Author Topic: Boy or Girl Bernese?  (Read 11454 times)

Offline kpam

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Boy or Girl Bernese?
« on: June 13, 2008, 02:13:20 pm »
Well we are thinking of expanding our family and are looking at  a Bernese.  My wife and I have two kids ages 5 and 8 and no other pets (a marine tank but I don't even consider them to be pets).  Am I better off with a female or male.  I am leaning toward male but I have no idea why.  I think the females look kinder.  The males just look so male.  What do you think?
« Last Edit: June 13, 2008, 02:25:47 pm by kpam »

Offline DAMAGE

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Re: Boy or Girl Bernese?
« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2008, 03:16:11 pm »
My humble opinion here. Don't buy the gender, buy the puppy! Once you have found the perfect breeder with pups to sell go look them over and buy the one with the personality that appeals to you all the most!! Berners are a lovely breed but 2bernermom is right about the health risks. I overheard a veterinarian once refer to them as "walking cancer factories", yiiikes! Do your homework and interview potential breeders thoroughly on temperment, type and most definitely the health history of their lines. It may still be a bit of a 'crap shoot' but at least you will have made the best choice from an informed position. Welcome, good luck and post pictures when you get that new baby!
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Offline SadieA

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Re: Boy or Girl Bernese?
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2008, 02:16:44 pm »
Well, I have a male, so I can tell you a bit about him- Sammy will be one year old on the fourth of July, and I wouldn't describe him as friendly but aloof or shy. He is SUPER friendly, and always looking for love. He will follow you everywhere in the house- he literally lies in the bathroom while I shower, and he will sit at your feet and lean against your legs. When he meets new people, he leans right up against them to be petted. He is not at all a dominant dog- he doesn't seem to really understand aggression in other dogs, even, and will continue to try to play with them even when they clearly do not want to play. He is slightly protective of his house- he will bark at people who come to the door, particularly men, and he does have a pretty mean-sounding bark, but once he's met them I've never seen him be anything other than very friendly. He also really loves kids, and seems to be extra gentle with them- that said, he did once lean against a smaller girl and kind of push her over, because he's such a leaner! I think basically you can get this type of temperament with either a male of female, but I just wanted to throw out there that even though Sammy has that big head and big solid build, he is a total pushover, aside from the fact that he sometimes doesn't realize his size. I've leaned to beware having full cups of anything on my table, as he'll bump the legs and spill them!

Offline sc.trojans

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Re: Boy or Girl Bernese?
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2008, 04:43:34 pm »

Good advice - buy the individual puppy, not gender.  Since it doesn't sound like you have reasons for one gender or another (like already owning a particular dog) then being open is your best bet.

If you go to a reputable breeder, they will select your puppy for you (I have never found a reputable breeder in this breed who lets you pick your own puppy - NEVER). The breeder will interview you at length to understand how your family lives, and the temperament of your kids and determine if she has a good fit for you.  Whether male or female, this is most important.

Be sure you are well familiar with the health clearances you want in the breed: for Bernese, a breeder should provide BOTH hip and elbow clearances from either OFA or PennHip, CERF certification on eyes, and thyroid clearance from OFA at a MINIMUM. The great ones also provide heart clearances.  Don't just look at the parents' clearances, but the parent's siblings to see everything their parents produced - this gives you the best view of the genetic risk.  I just met with a woman with a young Berner who's OFAs just came back poor - two bad elbows and one bad hip.  She did her homework and looked at the parents' clearances as well as the grandparents, but never looked laterally on the pedigree (siblings).  If she had, she would have seen a pattern:  while mom and dad both have great health clearances, in looking at all of dad's siblings (5 in total), two of them were seriously dysplastic. This shows you what his parents produce.  Given this, you would look closely at any and all litters this dad had prior to the litter you were considering and check out their clearances.  This particular dad has 4 litters on the ground prior, and low and behold:  at least 2 puppies in every litter he has produced are dysplastic so clearly he is producing this issue pretty consistently.  This is what you want to look at to save yourself a world of headache and heartache (and money).

Temperament is very important and very iffy in this breed. Please note that the breed standard calls for an aloof dog to strangers.  This is NOT shy, which is a problem.  Aloof means confidently and calmly dis-interested.  Will allow you to approach, just won't care about you.  A shy dog literally shies away from people, things etc. and is stressed about it - that's a problem so be sure to evaluate the temperament of mom and dad - this is your best indicator.

The good news about the Bernese breed is that it is a tight community with good health records.  You can accomplish a lot of research and verify clearances more easily in this breed than most by looking at them in the health registry: www.bernergard and by looking them up at the OFA site at

Between these two places, any reputable breeder in the breed is there.  The mills and backyard breeders are included only as they are indentified os it is hit or miss with them.

Good luck!
SC Trojans
with Gracie and Skylar

Offline Steffi_B

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Re: Boy or Girl Bernese?
« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2008, 08:06:40 am »
Just wanted to say that my parents have a female Bernese and she is the biggest soppiest thing and loves to sit on your lap! She is only 8 months old and is massive. She is going to be bigger than some male Berners by the looks of it!

She also has the waggiest tail you could imagine - no cups or vases on tables are safe! She has broken quite a few things around the house with her tail bless her :) She can't help it  :D