FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT BERNESE

 

Do Bernese Mountain Dogs get along with children? 
This depends on the individuals involved – the child, the dog, and perhaps most importantly, the parents. The Bernese is NOT a always the best choice of breed for a family with small children. Many Berner puppies go through a “mouthy” stage that can be unwittingly encouraged by young children. Many Berners’ bodies grow faster than their “brains” which can be a challenge to the inexperienced dog owner. 
 
Do Berners get along with dogs or other animals? 
Most Bernese puppies will be able to adjust to the other members of their new families – human, canine, feline and other pets. The greater the size difference, the more supervision and training may be required. Also, much depends on the individuals involved. Some Berners are more nurturing, while others may have a stronger prey drive. The majority are somewhere in the middle and will respond to guidance in regard to their interactions with other family members. 
 
Do Berners have a tendency to wander? 
Berners prefer to stay close to the family and do not tend to wander. However, any breed if left alone for extended periods will get bored and go looking for something to do. If the puppy cannot be watched he should be safely secured in a fenced yard or dog run. Better yet, in the house with the family. 
 
What is their temperament like? 
With the training essential for ownership of a large working breed, adult Berners are generally gentle, easygoing and tolerant. They do not do well when isolated from people or activity. This breed can be slow to mature, and young dogs can be very active compared to the trained, often mellow adult. While Berners should not be shy, this tendency does run in the breed. Due to temperament concerns it is very important to expose Bernese to a wide variety of people, places and other animals, especially in their first year of life. However, caution should be taken not to over-face a sensitive dog. 
 
Are Bernese easy to train? 
Bernese generally like to please their people, but you must earn their respect. Some dogs can be challenging and take more work. Bernese are also smart enough to manipulate their owners. Generally, most Bernese are sensitive, impressionable dogs. Some may be “soft”. Bad or scary experiences are hard to overcome and are best anticipated and avoided. Only positive training techniques should be used. These dogs have lots of heart and their owners need to understand their dogs’ unique, psychological make-up. Your breeder should be able to assist you with training advice and methods. 
 
How much should I expect to pay for a Bernese Puppy? 
Prices of puppies will depend on a variety of factors. Locality, availability, quality. The prices now average around $1500.00 in Canada.  Higher cost does not necessarily equate to higher quality. Be sure to that you fully understand the terms to which you are agreeing when purchasing a puppy, particularly if you are asked to provide a large deposit up front--you may find it is non-refundable.     
 
How much exercise does a Bernese require? 
Berners require a moderate amount of exercise to maintain good health and condition. Some individuals are natural athletes while others have couch potato tendencies. To keep them fit they should go for at least two brisk walks daily. 
 
Where do I go to see a Bernese? 
Dog shows are a good place to start when you are determining what type of dog your family prefers. Once you have narrowed down the selection to a couple of breeds, contact breeders and owners in your area. You can get a listing of breeders in the Dogs Annual magazine or through the breed clubs. See as many dogs as you possibly can. Even if the breeders are not planning a litter... go and see their dogs anyway. The more information and experience that you can gather on the breed the better informed you will be when you do get a chance at purchasing a family companion. 
 
How long should I expect to wait for a puppy? 
Up to a years wait is not unusual. It will depend mostly on the type of home you can provide and what interests you have in the breed. Expect to wait longer for show/breeding potential pups since they are fewer in numbers than pet quality. Likewise if you wish to purchase from a particular breeder. Most breeders will want to meet you if possible and then put you on a waiting list if you are both in agreement of you getting a puppy from that particular breeder. It is considered quite common to ship a puppy from one part of the country to another part or even to another country... do not be afraid to contact breeders outside of your area. However there are a few drawbacks... you will not likely be able to see both parents of the litter of meet the breeder in person. You can request a list of references of previous puppy buyers and a video tape or pictures of the parents of the litter and possibly littermates as well. You should expect to pay for any shipping fees and the cost of a shipping crate. Although buying a puppy sight unseen can be a bit more risky, it is done successfully time after time. As long as you are dealing with a reputable breeder, you will likely be very happy. It is common courtesy to advise all the people with whom you have left your name that you have found your companion.