Contact Lisa Ellis for more information on finding a responsible breeder in your area.
The following has been taken in part from BMDCNV
Brokers usually advertise one or two dogs; a responsible breeder will advertise their litter; or advertise only to provide information about the breed (as many breeders don't need to advertise). Also, you won't see a responsible breeder advertising puppies week after week. Responsible breeders are limited by their need to produce healthy, quality puppies and not large numbers of puppies.
Brokers do not own the dog’s mother or father; responsible breeders own at least the mother if not the father also, and will have them available for you to meet.
Brokers may not be able to provide American Kennel Club (AKC) registration papers; responsible breeders own AKC registered mothers who produce AKC registered(able) puppies.
Brokers cannot provide any health information about the family (parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings) of the dog for sale; a responsible breeder can provide health certifications, ages of death, recurring problems, etc. on not only the pups parents, but for many generations.
Brokers are selling a dog second (or third or fourth) hand; conscientious breeders require that if a puppy does not stay with its original buyer it is returned to the breeder for rehoming.
Brokers usually do not belong to any dog clubs or participate in dog events; responsible breeders are members of regional and/or national breed clubs and obtain titles by participation in AKC and/or BMDCA events.
Brokers will ask to meet you at a convenient location to see the dog and discuss the purchase so that their actual location is not disclosed; responsible breeders will ask you to come to their home and invite you to meet their dogs.
Brokers do not ask questions about your interest or knowledge about the breed; A responsible breeder will "interview" prospective owners often asking them to fill out a questionnaire, and encourage discussion prior to making a placement decision.
It’s a given that breeders who put a great deal of research and care into producing the best puppies they can, do not turn around and give them to someone else to sell. Bernese Mountain Dogs are considered a “hot commodity” in today’s dog market. In addition to the unfortunate increase of Berner puppies for sale in pet stores, brokers are also attempting to make money by selling Bernese Mountain Dogs themselves. In our use of the term, a broker is someone (other than a pet store) who sells puppies they didn’t breed. Brokers usually have little knowledge of the breed(s) they sell, nor do they know (or care about) the family history of the pups they offer. Turnover is the name of the game—buy ‘em cheap and sell ‘em at a proﬁt—the quicker the better.
Brokers do not always identify themselves for what they really are. Most brokers obtain their dogs from puppy millers. The dogs are transported via various methods from other parts of the country such as Pennsylvania, Missouri, and Oklahoma, or even from other countries to the broker. Many times a broker will advertise a Bernese for sale in the newspaper. They provide the caller with a “story” about how they obtained the dog and why they are now selling it. The caller is told that they are“helping a friend to sell his/her puppies”, or that the dog was purchased for a variety of reasons; “I was going to show the dog but I have changed my mind…I thought about breeding but have lost interest…It was for my child and the dog is too big for him…My husband (child, myself ) is allergic.” The broker tells the caller that he/she paid a large sum—usually $2000 or more—but they are willing to sell the dog for a much lower price—$1500 or less—in order to give the dog a good home. The truth is that the broker most likely paid less than $400 for the puppy and is now going to make a nice proﬁt with a price tag of $1000 or more. All this for very little risk or overhead! No risk of the mother dying in whelp, no risk of dead puppies born or dying after birth, no health examinations of parents or puppies, no time spent raising adults to maturity or litters to the age of placement, no hours spent researching pedigrees or days spent traveling for dog events and breedings. The only overhead is the price of an ad in the paper and the purchase price from a puppy miller!
Brokers often provide the caller with a story that makes the caller feel "obligated" to purchase the dog in order to provide a good home and/or help the seller. The caller thinks they are doing a good thing by "saving" the dog from a not-so-good situation. When their pitch is successful, the broker simply obtains another dog from the puppy mill and the process starts over again. The puppy mill/broker chain continues.
Please think twice when encountering a potential sale by a broker. Contact any of the Chattahoochee Club officers or our breeder referral person before you put that deposit down and before you make a decision to purchase a puppy from someone in question. As with a pet store purchase, a purchase from a broker can lead to heartache in the future.
By Mary Shaver
Below are typical practices of bad breeders. Not all breeders will be guilty of all these things, but if you are dealing with a breeder with a preponderance of these breeding practices, you are probably not working with a responsible breeder.
This is because a premium is placed on females by other "wannabe" breeders to start their own backyard breeding program.
How can you know? Markings? That only represents about 10% of what makes up a "show quality" dog.
for more money, regardless of the quality or health of the pup.
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.
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.
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.
If you are told this, DEMAND PROOF.
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.
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. Also, if they own several females and only one male. 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).
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????
This almost guarantees you are dealing with a mass production puppy factory.
Every breeder who breeds AKC registered dogs is subject to AKC inspection. This means nothing.
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.
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.
before any paperwork (such as pedigree info, contract into, etc) is provided.
While AKC registration does not assure a good breeder, NO responsible American breeder uses any other registry. The puppy mill industry has created many bogus registries to trick buyers. Dogs registered with APR (American Pet Registry), CKC (Continental Kennel Club, not to be confused with the Canadian Kennel Club, a legitimate registry), ACA (American Canine Association), AMW (Archive of Merit Worldwide), FIC (Federation of International Champions), etc, are indicative of a commercial puppy factory.
In an effort to confuse you into thinking they are a responsible breeder, you may be asked to complete a questionnaire, but you won’t be asked any follow up questions.
This is the hallmark of a bad breeder. You are a nice person, and you want a nice puppy, but not from this breeder. What this REALLY means is, “I am breeding whatever dogs I can get my hands on, and I am selling them to anyone who comes up with the cash.”
Some good breeders may breed one or possibly two other breeds, but anyone who has more than 4 or 5 different breeds of dogs is making a business out of pumping out puppies. There is no way this many dogs can be given the attention and care that they need. This is a puppy factory.
This could mean one dog in a 64 dog pedigree has attained a championship. This also implies that the parents aren’t champions. This is just another trick to fool you.
Do not concern themselves with rescue, and take no responsibility for the dogs they have produced once the sale is done and money has changed hands. These breeders represent a large part of the mess that purebred rescue groups have to clean up.
Good breeders just don’t market their “merchandise” this way. In fact, ethical breeders strongly discourage giving puppies as gifts at any time of year. The decision to add a puppy should be made by the entire family and good breeders will want to meet with the prospective owners.
These are just a few of the things that would make me suspicious of the motivations of the breeder. These are examples of what is done by those who don't care about whether they are breeding physically/orthopedically or temperamentally sound dogs. They just want to cash in on the breed’s popularity and pocket your money. If your puppy winds up crippled by hip or elbow dysplasia, or dies of cancer at 2 or 3 years old, or has a vicious, aggressive temperament, they really don't care.