This is an X-ray of a 2 week old puppy( left ) - look at how far the bones have to grow before they become a proper bone joint! This is why you should never let puppies jump off of beds, couch, steps or even out of the car. They should not travel up/down stairs, over exercise or over train. Never take your puppy to play with older faster dogs, they can't keep up but will not stop trying. Do not have them chase toys on slippery floors, and on ice, where they will repeatedly slamming their shoulder into the hard surface. Doing to much impact activity at a young age can cause serious issues later in life, or even at a young age.  Hip dysplasia, ACL tears and other orthopaedic conditions are rising in puppies! 
Remember the puppy rule for every month increase activity by 5 minutes. For example a two month old puppy only needs 10 minutes of physical activity a day - a 6 month old (right) only needs 30 minutes a day of physical activity! 

Riverstead Bernese Mountain Dog

Buyer's Guide


Anyone who owns a BMD will tell you that there is nothing better than owning, loving and caring for a Bernese Mountain Dog. However, I need to explain to you the whole picture.., not just the forest, but also the trees so you can make an informed decision whether the Bernese Mountain Dog is the right breed for you and your family. Please assess your own strengths and weaknesses and determine how well your personality and abilities are suited to that of the Bernese Mountain Dog. A successful enduring match will be made when the specific breed characteristics are compatible with your human lifestyle. There is a vast network of BMD enthusiasts who will do all they can to help educate you and help you develop the special relationship offered only by a BMD.


Mountain Dogs will continue to lay down bone, put on width and substance, and heads will continue to broaden well into the second and third year of life. Young dogs are rarely as together structurally, appearance or behavior wise as mature three or four year olds. By the time individual dogs in this breed reach 5-7, they should be in glorious coat; their structure set; they should be calm and self-assured. The Bernese Mountain Dog was developed as a working companion dog and does best when integrated into a family's home and lifestyle. These dogs are often very dependent on their owners and some can become difficult to manage if left unattended for long hours every day. Bernese puppies require several months of attention to house training. Bernese puppies should not be left unattended for long hours. However I do not feel being crated for eight hours daily to be a quality life for a dog. The early development of a good working relationship and trust between dog and owner will lead to a rewarding life together. The Bernese Mountain Dog is a large dog. The breed is not well suited to environments or owners where exercise is not possible or convenient. These dogs were developed as working farm dogs, not as lap dogs. Even so, most BMDs will be delighted to make a visit to their owner's lap when invited. Exercise requirements for the breed are somewhat variable, depending on the BMD's temperament and energy level. A minimum of 30 minutes of exercise twice day will keep most BMDs in good physical condition. Some dogs will require twice that amount of exercise to be satisfied and kept in shape. BMDs need exercise throughout their lifetimes. Bernese puppies should never be forced to exercise for long periods nor should they be kept from playing under safe, supervised conditions. Bernese puppies should NEVER he allowed to roughhouse with older dogs, as permanent injury to growing bones, joints, muscles and ligaments may occur. Chasing and playing with small quick dogs will force BMD puppies to work too hard and can cause them to slip and injure themselves. Repetitive inflammation to muscles and joints will cause permanent damage. A good rule to use is five minutes of walking for every month of life. Bernese Mountain Dogs are generally good-natured. Some BMDs can be reserved and even fearful of strangers, so socialization is of utmost importance.  The BMD is one of the most enjoyable of the large breeds. The devoted loyalty, sense of humor, easygoing, quiet nature, strong desire to serve and affectionate qualities make the breed a good family pet. BMDs are typically excellent with children, as they tend to instinctively recognize a child and immediately quiet all actions. While some BMDs may be aloof with strangers, this should not be confused with shyness. When company visits your home, many BMDs will watch the situation for a little while before coming to accept a visitor with a quiet approach followed by leaning into the visitor's leg. This is how Bernese became known as 'leaners', which is especially true of the males. A must for all Bernese is socialization and training. Attending puppy socialization classes, and at a minimum beginner obedience classes at a local kennel club or private dog training facility are highly recommended to maximize a BMD's chances of becoming a canine good citizen. Many Bernese do very well in advanced obedience courses, conformation, drafting, tracking, agility, etc. Owners should look forward to a lifetime of training and working with their BMD. Most Bernese do best when trained with enthusiasm and a kind, gentle hand. Most are very willing to please but some can be stubborn. Some Bernese are very smart and want to do things their own way which provides their owners with training challenges. Hard hands and harsh training methods can easily break the spirit of many BMDs. Their hearts are easily wounded and they can become fearful easily. The Bernese Mountain Dog carries a heavy coat requiring considerable grooming. When Bernese cast off their coats, daily brushing may be required to keep hair to a minimum in a home environment. Get your puppy use to being handled on a small table top with a non-skid surface a small cheap door mat can be kept for this. Teaching your pup to stand for a brushing daily now will pay off in the future with a cooperative well behaved 100 pound plus adult dog. My adult dogs get up on to the grooming table and stand with no concern. Removal of hair coat as it is being shed is also necessary for the dog to maintain healthy skin condition. Count on grooming and vacuuming often (daily) to keep floors, furniture and the children free of BMD fur.


The #1 cause of death in all domestic dogs is "US" people! About a third of the dogs born in North America. never see their second birthday. They are euthanize as unwanted, abandoned or lost dogs in shelters; others die getting hit by a car when running loose. The cheapest form of health insurance is buying a leash, learning how to use it, and training your dog.


The Swiss have a saying about the lifespan of Bernese Mountain Dogs...
They say, 'three years a young dog, three years a good dog, three years an old dog ... all else a gift from God'. At this time, the average age of a BMD at death is about 7-9 years; this is based on a study done in the USA that states 60% of BMD’s die of cancer between the ages of 7-9. However life span should and can be 10 to 14 years if they are cancer free. I have spent countless hours researching bloodlines in an endeavor to expand the life of Riverstead progeny. Riverstead’s foundation Stud (Alpenlieb Jordi’s Sweetwilliam) Willie lived to 11 years old. His passing was unexpected and was not due to cancer. Jasmine his aunt passed at eleven, November 2014. I am a firm believer that over vaccinating, poor quality food and a compulsive use of pesticide application/ingestion against fleas infestation and heartworm contributes vastly to the percentage of Bernese that die due to cancer.  My dogs are getting fresh and real foods.., “live foods”.  If you ate nothing but the same bowel of HEAVILY PROCESSED FOOD every day, (McDonald’s Big Mac) you too would die of cancer in the middle of your life. Why do people think that the foods ALL LIVING CREATURES (except the ones we have domesticated) eat are somehow not okay for dogs? It amazes me that when I talk to people they all comment on the dogs from their childhood that lived to be a ripe old age eating the same food as the family ate.  The research that is being done about the health of humans becoming increasingly poorer do to our eating habits applies to all living creatures. I have a Facebook page for my puppy owners where I and other dedicated people post articles and information to help and support you in raising a health dog that will live to the age that my dogs live. 


Hip dysplasia (HD) is a progressive, degenerative disease involving malformation of the hip socket joint. HD ranges from very mild with no apparent effects, to severe requiring surgical correction. Hip dysplasia appears to have both genetic and environmental causes. The term 'hips clear’ is often utilized to imply a dog is structurally sound. Hips aren't the only bony structure that can be unsound. Current data suggests that in BMDs, there may be more elbows dysplasia (ED) and OCD of the shoulders than there is HD. Soft tissue injuries to ligaments and muscles can result in lameness as can Panosteitis, a developmental condition that causes pain in long bones during growth. Any persistent lameness requires examination by a veterinarian.


The organization for evaluating joint status is the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA). Radiography (X-rays) of a dog's hips or elbows are analyzed by radiologists to determine the presence or absence of orthopedic disease. Hips or elbows deemed free of dysplasia will get a numbered OFA certificate with a rating of Fair, Good, or Excellent. If there is evidence of dysplasia, no number is assigned. An OFA # on a parent does NOT necessarily mean the offspring will have good joints, but breeding from parents not affected by orthopedic disease is important to conscientious breeders. Most problems arise from owners that do not consider that their puppy’s bones are not hardened until after the age of 24 months. Free running on rocky beaches or through the woods, jumping off of furniture, out of cars, off of steps, running on ice or slippery floors or traveling daily on stairs is more inclined to permanently damage a puppy than any other reason. I do not like dog parks where older faster moving dogs run free enticing your puppy to push his limits. the best exercise for a Bernese puppy is on lead on level ground maintaining free and easy joint movement. 


Bernese Mountain Dogs have a body type which makes them susceptible to bloat, which can be a life threatening emergency medical situation. This can run in families. I insist that all my Puppy peeps familiarize themselves with the signs of bloat as it can take a dogs life in less than 24 hours. This is the reason that I ask puppy owners to maintain their dog’s health insurance. The basic coverage of $30.00 a month can mean the difference of you being able to afford an emergency operation of thousands of dollars in the middle of the night. 


Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) is a hereditary disease of the eye that has been identified in a few Bernese Mountain Dogs. The Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF) is an organization that collects data on dogs examined by members of the A.C.V.O. and registers those dogs that have been certified free of evidence of heritable eye disease CERF evaluates eyes for the presence of eye disease. 


Individual dogs can be affected by a variety of ailments that affect longevity and quality of life. I pay very close attention to selection of breeding pairs to minimize the occurrence of health problems. No breeder can offer you a 100% guarantee that the pup you get will not face health challenges. Awareness of health issues by both breeders and owners is essential to enhance management and improve the quality of dog's lives. Genetics and health are interlinked in many cases so breeder understanding of health issues that exist in families of Bernese is essential if improvements in health and soundness are to be made over generations of breeding. This is why it is paramount to me that I be connected to my puppies for life. I need owners to work with me not against me. So together we can provide your beloved friend with the best possible chance at a long and healthy life. 


I am committed to developing and sharing information on BMD health and management issues, by maintaining a network for my Puppy Peeps through Facebook and e-mail. I believe it is important to have extensive information on the health, structure and character, plus any other useful information about my breeding dogs and those dogs' ancestors and their progeny.., your puppy. This way I am more likely to produce a dog that will live a long life in good health, if breeding dogs are paired to maximize family strengths and minimize family weaknesses. This can only be accomplished with information and time. It is important that my Puppy Peeps be committed to staying in touch with me for the life of their dog. A breeder who is able to assess and present an accurate picture of their breeding program is realistic and honest. By gathering and sharing pertinent genetic information with other Breeders on their breeding dogs, which includes providing, upon request, copies of certifications for hips, elbows, eyes, heart, thyroid, von Willebrands disease, Degenerative Myelopathy as issued by recognized registries such as OFA, GDC, CERF, etc... Then the information can be applied to make breeding choices that minimizes faults in ALL dogs, both future breeding animals as well as those placed as non-breeding pets. I provide future owners with a pedigree of the puppy, including health, structure and temperament information on the parents and ancestors. Because the depth of pedigree information that a breeder has and provides allows both the breeder and you to have a firmer grasp of what can be expected in Bernese puppies and adult dogs. I will provide you with a written contract before there is any exchange of money. It is important for you to have a written record outlining the breeder's and your responsibilities; including definition of what kind of dog and services you are paying for. I will clarify, to your satisfaction, any unclear contractual obligations or any notable conditions which could act to nullify or change any guarantees. This assured that the contract you will sign, at the time you get your dog, is a workable and acceptable agreement between you and me the breeder.
I provide you with copies of CKC registrations for both the sire and dam.  I never sell pups or dogs to agents, brokers or pet shops. I am committed to the health and safety of my dogs for the life of the dog, including assisting in re-homing a dog if necessary. I will provide veterinary references and/or references of people who already own a Riverstead dog.  I am always available to answer questions. 


Though initially BMDs may appear to be the ideal pet there are disadvantages!
The following are some points that require thought and considerations before you bring a BMD into your home. BMDs need human companionship they cannot be confined in isolation for long periods and must be made a part of the family.

Responsibility: Before bringing a BMD into your family, every family member should be willing to accept responsibility for the needs of the dog. We believe owning a BMD is for life - if you think they are disposable; please consider buying a stuffed animal.

Medical Insurance: Your puppy came home with six weeks medical insurance coverage in place. There are several to choose from. Accidents happen and insurance is of great value ...when a trip to the emergency room is necessary! You do not have the right to euthanize one of my dogs because of a health issue. You need to speak to me about what is going on. If death is emanate due to trauma then that is a different story. With pet insurance there is no need for a Vet to turn you away in the middle of the night due to cost. 

Size: BMDs are a large breed. Males range in height from 24"-27.5" at the shoulder and weigh from 90-130 pounds. Females stand from 23"- 26" and weigh between 85-120 pounds.

Protection: Due to their size and heavy black coat, BMDs require shelter from inclement weather (hot summer sun for example) ~ a shady retreat with plenty of fresh water at all times is a must if the BMD is to spend any time outdoors.

Exercise: BMDs need daily exercise (30 minutes twice a day). If not they may have trouble in adjusting to the calm house pet role that most owners expect. Remember if you are looking for a dog to jog with you 365 days a year this is not the breed for you. Puppies should have controlled walks and a good rule is five minutes for every month of life. You can do this walk two or three times a day. If your puppy collapses from exhaustion on returning from a walk.., you are doing damage to joints, ligaments, tendons and muscle. Remember repetitive inflammation causes permanent damage. Connecting the dots between excessive exercise -- injury – surgeries is common place with large breed dogs. This diagram shows the growth plates which will close (indicated by the arrows) between 6-24 months and which joints are most vulnerable (indicated by the red circles). The average age for injured puppy is 9-13 months - The story is always the same...folks don't understand what happened; "...he's been doing (this) for months, and then all of a sudden, BANG, he came back on three legs"! Truth is, the puppy was injured because he had been exercising at levels that are only safe for mature dogs (hiking for an hour or longer, running at full tilt after Chuck-It balls or beside a bike...)! How this happened should be no mystery - the diagram illustrates all the asymmetrical development of puppy's limbs! The hips, shoulders, elbows, stifles, hocks and SPINE are all vulnerable, creating more serious risks than when he was a wee tot!


DO NOT over exercise your puppy, especially with dogs that are more active and lighter framed…they do not have the draft frame like your dog and can move much faster and turn faster…your puppy will try to keep up with them and potentially hurt themselves long term or short term! They can tear connective tissue when trying to keep up with other dogs. Too much exercise has been shown to cause ED/ HD and cruciate ligaments at an early age. As with any exercise program start slowly and increase as you go along. Start with flat areas and walking. Then slowly add small hills to build muscle tissue which will support joints.

Five minutes of exercise for every month of life.

NOTE: No agility, no draft until your puppy is 24 months and all the growth plates have closed. Swimming is an excellent form of exercise for a Berner and you. Manners must be taught at an early age. However hold off on serious obedience work until the puppy is six months of age. Bernese puppies are very sensitive and their spirits can easily be broken. Socializing must be done before the puppy is sixteen weeks. However I ask that interaction with unknown dogs be limited until after the puppy has received the second vaccine. 

Grooming: BMDs are long, double coated and blow their coats usually twice a year. Because of their coat, brushing every few days is to your advantage. Bathing, brushing their coat and teeth, and trimming nails are basic regular requirements. If you require a fastidiously kept house, don't get a BMD. There will ALWAYS be dog hair around, especially on rugs, furniture and, oh yes, in your food! All family members should visit with BMDs before bringing one into your home to make sure no one is allergic to BMD fur.

Training: Everyone owning a BMD should make their dog a good canine citizen. Moreover BMD tend to be sensitive or soft in many situations they must be handled carefully with a loving, firm but nonetheless gentle hand. An obedience course is a must for a dog of this size, but it must be one that focuses on positive reinforcement - not harsh corrections.

Socializing: I recommend you do not take your puppy to dog parks. They are a place for bullies, if your puppies mind is damaged by a dysfunctional dog… your puppy will have that memory forever to deal with. Also the pace there will be too fast for your Berner puppy. Better yet invite friends over that have kind and gentle dogs. Take your pup to visit at their home.  Keep everything positive for them. Puppy class is much better. Socialization is age appropriate at puppy class!  Take them places, car rides, Petsmart, Petco, Home Depot, post office, hardware stores etc… make all experiences positive… negative experiences cause negative memories… If something makes them duck or back away; move on …REMEMBER IF YOU REWARD A BEHAVIOR….YOU WILL GET MORE OF IT…so do not reward fear… you will get more of it! Do not talk to your dog in a squeaky… high pitched voice. To a dog that sounds like whining… Whining means fear. If something scare the pup just say “let’s go you're a good dog” in a NORMAL voice. Try not to send nervous fearful energy down the leash. We are finding out more and more every day about the dogs ability to sense when things are wrong with us, if a dog can sense a seizure… then why not fear or anxiety. Take three deep breaths and still yourself. A puppies time for acceptance of new experiences starts to end at age 16 weeks. So you have a small window and if you cannot devote yourself to four weeks of outings.. Get a cat. Berners like all dogs have fear periods.


Guarding: Though BMD may bark it is not instinctive for them to attack. BMD can be protective of family and property they are a farm "watch" dog, but if you are looking for a "guard" dog, look to another breed. A fenced yard is ideal with fencing at a minimum of five feet high. A BMD should not run at large and become a public nuisance. 


Opinions of breeders differ greatly on what is the best food for a growing pup/dog and on which vitamin or mineral supplementation protocol to use. Veterinary advice on diet can be helpful; BUT, your dog's breeder is your best source for learning what kind of food will work best with your new pup and adult dog. The food you feed your dog can help or cause problems with ears, skin, overall health and behavior. BMD owners feed a range of food from raw diet, homemade diets to commercially prepared kibble. If feeding kibble, BMD breeders seem to agree to feed a high quality food with protein level, approximately 28% and a moderate fat content, 16%. I prefer to see a kibble that is grain free and definitely NO by-products.  Many breeders are starting to agree that protein levels are not the problem with rapid growth, but that over feeding is. I am in agreement.  I feed much more protein than the recommended 28% because I feed raw and homemade. A young growing dog will eat more than an adult dog. Quantity will vary according to growth rate, exercise and time of year. The most important thing is to monitor intake and make sure your dog does not get overweight. BMD have a long growing period. Most BMD do not finish their growth until they are 3 years old. BMD continue to flesh out well into their middle years. Bernese puppies can put on 2-3 pounds and up to ½ inch of vertical height a week during growth spurts. Often during BMD growth phase dogs can appear gangling, high on leg or unbalanced and gawky. Gait can be substantially altered during growing phases and may become mildly uncoordinated. As long as the dog is not lame and does not develop orthopedic conditions such as hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia or osteochondritis dissecans (OCD), usually the gait will return to the gait exhibited by the dog as a young pup. It is not uncommon for BMD puppy's skeleton to grow unevenly and many BMD gain height in their rear followed a few weeks later by the front growing to catch up. BMD essentially reach their final height at two years. Environmental factors can also influence structural development. Please use common sense and do not take your puppy for long walks. Discourage leaping, jumping and running on ice and irregular terrain. Skid resistant rugs might be needed to help dogs navigate slippery stairs and floors. Even those very active pups, willing to go 24 hours a day, need rest and quiet time. Managing growth through appropriate exercise and a quality diet will help to optimize the health and physical soundness of your dog. Do not feed “free choice”. Leaving food down all day can create a picky, finicky eater. Secondly and more importantly feeding a puppy free choice will generally produce an overweight dog. It is cute to see a roly-poly puppy waddling around, but it is not healthy. It is well known that large breed dogs are especially prone to joint disorders like dysplasia when fed excessively during growth periods. It has also been shown that excess weight in earlier years shortens the lifespan. Feed your pup 4 times a day until four months, 3 times a day until six months old, then 2 times a day for life. Many educated breeders are now saying that there is no place for puppy food with large breed dogs, that the higher fat ratio promotes fast growth. Poor quality grocery or Wal-Mart store puppy food tends to grow pups too fast. As long as your pup gets adequate amounts of high quality food it will eventually reach it‘s genetically predetermined size. Dividing meals safe guards against stomach bloat. It is important not to over feed your Bernese especially just before exercising. Please familiarize yourself with the signs of bloat. A healthy dog is a lean, active dog. Treats should be high quality not the grocery store treats like milk bone, jumbo bones.., yuck!  Most store bought treats are nothing but corn, wheat meal and gluten with maybe some gross meat by-products. These energy forms convert to sugar which will cause obesity in dogs and rapid growth. Also more and more research is being done on sugar. It is now consider the number one cancer causing agent out there. Diabetes is a canine health complaint increasingly seen by many veterinarians. So feed a food with quality ingredients, no by-products. Be savvy when reading the ingredients list.  Manufacturers are deceptive. They will break down the corn ingredients by listing it as corn meal, corn husks, corn heart.., when added up as one ingredient it immediately becomes obvious that there is more corn than anything else. 


If you are interested in feeding raw food I highly recommend it. However it is something you must be educated on. So if this is of interest to you please speak with me and I will help you learn what you need to Know. There are many good groups on Facebook like Natural Berners and many excellent books if you are interested in cooking. There is a lady Karen “Totally Raw” in Truro that sells pre-made patties of mixed offal and muscle meat as well as tripe.


I feed these supplements for the life of the dog. I do not want to lose them to something that was preventable. None of these supplements need to be bought from a vet.  Most of these you should take yourself.

On my Riverstead Bernese Mountain Dog group page on Facebook. I have many articles in the files to support the use of the supplements listed below. 

Give these supplements to your puppy for their entire lifetime. Supplements work when they are given every day and the levels are maintained in the body. The body does not store them so they MUST be given 2 times a day....everyday to work for your dog.

Vitamin C... 500 mg., twice daily. For their immune system and the production of collagen that supports connective tissue growth. (USE ESTER C FORMAT For the first 4 months then switch to regular 500 mg Vitamin C.  Costco/Walmart)

Vitamin E ....800 I.U.,  twice daily.  Immune system, stress, skin. Half for puppies under 70 lbs. Fish oils deplete Vitamin E so it is necessary to give daily. Process dog food is lacking in vitamin E.

Omega-3... (EPA and DHA format pure from marine sources).. 1000 mg., three times a week. Half that amount for puppies under 70 lbs. For vascular, joint, heart, brain, nervous system. Do not give an omega supplement that includes omega 6 and 9. Some dogs find fish oils disruptive to the gut and may cause runny pops. Krill oil is now easily found in most stores. It will not give gut upset or fishy breath. Always include vitamin E with Omega. 

MSM ...1000 mg., daily  (50-100 ml per 10 lb. of body weight) for joint growth and support. Very important supplement and inexpensive. (available at Costco/Wal-Mart)

Grape Seed Extract... 100 mg., twice daily, boosts the immune system.

Green Lipped Mussel (GLM) ... 500mg., (Vitacost on the internet) connective tissue for the joints.

Bee Pollen... 500 mg., twice daily (NOT Bee Propolis, it contains bark) I buy from the internet wherever I can find it and the best ($) Immune system.

Royal Jelly 500 mg.... twice daily. I get mine at Puritans Pride online. Immune system.

Advanced Cetyl M joint action formula for dogs am and pm.....supports joint health and function.

Deer or Elk velvet: Helps to alleviate arthritic symptoms by rebuilding cartilage, improving joint fluid, increases tissue and cellular healing times and improves circulation. (start at the age of 4 years old, OR first sign of any arthritis).

Turmeric Curcumin: Is a relative of ginger, comes from the Middle East. It is a potent antioxidant. It also has anti-cancer and powerful anti-inflammatory properties. (start at the age of 4 months)

below is a picture describing how to make turmeric paste. 


Getting a well-bred Bernese Mountain Dog from a reputable breeder affects the kind of experiences you will have with your dog throughout its lifetime. Conscientious breeders take great care to select breeding pairs that will have the greatest chance of producing dogs with good temperament, structure, health and character. The committed breeder is committed to you as well as the dog.


Currently there are DOG BROKERS importing dogs from overseas, particularly from Eastern Europe and Russia. Or buying from puppy mills cheap and reselling at a profit. Buying through a broker makes it difficult or impossible for you to learn about the focus of the pup's breeder or the kinds of conditions under which the Bernese puppy have been raised. The living conditions and health, soundness and temperament of the parents of your pup can have a significant effect on the well being of your dog throughout its entire life. Avoid buying your family's companion dog from a DOG BROKER. No reputable breeder, either in this country or abroad, would ever sell a well-planned, well-loved and taken care of pup into such an uncertain future. Never buy from sites like Kijiji. No reputable breeder needs to advertise in such places. Make sure that the breeder has as many questions for you as you should have for them. Visit the kennel. Anyone that offers to deliver a puppy is not to be trusted. Be very informative some brokers pass themselves off as rescue, looking for donations from the public. Sadly there are a lot of unscrupulous people in the world and you need to protect yourself.


Championship titles in the backgrounds of parents can mean very little if the breeder has not adequately researched the families of dogs from which mated dogs are chosen. Adequate research on families of dogs requires a concentrated effort, study of pedigrees and an extensive understanding of traits possessed and passed on to offspring from dogs represented in pedigrees. CanKC/AKC or other Conformation Championship titles are only a part of what makes up a quality dog or pedigree.


The following are several "puppy mill" registries.
1) FIC (federation of international canines)
2) CKC (continental kennel club)
3) APR (America's Pet Registry) the most popular of the puppy mill registries.
These acronyms are remarkably similar to the legitimate registries, FCI (Federation Cynologique Internationale) and CanKC (Canadian Kennel Club). It is possible that imported Bernese puppies will be touted to be registered with the FIC. PLEASE beware of these puppy mill registries. There are also backyard breeders breeding litters from parents that were sold on a "Limited Registration". Limited registration certificates are offered to breeders to designate dogs as NOT of breeding quality NON-BREEDING. The CanKC will not recognize Bernese puppies as CanKC registerable out of Limited Registration parents. Here are some things to watch out for: Make sure you are getting a purebred BMD by requiring proof that the parents of your dog are CanKC registered. Conscientious breeders use written sales contracts detailing both buyers and seller's obligations and responsibilities involved in owning a dog from a responsibly conducted breeding program. Beware of breeders who don't ask questions and don't want to keep in touch with you and your pup. Good breeders care about dogs they sell and want to keep track of pups produced from their breeding program to better enable them to make sound breeding decisions that will affect future generations.

If I tried to educate you myself; it would take pages and pages, so please; and I can’t say this strongly enough, “do your research and get it right."

Books online from Amazon “USED” at $3.00 are in pristine condition and well worth buying.

For BMD info and good reading:

The Complete BMD by Jude Simmons

The New BMD by Sharon Chestnut Smith.

For BMD Health:

“The Nature of Animal Healing” by D.V.M. Martin Goldstein. I highly recommend this book. He writes it for the lay person.

Dr. Becker's Real Food For Healthy Dogs And Cats: Simple Homemade Food

Pet First Aid (Mammato, DVM)
Taking Care of Your Dog (Gerstenfeld,DVM)
Holistic Guide to a Healthy Dog (Volhard and Brown)
Give Your Dog a Bone (Billinghurst)

Obedience Training/Behaviour:

Canine Good Citizen (J. Volhard, W. Volhard)
Training Your Dog - The Step-by-Step Manual(Volhard & Fisher)
Best Foot Forward, Successful Obedience Handling (Handler)
Good Owners Great Dogs (Kilcommons, Wilson)
Positive Results (Pivar & Nelson)
Surviving Your Dog's Adolescence (Benjamin)

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