ThornCreek Bernese Mountain Dog


ThornCreek is a small kennel located in rural Western Pennsylvania, just north of Pittsburgh near Thorn Creek (in Penn Township, Butler, PA) its namesake. We have been fanciers of the breed since 1998, participating in conformation, working, and performance venues. We have only one or two litters a year which we carefully socialize. We keep a waiting list, so please complete the questionnaire (upper left, below the “health tested” logo) and contact us. Our puppies are generally sold on a spay/neuter contract.

We show our dogs in both conformation and performance and health test/evaluate our breeding dogs for hips, elbows, eyes, vWD, cardiac, and DM.  We do not breed our bitches with dogs in our back yard, but rather we look for sires in the US, Canada or Mexico that exploit the bitch’s strengths and compensate for any weaknesses (no dog is perfect regardless of its titles or what you may be told).

When making breeding decisions we prefer to:

  1. 1.breed a sire and dam that will produce puppies with a lower than (breed) average Coefficient of Inbreeding (COI). Lower COIs are associated with increased longevity and a lower incidence of autoimmune disease and cancers;

  2. 2. use a sire and dam that have been health tested with those results (e.g, OFA certification numbers) available. Sadly many of the available health tests we have for this breed are for low-frequency diseases (e.g., vWD, DM) that are NOT the major killers (i.e., histiocytic sarcoma, mast cell cancer, hemangiosarcoma); and

  3. 3. use a sire (not overused) that conforms to the breed standard and has demonstrated success in the show ring against serious breed competition.

  4. 4. under NO circumstances will we knowingly breed any bitch or any dog with a poor temperament.

A caution to the puppy buyer. The more constraints (e.g., pass all health tests, be a champion, good type, bone, movement, temperament, low COI) we add to the breeding equation, the less likely we will find a perfect breeding pair on every dimension and even less likely both will live in the breeder’s back yard (see Padgett’s Control of Canine Genetic Diseases for an explanation). As such, a puppy buyer who desires a healthy puppy that looks like a Bernese Mountain Dog, wants to know how the breeder makes trade offs/compromises that must be made when the breeder can’t get total perfection (virtually all the time) and also desires to maintain genetic diversity. Ask the breeder to list what is most important to him or her. Ask the breeder for the list of strengths and weaknesses of the two dogs being bred. If there are only strengths and no weaknesses, you are likely not getting all the information you need to make an informed decision. Verify test results on the Berner Garde or by seeing actual copies of certifications.

Our breeding philosophy is to improve the conformation (including type) and health of our line with each breeding through use of informed health testing and maintenance of genetic diversity, hence we ask that all of our puppy owners stay in touch with us over the dog’s life so that we will have the information to do that job well. If we listed one single breeding goal, it would be to improve longevity.


Stella was bred to CH Powder Keg Farm’s Foreign Affair (Boris). 
Utrasound reveals puppies! Fetal X-ray on Nov 24th!

New Champion at ThornCreek Bernese
Powder Keg Farm’s Foreign Affair (Boris) finished his Championship in no time in mid summer!

Maggie has 7 puppies with Boris (2 males; 5 females) on June 11, 2015. For updates check FaceBook (Nancy P Melone)

Series by Melone on “Canine Brucellosis” wins the American 
Kennel Club’s 
“Club Publication Excellence Award” 

In February 2015 Nancy Melone was awarded the American Kennel Club’s (AKC) Club Publication Excellence Award and $500. This award recognizes the best article in a national, regional, or local club publication. The Canine Brucellosis article appeared in the June and August issues of the BMDCA’s, The Alpenhorn.

Maggie May Finishes Grand Championship
January 2015

ThornCreeks Jane Austin (Maggie May) also earned 73 out of 100 points needed for her Bronze Grand Champion. At the  time she was bred she was the #1 bitch in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. 

Stella Has Twins on December 16, 2014!

GCH Hickory’s Playing it Cool and ThornCreeks Arwen Evenstar announce the birth of “Jimmy Fallon” (1.6 lb) and “Imogene Coca” (1.8 lb) on 12/16/2014. All are healthy and doing well, 
(Pups, Parker and Francey, are now placed). 

Melone wins 
Morris Animal Foundation 
Award for Editorial Leadership in Coverage of Canine Health 
Melone Wins Morris Animal Foundation Award
In February 2013, Nancy Melone was honored by DWAA with the Morris Animal Foundation Advancements in Canine Veterinary Medicine Award for her editorial leadership in coverage of canine health issues.

Preserving the Tradition of the Working Farm Dog

Updated: May 30, 2015 3:06 PM         Copyright 2011-2015, Nancy P. Melone  All rights reserved.

New Website Under Construction.