Breeder Red Flags

How do I know whether a breeder is ethical? 

Become an informed consumer. Our free puppy packet includes a health checklist, some red flags to watch for, and a list of questions to ask any breeder. 

The dogs are listed only by their call names. 

Call names are simply the names that we use daily with our dogs. They are not unique. Every registered dog has a unique registered name. Using this registered name, you can check health clearances, health records, and titles on this dog through Berner Garde, Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA), or American Kennel Club (AKC). 

The breeder charges more for females, for registered vs. non-registered, or for full vs. limited registration. 

First off you shouldn't be charged more to have a registrable dog registered. This is simply unethical. If a breeder is selling a dog on limited registration, that means that the breeder feels that this dog should not be bred or shown in conformation. This judgement should not be overturned by an additional payment. And females cost the same to produce and raise as males. 

Background information, such as pedigrees and health clearances, aren't available until after you have paid a deposit. 

Ethical breeders want you to have this information so you can make an informed decision on whether this is the right litter for you. If a breeder is trying to conceal this information, that usually means that there is a problem. This would include breeders who get angry when you ask for documentation of health clearances. 

The breeder only ask you about payment and s/he discourages you from coming to their kennel. 

Responsible breeders want to meet the whole family and make sure that the breed as a whole and individual puppy are a good fit. You want to see whether the dogs are kept in a safe and clean environment and how the puppies are being socialized. 

Breeder requires non-refundable deposit. 

It's a two-way interview. If you don't like what you see when you visit the breeder, then you need to be able to get your deposit back. 

Breeder sells puppies through third parties - brokers, dealers, retail shops, auctions. 

Responsible breeders want to make sure their puppies are going to the right homes. Find out if they are available to you after adoption. You'll want to contact them for advice if you have health or training problems. 

Upstanding breeders will take back any puppies they produce for the life of the dog.

Become a Member 

Learn more before you buy. 

Bernese Mountain Dog Club of Oregon (BMDCO) club members know a lot about Bernese Mountain Dogs. In fact, we count among our members many of the finest breeders in the region. 

Join and pay your first year's dues...


Learn about the Bernese Mountain Dog breed standard.

BMDCO has an active rescue and re-home program for Berners in distress.