Bernese Mountain Dog Breed Magazine - Showsight


people in the breed as possible and make sure they are from different parts of the country and are involved in a wide variety of activities with the breed. For the new judge, talk with as many breed mentors as you can. Watch a draft test and Berners doing agility and obedience, as well; they are very versatile. Above all, get your hands on the dog before making any decisions and always reward type if the dog is sound. DW: Be patient and start with a quality dog from a reputable breeder that is healthy, sound, of good breed type and sound temperament. Surround yourself with educated, experienced dog people and know your breed standard. Also find good mentors and listen to them. Never com- promise on what is in the best interest of the breed and the foundation of your prospective breeding program. Judges: this is a hands-on breed; know and understand the breed standard. Remember, this is a versatile, work- ing farm dog that’s capable of guarding hearth and home, driving livestock and pulling carts of milk to market. 5. Anything else you’d like to share—something you’ve learned as a breeder, exhibitor or judge or a par- ticular point you’d like to make? SK: I know they can be tempting to put up when they are cute and flashy, but please don’t fall for that. AP: A Bernese Mountain Dog should be able to pull a cart of milk to the market without the milk turning to butter. It’s a good visual to have in your head. NS: In addition to the above, the Bernese Mountain Dog owners and breeders are a kind, sharing and fun group of people who truly love their dogs. Get to know them and enjoy the experience of spending time with the breed and their people. 6. And for a bit of humor, what’s the funniest thing that you ever experienced at a dog show? SK: I had a friend who was in the ring and her pants fell down! She hadn’t fastened them properly in the bath- room prior to that and oops! AP: My first time in the ring, my slip was hanging down four inches below my skirt and I didn’t know it until it was over. Everyone else had a good laugh though. NS: Too many to mention, but I certainly remember the time an exhibitor lost her shoe and fell in the ring. The dog took the leash in his mouth and finished his go-around before going back to the handler to see what happened. DW: I was doing a recall in the obedience ring when half way on the return my dog stopped; the distraction was the cry of a small child. My dog looked at the baby, then at me, trying to decide which was more important for her to attend to. Fortunately, she did return to me with a per- fect front and we only lost a couple of points. Obedience competitions were always my exercise in humility.

the breed health database, Bernergarde. Knowledge is power, but finding the dog that meets the needs of a specific bitch can still be a challenge. DW: The bigget problems are the rapid increase in popular- ity of the breed, anti-dog legislation and high volume commercial breeders and puppy mills. Along with puppy buyers unwilling to wait for a quality, responsibly bred puppy. 4. Advice to a new breeder? Advice to a new judge of your breed? SK: To a new breeder, try and stay in touch with the roots of the breed and don’t create fads. New judges should learn about the roots and history of the breed and not fall for fads. SN: If I were a new breeder , I would try to find the breeder who is interested in the health clearances of each dog as much as the show record of each dog. In this breed, you need to start with a dog with a good healthy background that also exhibits type at the same time. I would also look into the breeding background of the dog you might want to purchase. This breed is not always easy to breed; too many bitches have to be bred by AI’s or whelp by C-sections. Males lose their sperm count early and can not be counted on in older years, even if they are still alive. One needs to find bloodlines that have bitches that tend to breed and whelp naturally. This is a breed that has lots to offer to its owners and breeders, but it is also a breed that the breeders need to be knowledgeable and know what they are doing. AP: New breeders should find a mentor with many years of experience in the breed to help guide them in making good breeding decisions. New judges should look for a draft style dog with good bone and substance and use their hands to examine the dogs. NS: To the new breeder, align yourself with a mentor who you respect and can have an open line of communica- tion with. Don’t be in a hurry to produce puppies. Study everything you can get your hands on, talk to as many “OBEDIENCE COMPETITIONS WERE ALWAYS MY EXERCISE IN HUMILITY.”


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