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Breeder Referral



Breed Summary


Finding Good Breeders

Forget about puppies for just a minute:  Start by focusing on good breeders in general.   Good breeders are small scale so they usually won't have dogs available right away. Avoid breeders who usually have pups. Gather a list of six or more breeders you're comfortable with. Work with everyone on your list and see who has a well bred liter first.

Contact breeder referral:  Phil Shaffer, 303-832-3417,

Go to dog events:  Puppy mills and backyard breeders rarely do anything with their dogs except breed.  Good breeders do many things with their dogs. By finding a breeder at a dog event you avoid a lot of puppy mills and backyard breeders.

Be wary of the internet:  Everyone shops online these days but understand that most puppy mills and back yard breeders use web sites and on line classifieds to sell their dogs.

Evaluating Breeders and Litters - How to Tell Good from Bad

Start by getting the AKC information:  All breeding dogs should have an AKC registration number and name.  Do not accept the American Pet Registry, Continental Kennel Club, or United All Breed..  This information does not guarantee quality but does allow you to look up what you need to know.  All good breeders will supply this information readily.  Good breeder web sites have this information prominently posted.  Don't deal with anyone who won't provide this information right away.

Look up the dog's health certifications:  There are five necessary health checks for all breeding Berners.  Good breeders do them all.  Look up the results for the parents and grandparents of any pup you might buy.  (its easy - see below)   The tests are:

  1. Hips (OFA) should be clear for both parents and grandparents

  2. Elbows (OFA) should be clear for both parents and grandparents

  3. Eyes (CERF) should be clear for both parents

  4. von Willebrands should be clear for both parents

  5. Cardiac  should be clear for both parents

Use the Bernergarde Database:  All good breeders enter their dogs and litters into the Bernergarde database (  You can access this database for free to see if all the tests have been done.  All you need is the registration information.

Use the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) Database:  The OFA evaluates hips and elbows but their free database also stores all the other important test results (  All you need is the registration information.

Having trouble? - Call Breeder Referral and we'll do the search for you :  Phil Shaffer, 303-832-3417,

Don't buy from a breeder that just breeds.  To know a breed you must work with that breed. Make sure your breeder does a couple of the following:

Draft work
Conformation showing
Obedience competition
Rally competition
Agility competition

Also look for

Local Berner club membership
National Berner club membership
Kennel club membership