from the berner-l

Congratulations on the new, upcoming addition to your family. Whenever a new puppy comes in to my life, I too am concerned about how well he or she will fit in to my existing family -- both human and dog. Mostly I don't want my other dogs being too overbearing with the puppy for fear the puppy will be hurt. Luckily, nearly all of my dogs are pretty easy going.

When raising puppies, my son and I spend hours daily with the puppies. We play with them, run with them, talk with them, pet them, brush them, give them new experiences, teach them not to be fearful of strange situations, walk with them and teach them many things. I enjoy the puppies so much because I get to know each individual. And I have 8 weeks with the puppies before they go to their new homes. After spending many, many hours with each dog, I know what their personality should be. (It doesn't hurt to have experience with my own dogs' personalities and what their brothers and sisters were like either!) As a result, nearly all my puppy buyers do trust me to put the right puppy in their arms.

Because your breeder has spent hours with these puppies by the time they are 8 weeks, even if all they do is spend 30 minutes a day cleaning and a little bit playing with them, they have an edge on you, and seeing them maybe for an hour before you take your baby home does not give you a lot off experience -- the times you came might have been sleep time for your baby. I would heavily rely on the breeder's judgment.

Talk to your breeder and explain how Murphy is rather shy and withdrawn. Tell them what you hope your new puppy will be like. Tell them what you want in the adult that you will eventually have. Pour out your hopes and dreams to your breeder. Only in this way can your breeder find the right puppy for you.

If I were getting a second Berner, and in light of your presently having a female who is rather withdrawn, I would probably only slightly prefer a male. I find males tend to be slightly more outgoing and confident. I also find that in mixing male X male or female X female, you are slightly more likely to have a problem. However, a problem developing is directly related to how your female accepts other dogs. Most Berners welcome another Berner gladly. Some do not. I think it is jealousy. Some dogs are not jealous at all, but if a dog is a jealous type, then they will adjust best to the opposite sex. They are not being upstaged by the same another female.

I would slightly prefer a male if you have a female, but if the right female came along, and if my female was not the jealous type, I cannot imagine that you will have a problem. Murphy will let the new addition know where the line is, and after that, there will probably be peace between them -- male or female.

I hope this helps. Good luck. I hope your new baby is all that you had dreamed and hoped to get!