A pretty long time ago, we bred St. Bernards as Magic Mountain Kennels. Our male St. Bernard, Gus went to the Westminister dog show and got an “honorable mention.”  Here are a few of the questions we were regularly asked- and our answers.

Are St. Bernards “Dry Mouthed”?

There really is no such thing as a “dry mouthed” St. Bernard. A reputable breeder of St. Bernards is not likely to ever indicate that there is such a thing. In a resting state some St. Bernards drool less than others, but all Saint Bernards drool around food, after drinking, and after running. A rag or towel is almost an owner necessity…

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How much does a St. Bernard weigh?

The weight of an adult St. Bernard varies by sex and breeding. A typical female St. Bernard may be between 100 – 150 lbs. Males typically weigh-in higher with a typical male between 130 and 170 lbs. Some St. Bernards have been known to top 200-230 lbs.

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What is the difference between a short-hair and long-hair St. Bernard?

A single litter of puppies may produce both short-hair and long-hair puppies. Short-hair puppies have a “tighter” coat of hair consisting of shorter strands of hair. Short hair St. Bernards have a different appearance than their “long-hair” brethren, but are still easily distinguishable as Saint Bernards. Both hair types shed.

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Where’s their barrel?

Historically, Saint Bernard’s did not carry kegs around their necks. However, due to popular demand, lots of St. Bernards carry a keg in parades, showcases, fairs, and the like. Barrels for St. Bernards can be purchased from various specialty suppliers, such as, http://saintbernardkeg.com/.

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How much does a St. Bernard puppy cost?

This varies based on breeder’s, pedigree, and much more. Current 2018 prices for a St. Bernard appear to be running around $900 for a “pet quality” dog, and $2000 for a “show quality” dog. For a superior lineage, a buyer might pay as much as $10,000, though we suspect that is an extreme outlier. For the amount of time, and expense involved in whelping an exceptional litter, after time, costs, etc., most breeders would still typically be better off working for Burger King. Except for “puppy mills,” most do not make money and are raising St. Bernards out of their love of the breed- even at these prices. Shipping is generally additional for out of area purchases. In rare circumstances, price may be negotiable for exceptional owners, for instance for those who have previous breed experience, have shown dogs, will commit to showing the dog on a national stage, etc.

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Why do St. Bernard puppies cost so much?

When looking for a St. Bernard we encourage owners to seek out reputable breeders. Breeders should be aware of what standards should be sought out or perpetuated in the breed. Owners should ask a lot of questions: Were both parents AKC registered? Is a complete pedigree available? How many recognized champions are in the line? Do the puppies have their dew claws removed? Are the puppies registered? Are the puppies vaccinated? Were the parents certified by the OFA against hip dysplasia?

Breeding St. Bernards is an avocation for most. Home breeders are unlikely to ever pursue more than one – two litters in two years. They may intend to keep an occasional dog for themselves. This means they are extremely interested in pursuing the best breed matches possible. A litter, for instance, might involve “shipping” a female Saint from Denver to Seattle for nearly 2 weeks. Expenses associated with travel, boarding, etc. are up front. In addition, stud fees can exceed a $2000. A small litter of puppies may, in fact, be a money losing proposition. Most breeders strive, however, to produce the best possible puppies- AKC registered with fine pedigrees and a history of champions! In addition, reputable breeders generally “guarantee” their puppies against any health defects that might make them unsuitable as pets for at least the first year, and may offer to take your dog back should circumstances change and make it impossible for you to keep them.

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What is the difference between “Show Quality” and “Pet Quality”?

Some puppies may have traits that make them more likely candidates as “Champions” at dog shows. Others may have qualities that could weaken their chances as “Champions”. For instance, a puppy with an extra curly tail might not be considered show quality. Based on criteria like this, breeders make determinations about each puppy before selling it. In addition, a pet quality dog is sold with the understanding that it will receive a limited registration and that the owner will spay or neuter the animal.

Limited registration means that any litters produced by the dog are not eligible for AKC registration. The dog is eligible to compete in all AKC-licensed events except breed competition at an AKC-licensed dog show. The limited designation may be removed upon my written permission and upon submission of a form for that purpose which, is available from the AKC, and required fee. This is so, for when the dog has grown and you decided to show your dog in AKC breed competition, you have that option.

Show quality dogs are provided with full registration allowing their owner to show, champion, or breed their dog. Show quality owners are encouraged to pursue showing as proof of excellence before breeding. In addition, a St. Bernard might be purchased as pet, but later have its registration upgraded after being evaluated further.

Some “Show Quality” dogs may still be sold as pet quality to owners that are still mainly interested in a companion dog without the need for showing or breeding.

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Can I buy a puppy to breed?

For those interested in breeding or showing their dogs, full registration is required. For those with a history of showing or breeding, a show quality puppy may be sold out right. For individuals new to St. Bernards, breeders might offer a co-ownership contract. Under this agreement, the purchaser will be listed as the owner of the dog and the breeder will be listed as the co-owner. Because the AKC requires signatures of both the owner and co-owner for litter registrations this allows us to ensure responsible breeding while allowing the Owner to exhibit the dog competitively. When the dog is 2 years old, certified against hip displasia by the OFA, and given a clean bill of health against disease by your veterinarian, co-ownership will revert to full ownership without additional cost.

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Can puppies be shipped?

Yes. Most breeders will have a crate available for shipping Saint Bernard puppies to your location. Direct flights are most desirable to minimize travel time for your dog. In addition, most airlines have strict requirements restricting travel to a day above 60 degrees, vaccinations, etc. We will be happy to arrange your puppies travel plans, but the cost to ship, plus a crate deposit equal to the cost of the crate is generally required in advance.

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