, and it is not unusual to see Bernese who have become completely dependent on their owners to a degree whereby they become reluctant to do anything other than stay close to their master and follow him around.

 

 

DIGNIFIED yet FUN LOVING:  Tall and proud and beautiful, Bernese have an air of dignity and superiority about them.  Adult Bernese can exhibit some rather regal traits such as being reluctant to step in puddles or drink from a bowl that another dog has spat in.   Some even refuse to jump up into the cargo area of the car – preferring to have their owners lift them in, first the front legs then their back legs, and then they stand there waiting for you to arrange a comfortable spot for them!  Cut glass beauty and cut glass mannerisms - all wrapped into one classy package - Doggy Dignity at its finest.   

Unfortunately, when it suits them (and without warning) the façade will disappear and you are subjected to humiliation for no better reason than your Bernese decided to amuse himself and play the clown (often at your expense!)  Bernese do daft things and lose all sense of decorum; they pull funny faces and have a whole catalogue of silly expressions; they throw themselves down on the floor with all the grace of a demolished, collapsing building, then roll on their back with their legs wide open (as if they have been steam-rolled) and display all their 'bits' whilst sporting a devilish grin (especially when the vicar calls); they pretend they don’t understand when you call “come here” and just as you tell folk what a lovely well-mannered dog he is, he will take a flying leap and knock you to the ground and then adorn you with muddy footprints on your best clothes.  And he does it just for fun.

 

ENDEARING yet FRUSTRATING:  With their beauty and their almost human-like catalogue of expressions,  how could we fail to be endeared by Bernese?  Their very nature invites our affection and demands our indulgence, we were bound to be caught under their spell.  Lovable, affectionate, amusing, entertaining, Bernese seem to have all the qualities to capture the heart and invade the life of any dog lover.  Even though we willingly devote ourselves to our beloved Bernese, they cause great frustration at times!   Just when we think everything is going according to OUR plan, they put a spanner in the works!  As they progress through puppyhood we swing from elation at how well they compare to the Breed Standard, only to despair at the ‘ugly duckling’ that appeared overnight. When we pride ourselves at how fit and well our Bernese is, he starts to limp for no apparent reason.   When he is in tip-top form in readiness to appear at a long awaited and important function/show, we awake on the big day to find the house looking like an explosion in a mattress factory with all the hair on the floor and none on the dog.  AND…………just when we think we have his measure – when we think we know what makes him 'tick' and have him all 'sussed' out – he does something completely new or out of character and totally baffles us.  Frustration is a regular emotion experienced by Bernese owners

 

Any non-Bernese owner reading all of the above may be forgiven for thinking that Bernese are FLAWED.  I prefer to think of all these opposing characteristics in our dogs as essential components for this most delightful and compelling of breeds.  Owning a Bernese is indeed a rollercoaster ride that isn’t always 100% fun, but Bernese never fail to keep us on our toes and despite all their idiosyncracies I and many other owners think Bernese are  JUST PERFECT!

© 2004 Jude Simonds

 

 

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 HAVING READ ALL THE ABOVE  NOW READ THIS AND THERE WILL BE NO EXCUSE FOR BUYING AN UNSUITABLE PUPPY OR A PUPPY FROM UNSUITABLE BREEDERS AND PUPPY FARMERS.

 

“I consider him a rescue.”

by Joanna Kimball on June 13, 2010, 34 comments

Here's how it goes:

Person A shows up with a puppy. Person B says "Oh, such a cutie! Where'd you get him?"

Person A says "Well, I got him from a pet store, but they said he was getting so old that they were going to send him back to the broker!"

or 

"I got him from somebody selling puppies online, and when I got there the conditions were so bad I had to buy him!"

or

"I called a breeder about puppies in the Want Ads, and she said that she had a puppy she was going to put down because he was sick!"

or

"When I got there, I knew I shouldn't buy him, but I bonded instantly with him and I had to take him!"

 

and they always, ALWAYS end with 

"So I consider him a rescue."

 

Well, I consider my hand to be a pumpkin pie, but so far reality has not responded to my wishes.

That was NOT a rescue. That was a PURCHASE. And it is a purchase that rewarded, usually amply, the person selling the puppy.

 

My next favorite part is when person B says something like the following:

"Well, it doesn't matter where dogs come from, as long as they find love!"

or

"I am sure you couldn't have left him behind!"

or

"I am so glad that you gave him this wonderful happy ending!"

or 

"I can't believe nobody bought him before you! Good for you for buying him!"

 

Two words:

BULL

PUCKY.

 

Do you REALLY think it doesn't matter where dogs come from, as long as they get carried off into the sunrise, surrounded by butterflies and the sound of an autoharp? Seriously?

Do you think it does that person a BIT of good to have their PURCHASE given your stamp of approval?

Because here's who DOESN'T go off into the sunrise:

- All the other dogs in that pet store, which can continue in business another day because YOU just paid their rent and salaries and covered the pittance they paid for that puppy.

- The next  Bernese mountain dog puppy,  corgi puppy or Lab puppy or Shepherd puppy who gets ordered from Hunte Corp. because YOU showed them there's a market for this breed, so we'd better get two next time.

- The other dogs in that breeder's home, who will now be bred again because wow, she just covered six months of electric bill in a single day thanks to YOUR check, so she WILL breed those dogs again.

- The mother dog in the puppy mill somewhere in the Midwest, who will be bred again because Hunt corp got a ton of orders for corgis or Labs or Shepherds or Poodles this month.

- The other dogs in your puppy's litter, who were sold to who knows what people with zero screening or any qualifications other than a credit card.

 

There is a sacred rule upon which our entire society is built: The end does not justify the means.

It is a GOOD thing that the puppy is going to have a good life. That does not justify the tens or hundreds or thousands of BAD things that had to occur to get him to that point. 

 

Your dog is a rescue if he came from a rescue. A rescue is an organization desperately trying to put itself out of business. 

Your dog is NOT a rescue if he came from a pet store. A pet store is a place trying to STAY in business.

Your dog is NOT a rescue if he came from a breeder. And that includes a good one; my puppies are not "adopted" or "rescued" or anything of the kind. I SELL puppies. The difference is that a good breeder doesn't view anything she does as a business, and if she did she'd be the worst businessperson on the planet. She sells puppies based on the accomplishments of their parents and she loses money. A bad breeder is trying to make breeding their business, selling puppies based on the value of cuteness and maximizing profits however is possible. But even when you buy from the best breeder on earth, YOU ARE NOT RESCUING.

And STOP mouthing those hideous platitudes about how it doesn't matter where a dog comes from as long as it's loved. You do no one any favors when you justify giving hundreds or thousands of dollars to a machine that grinds up dogs and spits them out dead. 

When you buy from a pet store or puppy mill or bad breeder, you create pain ten times the size of the good you've done. When you encourage that purchase, you're scratching the chin of a business that can only be called evil. 

STOP IT.

 

if you did something wrong, if you made a mistake, even if you knew it was wrong and said heck with it, I'm doing it anyway, OWN IT. Say "I did something really stupid, something I hope you don't ever do, something I hope nobody ever does."

If somebody comes to you chirruping about a puppy, say "He's gorgeous, but you can never, never do that again and here's why." Will it offend people? Absolutely. Will they think you're mean and uncharitable and go away saying "I don't regret a single thing I did! I'd do it again!" For sure.

But the thing is, they WON'T do it again. The next time they stop in front of a pet store window, they'll hear your voice and they'll feel just a little bit ashamed, and they will NOT go back in. They may attribute the wiggle in their gut as a desire for Cinnabon that's greater than their desire to see a Beagle puppy, but the result is the same. A puppy does not get purchased.

And if enough are not purchased, that pet store will go out of business. Don't think it can happen? It does all the time. When I was a kid, everybody got every pet from a pet store, and there were little mom and pop pet stores in every town. Now, I can think of only four or five within two hours of me. Those are staying in business because they have the tiny designer dogs of the moment; I haven't seen a big dog in a pet store in New England in years. IT'S WORKING.

And if enough pet stores go out of business, Hunte will go out of business. And when that happens, thousands of puppy mills will simply shutter their doors. There will be a massive increase in dog auctions for six months and then they'll blessedly go away. And THAT is the true end we want. 

Don't settle for anything else.

The above was written for USA, but we have lots of puppy farmers here, and so the same applies in UK and Ireland.

 




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Read before U buy a pup

 

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 

All breeds of dog have an official Breed Standard or Breed Profile which lists the points required in the breed but despite that there can still be BIG variations in the physical aspects as well as the temperament, activity level and health aspects of each breed and Bernese Mountain Dogs are no exception. Anyone considering adding a Bernese Mountain Dog to their family should try to buy their pup from an experienced, knowledgeable, specialist breeder of good repute who will likely have in-depth knowledge of the attributes and faults within the family of dogs they are breeding from.

 

 

ARE THEY GOOD FAMILY DOGS?

 

Bernese are generally sociable and crave human company so they should make good family dogs.  Most Bernese want to be involved in all family activities but their success in that role depends on a number of factors, the most important being that potential owners should;
a) ensure they choose a well-bred, well reared Bernese from a knowledgeable breeder who is breeding from bernese known tobe biddable,manageable and even tempered, and
b) ensure that their Bernese is well reared, well socialised and well trained.ARE THEY GOOD WITH CHILDREN?

 

 

ARE THEY GOOD GUARD DOGS?

 Bernese are not generally regarded as guard dogs of the same calibre as some other breeds but some Bernese can certainly fill the role of watchdog, alerting their owners to the arrival of strangers and visitors etc.
 DO THEY NEED TO BE KEPT OUTSIDE IN A KENNEL?
Bernese crave human company so they thrive best when they are living in the home as a member of the family. Bernese made to live in kennels or outbuildings are being deprived of what they crave most.DO THEY NEED A LARGE GARDEN?

Bernese like to spend time in the garden but a modest sized garden is sufficient for toilet purposes and general recreation so long as the dog receives regular exercise and excursions off the premises too.
 HOW BIG ARE THEY?

An adult Bernese male will ideally measure between 64 and 70 cms (25 – 27 ½ inches) at the shoulder and could weigh anything within the range of 36 to 55 kilos (approx. 80 - 120 lbs).
An adult Bernese bitch will ideally measure between 58 and 66 cms (23 – 26 inches) at the shoulder and could weigh anything within the range of 34 to 46 kilos (approx. 75 – 100 lbs). 
(For comparison, a German Shepherd Dog (Alsatian) male should be 64 cms (25 inches) at the shoulder, and German Shepherd Dog bitches should be 58 cms (23 inches) at the shoulder with a weight range of 35 – 40 kilos or 77 – 85 lbs.)
 DOG OR BITCH?

 

 

 

 


The choice of which gender of Bernese may depend on a number of factors;
a) is the difference is size and stature a factor on how the Bernese will fit into your home and lifestyle?
b) the gender and age of any current dogs you already own or those dogs belonging to neighbours or friends your new Bernese will meet regularly may determine which gender would better interact with those.
c) your 'gut feeling' of which gender you might prefer or feel more comfortable with.HOW MUCH DO THEY COST TO BUY?

 

The UK price in 2013 for a carefully planned, well bred Bernese puppy from a specialist, established, reputable Bernese breeder is approx £1000 - £1400 inclusive of Kennel Club Registration Certificate and pedigree plus a few weeks initial insurance cover which is arranged and provided by the breeder.HOW MUCH DO THEY COST TO FEED?
 


During the first year when puppies are growing very fast a Bernese will consume more food each day than when fully grown. The cost and type of different foodstuffs varies tremendously but if opting for a moderately priced dog food it would be wise to budget for approx £10 - £15 per week to feed a Bernese not including treats etc. 


HOW MUCH EXERCISE DO THEY NEED?
 


Bernese need enough exercise to maintain good physical condition and provide 
mental stimulation and enjoyable recreation. During the first year when growing fast Bernese puppies need sensible but limited amounts of exercise to prevent too much stress occurring to immature bones and also to prevent injury from over exertion.


Bernese need enough exercise to maintain good physical condition and provide 
mental stimulation and enjoyable recreation. During the first year when growing fast Bernese puppies need sensible but limited amounts of exercise to prevent too much stress occurring to immature bones and also to prevent injury from over exertion.
  
HOW MUCH GROOMING DO THEY NEED?Mature Bernese have a thick, double coat comprising of a dense, fine, short undercoat overlaid by longer, silky guard-hairs. Many owners of Bernese find that a thorough grooming once a week with a less thorough brushing every couple of days will keep a Bernese coat in order. Bernese moult heavily for a few weeks at a time once or twice a year and during those times daily grooming will be required. 

DO THEY DROOL AND SLOBBER?Bernese should have well-fitting lips (flews) and be dry mouthed. Some Bernese will drool if you are eating a bacon sandwich in front of them (!) but they should not produce copious amounts of slobber like St Bernards or Newfoundlands - although a few Bernese do.ARE THEY DESTRUCTIVE?Bernese tend not to be inherently destructive but some dogs who have a greater need to be occupied and so may engage in chewing or shredding things if the opportunity arises.ARE THEY INTELLIGENT?


Many Bernese are but some are less so! A Bernese was originally bred as a multi-purpose farm dog who is strong enough and intelligent enough to work alongside his master and be useful in a number of tasks around the farm.
 ARE THEY EASY TO TRAIN? Yes - so long as the owner starts training a newly acquired pup immediately and the training method chosen is kind, clearly understood by both owner and dog (!) and applied consistently.DO BERNESE GET ALONG WITH OTHER DOGS AND OTHER ANIMALS?

 There is no reason why and Bernese cannot get along amicably with other animals so long as they are introduced correctly and sensibly and all subsequent interaction between them is overseen in a controlled and sensible manner.DO THEY HAVE HEALTH PROBLEMS?
All breeds and crossbreeds of dogs may be affected by both inherited and acquired health issues. Some specific health issues occur more commonly in some breeds of dogs more than others. Bernese can be affected by some health issues.
 DO THEY NEED TO HAVE A PEDIGREE & KENNEL CLUB REGISTRATION CERTIFICATE?


Yes. Dedicated Bernese enthusiasts will only breed from dogs who are Kennel Club Registered. The pedigree certificate is usually provided by and should always be signed by the breeder of the puppy or dog as it confirms the heritage of the dog. The Kennel Club can also supply a their official Pedigree certificates for registered dogs. The Kennel Club Registration Certificate confirms the dog appears in the Kennel Club database. Only Kennel Club Registered dogs can compete in Limited, Open or Championship Shows and only the progeny from Kennel Club registered dogs can themselves be eligible for Kennel Club registration. Bernese sold without pedigrees or Kennel Club Registration Certificates should be priced much lower than those sold with those documents.WHY DON'T THEY LIVE VERY LONG?Bernese are as varied in lifespan as some other dog breeds of similar size and stature. Large breeds of dogs tend to have a shorter expected lifespan than medium and smaller sized breeds of dogs. It is true that some Bernese are considered 'old' at 7 years of age and some die before reaching that age but there are also a lot of Bernese who reach an age well into double figures. Some health initiatives have compiled data from reported Bernese deaths but only a tiny percentage of Bernese owners report the age at death of their Bernese (and those who have experienced what they considered to be a premature loss are more likely to report a loss) so any data may provide indications but any conclusion reached at this time is not a factual representation of the whole Bernese population.WHAT DO HIP SCORES & ELBOW GRADES MEAN?Dogs aged over 1 year old may undergo x-rays of their hips and elbows and the radiographs will then be sent to the British Veterinary Association (BV) where an official scrutineer will award an official Hip Score or Elbow Grade dependant on how much deformity (Hip Dysplasia and Elbow Dysplasia) is present in the hip or elbow joints. The more 'points' awarded, the higher the degree of deformity present.
Hip Scores may range from 0 - 53 for each hip - combining for a total score of between 0 - 106. A hip score of 4 on each hip (4+4) totalling 8 out of 106 confirms a lesser degree of Hip Dysplasia than a score of 10 + 10 = 20 out of a maximum 106.
The Mean HD Score for UK Bernese in 2010 is 15 (total score adding together the score for both hips.)

elbow scores are from 1 - 3

best scores are 0 on each elbow 

WHERE CAN I SEE SOME BERNESE AT SHOWS AND EVENTS?

go on to IKC site and they give a list of dog shows or also in Ireland  go towww.dogshowireland.ie

also for both Irish and UK shows the papers OUR DOGS and DOG World give details.

 

THE CANINE CONTRADICTION!

 

Many people believe a dog is a dog is a dog.  Despite the huge variations in size and shape, the physiology of all dogs is basically the same but that’s where the similarities end.  We have a Breed Standard which sets out what the ideal Bernese Mountain Dog should be like, but even that carefully thought out description falls far short of describing what the Bernese that we actually HAVE are REALLY like!  I am sure that owners of every breed think their breed is unique, but I suspect that Bernese are even more unique than many of us expected

 

 

 

 

Having owned and worked with dogs of varying breeds all of my life, I have found Bernese to be particularly peculiar (in the nicest possible way!) because they are a complex mix of so many traits. 


Bernese are;

BIDDABLE yet STUBBORN: Bred as a general-purpose farm dog, Bernese do not exhibit one strong, over-riding trait (unlike herders with an enhanced hunt/chase instinct etc or the carry/retrieve nature of some gundogs).  Selectively bred to fulfil various jobs around the farmyard, Bernese were created to work alongside their master and so they are generally happy to comply with their masters wishes.  But don’t be fooled – some Bernese have a stubborn streak too and they take great delight in testing their owner’s power of leadership and control whilst reminding their owners (often all-too-regularly!) that the 40+kilos of this particular tri-coloured dog has a mind of his own too

IRREPRESSIBLE yet SENSITIVE:  Bernese definitely have the ability to enjoy life to the full. Happy and carefree with the sunniest of natures, they exude a vitality and zest for life that cannot help but instil an infectious joy in anyone who sees them.  Yet just below the surface of that happy-go-lucky exterior lies a sensitive core that should never be underestimated. Bernese are very quick to respond to stress, anxiety and negative vibes occurring around them, and your jolly carefree dog can, overnight, change into an unhappy and confused shadow of his previous self.  The sensitivity also lends itself to depression, and Bernese can and DO suffer just as badly from depression as any human can.          

 

 

 

ROBUST yet DELICATE:  This big, powerful breed is sturdily built, broadly set and heavy and their physical strength cannot be denied.  The extreme growth rate from a half kilo newborn to a massive 40+kilos at around a year old requires a robustness to cope with the stresses and strains of such extreme physical development.  Anyone standing in the path of a strong, vigorous but fast-moving Bernese will bear the bruises of just how robust they are compared to us mere mortals!  Unfortunately, many owners are ill-prepared when a seemingly insignificant bump or knock to their Bernese renders a degree of lameness far in excess of what we might expect for such a large strong looking dog.   Even minor illness and injury and common complaints such as ear and skin problems, digestive upsets etc. can be a heavier burden to a Bernese compared to some smaller, slighter-built breeds who seem to cope better.

 

LOYAL yet MANIPULATIVE: Bernese are completely devoted to their owners and portray the classic image of the ultimate faithful canine companion.  They put their owners on a pedestal and the love and respect they have for their “leader” cannot be denied.  Bernese are very ‘tuned in’ to people and body language, they are ‘people watchers’ extraordinaire from a surprisingly young age; puppies arriving at their new homes at around 7 or 8 weeks will already have memorised the lessons their mother gave them on “How to manipulate humans”  and these young innocents are more than capable of recognising and exploiting our weaknesses and inconsistencies.  Bernese puppies have a cuteness factor second-to-none plus all the basic skills required to ensure we shower them with affection, meet their every need (and whim!) and grant them privileges which may encourage routine behaviour in our beloved pet which we live to regret but can’t possibly withdraw.   

 

ACCOMMODATING yet DEMANDING: Bernese are renowned for having an easy-going nature.  They don’t need huge amounts of daily exercise, they are fairly straight-forward to groom and don’t cost a fortune to feed.  Bernese do not need a huge amount of space, they are more than happy to live in our houses and ‘bunk down’ in our beds with us (!)  and they will even fit into a small car.  Bernese definitely seem accommodating in those respects – but that doesn’t give any warning to the HUGE demands they make of you and your time.  Bernese crave attention- they need attention - they will do ANYTHING to get your attention – and there is no way that you can ignore their unrelenting demands!  A Bernese wants to be with his master above all else, following you around, leaning up against you and watching you and listening for you all the time. Living with a Bernese is like having a child hanging on your apron strings – they never let you go.

 

 

 

CONFIDENT yet DEPENDENT:  “Self confident” is the actual phrase used in the Breed Standard and that attitude is important in both a working dog and a family companion.  Anyone seeing their Bernese going off on his own, strutting his stuff within a group of strangers or bounding off into the horizon to greet unsuspecting joggers or walkers will know that Bernese ooze confidence. BUT…. Bernese are also extremely reliant on human company, and it is not unusual to see Bernese who have become completely dependent on their owners to a degree whereby they become reluctant to do anything other than stay close to their master and follow him around.  

 

 

 

DIGNIFIED yet FUN LOVING:  Tall and proud and beautiful, Bernese have an air of dignity and superiority about them.  Adult Bernese can exhibit some rather regal traits such as being reluctant to step in puddles or drink from a bowl that another dog has spat in.   Some even refuse to jump up into the cargo area of the car – preferring to have their owners lift them in, first the front legs then their back legs, and then they stand there waiting for you to arrange a comfortable spot for them!  Cut glass beauty and cut glass mannerisms - all wrapped into one classy package - Doggy Dignity at its finest.   

Unfortunately, when it suits them (and without warning) the façade will disappear and you are subjected to humiliation for no better reason than your Bernese decided to amuse himself and play the clown (often at your expense!)  Bernese do daft things and lose all sense of decorum; they pull funny faces and have a whole catalogue of silly expressions; they throw themselves down on the floor with all the grace of a demolished, collapsing building, then roll on their back with their legs wide open (as if they have been steam-rolled) and display all their 'bits' whilst sporting a devilish grin (especially when the vicar calls); they pretend they don’t understand when you call “come here” and just as you tell folk what a lovely well-mannered dog he is, he will take a flying leap and knock you to the ground and then adorn you with muddy footprints on your best clothes.  And he does it just for fun.

 

ENDEARING yet FRUSTRATING:  With their beauty and their almost human-like catalogue of expressions,  how could we fail to be endeared by Bernese?  Their very nature invites our affection and demands our indulgence, we were bound to be caught under their spell.  Lovable, affectionate, amusing, entertaining, Bernese seem to have all the qualities to capture the heart and invade the life of any dog lover.  Even though we willingly devote ourselves to our beloved Bernese, they cause great frustration at times!   Just when we think everything is going according to OUR plan, they put a spanner in the works!  As they progress through puppyhood we swing from elation at how well they compare to the Breed Standard, only to despair at the ‘ugly duckling’ that appeared overnight. When we pride ourselves at how fit and well our Bernese is, he starts to limp for no apparent reason.   When he is in tip-top form in readiness to appear at a long awaited and important function/show, we awake on the big day to find the house looking like an explosion in a mattress factory with all the hair on the floor and none on the dog.  AND…………just when we think we have his measure – when we think we know what makes him 'tick' and have him all 'sussed' out – he does something completely new or out of character and totally baffles us.  Frustration is a regular emotion experienced by Bernese owners

 

Any non-Bernese owner reading all of the above may be forgiven for thinking that Bernese are FLAWED.  I prefer to think of all these opposing characteristics in our dogs as essential components for this most delightful and compelling of breeds.  Owning a Bernese is indeed a rollercoaster ride that isn’t always 100% fun, but Bernese never fail to keep us on our toes and despite all their idiosyncracies I and many other owners think Bernese are  JUST PERFECT!

© 2004 Jude Simonds

 --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 HAVING READ ALL THE ABOVE  NOW READ THIS AND THERE WILL BE NO EXCUSE FOR BUYING AN UNSUITABLE PUPPY OR A PUPPY FROM UNSUITABLE BREEDERS AND PUPPY FARMERS.

 

“I consider him a rescue.”

by Joanna Kimball on June 13, 2010, 34 comments

Here's how it goes:

Person A shows up with a puppy. Person B says "Oh, such a cutie! Where'd you get him?"

Person A says "Well, I got him from a pet store, but they said he was getting so old that they were going to send him back to the broker!"

or 

"I got him from somebody selling puppies online, and when I got there the conditions were so bad I had to buy him!"

or

"I called a breeder about puppies in the Want Ads, and she said that she had a puppy she was going to put down because he was sick!"

or

"When I got there, I knew I shouldn't buy him, but I bonded instantly with him and I had to take him!"

 

and they always, ALWAYS end with 

"So I consider him a rescue."

 

Well, I consider my hand to be a pumpkin pie, but so far reality has not responded to my wishes.

That was NOT a rescue. That was a PURCHASE. And it is a purchase that rewarded, usually amply, the person selling the puppy.

 

My next favorite part is when person B says something like the following:

"Well, it doesn't matter where dogs come from, as long as they find love!"

or

"I am sure you couldn't have left him behind!"

or

"I am so glad that you gave him this wonderful happy ending!"

or 

"I can't believe nobody bought him before you! Good for you for buying him!"

 

Two words:

BULL

PUCKY.

 

Do you REALLY think it doesn't matter where dogs come from, as long as they get carried off into the sunrise, surrounded by butterflies and the sound of an autoharp? Seriously?

Do you think it does that person a BIT of good to have their PURCHASE given your stamp of approval?

Because here's who DOESN'T go off into the sunrise:

- All the other dogs in that pet store, which can continue in business another day because YOU just paid their rent and salaries and covered the pittance they paid for that puppy.

- The next  Bernese mountain dog puppy,  corgi puppy or Lab puppy or Shepherd puppy who gets ordered from Hunte Corp. because YOU showed them there's a market for this breed, so we'd better get two next time.

- The other dogs in that breeder's home, who will now be bred again because wow, she just covered six months of electric bill in a single day thanks to YOUR check, so she WILL breed those dogs again.

- The mother dog in the puppy mill somewhere in the Midwest, who will be bred again because Hunt corp got a ton of orders for corgis or Labs or Shepherds or Poodles this month.

- The other dogs in your puppy's litter, who were sold to who knows what people with zero screening or any qualifications other than a credit card.

 

There is a sacred rule upon which our entire society is built: The end does not justify the means.

It is a GOOD thing that the puppy is going to have a good life. That does not justify the tens or hundreds or thousands of BAD things that had to occur to get him to that point. 

 

Your dog is a rescue if he came from a rescue. A rescue is an organization desperately trying to put itself out of business. 

Your dog is NOT a rescue if he came from a pet store. A pet store is a place trying to STAY in business.

Your dog is NOT a rescue if he came from a breeder. And that includes a good one; my puppies are not "adopted" or "rescued" or anything of the kind. I SELL puppies. The difference is that a good breeder doesn't view anything she does as a business, and if she did she'd be the worst businessperson on the planet. She sells puppies based on the accomplishments of their parents and she loses money. A bad breeder is trying to make breeding their business, selling puppies based on the value of cuteness and maximizing profits however is possible. But even when you buy from the best breeder on earth, YOU ARE NOT RESCUING.

And STOP mouthing those hideous platitudes about how it doesn't matter where a dog comes from as long as it's loved. You do no one any favors when you justify giving hundreds or thousands of dollars to a machine that grinds up dogs and spits them out dead. 

When you buy from a pet store or puppy mill or bad breeder, you create pain ten times the size of the good you've done. When you encourage that purchase, you're scratching the chin of a business that can only be called evil. 

STOP IT.

 

if you did something wrong, if you made a mistake, even if you knew it was wrong and said heck with it, I'm doing it anyway, OWN IT. Say "I did something really stupid, something I hope you don't ever do, something I hope nobody ever does."

If somebody comes to you chirruping about a puppy, say "He's gorgeous, but you can never, never do that again and here's why." Will it offend people? Absolutely. Will they think you're mean and uncharitable and go away saying "I don't regret a single thing I did! I'd do it again!" For sure.

But the thing is, they WON'T do it again. The next time they stop in front of a pet store window, they'll hear your voice and they'll feel just a little bit ashamed, and they will NOT go back in. They may attribute the wiggle in their gut as a desire for Cinnabon that's greater than their desire to see a Beagle puppy, but the result is the same. A puppy does not get purchased.

And if enough are not purchased, that pet store will go out of business. Don't think it can happen? It does all the time. When I was a kid, everybody got every pet from a pet store, and there were little mom and pop pet stores in every town. Now, I can think of only four or five within two hours of me. Those are staying in business because they have the tiny designer dogs of the moment; I haven't seen a big dog in a pet store in New England in years. IT'S WORKING.

And if enough pet stores go out of business, Hunte will go out of business. And when that happens, thousands of puppy mills will simply shutter their doors. There will be a massive increase in dog auctions for six months and then they'll blessedly go away. And THAT is the true end we want. 

Don't settle for anything else.

The above was written for USA, but we have lots of puppy farmers here, and so the same applies in UK and Ireland.

 

 

 

 

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Read before U buy a pup

 

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 

All breeds of dog have an official Breed Standard or Breed Profile which lists the points required in the breed but despite that there can still be BIG variations in the physical aspects as well as the temperament, activity level and health aspects of each breed and Bernese Mountain Dogs are no exception. Anyone considering adding a Bernese Mountain Dog to their family should try to buy their pup from an experienced, knowledgeable, specialist breeder of good repute who will likely have in-depth knowledge of the attributes and faults within the family of dogs they are breeding from.

 

 

ARE THEY GOOD FAMILY DOGS?

 

Bernese are generally sociable and crave human company so they should make good family dogs.  Most Bernese want to be involved in all family activities but their success in that role depends on a number of factors, the most important being that potential owners should;
a) ensure they choose a well-bred, well reared Bernese from a knowledgeable breeder who is breeding from bernese known tobe biddable,manageable and even tempered, and
b) ensure that their Bernese is well reared, well socialised and well trained.ARE THEY GOOD WITH CHILDREN?

 

 

ARE THEY GOOD GUARD DOGS?

 Bernese are not generally regarded as guard dogs of the same calibre as some other breeds but some Bernese can certainly fill the role of watchdog, alerting their owners to the arrival of strangers and visitors etc.
 DO THEY NEED TO BE KEPT OUTSIDE IN A KENNEL?
Bernese crave human company so they thrive best when they are living in the home as a member of the family. Bernese made to live in kennels or outbuildings are being deprived of what they crave most.DO THEY NEED A LARGE GARDEN?

Bernese like to spend time in the garden but a modest sized garden is sufficient for toilet purposes and general recreation so long as the dog receives regular exercise and excursions off the premises too.
 HOW BIG ARE THEY?

An adult Bernese male will ideally measure between 64 and 70 cms (25 – 27 ½ inches) at the shoulder and could weigh anything within the range of 36 to 55 kilos (approx. 80 - 120 lbs).
An adult Bernese bitch will ideally measure between 58 and 66 cms (23 – 26 inches) at the shoulder and could weigh anything within the range of 34 to 46 kilos (approx. 75 – 100 lbs). 
(For comparison, a German Shepherd Dog (Alsatian) male should be 64 cms (25 inches) at the shoulder, and German Shepherd Dog bitches should be 58 cms (23 inches) at the shoulder with a weight range of 35 – 40 kilos or 77 – 85 lbs.)
 DOG OR BITCH?

 

 

 

 


The choice of which gender of Bernese may depend on a number of factors;
a) is the difference is size and stature a factor on how the Bernese will fit into your home and lifestyle?
b) the gender and age of any current dogs you already own or those dogs belonging to neighbours or friends your new Bernese will meet regularly may determine which gender would better interact with those.
c) your 'gut feeling' of which gender you might prefer or feel more comfortable with.HOW MUCH DO THEY COST TO BUY?

 

The UK price in 2013 for a carefully planned, well bred Bernese puppy from a specialist, established, reputable Bernese breeder is approx £1000 - £1400 inclusive of Kennel Club Registration Certificate and pedigree plus a few weeks initial insurance cover which is arranged and provided by the breeder.HOW MUCH DO THEY COST TO FEED?
 


During the first year when puppies are growing very fast a Bernese will consume more food each day than when fully grown. The cost and type of different foodstuffs varies tremendously but if opting for a moderately priced dog food it would be wise to budget for approx £10 - £15 per week to feed a Bernese not including treats etc. 


HOW MUCH EXERCISE DO THEY NEED?
 


Bernese need enough exercise to maintain good physical condition and provide 
mental stimulation and enjoyable recreation. During the first year when growing fast Bernese puppies need sensible but limited amounts of exercise to prevent too much stress occurring to immature bones and also to prevent injury from over exertion.


Bernese need enough exercise to maintain good physical condition and provide 
mental stimulation and enjoyable recreation. During the first year when growing fast Bernese puppies need sensible but limited amounts of exercise to prevent too much stress occurring to immature bones and also to prevent injury from over exertion.
  
HOW MUCH GROOMING DO THEY NEED?Mature Bernese have a thick, double coat comprising of a dense, fine, short undercoat overlaid by longer, silky guard-hairs. Many owners of Bernese find that a thorough grooming once a week with a less thorough brushing every couple of days will keep a Bernese coat in order. Bernese moult heavily for a few weeks at a time once or twice a year and during those times daily grooming will be required. 

DO THEY DROOL AND SLOBBER?Bernese should have well-fitting lips (flews) and be dry mouthed. Some Bernese will drool if you are eating a bacon sandwich in front of them (!) but they should not produce copious amounts of slobber like St Bernards or Newfoundlands - although a few Bernese do.ARE THEY DESTRUCTIVE?Bernese tend not to be inherently destructive but some dogs who have a greater need to be occupied and so may engage in chewing or shredding things if the opportunity arises.ARE THEY INTELLIGENT?


Many Bernese are but some are less so! A Bernese was originally bred as a multi-purpose farm dog who is strong enough and intelligent enough to work alongside his master and be useful in a number of tasks around the farm.
 ARE THEY EASY TO TRAIN? Yes - so long as the owner starts training a newly acquired pup immediately and the training method chosen is kind, clearly understood by both owner and dog (!) and applied consistently.DO BERNESE GET ALONG WITH OTHER DOGS AND OTHER ANIMALS?

 There is no reason why and Bernese cannot get along amicably with other animals so long as they are introduced correctly and sensibly and all subsequent interaction between them is overseen in a controlled and sensible manner.DO THEY HAVE HEALTH PROBLEMS?
All breeds and crossbreeds of dogs may be affected by both inherited and acquired health issues. Some specific health issues occur more commonly in some breeds of dogs more than others. Bernese can be affected by some health issues.
 DO THEY NEED TO HAVE A PEDIGREE & KENNEL CLUB REGISTRATION CERTIFICATE?


Yes. Dedicated Bernese enthusiasts will only breed from dogs who are Kennel Club Registered. The pedigree certificate is usually provided by and should always be signed by the breeder of the puppy or dog as it confirms the heritage of the dog. The Kennel Club can also supply a their official Pedigree certificates for registered dogs. The Kennel Club Registration Certificate confirms the dog appears in the Kennel Club database. Only Kennel Club Registered dogs can compete in Limited, Open or Championship Shows and only the progeny from Kennel Club registered dogs can themselves be eligible for Kennel Club registration. Bernese sold without pedigrees or Kennel Club Registration Certificates should be priced much lower than those sold with those documents.WHY DON'T THEY LIVE VERY LONG?Bernese are as varied in lifespan as some other dog breeds of similar size and stature. Large breeds of dogs tend to have a shorter expected lifespan than medium and smaller sized breeds of dogs. It is true that some Bernese are considered 'old' at 7 years of age and some die before reaching that age but there are also a lot of Bernese who reach an age well into double figures. Some health initiatives have compiled data from reported Bernese deaths but only a tiny percentage of Bernese owners report the age at death of their Bernese (and those who have experienced what they considered to be a premature loss are more likely to report a loss) so any data may provide indications but any conclusion reached at this time is not a factual representation of the whole Bernese population.WHAT DO HIP SCORES & ELBOW GRADES MEAN?Dogs aged over 1 year old may undergo x-rays of their hips and elbows and the radiographs will then be sent to the British Veterinary Association (BV) where an official scrutineer will award an official Hip Score or Elbow Grade dependant on how much deformity (Hip Dysplasia and Elbow Dysplasia) is present in the hip or elbow joints. The more 'points' awarded, the higher the degree of deformity present.
Hip Scores may range from 0 - 53 for each hip - combining for a total score of between 0 - 106. A hip score of 4 on each hip (4+4) totalling 8 out of 106 confirms a lesser degree of Hip Dysplasia than a score of 10 + 10 = 20 out of a maximum 106.
The Mean HD Score for UK Bernese in 2010 is 15 (total score adding together the score for both hips.)

elbow scores are from 1 - 3

best scores are 0 on each elbow 

WHERE CAN I SEE SOME BERNESE AT SHOWS AND EVENTS?

go on to IKC site and they give a list of dog shows or also in Ireland  go towww.dogshowireland.ie

also for both Irish and UK shows the papers OUR DOGS and DOG World give details.

 

THE CANINE CONTRADICTION!

 

Many people believe a dog is a dog is a dog.  Despite the huge variations in size and shape, the physiology of all dogs is basically the same but that’s where the similarities end.  We have a Breed Standard which sets out what the ideal Bernese Mountain Dog should be like, but even that carefully thought out description falls far short of describing what the Bernese that we actually HAVE are REALLY like!  I am sure that owners of every breed think their breed is unique, but I suspect that Bernese are even more unique than many of us expected

 

 

 

 

Having owned and worked with dogs of varying breeds all of my life, I have found Bernese to be particularly peculiar (in the nicest possible way!) because they are a complex mix of so many traits. 


Bernese are;

BIDDABLE yet STUBBORN: Bred as a general-purpose farm dog, Bernese do not exhibit one strong, over-riding trait (unlike herders with an enhanced hunt/chase instinct etc or the carry/retrieve nature of some gundogs).  Selectively bred to fulfil various jobs around the farmyard, Bernese were created to work alongside their master and so they are generally happy to comply with their masters wishes.  But don’t be fooled – some Bernese have a stubborn streak too and they take great delight in testing their owner’s power of leadership and control whilst reminding their owners (often all-too-regularly!) that the 40+kilos of this particular tri-coloured dog has a mind of his own too

IRREPRESSIBLE yet SENSITIVE:  Bernese definitely have the ability to enjoy life to the full. Happy and carefree with the sunniest of natures, they exude a vitality and zest for life that cannot help but instil an infectious joy in anyone who sees them.  Yet just below the surface of that happy-go-lucky exterior lies a sensitive core that should never be underestimated. Bernese are very quick to respond to stress, anxiety and negative vibes occurring around them, and your jolly carefree dog can, overnight, change into an unhappy and confused shadow of his previous self.  The sensitivity also lends itself to depression, and Bernese can and DO suffer just as badly from depression as any human can.          

 

 

 

ROBUST yet DELICATE:  This big, powerful breed is sturdily built, broadly set and heavy and their physical strength cannot be denied.  The extreme growth rate from a half kilo newborn to a massive 40+kilos at around a year old requires a robustness to cope with the stresses and strains of such extreme physical development.  Anyone standing in the path of a strong, vigorous but fast-moving Bernese will bear the bruises of just how robust they are compared to us mere mortals!  Unfortunately, many owners are ill-prepared when a seemingly insignificant bump or knock to their Bernese renders a degree of lameness far in excess of what we might expect for such a large strong looking dog.   Even minor illness and injury and common complaints such as ear and skin problems, digestive upsets etc. can be a heavier burden to a Bernese compared to some smaller, slighter-built breeds who seem to cope better.

 

LOYAL yet MANIPULATIVE: Bernese are completely devoted to their owners and portray the classic image of the ultimate faithful canine companion.  They put their owners on a pedestal and the love and respect they have for their “leader” cannot be denied.  Bernese are very ‘tuned in’ to people and body language, they are ‘people watchers’ extraordinaire from a surprisingly young age; puppies arriving at their new homes at around 7 or 8 weeks will already have memorised the lessons their mother gave them on “How to manipulate humans”  and these young innocents are more than capable of recognising and exploiting our weaknesses and inconsistencies.  Bernese puppies have a cuteness factor second-to-none plus all the basic skills required to ensure we shower them with affection, meet their every need (and whim!) and grant them privileges which may encourage routine behaviour in our beloved pet which we live to regret but can’t possibly withdraw.   

 

ACCOMMODATING yet DEMANDING: Bernese are renowned for having an easy-going nature.  They don’t need huge amounts of daily exercise, they are fairly straight-forward to groom and don’t cost a fortune to feed.  Bernese do not need a huge amount of space, they are more than happy to live in our houses and ‘bunk down’ in our beds with us (!)  and they will even fit into a small car.  Bernese definitely seem accommodating in those respects – but that doesn’t give any warning to the HUGE demands they make of you and your time.  Bernese crave attention- they need attention - they will do ANYTHING to get your attention – and there is no way that you can ignore their unrelenting demands!  A Bernese wants to be with his master above all else, following you around, leaning up against you and watching you and listening for you all the time. Living with a Bernese is like having a child hanging on your apron strings – they never let you go.

 

 

 

CONFIDENT yet DEPENDENT:  “Self confident” is the actual phrase used in the Breed Standard and that attitude is important in both a working dog and a family companion.  Anyone seeing their Bernese going off on his own, strutting his stuff within a group of strangers or bounding off into the horizon to greet unsuspecting joggers or walkers will know that Bernese ooze confidence. BUT…. Bernese are also extremely reliant on human company, and it is not unusual to see Bernese who have become completely dependent on their owners to a degree whereby they become reluctant to do anything other than stay close to their master and follow him around.  

 

 

 

DIGNIFIED yet FUN LOVING:  Tall and proud and beautiful, Bernese have an air of dignity and superiority about them.  Adult Bernese can exhibit some rather regal traits such as being reluctant to step in puddles or drink from a bowl that another dog has spat in.   Some even refuse to jump up into the cargo area of the car – preferring to have their owners lift them in, first the front legs then their back legs, and then they stand there waiting for you to arrange a comfortable spot for them!  Cut glass beauty and cut glass mannerisms - all wrapped into one classy package - Doggy Dignity at its finest.   

Unfortunately, when it suits them (and without warning) the façade will disappear and you are subjected to humiliation for no better reason than your Bernese decided to amuse himself and play the clown (often at your expense!)  Bernese do daft things and lose all sense of decorum; they pull funny faces and have a whole catalogue of silly expressions; they throw themselves down on the floor with all the grace of a demolished, collapsing building, then roll on their back with their legs wide open (as if they have been steam-rolled) and display all their 'bits' whilst sporting a devilish grin (especially when the vicar calls); they pretend they don’t understand when you call “come here” and just as you tell folk what a lovely well-mannered dog he is, he will take a flying leap and knock you to the ground and then adorn you with muddy footprints on your best clothes.  And he does it just for fun.

 

ENDEARING yet FRUSTRATING:  With their beauty and their almost human-like catalogue of expressions,  how could we fail to be endeared by Bernese?  Their very nature invites our affection and demands our indulgence, we were bound to be caught under their spell.  Lovable, affectionate, amusing, entertaining, Bernese seem to have all the qualities to capture the heart and invade the life of any dog lover.  Even though we willingly devote ourselves to our beloved Bernese, they cause great frustration at times!   Just when we think everything is going according to OUR plan, they put a spanner in the works!  As they progress through puppyhood we swing from elation at how well they compare to the Breed Standard, only to despair at the ‘ugly duckling’ that appeared overnight. When we pride ourselves at how fit and well our Bernese is, he starts to limp for no apparent reason.   When he is in tip-top form in readiness to appear at a long awaited and important function/show, we awake on the big day to find the house looking like an explosion in a mattress factory with all the hair on the floor and none on the dog.  AND…………just when we think we have his measure – when we think we know what makes him 'tick' and have him all 'sussed' out – he does something completely new or out of character and totally baffles us.  Frustration is a regular emotion experienced by Bernese owners

 

Any non-Bernese owner reading all of the above may be forgiven for thinking that Bernese are FLAWED.  I prefer to think of all these opposing characteristics in our dogs as essential components for this most delightful and compelling of breeds.  Owning a Bernese is indeed a rollercoaster ride that isn’t always 100% fun, but Bernese never fail to keep us on our toes and despite all their idiosyncracies I and many other owners think Bernese are  JUST PERFECT!

© 2004 Jude Simonds

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 HAVING READ ALL THE ABOVE  NOW READ THIS AND THERE WILL BE NO EXCUSE FOR BUYING AN UNSUITABLE PUPPY OR A PUPPY FROM UNSUITABLE BREEDERS AND PUPPY FARMERS.

 

“I consider him a rescue.”

by Joanna Kimball on June 13, 2010, 34 comments

Here's how it goes:

Person A shows up with a puppy. Person B says "Oh, such a cutie! Where'd you get him?"

Person A says "Well, I got him from a pet store, but they said he was getting so old that they were going to send him back to the broker!"

or 

"I got him from somebody selling puppies online, and when I got there the conditions were so bad I had to buy him!"

or

"I called a breeder about puppies in the Want Ads, and she said that she had a puppy she was going to put down because he was sick!"

or

"When I got there, I knew I shouldn't buy him, but I bonded instantly with him and I had to take him!"

 

and they always, ALWAYS end with 

"So I consider him a rescue."

 

Well, I consider my hand to be a pumpkin pie, but so far reality has not responded to my wishes.

That was NOT a rescue. That was a PURCHASE. And it is a purchase that rewarded, usually amply, the person selling the puppy.

 

My next favorite part is when person B says something like the following:

"Well, it doesn't matter where dogs come from, as long as they find love!"

or

"I am sure you couldn't have left him behind!"

or

"I am so glad that you gave him this wonderful happy ending!"

or 

"I can't believe nobody bought him before you! Good for you for buying him!"

 

Two words:

BULL

PUCKY.

 

Do you REALLY think it doesn't matter where dogs come from, as long as they get carried off into the sunrise, surrounded by butterflies and the sound of an autoharp? Seriously?

Do you think it does that person a BIT of good to have their PURCHASE given your stamp of approval?

Because here's who DOESN'T go off into the sunrise:

- All the other dogs in that pet store, which can continue in business another day because YOU just paid their rent and salaries and covered the pittance they paid for that puppy.

- The next  Bernese mountain dog puppy,  corgi puppy or Lab puppy or Shepherd puppy who gets ordered from Hunte Corp. because YOU showed them there's a market for this breed, so we'd better get two next time.

- The other dogs in that breeder's home, who will now be bred again because wow, she just covered six months of electric bill in a single day thanks to YOUR check, so she WILL breed those dogs again.

- The mother dog in the puppy mill somewhere in the Midwest, who will be bred again because Hunt corp got a ton of orders for corgis or Labs or Shepherds or Poodles this month.

- The other dogs in your puppy's litter, who were sold to who knows what people with zero screening or any qualifications other than a credit card.

 

There is a sacred rule upon which our entire society is built: The end does not justify the means.

It is a GOOD thing that the puppy is going to have a good life. That does not justify the tens or hundreds or thousands of BAD things that had to occur to get him to that point. 

 

Your dog is a rescue if he came from a rescue. A rescue is an organization desperately trying to put itself out of business. 

Your dog is NOT a rescue if he came from a pet store. A pet store is a place trying to STAY in business.

Your dog is NOT a rescue if he came from a breeder. And that includes a good one; my puppies are not "adopted" or "rescued" or anything of the kind. I SELL puppies. The difference is that a good breeder doesn't view anything she does as a business, and if she did she'd be the worst businessperson on the planet. She sells puppies based on the accomplishments of their parents and she loses money. A bad breeder is trying to make breeding their business, selling puppies based on the value of cuteness and maximizing profits however is possible. But even when you buy from the best breeder on earth, YOU ARE NOT RESCUING.

And STOP mouthing those hideous platitudes about how it doesn't matter where a dog comes from as long as it's loved. You do no one any favors when you justify giving hundreds or thousands of dollars to a machine that grinds up dogs and spits them out dead. 

When you buy from a pet store or puppy mill or bad breeder, you create pain ten times the size of the good you've done. When you encourage that purchase, you're scratching the chin of a business that can only be called evil. 

STOP IT.

 

if you did something wrong, if you made a mistake, even if you knew it was wrong and said heck with it, I'm doing it anyway, OWN IT. Say "I did something really stupid, something I hope you don't ever do, something I hope nobody ever does."

If somebody comes to you chirruping about a puppy, say "He's gorgeous, but you can never, never do that again and here's why." Will it offend people? Absolutely. Will they think you're mean and uncharitable and go away saying "I don't regret a single thing I did! I'd do it again!" For sure.

But the thing is, they WON'T do it again. The next time they stop in front of a pet store window, they'll hear your voice and they'll feel just a little bit ashamed, and they will NOT go back in. They may attribute the wiggle in their gut as a desire for Cinnabon that's greater than their desire to see a Beagle puppy, but the result is the same. A puppy does not get purchased.

And if enough are not purchased, that pet store will go out of business. Don't think it can happen? It does all the time. When I was a kid, everybody got every pet from a pet store, and there were little mom and pop pet stores in every town. Now, I can think of only four or five within two hours of me. Those are staying in business because they have the tiny designer dogs of the moment; I haven't seen a big dog in a pet store in New England in years. IT'S WORKING.

And if enough pet stores go out of business, Hunte will go out of business. And when that happens, thousands of puppy mills will simply shutter their doors. There will be a massive increase in dog auctions for six months and then they'll blessedly go away. And THAT is the true end we want. 

Don't settle for anything else.

The above was written for USA, but we have lots of puppy farmers here, and so the same applies in UK and Ireland.

 

 

 

 

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