The Bernese Mountain Dog, like all breeds of dog, pure or mixed, are not free of health issues. Issues experienced with Bernese, with varying rates of incidence, are:
Shoulder Osteochondrosis (OCD)
Ectropian / Entropian eyelids
Degenerative Myelopathy (DM)
Bloat / Torsion of Gastric Dilitation Volvulus (immediately life threatening)
Sub Aortic Stenosis (SAS)
Von Willebrand's Disease
(For more information on these health issues, please visit the BMDCC website)
It is for these issues that it is important to buy a dog from a responsible breeder. There are certain tests that can be done to eliminate the risk of certain of these issues (e.g Eyes and Heart, vWD and DM). And in others, to minimize the risk (e.g. Hips and Elbows) for future generations. Responsible breeders test and breed towards the eradication of these issues in their breed. Total eradication is currently not possible for some, as some are polygenic, and do not have a simple DNA test. So it is only through careful breeding that we will reduce the incidence of these problems in the gene pool.
This is why it is so important to talk to your breeder and know exactly what you are getting. No pedigree is free from all of the above issues, and a breeder must be transparent about their lines, good or bad. A responsible breeder knows what is in their pedigrees and breed to improve the line.
Again, no lines are completely free of all these issues. Do not believe claims that they are. Responsible breeders make the right decisions with the information they have at the time. But sometimes these issues develop after breeding or in old age. Or sometimes the technology to test was just not available at that time.
BernerGarde is an invaluable tool for educating yourself on what is in the lines of the dog you are looking to purchase. This is why we STRONGLY recommend that you do your research, and go with a breeder that has all their dogs in BernerGarde, and fully discloses all certifications and health information.
This is also why we ask all our puppy owners to keep the database updated with all their information. The website is very user friendly and data submission is very easy.