Bernese Mountain Dogs first arrived in New Zealand in 1973 when Doreen Murdoch emigrated from the UK, bringing with her Kisumu Achilles as the foundation sire of her “Durrbachler” breeding programme. The bitch Kisumu Bonne Chance followed shortly after but died tragically without reproducing and was replaced with Kisumu Desiree. Later the male, NZCH Majanco Chianti and a further bitch, NZCH Forgeman Fancy arrived and these imports formed the foundation of the breed in New Zealand. Mrs Murdoch is thought to have bred only four litters but exported several bitches to Australia also to establish the breed there. Breeders and owners today, own an enormous debt of gratitude to Mrs Murdoch for going to such great lengths to bring this beautiful breed to our country.
Yvonne Fison-Bates (also from the UK) brought a bitch from one of the Durrbachler litters to establish her Balahu kennel in Auckland. Yvonne bred her first Bernese litter in 1980 and kept breeding until she returned to the UK in the early 2000’s. Yvonne imported a male, NZCH Meiklestane Dusky Emperor (Hasso) from the UK and later jointly imported NZCH Clashaidy Winged Dagger (Carlo) in 1985 with Steve and Barbera Tate of Estcarp Bernese in Taranaki. Barbera had purchased CH Balahu Dark Empress CDX (Penny) as a puppy from Yvonne in 1983 and she became the foundation bitch for Estcarp.
In the mid-late 80’s the Tates and other enthusiasts joined to form a Club holding yearly Garden Parties and publishing a quarterly newsletter for owners and enthusiasts. The Club is still operating over 25 years on.
In the early 90’s in an effort to increase substance and size in the NZ Bernese, Steve & Barbera imported the Swedish bitch NZCH Swedeana (Brenna) and Linda & Chris Jury imported the Swedish male NZCH Jamakis Lucky Swede (Eiger). Eiger sired two Estcarp litters and Brenna produced one litter to Eiger and then a second to the Tates new Swedish male Clangulas Starbound (Wasa). Sadly, Brenna became ill and passed away at only 4 1/2 years old but she left a notable impact in her offspring and subsequent generations.The 90’s were a boom time for imports with more than 20 arriving – predominantly from Australian breeders.
Show entries increased dramatically with the breed’s rise in popularity and recognition. As a minority breed, they were often overlooked for higher accolades but group placings started to become more prevalent in the mid-late 90’s with a few males in particular becoming quiet consistent at group and in-show level in the late 90’s – early 2000’s.
In 1998 Nathalie Sperling moved from Queensland to New Zealand with her two adult Bernese. Her male “Ortez” (Aust/NZCH Vindissa Night Man o War) was already very successful in the Australian showring with 3 BIS’s, over 80 Group and In Show awards and 950 CC points. He proved just as consistent in New Zealand including Best in Group at the Nationals Curtain Raiser show in 2003 at almost 10 years of age, demonstrating that Bernese often get even better with age. Sadly Ortez passed away at the grand age of 13.
Can/AM/NZ/Aust CH Turi V Bernetta, (Turi), a Swiss import arrived in NZ in 2001. A wonderful gift from a very generous breeder in Canada, Kiki Menegoz who had imported him as a puppy, to shape the future of Lisa Stevenson’s kennel – Anahera. Turi spent 6 months in Australia in 2004 and became the only Bernese in Australasia to have four show CH titles. He sired his 27th litter in 2007 and has CH offspring in 3 continents.
Sennenhof Hanspeter arrived in 2003 – bred by Turi’s former owner in Canada and was used to good effect, particularly with Turi daughters – before his tragically premature death in 2005. A very solidly built male, he has left a legacy of increased substance and improved type in the 6 litters he sired in NZ. His influence is strongly evident in his daughters.
Zanzebern Kennels was founded on Norwegian imports and their influence is now widely felt throughout the NZ gene pool, more recently interspersed with new blood from her Swedish, Dutch and Belgian dogs.
More new lines hit our shores in 2002 with the arrive of NZCH Makker Romany Bergerac to Margaret Davies in Taupo. Bergerac’s sire was of full Norwegian parentage from the Zanzebern Kennel but his dam line was unique in NZ. His dam CH Bernedalen’s Gypsy is the litter sister the World CH BMD winning bitch SUCH/NUCH Bernerdalens Gina. Their sire was two time World CH BMD and Crufts winner from Denmark, INT CH Sennetta’s Sixten.
Several imports have come with emigrating owners from various countries, although Australia remains the most constant source of new lines to NZ breeders. They have enjoyed an increase in numbers of new dogs and lines available and it is widely accepted that it’s a much easier way for us to find something new than importing from the Northern Hemisphere.
LIST OF IMPORTS
(* indicates Berners who immigrated with their family)
|1974||Kisumu Bonne Chance||UK||Murdoch||Murdoch|
|1975||NZCH Majanco Chianti||UK||Murdoch||Murdoch|
|1975||NZCH Kisumu Desire||UK||Murdoch||Murdoch|
|1977||NZCH Forgeman Fancy||UK||Murdoch||Murdoch|
|1982||NZCH Meiklestane Dusky Emperor||UK||Fison-Bates||Fison-Bates|
|1985||NZCH Clashaidy Winged Dagger||UK||Tate||Tate|
|1986||Choristma Antipodean Mutz||UK||Jackson||Jackson|
|1986||NZCH Tudorhill Country Squire||Aust||Clunie||Clunie|
|1987||NZCH Valleyvu’s Charleswood Hannah||Canada||Toomey||Toomey|
|1988||Branbern Dark Karma||Aust||Longstaff||Longstaff|
|1988||Branbern Black Douglas||Aust||Freeman||Freeman|
|1988||NZCH Tudorhill Dark Amber||Aust||Tate||Tate|
|1988||NZCH Coligny Edelweiss||UK||Fison-Bates||Fison-Bates|
|1989||Duntiblae Dark Double||UK||Toomey||Toomey|
|1991||NZCH Glanzberg Ingot||UK||Fison-Bates||Fison-Bates|
|1992||NZCH Zeigen Flair For Balahu||Aust||Fison-Bates||Fison-Bates|
|1994||NZCH Jamakis Lucky Swede||Sweden||Jury||Jury|
|1995||NZCH Zeigen Jubilation||Aust||Stevenson||Stevenson|
|1995||NZCH Zeigen Kiwi Konexion||Aust||Cocking||Cocking|
|1996||NZCH Makker Nordic Frey||Aust||Davies||Davies|
|1996||NZCH Zanzebern Indiana||Aust||Dassler||Dassler|
|1996||Dolpena Miday Frost*||UK||Williams||Williams|
|1997||NZCH Zeigen Viena After Dark||Aust||Stevenson||Stevenson|
|1997||Zeigen Utopian Dream||Aust||Gallagher||Gallagher|
|1997||Zeigen Xpression of Innocence||Aust||Shaw||Shaw|
|1997||Korewal Big Boots||UK||Perkins||Perkins|
|1998||Aust/NZCH Vindissa Night Man O War*||Aust||Sperling||Sperling|
|1998||Aust/NZCH Zeigen Ulani*||Aust||Sperling||Sperling|
|1999||NZCH Jamakis Inca Coya||Sweden||Tate||Tate|
|2000||NZCH Abbwinmur Night Caitlin||Aust||Sperling||Sperling|
|2001||Aust/NZCH Zanzebern Chiquitita (AI)||Aust||Stevenson||Stevenson|
|2001||Zanzebern Hey Baby||Aust||Wagner||Wagner|
|2001||NZCH Branbern Special Blend||Aust||Ivens||Ivens|
|2001||Can/Am/NZ/Aust CH Turi V Bernetta||Switz||Stevenson||Stevenson|
|2001||Rolotebe Abiska||Aust||Davies & Langford||Davies & Langford|
|2001||NZCH Zanzebern Turi’s Tutu||Aust||Hardegger||Hardegger|
|2001||NZCH Zanzebern Topsy Turi||Aust||Stevenson||Stevenson|
|2001||NZCH Zanzebern Ace Venturi||Aust||Stevenson||Stevenson|
|2002||Zanzebern Super Natural||Aust||Sperling||Sperling|
|2002||NZCH Makker Romany Bergerac||Aust||Davies||Davies|
|2002||NZCH Zeigen Radiant Lady||Aust||Peters||Peters|
|2002||Zeigen Tapestry Rug||Aust||Blair||Blair|
|2002||Zeigen Forget Me Knot*||Aust||McDougal||McDougal|
|2003||Bernation Zachary Jack*||Aust||Dempsey||Dempsey|
|Zeigen Bramble Bush||Aust||Peters||Peters|
|My Lucy Lockett *||UK||Denham||Denham|
|Engetal Sorren Tide*||UK||Barnes & Coley||Barnes & Coley|
|2006||NZCH Zollikon Follow Th’ Dream||Aust||Lewis||Lewis|
|NZCH Makker Hudson||Aust||Davies||Davies|
|2008||NZCH Sagekeep’s Divine Savignon||USA||Langford||Langford|
|NZCH Hvalbernern’s Ablaze Deeodin||Norway||Stevenson||Stevenson|
|Zeigen Special Delivery||Australia||Freemantle||Freemantle|
|2009||NZCH Alpenspirit’s Oceans Apart||Canada||Stevenson||Stevenson|
|NZCH Harley V D Klaverhoeve||Belgium||Gadson||Gadson|
|Zanzebern Grecian Prince*||Aust||Turkington||Turkington|
|NZCH Sennen Maden Heaven||Aust||Jury||Jury|
|AM/NZ CH Skylyn’s Powder Keg||USA||Stevenson||Stevenson|
|Sproga Porto Dolli *||Latvia||Vensberga||Vensberga|
|2011||Alpenhund Dash For Gold||Aust||Peters||Peters|
|NZCH Sennen Vintage Verdelho||Aust||Jury||Jury|
|NZCH Vevey Beowulf v Blassis||Aust||Sperling||Sperling|
|2012||NZCH Zollikon Foreign Affair V Blassis||Aust||Sperling||Sperling|
|2013||Double Fantasy z’ Kraina Zeusa||Poland||Stevenson||Stevenson|