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Most people are surprised to learn that the breeder will pick your puppy out of the litter. Most likely, you'll go to the kennel and the breeder will give you a puppy that they decide will be yours.

picking a puppy

I have always been intrigued by the fact that most US breeders choose the puppies for the prospective owners. I can see the reasoning for doing so IF this breeder is VERY experienced -i.e. a breeder who had raised 10 or more litters -

^^^It has been my experience that "experience" is not only measured in quantity of experience, but also in the the richness or thoroughness one perceives of the limited experiences one has. Some breeders produce scores upon scores of litters in their careers and learn little about some things. Others learn much by applying themselves to specific areas of their interest.

How could a good but new breeder possibly know which of the pups I would feel most comfortable with?

^^^....by applying herself to learn about pup and people evaluations....likely from working closely with a mentor and VALUING the assessment process which is INvaluable in lifetime puppy placements.

The "special one" who is to be my companion until "death do us part"? The qualities that I am looking for? And some of these qualities one can't always put into words, you just know them when you see them.You know it when you "click" with a person and you know it when you "click" with a dog.

^^^I would hope for myself that my applied interest and skill in learning about prospective buyers would lead me to the same conclusions about suitability of their pup to them as they would determine.

Maybe this is simply a "cultural division of thought", but 99% of UKdog owners CHOOSE their dog.

^^^I do not think this is so different here in the US. Most people are appalled to think that ANYONE but they could choose a pup for them. I think the exceptions are those breeders in some breeds who place this as a priority and learn to do it well and the people who come to value this expertise.

Be this from a shelter or a breeder or from where ever. I have never met ANYONE who had their dog chosen for them. Not one person. It just seems....odd.

^^^Things that are foreign to me seem odd too, so I can appreciate your feeling this way. Perhaps some poeple here who have purchased dogs from breeders who selected their dogs for them would share their experiences and how they came to value (or not) this way of placing dogs.

Personally, I wouldn't be at all comfortable with having my four-legged companion selected for me. I wouldn't be happy with having my husband chosen for me either, but at least I could leave him and divorce him if things didn't work out. This is not a viable option with a puppy. Please don't say one can always return a dog to the breeder because......well, I just couldn't.( but I will seriously consider any reasonable offer for my hubby. Must go to a good home, though).

^^^Your humor is appreciated. If you're not comfortable with a procedure a breeder uses in rearing or placement or even selection of breeding stock, you certainly should look elsewhere. This is why I think it's so important to shop for a breeder....not just a dog. Different strokes for different folks.

I fully understand that the vast size of your country often necessitates that the breeder chooses for the buyer. After all, your PPO might live several States away and it might not be feasible for the PPO to come and look at the litter repeatedly as they develop. But I get the impression that you would chose the pup for the PPO even if s/he lived next door. Is that because you had a bad experience from PPO's choosing the "wrong"pup ?

^^^No. I have a cohort in dogs who selects her pup herself. She chooses my pup for me from our co-bred litters that are born at her house. With the exception of the first litter we worked on when she selected her first dog from me, we always select the pup the other would have chosen. Now when we evaluate litters we know each other'a priorities so well, we not only can choose our OWN first through third choice pup, but can also choose the other's first through third choice pup. They don't have to be the same three choices, you know. She has her special likes and I have mine. For individuals seeking dogs to keep as companions only, while the criteria are usually lesser in quantity than those of a breeder-buyer, they are no less significant nor are they less considered. They are paramount in my deliberations of which pup goes where.

I don't think I'm a particularly dominant person. Sure, I'd rather choose my own partner, friends, car, furniture, etc, etc... but I tell you, I would be more prepared to let you choose either of the former than my new furry friend. That one, I'd have to select myself. Because of that "until death do us part" thing. And that "click"....

And I'm prepared to bet that you chose most, if not all of your dogs, yourself. Right?

^^^I WILL take that bet and advise that it's not a good idea to bet ON me. I'm full of surprises. :-) Actually I of course reserve the right to refuse a dog, but in the cases where I've worked with other breeders, they learned what my priorities are and selected for them. When I met the litters, I selected my pup myself and inevitably it has been the pup they chose for me as well. In the early years of my Berner purchasing experiences, I'd prefer to have them write down their choice and give me no clues as to which pup it was they had chosen and then later when I'd made my choice, referred to their written note. I stopped doing this many dogs ago as it simply is not necessary for me to prove anymore that a conscientious breeder with whom I'd choose to work would most likely be able to make this selection for me. Of course there are others I'm sure who would not have interest in this. Such a person I'd likely not purchase a dog from as our priorities are so different that I would see that reflected in the dog I obtained.

^^^This may seem strange to some but I'm going to say it anyway. I have discussed with several breeder friends who have been doing this a long time, in this and other breeds, WHAT we will do for a resource for our companions if the time comes that we no longer breed our chosen breed. What we have decided is that NO one will produce the kind of dogs we each do, for we produce dogs that suit US. We each select for a unique set of traits generation after generation after generation that suit US. We've become so spoiled and picky about the dogs we select to live with from our litters that it will be hard to find them elsewhere. We also all agree that we seek buyers that suit the kinds of dogs we produce as well. It does not take us long to discern that a prospective buyer is not one we want to work with. It takes a minimal amount of time to discern if this buyer's desires are likely to be met by the kind of dogs we produce. To obtain a dog suitable for me, I have to find a breeder with similar priorities.

^^^I share this thought which I hope makes sense to you. Seeking a breeder who values the same things you do can provide you with an extraordinary canine companion experience. Bernese are such a special breed in that they press their humans to communicate on a higher level than we would otherwise. Matching a Berner with a buyer who share THAT as well as an exceptional compatability makes this experience of breeding Bernese an extraordinary enrichment of my life.


I arriving at my breeder's home, when the pups were just 8 weeks and ready to go, to meet her and the pups in person for the first time (praying she'd still "approve" of me after meeting me in person!!!). Just as I spied the pups, she quickly picked up a little girl, held her out, and explained that this one was to be "mine." She apparently didn't want me to glom on to the wrong one and be disappointed that it was destined for another family, or the one she was keeping!!!

But being the obsessive/compulsive shopper that I am, I covertly eyeballed the other pups, slyly asking which ones were the girls. After interacting with the pups, privately comparing "my" pup to the others, I very happily decided that I had the VERY BEST PUPPY IN THE WHOLE LITTER!! She's the one I would have chosen, had I been given that opportunity.

As she's grown and developed, and wormed her way ever deeper into our hearts, I still feel the same way. She has exactly the perfect temperament for us, and is exactly what I had hoped for. I just couldn't be happier with our breeder's choice.


We are more concerned about getting the right family or person than the right pup for the person.

This may sound terrible to PPO. But, I average 5-10 people per week looking for a pup or information on breeders. Many say, "I want a pup, do you have any available now." These folks get a lot of education from me, which they learn from and approach other breeders differently or they get discourage and give up on getting a berner. I figured out how many pups we have produced in the past and it averages out to 3 pups per year so at a minimum 250 inquiries a year that equals about 1.2% of the people that inquire about a pup from us gets one from us. So with so many homes to select and so few puppies I feel we have done a good job of selecting great homes for our pups. The 98.8% that do not get a pup from us I try and help them find a good breeder if they are sincere.

We usually meet most PPO before we have a litter. This is a democratic process in our house, Bonnie (my wife) and two kids 12 and 10 years old meet and socialize with the PPO's. After the PPO's leave we have a family meeting to talk about the visit. We write down what we liked and disliked about the peoples ability to provide a good home. And what type of pup would be best for their environment. It is amazing how observant kids can be and what PPO kids will divulge to my kids. We also observe how oue dogs react to PPO's, our 8 year old grandmother likes to greet everyone but after a few rubs she is happy to go lay down and be left alone. Sometimes she finds people that she just loves and will sit on their feet and will take in all the loving they will give. I could write a book on all the feedback and body language that we have observed and discussed as a family on PPO's. It is easier to find the right pup then it is to find the right person. We usually do select the pup that we think is best for the PPO's but we try to make the people feel that they had a significant part in the selection. I can only remember two instances that people questioned the selection. One was a breeder that wanted a show male. She liked the marking on a pet male and questioned why we felt the show male was right for her. Well today the pet male has a very narrow front and the under marked show male has 13 points toward his championship. The other instance the people were looking for a companion, the pup had a big swiss kiss and a white sock. They elected to wait for another litter for a more perfectly marked pup. These people do not know what they missed by waiting. This boy is the most lovable BMD, and his owners have never said a word about his over markings. They love him for what he is. I think BMD breeders are very fortunate, the job of finding the right pup is the easy part. It is finding the committed for life owner that can be the tuff part. IMHO there are very few bad temperament BMD's the bad ones are created by their environment or their people. Now I know this may ruffle some feathers and yes there are some that may have a chemical imbalance or physical problem that brings out a bad temperament, But IMO these are very few. So if the majority have a good tempermant PPO's should not be too concerned about a breeder selecting a companion puppy that they feel is most suited for them.

Jane wrote: Reading Ruth's remarks only reaffirm my own experience: When I met the litters, I selected my pup myself and inevitably it has been the pup they chose for me as well.

I would say that over 90% of the folks that have our pups think they have the best berner in the whole world. I think they would say the same if they had a litter mate. And most of them think they picked each other. Little do they know we were the match makers. Lets face it BMD's are just great dogs!


I've been interested to read the stories of those who had breeders pick their pups for them - most have been very positive. I don't know if my situation is "unusual" or if others just haven't posted of the opposite side of the coin - but I have picked both my Berner boys, and I'm glad I had the chance to do it. ZenMaster Max was a fluke since the person I bought him from was a first time breeder (she co-owned the mom with an experienced breeder who planned the litter) - she couldn't tell me much, and happily sold me the puppy I wanted with very few questions asked. I now have a Dual Versatility Dog who has excelled in so many ways - I know the person who sold me the dog had no clue what his potential was. I feel very lucky to have picked Max - who was obviously meant to be my dog.

My second Berner - Winter - was also my choice. His breeder is a mentor and friend who was willing to let me look at the litter multiple times and ultimate choose the boy I wanted. Yes, I picked the dog she thought I would - but it was still my choice, and I learned a lot in the process of making that choice. Had the breeder simply "picked" the dog for me I would not have learned about the personalities of the pups and watched them develop, nor would I have had the discussions about structure and temperment and all the other factors that went into my decision. So I thank my friend for having the confidence in me to let me choose my own dog - at the time I didn't think that was so unusual, but now I feel very lucky again for having that opportunity to pick Winter. I hope I get to "pick" my own dog again...