Is a Bernese Mountain Dog the right breed for you?

Before you even think about acquiring a Bernese Mountain Dog puppy, you need to become as educated as you can about the breed. Bernese Mountain Dogs are not the appropriate breed for everyone.  The “About the Breed section on this web site is just a starting point. The BMDCV recommends that prospective puppy owners meet some adult Bernese Mountain Dogs in the fur and spend some time with them and talk to their owners to get a realistic picture of the breed.

Web sites, books and breeders are all excellent sources of knowledge. The BMDCV welcomes your participation in any of our Berner “Meet the Breed” events where you can meet Bernese Mountain Dogs and their owners. These events include our quarterly picnics and our breed stand at the Dog Lovers Show.  Please contact the club Secretary for information regarding these up and coming events or look at the News/Upcoming events page.

Not all breeders are the same

There are roughly 3 different types of breeders:

Puppy Factory breeders:
These are people who have a large number of dogs and breed solely for profit. They do not discriminate in their breeding or who they sell to. Puppies bred by these people will often suffer from health problems throughout their lives. Furthermore, the parents of these puppies often have such a poor quality of life that once they are rescued from these places they often need to be euthanized due to poor health or because their temperament has been so severely damaged that there is no chance they can be rehabilitated. Virtually every puppy sold in pet shops will have come from a puppy factory. The best hope for putting these people out of business lies with you, the purchaser, choosing to buy your puppy only from a responsible reputable breeder.

Backyard Breeders (BYB):
These are breeders who are not affiliated with any national or state authority or a breed club. Their motivation for breeding may be profit, an accidental mating, the false belief that their dog needs to have at least one litter or “for the kids to see new life born.” They will breed from whichever dogs they have access to and will not be able to sell puppies with registration papers. They may, however, have created a homemade pedigree with the names and photos of the parents of the puppies and possibly their grandparents.

Registered Breeders:
Registered breeders are those that have a kennel name which they have registered with Dogs Victoria. Such breeders have passed an open book exam set by Dogs Victoria and have agreed to abide by the organisation’s code of practice. It is an excellent start, if the breeder you are looking at is registered with Dogs Victoria but this should only be the starting point of your research.

NOTE: A breeder who is registered with the Council but not Dogs Victoria is not a ‘Registered Breeder’ but may be a puppy factory or a backyard breeder.

The easiest way for you to find a responsible and reputable breeder is to use our club breeder’s list.  This way you can be sure that you are dealing directly with the people who know their dogs and have the interest of both the puppy and the new owner at heart.  We want you to have the best possible chance for a positive experience to own a happy and healthy Bernese Mountain Dog.  Should you choose to look at purchasing from a breeder not on this list, there are several things you should look for.

How to find a responsible and reputable breeder:

A responsible and reputable breeder will:

  • not sell unregistered puppies.
  • insist on meeting you before they consider selling you a puppy. If the breeder shows no interest in meeting you beforehand, walk away!
  • be willing to show you where their dogs live and where the puppies are raised. If the breeder is not prepared to let you on their property, be very suspicious.
  • ask you about your knowledge of the breed, your experience with dogs, your expectations of your dogs and your lifestyle.
  • encourage you to ask them questions.
  • want you to meet their adult dogs.
  • have hip and elbow tested all their breeding dogs and bitches.
  • be able to explain to you why they chose to mate the parents of the puppies and be able to tell you the strengths and weaknesses of both parents.
  • participate in conformation showing and/ or performance activities. Conformation shows are not simply beauty pageants for dogs but are a means of ensuring that the dogs being shown meet a certain standard.


Finding a breeder can be a daunting task and we highly recommend you contact as many as you can and go to see your dogs.  Go to some dog shows as well if possible – that is always a good experience and will give you the opportunity to see the variety within the breed.  The two biggest dog shows for Bernese are the club’s Championship show (held on the Sunday of the Queen’s Birthday weekend) and at the Royal Melbourne Show.

When choosing your puppy you may find that some breeders will choose a puppy for you.  This is done because the temperaments of Bernese can vary considerably and after having spent eight weeks with the puppies the Breeder will know which of their puppies will be best suited to you. Most breeders try to accommodate requests but it is wise to be guided by the breeders as they want you to have a puppy which most suits your needs.

Find out if the breeder offers after sales support in case of any problems.  For example, problems with your puppy settling in at you home, also if anything happens to your puppy.  What can your breeder do for you?  Most breeders have contracts in place which cover a wide range of issues.  These contracts are put in place to protect both you the owner, and the breeder.

We hope this information helps you to choose a breeder and gives you a better understanding of why we recommend you should go through the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of Victoria.

Take me to the breeders list!