Selecting Breeding Stock

One of the biggest challenges in breeding, is choosing the parents of the litter. What you see is not necessarily what you get. Oh, that it would be that simple.

While some few dogs are close to perfect, none are or ever will be. We're not perfect, nor are our children, yet we expect dog breeders to produce puppies with no faults in conformation, disposition and health. All at once. All in every puppy. Can't happen. Never trust a "breeder" who says "all my dogs are perfect" or "all my dogs are show dogs". A person who has two dogs that they are actually showing, could say all their dogs are show dogs, but they're not a breeder who has raised any number of puppies. Probably ignorance and inexperience lead to these attitudes more than dishonesty, but....

So what DO we do to breed the best puppies possible? Prove our dogs adhere to the breed standard by showing them and finishing their championships. Not all champions are outstanding dogs, but itís a place to start. Prove they have good dispositions and are trainable, by training and competing in obedience, rally, carting, agility and/or tracking. Do not breed together two dogs who have common faults. While being aware of faults, breed for virtues. Fewer faults does not necessarily mean more virtues. "Ordinary" is not our goal.

We do our homework, spending many hours studying the breed's wonderful health database, Berner-Garde It contains pedigrees and health clearances on thousands of berners.

And speaking of health clearances, we get those by testing our dogs sometimes at great expense (hip & elbow xrays, upward of $250), or less for genetic tests ($60- $120) down to $30-35 for a CERF eye exam or cardiac exam done at one of the clinics held at some dogs shows.