As a breeder of Bernese Mountain Dogs, the puppies and their placement is a commitment I take very seriously. I have been involved in rescue for many years and I have seen too many animals turned away, mistreated, lonely and sad. I prefer homes with someone present the majority of the time. I personally don’t feel that lying on a floor staring at a door knob all day to be a healthy way to live. However, if there is already a dog in the home for companionship, you are shift workers, or a plan is in place to have the puppy in care, then we certainly can discuss this further. I require fenced yards in urban and city neighborhoods. Potential owners must visit here before being approved. If this is not possible due to distance or time of year, I may accept doing a phone interview. I do not ask for a deposit to be placed on my waiting list. However a deposit of $300.00 is required from selected families when puppies are three weeks old and able to receive visitors. I do not sell CKC registered breeding rights on puppies. My belief is that this is an unethical practice and no reputable breeder would release a dog for breeding as a puppy. A true lover of a breed wants to maintain and improve upon breed type, temperament, structure, movement, health and longevity.
The Bernese Mountain Dog requires considerable attention, companionship and interaction. Riverstead Bernese Mountain Dog puppies deserve the best and the best is what they get. Please be sure you are committed to this.
Bernese Mountain Dogs and Puppies love the outdoors, especially in the cooler months, but should not be left outside alone for long periods of time. Their desire to be with their people and their calm temperament makes them a great house dog. The MIRA foundation, trainers of assistance dogs, conducted a ten year study from 1989-1999 to determine the most humanly compatible working breed and they concluded that the the Bernese Mountain Dog matched this criteria. A true farm dog, their nature is to be kind, caring, gentle and most importantly, respectful towards all other creatures. Berners have a great capacity to love. A good watch dog, but never a guard dog, they let you know when visitors have arrived. Berners remember friends they have met before and are exuberant in welcoming them back. The Berner requires a weekly brushing and moderate exercise, but they should not be used as a long distance jogging companion. Being a large-boned breed, hiking in the woods is more their style. Bernese Mountain Dogs were used for draft work in their native Switzerland, hauling milk to the dairy. This required steady movement, strength and a stable, calm, stoic temperament. It should be mentioned that Berners should not be put in harness before the age of two. They are slow to develop, taking up to 3 years to mature physically, mentally and emotionally.
They are not inclined to wander once matured and generally stay close to their people from day one. Bernese Mountain Dogs do not respond to harsh training or a heavy hand. Generally, they are a happy breed and like happy people. Owners need to be kind, patient and consistent in training as Bernese need time to think things through. Many owners will describe them as being stubborn. On the contrary, I see them as contemplative and reflective. Lots of verbal praise and interaction works wonders with a Berner. If you raise your voice at a Bernese to “hurry in out of the rain”, often they simply sit down in the mud and wait for you to come out and ask nicely. Bernese are very willing and eager to please, they just want to be your BFF. Bernese will jump through hoops for a kind word and a belly rub. The breed is excellent with children, but since they use their paws a lot, they can unintentionally hurt a small child. Behavior like sitting on your feet, leaning, head butting, and paw raking your legs to say hello make this a breed for a true dog lover. They are not a breed that will be happy being banished to lay on their bed, when there is space under your chair, or a lap waiting for a head. Bernese Mountain Dogs are born comics and once they know what makes you laugh, they will relish in repeating the same joke. Bernese tend to “not” have a huge ego when young; therefore, they must have their confidence built by you.
Experiencing the big outside world at a young age is necessary. This does not mean just the local parks. Frankly, In my opinion.., puppies should not go to parks frequented by “a lot” of other dogs until they have had their twelve week old vaccines, for obvious health reasons. I also hear of young puppies being traumatized by untrained dogs and their untrained owners in off leash Dog Parks. Instead invite people with dogs over, visit others dog owner homes, Take them to the bank, post office, hardware store, anywhere dogs are welcome. The more they experience, the more confident they will be.