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I grew up in Pitt Meadows, BC on a hobby farm with German Shepherds that were part of our everyday activities and were some of my best friends.  I knew from a very young age that I wanted to do something that involved animals but especially dogs.   It was not until after being married and our last child of 6 children was born in 1996 that we acquired our first family dog – a golden retriever named Goldie.  I took her to an obedience school to socialize and have some fun with her but was appalled at the way this particular school interpreted ‘training a dog', a valued member of our family and knew there was a better way.   I spent the next couple of years attending different training schools, reading every book and watching every video I could get my hands on.  I also started giving private, in-home lessons and for free of charge taught two, 8 week classes of 8 students each.  In September 2000 I officially opened up Bernergold Dog Training.


In 1999 I became a member of the Canadian Kennel Club, 2001 Canadian Association of Professional Pet Dog Trainers, 2004 Canadian Association of Rally Obedience, and in 2005 was certified by Animal Behavior & Training Association.  I have attended seminars by Cheryl Smith, Dr. Ian Dunbar, Sue Sternberg, Lisa Wright, Dr. Jennifer Messer, Donna Duford, and Dr. Shelley Breadner.  I have also attended clinics for competition obedience, agility, herding, Rally, tracking, drafting and Tellington Touch.  In 2007 I received certification from CKC to be an Evaluator for the Canine Good Neighbor test.  I continue to attend seminars, clinics and even competition classes as I enjoy the challenge and work to keep my training skills up to date.  I was the local 4H Project Leader for the Haney Horse & Hound Club for 14 years and volunteer trainer for 17 years teaching showmanship, obedience and agility.    


My goals as a trainer are to help people see the bond/relationship they can have with their dogs, to have all dogs be a Canine Good Neighbor and valued member of their family.  Training methods are positive, motivational, and non-aversive. 

Building leadership through trust and respect.










It was 1998 and I was heading to my first dog show to look at and learn more about Golden Retrievers, our first family dog of which I bred two litters.  As I was standing ringside waiting for the Goldens to start, a group of magnificent tri-colored dogs I had never seen before entered the building.  I walked away from the Golden ring, followed these dogs to their ring and watched what I later learned is the Bernese Mountain Dog; the rest is history.  I acquired my first Bernese Mountain Dog in May of 1999, Diesel’s Yukon MacKenzie born April 3, 1999 who taught me so much about the breed and helped me to grow as an owner/trainer and future breeder of the BMD.  It took me 5 years of research and talking with many different breeders before I found the girl I wanted to start my own kennel.  I am very grateful to Cindy Switzler of for entrusting me with Werlwind’s FPeacefulEz Feelin’ call name Mercedes, born April 8, 2005.


On January 1st (after living all my life previously in the lower mainland) I along with my husband moved to a small hobby farm/kennel in the Lower Nicola Valley which is 15 minutes west of the city of Merritt, British Columbia, with my husband, 5 dogs, 2 cats, and 2 horses.  I am a local pet dog trainer by profession (since 2000), involved in conformation, obedience, drafting, agility, herding, Rally, and tracking, competing in some but enjoying all the sports.  I am a member of the CKC, BMDCC, BMDCA and CAPPDT as well as Director of BC for the BMDCC.


My goals as a breeder are to strive for longevity, health, great temperaments and a Bernese that exemplifies the breed standard.  Our dogs are first and foremost our companions/ partners and knowing that the majority of our dogs are going to pet homes  it is important for me to breed dogs that are easy to live with, proud to have out in public and have a long and healthy life, living as a valued member of the family.  I am committed to doing as many health clearances as needed to help my breeding program but also the breed as a whole.  I feel blessed to have each one and pray that I can be a part of making a positive contribution to this breed.


Thank-you for visiting my website and please check out the links page to learn about the standard from the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of Canada along with information on health and so much more.



Anita Vaartstra

BernerGold Kennel










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