Breeding Saint Bernard’s is a big monetary commitment; I have to make sure I can afford the money, the heartbreak, and the health considerations I need to make in breeding a big healthy Saint Bernard. Every thing about Saint Bernard’s is Big including the Coast. To start with one has to gather as much information about the breed as possible like:
*The Saint Bernard Standard
*The Saint Bernard Fancier (the publication of the Saint Bernard club of America)
*Saint Bernard Breed Clubs
*Dog shows and other breeders
The Saint Bernard Standard is a written document stating what each dog in the breed should be like (ie the standard that breeders are striving for). Each breed has its own standard. You can find the standard for the Saint Bernard Breed on the AKC web sit and the Saint Bernard Club of America Web site.
As you may already know, the Saint Bernard breed has many potential physical problems that a breeder needs to address and considered. (hip dysplasia, entropia, ectropia, epilepsy etc). To guarantee the health of the animals I as a breeder may have to x-raying my breeding stock, which can be registered if I wish, with the OFA registry or Penn Hip. Hip Dysplasia is a major problem in this breed and animals with these problems should never be breed. Breeders must always Jude their animals and ask themselves:
Are the animals I am breeding compatible in type and temperament?
What are the faults?
What are their strengths?
How do they compare to the standard?
It is always good to have your Saint Bernard’s evaluated by other reputable breeders. I like to take my Saint Bernard’s into the shown ring to be evaluated by judges. I make a list about what I am trying to improve and why. No dog is perfect, but I am always policing myself to not be love blind and produce unsound dogs that are not better than both parents. Sadly no matter how wonderful a Saint may be, it may not be good enough to breed. I have to go over their pedigrees! I have to be familiar with the breeders and the lines of my dogs and any I may breed too.
Many lines are producing dogs that carry the epileptic genes even though they don’t show it in the individual dogs.
A good breeders worst nightmare and greatest heart ace is to produce a 180 pound dog with epilepsy that could bite someone. Sadly, it can happen to anyone and their goes your name as a breeder; everyone will fault you even if you try your best! How do you handle that? How do you handle the liability?
As a breeder I am responsible for the lives of the puppies I produces. I have a written contract FOR EVERY DOG I PRODUCE FOR AS LONG AS THEY LIVE. I will not sell to a Pet home without spay/neuter before the Saint levees my owner ship. When Breeding Saint Bernard Females I never bred until they are 2 years old and stop when they are 5-6, depending on their condition.
I do not breed every season or even every year. My females may only ever have one or two litters. I do not breed just to sell puppies I breed to get my next generation. Typically, C-Sections cost around $2,000 if my female needs one (many do) and a litter (just shots, dewclaws, health checks, etc) can easily run up to $1,000+. I spay and neuter all my sold pups on top of that too.
Due to the size of the female and the smallness of the puppies, they typically need 24 hour per day care for the first 2 to 3 weeks as the momma will accidentally roll over or step on the puppies and kill them. It’s a full time Job, you have to do! When I get ready for a breeding I have to consider the question of the cost, and what I am going to do with my puppies. I never want one of my Saint Bernard’s going to a rescue they are to good to end up their.
I try to help rescue organizations as much as possible and do not want to add to their burden.