Bernese Mountain Dogs
Chinook, CH. Tralyn Classic Crest,
was our first Berner who we obtained in February 1979. He was
really my oldest daughter's dog but he soon grew so large that
she, as a petite six year old, could no longer show him. I had
only seen female Berners before we bought him so had no idea
he was going to get so large. He ended up weighing about 115
pounds. He was a large boned boy with massive coat and great
Chinook was not shown in an AKC sanctioned show until he was
a year old. We took him to a benched show held in Philadelphia
where he ended up winning his first major and going Best of
Breed from the classes. He finished his championship quite easily.
He was entered in 8 shows and won the points at seven of them.
We x-rayed him and he came back with an OFA good.
As a breeder, I realized that we had a lovely typey dog and
I just felt he was too nice not to breed. I tried to buy a female
from several breeders. Many of the females just did not conceive.
I finally bought a female from Beverly Burney who we later finished.
CH. Santera Raven Maid v Bev's never really became the producer
but because of my contact with Bev she sent her AM. CAN. BER.
CH. Alphorn's Happy Talk to be bred to Chinook. That is the
beginning of our Santera Berners because we took the pick female
puppy who became our CH. Santera
Chastity v Bev's.
We were lucky when we got started in Berners that we started
with lines that were orthopedically sound. Both of Chinook's
parents were OFA certified. Happy Talk was OFA Excellent as
was her sire. Our Chassie was also OFA Excellent as was her
son, CH. Santera Rio Grando v Crest.
We have always strived to keep those hip lines going.
Because I was involved with Irish Setters and the test breeding
for PRA, I also always checked my Berners for PRA. Our dogs
have been having their eyes checked since Chinook for PRA so
it has been a long ongoing process.
We have found through the last 10 years that Berners can develop Degenerative Myelopathy (DM) so we now test our dogs that we do not know the background on for DM also. There are two genes- DM SOD A and DM SOD B - that can cause DM in the Berners . We now know the status of all our dogs we breed as either them or their parents have been tested. It is felt to be a recessive gene so that if a carrier is bred it must be bred to a normal if you are to take no chances of producing more carriers or affected dogs. At this time and point all of our dogs we are breeding are DM normal on both genes except for Santera Diamond Jubilee who is a carrier for SOD A but normal on SOD B.
In 2000, I attended the first International Health Symposium which was held in Switzerland. At the time I was Vice President of the BMDCA. At that meeting I met Maija Anstead, Milkcreek Kennel from Norway, and I asked her to help me find a male to bring over to add to my breeding program. She had used one of her studs on a very nice Champion female in Norway which she recommended. On February 14, 2001, we picked up Cherub who was later to be known as CH. Always An Angel. He had a great personality and was a good stud dog. He lived a long life - 10.5 years- and gave us Tavi, Senna, and Concho who we kept at our kennel.
Several years later I imported another male directly from Milkcreek Kennels - Yadigar av Milkcreek. Yadi was a bigger boy than Cherub and directly related to Cherub as Yadi's dam was Cherub's granddam. Yadi took a while to mature due to his size but his head never was one of his strengths although he produced some lovely heads so he was never shown. He gave us Kenzee, Zeva, and Jettee, who we kept here. All three have dogs descended from them here.
In 2010, we brought in Journey van't Stokerybos from Beligium. Journey was built more like Cherub and we probably could have finished his championship, but he pulled his ACl when he was 2 years old and could not be shown after that. He gave us only 2 small litters bred to Kenzee.
In 2016, I decided to import one more male as I had judged in Australia and seen a beautiful boy who I gave Best of Breed from the classes. I had a friend in Finland who knew the breeder and who had bought several Berners from her in Poland and then when I went to the World Dog Show in Helsinki, Finland, I met Teresa Deik in person. We kept in contact for nearly 2 years before she had a litter which really interested me. I loved the photos and videos the dam and she had 12 pups - 9 males. She had a pedigree that I knew and felt comfortable with so in February 2017 we welcomed Venture to our home. He had such an outstanding personality as soon as he arrived at 4 months.
In summary, most of our puppies go to pet homes where I hope they enjoy their entire life with one family. I have sold some show pups to some people just beginning their show career and have tried to help them to establish which direction they might like to go whether it be obedience, conformation, etc. Occasionally, we let other breeders use one of our studs so some of our bloodlines have helped other breeders in their breeding efforts. Health is a very important issue with me and I do not breed dogs that I feel are not sound. I have found that Berners are a very challenging breed to breed, but it can be very rewarding. They are great dogs and we certain do enjoy them.