Saint Bernard Dog Breed Expert Advice

All dogs can benefit from training, but the giant breeds, due to their sheer size and strength, must be well-socialized and learn good manners early if they are to be welcome in society. With an expected adult weight of 120 to 180 pounds, these gentle giants outweigh many of their humans, and should be trained as puppies – well before they realize their size advantage. Socialization and training learned in puppyhood will serve them well throughout their entire lives. – Pat Miller, certified pet dog trainer (from Popular Dogs: Saint Bernards)

Saint Bernards have a tendency to drool, and thus can develop rust-colored stains on their feet and chest. It can be a never-ending problem, even with products promising to whiten the coat and remove stains. Check the dog food you are using for dyes. Any dyes from the food will be present in the saliva and cause staining. (For example, beet root has been known to cause staining in some breeds.) If your water comes from a well, it may contain minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, that can cause stains. In that case, you would want to switch to distilled or bottled water. – Teresa Dreese, assistant director of the Paragon School of Dog Grooming in Jenison, Michigan (from Popular Dogs: Saint Bernards)

“This isn’t a breed for everyone. Saints aren’t the laid-back dogs they appear to be, and people have to be prepared for big-dog activity level. This may not be the breed for families with very small toddlers because the dogs can knock them over without meaning to.” – Linda Baker, a Saint Bernard breeder in Hopewell, New Jersey (from Popular Dogs: Saint Bernards)

Gastric dialation-volvulus (also called bloat) is a serious disorder that most commonly occurs in large, deep-chested dogs, including Saint Bernards. It’s characterized by excessive accumulation of gas in the stomach and a twisting of the stomach, which can occur if the swelling is not relieved. Why GDV occurs in some dogs and not in others is a bit of a mystery. Conformation plays a role, but some breeds may be genetically predisposed to it, as well. – Karla S. Rugh, D.V.M., Ph.D. (from Popular Dogs: Saint Bernards)


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