Sells males for less money than females. This is because a premium is placed on females by other "wannabe" breeders to start their own backyard breeding program.

Sells "show quality" while they never show themselves. How can you know? Markings? That only represents about 10% of what makes up a "show quality" dog. Most of the breeders considered reputable in this breed sell pet puppies for the same price as show, because the pets are thought to be just as valuable.

Sells any puppy with full registration for more money, regardless of the quality or health of the pup. Most reputable breeders will not release their puppies on full registration unless they control the future breeding of those puppies through contract and co-ownership. Their puppies are screened carefully through the first two years and shown to determine real quality before breeding.

Breeding stock which has come from the old Iron Curtain Eastern European countries, like Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, Czech Republic, Russia, etc. There are a few good kennels, but most of the puppy mill dogs are imported from these countries, and we have NO health history on these dogs.

Brokers pups from Eastern European puppy mills.  These import brokers simply buy direct from the same Eastern European puppy mills and then turn around and sell to the ignorant buyer.  NO good breeder sells to a broker.

Does not have verifiable health clearances on hips AND elbows of at least MOST of the dogs on the pups pedigree. If you are told "our vet said they are healthy" this is a BIG red flag. Also, if they say the European clearances are better than those in the US and they prefer to use those clearances instead of clearing their dogs in the US, run. There are a couple European countries which are very strict in their grading, but most don't even start to stand up to US standards. Usually if a dog clears in those strict countries, the breeders keep the dogs. It is usually only the dogs that do not pass or don't live up to the standards required that they send to other kennels.

“Breeding stock comes from healthy lines” If you are told this, DEMAND PROOF. All breeding dogs should have proof of eye, heart, hip, elbow and von Willebrands clearances.

“Healthier European Lines.”  Don’t believe it.  There are healthy and unhealthy lines in all countries.  Health surveys reveal the same average lifespan (7.1 years) for both American and European Bernese.  This is just another sales tactic.

Dogs which are bred before two years of age and/or are bred every heat cycle. There are exceptions here too, but not many.

“Both parents on premises.” Good breeders go out and find the stud dog that best compliments their bitch. Breeders who tend to be in it "for the money" only, don't want to pay a stud fee, so they just get a boy and a girl, and whatever they produce, they produce. This tells me they are just pumping out puppies - high volume - high sales - more money in the seller's pocket (this is not an absolute.  Some good breeders DO have the stud dog, but this is not always the case). Watch for high volume breeders, also. There are a few in this country who manage to produce several litters a year and still live up to proper standards in their breeding programs. MOST high volume breeders do not! Do your homework. If you can tell the breeder is having more than three litters a year, check their reputation with your local breed clubs.

Breeder doesn't follow up on previous litters to assure the pups they have produced are healthy. This is especially important if the puppy seller touts "healthy dogs." If they haven't bothered to follow up on previous litters, how can they make this claim???? Also, check with a regional breed club to see if this breeder's puppies have ever had to be rescued or rehomed for them instead of the breeder taking responsibility. A good breeder always takes a puppy back even years after the sale. A good breeder always cares about the puppies they produce and the families who raise their puppies.

The "Health Guarantee" sales pitch.  There are no real guarantees on health. Anything can happen and much of what can happen is a result of environment. Often high volume breeders end up euthanizing a puppy that is being returned for health reasons. Is that the kind of breeder you want to be involved with? A good breeder will explain the problems with this breed and explain environmental issues that can affect the long term health of the puppy, before you buy. A good breeder may help you with the bills or will take your pup back to raise it or find it a home and possibly offer your money back or offer you a puppy from a future litter, but a good breeder does not guarantee the health of the puppy. Puppies in this breed are subject to cancer, hip and elbow dysplasia, eye problems, heart problems and much more. Even puppies produced from totally clear parents can produce problems. Many of the problems are known to be "polygenic" (cancer, hips and others) which means the parental genes of totally clear parents can combine to cause these problems. There are just no guarantees and no way to protect you from the potential health problems that affect this breed.

Breeder has a USDA license. This almost guarantees you are dealing with a mass production puppy factory.

AKC inspected.  Every breeder who breeds AKC registered dogs is subject to AKC inspection.  This means nothing. But, high volume breeders are targeted by AKC for inspection, so if a breeder is claiming they are AKC inspected and approved, it is likely they are producing a large number of litters per year.

Breeder discourages you visiting their facilities, or “suggests” you meet somewhere to get your pup.  This is often offered as a convenience to you.  It is really because the breeder doesn’t want you to see their kennel.

Pretty websites with lot of cute pictures and flowery language like “Farm raised with love,” or “we just love our fur babies.”  Provides little or no useful information such as pedigrees of parents, health clearances, breeding philosophy, etc.   This is a very crafty and effective way to bamboozle you as the buyer.

Is not involved with the national breed club or regional breed clubs. Is not contributing to the Berner community in any way (breeders have multiple ways they are encouraged to give back to the breed). Does not take part in AKC dog showing or BMDCA events. Does not document their dogs and breedings on Berner-Garde http://www.bernergarde.org/ . Makes excuses for not taking part saying "those people are snobby".


BEWARE,,,there are puppy mill breeders all over the southeast.
Here are some warning signs.