As my 1st litter turned 14 years old last year, I look back on this journey of loving and breeding Bernese Mt Dogs. These extraordinary dogs deserve the very best from us, and towards that end, I've developed a number of goals. As a breeder I believe you should be an advocate to the breed (and it does need advocates, not just breeders!), as it's growing in popularity. Breeders for profit abound on the internet--so how to differentiate myself from those, and make a difference for improving breed health? I believe we need to continually be learning and openly sharing health information on our dogs. In no particular order, as it's ALL important, I work towards improving: overall health, and temperament, by utilizing principals of genetics, and observation of the extended family. And continually learning about the breed standard and correct breed type, and structure. I work to stay current with new health research, as genetic tests are growing in number, and how this will impact our gene pool. And learn what other breeders and clubs here and internationally are doing to improve the breed--attending 4 IWG meetings in Europe, since 2007, has been invaluable for building those resources.
This working breed, with correct temperament, is such a joy! I've trained and titled my dogs in obedience, rally, agility, and drafting. I've had 2 dogs here with BMDCA Working Dog awards, Lexi and Bijou. This requires titles in 3 different disciplines; the requirements are here: http://www.bmdca.org/Draft/Draft_General/BMDCA_Working_Dog_Award_Qualifications.php . Lexi was one qualifying score away from the Working Dog Excellent award, but an injury made her a home body and treasured friend.
Now, back to that breed advocate concept. . . . .if you're going to breed, you need to be involved. You can't improve breed health by living in a vaccuum. For me, that includes:
- Active participation in the national and regional BMD clubs. I'm a 17 year member of the Bernese Mt Dog Club of America, and past Chair for the Health Committee. I continue to work with this commmittee since 2010.
- Current board member, past Vice President, and past public education co-chair for Bernese Mt Dog Club of Greater Seattle
- Member of Svenska Sennenhundklubben (Sweden), and BMD Club of Canada.
- Attended the last 18 US National BMD specialties and Berner University. Also, shows in Hungary, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, Germany, Canada, Sweden, and Denmark. Met with breeders in these countries to share pedigrees and breeding philosophies.
- Attended the AKC Canine Health Foundation conference in 2009 and 2011, and privileged to go on behalf of the BMDCA.
- Former BernerGarde operator, inputting health/pedigree info for Bernese Mt dogs around the world. BernerGarde is open to the public and I encourage ALL owners/breeders to include their dogs and their health history: www.bernergarde.org.
- Attended seminars on Cancer, cardiology, genetics, bloat, breeding, structure, pre-natal care, etc. And ongoing performance training in obedience and agility.
I've also attended four International health symposium for BMD's. The first one was in conjunction with the 100th anniversary celebration in Burgdorf, Switzerland in 2007. Then, as a representative for the BMDCA, attended the IWG meeting and health symposium in 2011 in Stoneleigh, England, and, in 2013 in Geneva, Switzerland, and Amsterdam, Holland in 2018. Click on the booklet icons, below, for full course descriptions.
So that gives you an idea of what I'm trying to accomplish, and I'll let my puppies, with the support of their wonderful owners tell their story, through these pages. I look forward to your questions and input!