A Saint Bernard Puppy will surely melt your heart and everyone else’s at home, they are perfect for a family environment and they do more than ok with other pets. They are a smart, loving, placid, loyal dog that will demand some attention so, they will follow you around the house just as they will check on everyone at home even if you are in different rooms to know they are safe since they have that guardian attitude but in these type of scenarios they might get confused, feeling that it can’t protect everyone when you are all scattered around de house, or it would just lay down and sleep on the couch. While they seem like one of the most perfect dog breeds to own, they have some aspects in their management that can keep several people from adopting this wonderful puppy. Stay with me learning a little more about the Saint Bernard breed before you make any choice.
Some people may think that Saint Bernards became popular after the movie Beethoven in the 90s but even before that, they’ve been known thanks to their working capabilities of search and rescue as they had been displayed as well in some cartoons as a silly giant dog who takes water or an “energetic” beverage (Brandy barrel) for some people to aid them.
According to the data, they were known for quite a long time, and at first, they were used as farmer dogs, whereas the Saint Bernard owners used them to pull carts, guardians, and to alert their owners when they sawed something they didn’t like. These farms were near the Swiss Alps between Italy and Switzerland, and a safe place for travelers guarded by monks called St. Bernard Hospice. The Saint Bernard’s belongs to a group of dog breeds called Molosser which refer to some giant dogs as the Mastiff, Dogo, among others alike, furthermore, they were known by different names such as Hospice dog, Sacred dog, Alpen dog, Alpine Mastiff, and Barryhunds (This last one was in honor of the most recognized rescue dog named Barry). It is said that the farmers gave the monks these dogs to aid them as their security was concerned but they would realize that Saint Bernards had a tremendous sense of smell that could help them find lost travelers, thus the title of search and rescue dogs as they thrive on this occupation.
It wasn’t until the 1800s that Saint Bernards were introduced into other countries, but before this people began to experiment with this breed crossing it with another one called Newfoundlands to enhance some treats of the Saint breed on their labor of rescuers. One of the few aspects left of this breeding and crossing was the appearance of a long hair version that didn’t work so well for the cold weather as the hair brought more problems to these dogs limiting at such extend their work with the Hospice monks that they couldn’t even work due to the long-haired feature that started to freeze with ease because the ice tended to pile up in his hair. Near the 1900s the first Saint Bernard club was created followed by the registration of this dog breed on the American Kennel Club many years later.
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE SAINT BERNARD
Saint Bernard puppies are irresistible to watch and you might want to take them all home with you, but those cute little cotton balls will grow to be a large dog that in his mind he can fit everywhere, and if possible, it will lay down on your legs. They are exceptional when it comes to deal with small kids despite being part of large breed dogs, Saint Bernard are remarkably loyal, patient, loving, regardless of their guardian nature they aren’t aggressive unless they see something they don’t like or that it’s dangerous for his family till the one person he attached the most tells him it’s ok. Besides, due to his size, most people will get frightened every time you take him out for a walk, and even more when the small dog breeds start barking at your Saint Bernard, he will just watch him until he decides to bark once to scare the dog and the owner. Sadly enough, it only takes one bark from your dog to become a “threat” to others even when other people’s pets are the ones that are looking for trouble.
Saint Bernards males can reach a height of 27 inches, as for the females they get to 25 inches on average, getting to weight between 120 to 200 pounds each, but due to this big numbers, they are a breed that has a slow-growing rate, meaning they will mature and reach the adult size around his second to the third year of age. For those that might get adopted from a shelter, try to get them as young as you can, so his training won’t become such a nuisance since most abandoned pets tend to have an undesirable behavior that could be part of the reason his previous family left them, still, you should give a chance to an older dog if possible, everyone deserves a second chance and the one to blame would always be the owners, not the dog. Besides his droopy eyes and ears, they have something similar on his lips that makes them prone to drool, but this isn’t as problematic as most people think although it will depend entirely on every Saint Bernard individually. Some owners complain about this as well as the hair loss, but you won’t get a “Beethoven moment”, just keep a towel near his water bowl because he will spread the water from his mouth after every time he goes for a sip and they tend to drink lots of water. They love this element and their double thick coat helps them with it and cold temperatures, so whenever you go out for a walk to keep an eye on every puddle you come across, even from a young age, Saint Bernard puppies would look to play or just sit on every pond they get to see, just don’t be so harsh on them whenever they do something you don’t want them to, there’s a good way to do things and being just a pup they don’t know what’s right or wrong, they are fast learners so this shouldn’t become an issue for you. Their hair can be long or short, eighter presentations get to shed a lot of hair, even more so during the molting season that happens twice a year on average. The color of his smooth coat is mostly based on white with a combination of another color being red and white, brown and white, or brindle and white.
Another moment when they might make a pond of saliva is whenever the family gathers to eat or a family member eats something they desire, there are some things dogs can’t eat that we do on regular basis so ask before you do any harm to them and take precautions needed to avoid any accidents if you slip on his drool. Their tails can become a weapon due to their size but it’s something you won’t be able to avoid, just as before, take precautions whenever you walk by them or if there are any small children in the house since their heads are usually at the same level as the tail of an adult Saint Bernard. Taking this aspect into consideration and many more, you mustn’t leave any small children with any pet unattended, and you must start at a young age with the training of your new Saint Bernard puppy. A small dog without any manners could still be manageable in a way, but with the size of this dog breed, you can’t afford to take this risk, not only for the safety of your house and your family, it is for the rest of the people. A mean dog can never go to a park nor any other social pet spot, even less if you can’t handle him, lucky enough, they aren’t aggressive but owning a bear looking dog you need to take full responsibility for what it means to own this caliber of dog.
CARE AND MANAGEMENT
I’ve already spoked about a few things to take into consideration regarding this incredible dog breed, but, something that you must know is that with big size comes big bills to cover the nutritional and healthy needs that the Saint Bernard puppy will need growing up and even more when he reaches adult size since they are prone to certain complications regarding the locomotor system that tend to have a costly resolution such as hip dysplasia or elbow dysplasia, some that require immediate help and urgency such as bloat (gastric torsion) and others from bad management like dental disease. Other diseases that can be related to their size, like many other big dogs can suffer bone cancer such as osteosarcoma or something less aggressive but still painful as arthritis or osteochondrosis. Aside from this, they could also develop some cardiomyopathies, hypothyroidism, and some eye-related complications. These aren’t just for the Saint Bernard breed, all of these health concerns could happen to any breed but you could prevent most of them providing proper care from the get-go starting with the breeder. Certainly, anyone could become a dog breeder but not everyone covers the basics things as to keep a record of all their litters as well as a medical history of both parents and grandparents if possible since most of the health concerns are from genetic predisposition and if there was one in the group that’s known to have one of the few I mentioned it is his job to let you know, as a client, to which inherited disease your new Saint Bernard pup is more susceptible to contract. Always check for certifications as well since some of them might try to deceive you with just words but he doesn’t have anything to back up all the information he can give you about your new puppy. Everything must be registered and stamped by known associations (Saint Bernard Club Of America, Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA), American Kennel Club (AKC))
After you contact a breeder you feel comfortable with then it’s better if you get everything you are going to need for your new pup, to avoid any last-minute purchases avoid getting something that you won’t end up using or it doesn’t work with your dog. Do some research for the best accessories according to the age of your new pet, for this I recommend you to start asking a veterinarian of trust since he will be your best option on these cases, as a second option would be the Saint Bernard breeder of your choice as they are interested that every pup from their litter keeps the reputation they’ve earned over the years, and some breeders will try to stay in contact with you to check on how you are doing. If you get your dog from shelters then you should try your best to find as much as you can about the history of the dog you are getting since this would be of great importance when you take him to his first vet visit with you, this goes as well from the ones you get from a breeder, even with their certificates, some may come with the initial vaccines and deworming but you need to set a health plan with the veterinarian to ensure a healthy lifestyle. As I mentioned before, this dog breed tends to be costly in this manner so keep this in mind at all times but with the regular check-ups and the right management you can rest sure that you’ll get the gentle, sweetest, and probably filthiest dog you can get.
Something you might not spect and I recommend is that you purchase a shovel, for the sole purpose of cleaning his depositions. It’s only logical to get a monumental poop size from this giant dog, thus the importance of cage training and potty training when they are puppies and it’s easier to clean. Leash training should be done with care because as an adult he can carry you around like a sled, as part of one of their regular jobs, their muscular and strong body will pull practically anyone with ease, so to avoid being the laughingstock of the block you should attend to this matter while he is a puppy and his vet tells you that it is safe to take him out.
You must get the right nutrition that goes not only with your pet but his needs as some come medicated to help treat certain diseases but this is only when his veterinarian tells you to. Puppy food is essential for any dog breed, but for the case of Saint Bernard, you need to get him one that’s made for giant breeds. Like babies, they need the proper amount of nutrients of high quality to ensure they can grow without any issue, dogs aren’t the exception, they also need adequate care until they become an adult dog where their diet will change as they won’t be needing these nutrients at the same concentration or amount. Large dog breed puppies have other needs, thus why they get a specific food to aid them during his slow mature process. most medium dog breeds and smaller ones take about one year to reach maturity, but as I said before, the Saint Bernard puppy takes about 2 to 3 years so feeding him with another type of puppy food could bring some troubles in the long run that can be irreversible.
The veterinarian should let you know when it’s the right time to change his dog food according to his needs, this is why keeping these check-ups will help you prevent any unwanted disease since they could develop others from poor nutrition and also by overfeeding. They have some health complications due to their size to add another one by becoming an overweight dog.
Well, now you know all about this gentle giant and I hope this article has helped you in your decision to adopt a Saint Bernard dog, whether is a puppy or a grown one, always remember to contact a reputable breeder to avoid most of the issues they can inherit along the way.
Hope you’ve liked this post and if you think I’ve missed anything please let me know in the comment section down below.