The Bernese Mountain Dog Club of Seattle

Code of Conduct

The membership of the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of Great Seattle (BMDCGS) is dedicated to:

Promoting the standard of the breed
Supporting the integrity and purpose of the club
Protecting the interests of the breed and individual dogs
Promoting quality and integrity in breeding programs

BMDCGS members recognize that as individuals our practices of sportsmanship, husbandry, and ethics directly affect the welfare of the breed. We realize that no code we sign can cover all instances of members’ required conscientiousness in protecting our breed. Therefore, we acknowledge that our actions are the truest reflection of our personal integrity and ethics, commitment to the enhancement of our breed community, and true concern for the welfare of the breed.

1. Promoting the standard of the breed BMDCGS members agree to:
A) use the American Kennel Club (AKC) Standard for the Bernese Mountain Dog (BMD) to assess the suitability of dogs’ temperament and type for exhibition in AKC and club conformation events and for breeding.
B) exhibit at dog events where feasible.

2. Supporting the integrity and purpose of the club BMDCGS members agree to:
A) adhere to all AKC rules, regulations, and requirements pertaining to the sport of dogs, the Constitution, Bylaws, and regulations of the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of Greater Seattle (BMDCGS), and this Code of Conduct (COC).
B) share knowledge and be truthful and constructive when conveying information about BMDs, their lineage, and their health, and refer to other members and kennels with respect.
C) display good sportsmanship and conduct themselves in a manner that gives credit to the club and the breed.
D) encourage and promote public awareness of responsible pet ownership.
E) put the breed’s and the individual dog’s welfare before any consideration of profit or personal advantage, and aid fellow members in doing the same.
F) participate to the best of their ability in BMDCGS-sanctioned activities and programs. These activities and programs include but are not limited to sporting and social events, surveys, databases, health-related studies, and educational programs conducted or sanctioned by the BMDCGS and/or BMDCA.

3. Protecting the interests of the breed and individual dogs BMDCGS members are encouraged to:
A) inform the breeders of their dogs and individuals with whom their dogs are placed of any health issues in their dogs or their dogs’ families that may be helpful to the owners in caring for their dogs, and to the breeders in assessing their breeding programs.
B) fulfill the requirements of any dog-related contract they sign. [or any signed contract regarding the dog]
C) notify individuals from whom they obtained a dog of any change in the dog’s ownership or residence.
D) utilize such organizations as OFA, PennHIP, CERF, and VetGen for evaluation of individual traits in all of their Bernese Mountain Dogs. Submit all evaluations (affected, carrier, and unaffected) to the Berner-Garde database, whose purpose is to acquire and disseminate information on inherited traits in BMDs in an effort to eliminate heritable disease in the breed.
E) obtain an AKC DNA profile for all dogs they own. BMDCGS members agree to:
F) assure that any dog they place that is not suitable for breeding will be spayed/castrated and placed with an AKC limited registration and spay/castration contract.
G) keep only the number of dogs for which they can provide a high standard of health care, shelter, nutrition, attention, affection, socialization, and overall care.
H) provide appropriate training and supervision so that their dogs are well mannered, kept in safe conditions, and not abused or neglected.
I) never allow their dogs to roam at large unsupervised, nor to become a public nuisance or a public burden.
J) ensure that all dogs they place are not brokered, wholesaled, or consigned through a pet shop, auction, or other commercial establishment, and are not offered as prizes in contests, raffles, or fundraising events.
K) ensure that all animals released to the care of others received the veterinary care appropriate for their age and needs, including but not limited to that required by the laws of the state from which the dog originates.
L) prior to placing any BMD, discuss with the prospective owner the health care and behavior management needs of the dog, and provide a health history and recommendations for general care.
M) guarantee the health of the dog subject to a veterinarian’s examination, at a minimum, within 72 hours of the placement.
N) ensure that no stud dog or brood bitch they own is bred to any dog or bitch whose owner is directly or indirectly involved with any puppy broker, puppy mill, pet shop, auction, litter lot sales, or any other commercial enterprise whose business is involved in these activities.

4) Promoting quality and integrity in breeding programs Members who intend to breed Bernese Mountain Dogs should do so with full understanding of the responsibility they bear for the future of the breed. Breeders should understand the breed standard, evaluate individual mature dogs’ traits, evaluate traits present in a breeding dog’s extended pedigree, and apply the principles of genetics. Breeders should have a practical knowledge of mating, care of a bitch in whelp, and raising a litter, as well as the time, effort, and resources required to engage in this activity. Experienced member breeders should make themselves available as a resource to novice breeders when requested. Conversely, novice breeders should actively recruit the assistance of experienced breeders when engaging in this activity.


Members who breed agree to: 

A)   adhere to AKC rules applying to litter and individual registrations, ensuring that any litter they produce is eligible for AKC registration.

B)   refrain from breeding females prior to eighteen months and males before twelve months of age.

C)   ensure a female bears puppies no more than two out of three seasons. A period of a one-year rest between litters is desirable.

D)   use for breeding only animals which exhibit good type, are in good health, and are physically and temperamentally sound. Shy and aggressive dogs will be eliminated from breeding.

E)   obtain an evaluation for hip and elbow dysplasia from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) or other BMDCA recognized orthopedic registry prior to using a BMD for breeding. Regardless of any prior evaluations, all dogs over 24 months of age who are to be used for breeding must be evaluated by the OFA or other BMDCA recognized orthopedic registry for hip and elbow dysplasia after 24 months of age and prior to being bred.

F)   provide new owners the following documentation: this COC, an AKC registration application or registration papers for the individual dog, a health and veterinary care history, evidence of the individual's and/or sire and dam's health certifications or evaluations, a four-generation pedigree and recommendations for general care and training.

G)   remain available for advice, when sought, for the lifetime of offspring from their dogs.

H)   ensure to the best of their ability that puppies produced from any of their BMDs will be raised and sold in a manner in accordance with this COC.

I)   exhibit at dog shows and matches where feasible.

J)  Submit and update data to the Berner-Garde database.


The BMDCGS recommends that members:

K)   assess whether prospective breeding candidates and their immediate relatives are affected with or carriers of hereditary disease for which there is diagnostic testing. Such hereditary diseases include, but may not be limited to, hip and elbow dysplasia, eye disease, degenerative myelopathy, histiocytic sarcoma, thyroid disease, heart disease, and von Willebrand disease.


L)   use dogs for breeding which are at least two years old, have sound temperament, structure, conformation, and type, and who have been evaluated and are known to be not affected with a crippling nor disabling defect nor affected with a known hereditary disease for which there is diagnostic testing.


M)   refrain from using dogs for breeding which, although unaffected with a specific physical or temperament defect, consistently produce afflicted offspring with different mates.


N)   transfer puppies to new owners in accordance with the laws of their state and meet, at least, the minimum federal standard for transporting puppies (8 weeks of age).


O)   obtain an AKC DNA profile on all dogs used for breeding.



Revised Nov 10, 2020