The Bernese Mountain Dog Club of Nashoba Valley
(BMDCNV) is dedicated to the care and well-being of the Bernese Mountain
Dog. In keeping with its aim of encouraging the development of excellent
Bernese Mountain Dogs, the BMDCNV has adopted this Code of Ethics
to promote and foster the highest standards among owners and breeders,
and to encourage cooperation in the improvement, advancement, and
protection of our breed. All members of the Bernese Mountain Dog Club
of Nashoba Valley agree to foster the goals set forth in this Code
of Ethics. Members should bear in mind that a Code of Ethics is more
than a set of rules; it is a commitment to a high standard of practice
in owning and breeding, and adherence to the spirit of such a Code
is as important as adherence to its law.
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Please Note: When reading this document,
please pay special attention to the wording. The use of the words
"shall" and "should" were chosen carefully and for a purpose. "Should"
indicates an educational suggestion or guideline which is recommended
and desirable, but not mandated. "Shall" indicates those areas we
feel must be followed in the best interest of the breed, and for
which there may be consequences if not followed. A complete glossary
of terms is included at the end of the document.
- Responsibilities of Members
- Responsibilities of Breeders (Brood
Bitch and Stud Dog Owners)
- Responsibilities of Sellers
- Responsibilities of Buyers
- Glossary of Terms
Responsibilities of Members
- Members shall be aware at all times that
the Club exists to protect the breed, and this aim is to be uppermost
in the minds of members in all of their activities in the breed.
- In all dog related activities, the welfare
of the dog must be considered paramount and shall take precedence
over the considerations of breeders, trainers, owners, organizers,
sponsors, or officials.
- Members shall at all times, whether at home,
in travel, at shows, or at hotels or motels, display good sportsmanship
and conduct themselves in such a manner as to reflect credit on
the Club and the breed.
- Members shall refrain from unnecessary and
nonconstructive criticism of another's dog, and from personal
attacks on fellow members.
- Novices are encouraged to seek the advice
and assistance of more experienced owners and breeders, and the
more experienced should graciously assist novices with their concerns
and share, for the good of the breed, the benefits of their knowledge.
- In all situations, individual members shall
act solely in the best interest of the breed and the membership
as a whole, and should willingly aid any fellow member in upholding
- Members agree to abide by AKC and BMDCA rules
applicable to activities in which they engage.
- Members should utilize organizations such
as OFA, GDC, PennHIP, and CERF for evaluation of individual traits
in all of their Bernese Mountain Dogs, including both breeding
candidates and companion animals.
- In order to further the goal of improving and protecting
the breed, members should enter all findings from these evaluations
(both affected and unaffected) in a recognized, open registry
such as the GDC and Berner-Garde.
- All Bernese Mountain Dogs that members own
or care for shall be provided with a proper, healthy, and safe
environment, nutrition, and care at all times, including yearly
veterinary examinations, vaccinations, and any other usual procedures
necessary to assure good health. No member should have more dogs
than can be safely and adequately housed and cared for. No member's
dog shall be treated in an inhumane manner, subjected to cruel
or unusual punishment, or abused. Nor should it be subjected to
any conditions likely to eventuate in unnecessary danger to the
- All Bernese Mountain Dogs that members own
or care for should be provided with proper attention and affection,
and should be provided with appropriate training as needed to
insure a well-mannered dog.
- Members should be diligent in the handling
of their dogs in public places, and should do so in a manner to
minimize the risk of trauma or danger to any human and/or animal.
- Members recognize their responsibility to
protect the name and reputation of the breed, and should not allow
their dogs to roam at large unsupervised, nor to become public
nuisances, nor to become public trusts.
- Members are dedicated to the knowledge that the
most important purpose of a Bernese Mountain Dog is to be a companion.
Responsibilities of Breeders (Brood Bitch and Stud Dog Owners)
Unless otherwise noted, the following applies to
both Brood Bitch owners and Stud Dog owners.
- Breeders shall keep in mind that overpopulation
is a serious problem; therefore, each breeding should be carefully
researched, or it should not be carried out.
- Anyone breeding Bernese Mountain Dogs bears
a great responsibility to the future of the breed; therefore breeders
should plan each breeding with the paramount intention of improving
and protecting the breed.
- Owners shall safeguard their stud dogs and
bitches from breedings that are not carefully planned.
- Bernese Mountain Dogs to be bred should be
carefully selected with an eye for conformation and temperament,
after detailed study of the breed standard and other educational
resources available through the Club, the individual mature dog
and its near relatives, the pedigrees, and the principles of genetics.
- Recognizing the extended growth pattern of
a large breed, breeders should, ideally, not breed a bitch before
she is 24 months old. A bitch should not be bred more than two
out of three seasons.
- Owners of bitches are under no obligation
to breed to any stud dog who, when presented to the bitch, is
not as represented by his owner or presents serious hereditary
defects or is not in good health. Owners of stud dogs are under
no obligation to provide stud service to any bitch who, when brought
to the stud dog, is not as represented by her owner or presents
serious hereditary defects or is not in good health.
- Owners of stud dogs should not accept any
bitch for service if the bitch cannot be maintained in a safe
and healthy manner.
- Breeders should be familiar with the AKC
rules applicable to litter registration and individual registration.
Bernese Mountain Dogs on limited registration shall not be used
- All breeding animals should have sound, typical
structure, conformation, and type, and should be of sound temperament
and free of crippling or disabling hereditary defects.
- Breeders should refrain from using Bernese
Mountain Dogs who, although free of such hereditary defects, consistently
produce afflicted offspring with different mates.
- Breeders breeding from lines in which any
serious or disabling hereditary defects occur should disclose
these defects to each other, to all buyers, and to prospective
- If a stud dog has not been used for breeding,
or has not produced a live litter, or has had breeding problems,
such information should be provided to a bitch owner before a
bitch is accepted for breeding. If a bitch has not been used for
breeding, or has not produced a live litter, or has had breeding
problems, such information should be provided to a stud dog owner
before the bitch is accepted for breeding.
- Bitches shall be bred only to the stud dog
that the bitch owner specifies, unless both parties agree on an
acceptable substitute. Stud dogs shall only be bred to the bitch
that the stud dog owner specifies, unless both parties agree on
an acceptable substitute.
- Prior to any breeding, experienced breeders
should advise novice breeders of the responsibilities, problems,
obligations, and expense involved in breeding a litter.
- Bernese Mountain Dogs to be bred should be
radiographed for hip and elbow dysplasia. The findings of these
radiographs should be made known to the owners of the stud dogs
and bitches, and to all buyers of the puppies. If an animal is
not free of hip and/or elbow dysplasia, the implications of that
fact should be made clear to all buyers. Members are aware that
it is inadvisable and genetically risky to breed an animal not
free of hip and/or elbow dysplasia. All radiographs should be
submitted to the OFA, GDC, or other recognized registry for interpretation.
It is preferable that the dog's final radiographic evaluation
be conducted after 24 months of age.
- Bernese Mountain Dogs to be bred should receive
eye-screening exams annually, by a Diplomate of the American College
of Veterinary Ophthalmologists (DAVCO), for the presence of hereditary
eye diseases. Bernese Mountain Dogs to be bred should be tested
for other known hereditary diseases.
- It is the responsibility of both parties
to ascertain that any Bernese Mountain Dogs brought together for
the purpose of breeding are evaluated according to the Code of
Ethics set forth above, whether or not Club members own both Bernese
Mountain Dogs. They should further ascertain to the best of their
ability that any puppies produced from such breeding will be raised
and sold in a manner in keeping with the ethical standards of
- Owners of both bitches and stud dogs have
an obligation to all puppies that their dogs produce. Therefore,
if the bitch owner (breeder of record) refuses to take responsibility
for the puppies produced, as set forth in Sales (below), the stud
dog owner should assume the responsibility.
- Owners of stud dogs and bitches should sign
written agreements clearly stating the conditions and terms of
- Breeders should supply any stud dog or brood bitch
owner who is not a BMDCNV member with a copy of this Code of Ethics
and discuss it with the owner.
Responsibilities of Sellers
On releasing any Bernese Mountain Dog, puppy
or adult, seller shall:
- Sellers should be discriminating in the sale
of all Bernese Mountain Dogs and concerned with the homes in which
all dogs are placed. Sellers should ascertain that the prospective
buyer is aware of the needs and characteristics of a Bernese Mountain
Dog, and has the knowledge, resources, and facilities to care
properly for a growing or grown dog.
- No member shall engage in brokering or wholesaling
of litters, or in individual sales or consignments of any puppies
or adults to pet shops, dealers, catalog houses, or other commercial
establishments. Puppies or adults shall not be donated or given
as prizes in contests, raffles, or fundraising events, no matter
- Sellers should be available to their buyers
for whatever advice, reasonable aid, or assistance the buyers
may need for the life of a dog. BMDCNV members should help and
support their fellow members in this endeavor.
- Any member selling or placing a Bernese Mountain
Dog should assist the buyer in finding a suitable new home for
that dog at any time that the buyer wants to relinquish the dog.
If the buyer is unable or unwilling to find such a home, the member
should assume physical and/or financial responsibility for the
animal. The same responsibility should be assumed for any animal
sold or placed that comes into the possession of any rescue network
or shelter at any point in the dog's life.
- Sellers should be open and honest in their
dealings with buyers. It is the obligation of member breeders
to guarantee that dogs produced and sold are as represented.
- Sellers, for the protection of both the seller
and buyer, shall provide adequate written contractual proof of
sales and guarantees, including a description of the dog, the
whelping date, the name of the sire and dam, the litter or individual
registration number if available, and any known health defects.
Any replacement or refund arrangement should be made between the
breeder and buyer on an individual basis to meet the satisfaction
of all parties involved. No promise should be made orally that
is not set in writing. The implications of all terms of the contract
should be made clear to all parties involved. It is recommended
that sellers supply a copy of the BMDCNV Code of Ethics to all
buyers and discuss it with the buyers.
- Sellers should supply AKC full or limited
individual registration applications or written guarantees that
the forms will be supplied at latest when the puppy(s) is 4 months
old or on completion of sale. A puppy might, for good cause, be
sold without a registration application form if both parties understand
and agree in writing, as specified by the AKC. A buyer should
be advised of any possible delays or difficulties in registration.
- Any animal sold that is designated "pet/companion"
should be placed with a limited registration application, and
on a mandatory spay/neuter contract. A breeder could supply a
full registration application on proof of sterilization.
- Maintain all puppies to at least 7 weeks,
with consideration for the individual needs of each puppy and
the laws of your state.
- Release only animals that have been examined
by a veterinarian and are, to the best of the breeder's knowledge,
in good health.
- Ensure that the animals being released have
received all of the necessary inoculations and worming for their
- Supply records detailing all dates and types
of medical care the animal received, including inoculations.
- Provide written information on the care of
- Supply a pedigree of no less than four generations.
- Request that, on receipt, buyers take the
animal to a veterinarian of their choice, and, if the animal is
unhealthy, allow buyers 72 hours to return the animal.
- If the buyer did not see the animal before shipping, allow
the buyer 72 hours to return the animal if the buyer is not satisfied that the
animal is as the breeder represented it.
Responsibilities of Buyers
- Buyers should be open and honest in their
dealings with Sellers. Expectations, goals, and abilities should
be clearly stated from the beginning.
- Buyers should be aware of the needs and characteristics
of a Bernese Mountain Dog, and have the knowledge, resources,
and facilities to properly care for a growing or grown dog.
- Buyers should not obtain a Bernese Mountain
Dog that is not registerable with the AKC except through Bernese
Mountain Dog Rescue or other Rescue organizations.
- Buyers should honor all contractual agreements
made with the Seller.
- Buyers have an obligation to educate themselves
on current health issues of the breed.
- Buyers should be aware that it is inadvisable
and genetically risky to obtain a Bernese Mountain Dog that comes
from parents that are not of sound temperament and not free of
serious or disabling hereditary defects.
- Buyers should keep the Seller informed of
any health issues concerning their dog.
- Buyers should inform the Seller of any address
change throughout the life of their dog.
- If the Buyer finds at any time they cannot take
proper care of the Bernese Mountain Dog, the Buyer should contact
the Seller for assistance.
- It should be borne in mind that advertising
may be read by persons having little or no knowledge of dogs.
All advertisement of puppies and adult Bernese Mountain Dogs,
written or oral, shall be factual and as forthrightly honest as
possible in both substance and implication.
- Advertising and promotion, written or oral,
shall be confined to aspects of the breeder's stock and shall
not degrade the stock of others.
- Breeders should be cautious in discussing
show prospects of any Bernese Mountain Dog lest they imply a guarantee
of show success that cannot be ensured.
- Breeders should be equally cautious in encouraging
buyers regarding breeding prospects, inasmuch as owners are not to undertake lightly
the breeding of Bernese Mountain Dogs.
Written contracts are strongly recommended for
all transactions such as co-ownerships, breeding rights agreements,
compensation for future puppies, leasing a bitch, and stud services.
The following are prima facie grounds for disciplinary
Since this Code of Ethics was established in part
to prevent harmful gossip, any member who indulges in this sort of
gossip, rather than reporting the alleged violation for investigation,
will be judged in willful violation of the Code and will be subject
- Neglect or abuse of any Dog in the care of
a member documented by the affidavits of two witnesses or by investigation
of an authorized humane organization.
- Suspension of privileges by the AKC for violation
of its rules.
- Advertising found to be in violation of the
Code of Ethics.
- Knowingly to sell, or to aid and abet the
sale of a Bernese Mountain Dog to or through a pet shop or its
- Refusal to comply with the terms of a written
contract involving a Bernese Mountain Dog without showing just
- Refusal of the breeder to complete the chain
of AKC registration without showing just cause.
- Refusal to transfer registration papers to
a buyer without showing just cause.
- Refusal to honor guarantees and agreements
made in writing without showing just cause.
- Purposely to breed dogs of which the resulting
litter is not registerable with the AKC (e.g., to breed dogs on
- Conduct which discredits the Club or the breed.
Enforcement of the disciplinary section of the
Code of Ethics will be handled in accordance with the disciplinary
procedures outlined in Article VI of the By-Laws of the BMDCNV. In
the case of any business transaction involving Bernese Mountain Dogs,
the BMDCNV will refuse to entertain any grievance brought against
a member unless a copy of a written contract or other documents signed
by both parties is submitted with the grievance.
- In the instance of the first offense, members
may be allowed one month in which to correct the violation in
keeping with the recommendation of the Board of Directors, and
proof of such correction shall be submitted to the Board.
- In the instance of repeated or flagrant violations,
the Board may suspend the member from all privileges of the Club
for not more than six months from the date of the hearing. If
the Board deems that punishment insufficient, it may also recommend
to the membership that the penalty be expulsion.
- In all instances of repeated or flagrant
violation, the name of the member, the nature of the violation,
and the conditions of discipline shall be published in the BMDCNV
- Lack of compliance with the terms of discipline
shall be considered a flagrant violation and shall be submitted to the Board.
The BMDCNV Board of Directors or the membership
as a whole may, on sufficient evidence and according to certain stipulations,
when the good of the breed is protected, waive any of the foregoing
provisions. Members are urged to bring to the Board any problems that
confront them in their efforts to comply with the BMDCNV Code of Ethics.
Glossary of Terms (as pertains to this Code of Ethics)
Should: Indicates an educational suggestion
or guideline which is recommended and desirable, but not mandated.
Shall: Indicates those areas we feel
must be followed in the best interest of the breed, and for which
there may be consequences if not followed.
Breeder: A person who brings together
two dogs with the intent of producing a third dog, regardless of
the method of conception, and regardless of whether offspring result.
Buyer: As defined by contractual agreement.
Seller: As defined by contractual agreement.
Open Registry: A registry which records
and makes available information on both affected and unaffected
Closed Registry: A registry which records
information on all submissions but which only makes public the results
of unaffected (normal) findings.
OFA: The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals
is an organization which evaluates radiographs (x-rays) and test
results for diseases with a hereditary basis such as hip and elbow
dysplasia. OFA also will assign a number to, register, and publish,
passing evaluations. As it is a closed registry, OFA will not release
information on dogs who are found to be affected with dysplasia.
The services of OFA are available to all registered, purebred dogs.
GDC: The Institute for Genetic Disease
Control in Animals is an organization which evaluates radiographs
(x-rays) and test results for diseases with a hereditary basis,
including hip and elbow dysplasia. GDC assigns a number to each
dog entered into its database and continues to update the record
with subsequent data such as the results of eye-screening exams,
tissue diagnosis, and a number of other evaluative procedures. As
an open registry, the GDC makes available to interested parties
information on both affected and unaffected dogs and has the ability
to provide information on the relatives of specified dogs as well.
The services of the GDC are available to all registered, purebred
PennHIP: PennHIP is a method to evaluate
a dog for susceptibility to Hip Dysplasia. The radiographic procedure
involves a special positioning of the dog so that the dog's "passive
hip laxity" can be accurately measured.
CERF: The Canine Eye Registration Foundation
is an organization established to standardize the protocol for eye
examinations to detect hereditary eye diseases, gather raw data,
and provide statistical information to canine ophthalmologists.
CERF also functions as a closed registry for the examination results
in that they will provide 1 year certification for a passing exam
but will not make public the findings of affected dogs. CERF provides
these services for all registered, purebred dogs.
Berner-Garde: Berner-Garde is a Foundation
set up to facilitate the orderly acquisition and dissemination of
information related to genetic traits in Bernese Mountain Dogs.
PRA: Progressive Retinal Atrophy is
an inherited eye disease in which there is initial loss of night
vision progressing to total blindness.
Limited Registration: AKC limited registration
means that litters produced by the dog are not eligible for AKC
registration. The dog is eligible to compete in all AKC-licensed
events except breed competition at an AKC-licensed dog show.
Full Registration: AKC full registration
means that litters produced by the dog are eligible for AKC registration.
The dog is eligible to compete in all AKC-licensed events including
breed competition at an AKC-licensed dog show.