What age were you and how did you become involved in the world of Dogs?
I was just 2 years old when my parents brought home our first Boxer called Sheba. A very beautiful Red and white female from Markav Boxer kennels. When I was 9 years old my parents bought me my own Boxer puppy, her sire also from Markav. I had the pleasure to grow up with Snowy who lived to be over 14 and half years old.
What Breeds of Dogs have you had over the years?
We have had Boxers, Our Bulldogs Savannah and Porsche who is our rescue girl and Saint Bernard’s both long and short haired.
What Breeds of Dogs have you got now?
We have Saint Bernard’s both Long and Short haired, our two Bulldogs girls Savannah and Porsche and our two Veteran Boxers Bud who is 10 years old and Miller who is turning 9 years old.
What would you consider to be your main Breed of Dog and the one people associate you with?
Our main breed is our Saint Bernard’s
What attracted you to this Dog breed?
We have always loved Saints, their size, their attitude on life and their loyalty to their family and their great love of children.
What advice would you offer to anybody that is interested in becoming an owner of this Dog Breed?
Research the breed! Read books and visit as many Saint kennel’s as possible. Do not settle on the first saint puppy you see. If viewing a puppy it is always advisable to leave children at home, a small fluffy Saint puppy is extremely hard to resist for a child and can lead you to buying a puppy that you do not want! See and handle both parents, if the sire is living in another kennel, then go and see him if possible. If the parents have weak temperaments or show aggression, then do not under any circumstance buy a puppy from them, Aggressiveness is a serious fault in a saint and will eventually come out in your puppy. A good breeder will always allow you several visits, here we will interview potential owners and give them the opportunity to visit our kennels and see our adults before viewing the puppies. This gives us a great opportunity to see how the potential owners react to the large dogs and of course the slobber !
Does this Dog Breed have any specific requirements by way of exercise & grooming?
Grooming requirements must be taken into consideration. It is best to completely brush the coat every two days. A show dog is certainly a sight to behold, but all of this grooming and trimming takes many hours. On average a saint can take up to four hours from start to finish. A juvenile Saint Bernard cannot under any circumstances be over exercised as their bones do not reach maturity until after 18 months old. Over exercising can lead to serious joint problems in later life.
Does this Breed of Dog have any specific health tests that should be done before a Dog or bitch is used at stud or bred from?
Dogs and bitches used for breeding should be Hip and elbow scored, heart tested and most importantly have an excellent temperament. It is also advisable to eye test for entropion and ectropion.
Finally, how would you sum up the characteristics of this Dog breed and what type of household would they best be suited too?
Saint Bernard’s are a breed that is suitable to live in a house with a family as long as they receive suitable exercise for their age requirements. This breed is not for anyone who is house or garden proud especially through their teething stages. Saint puppies love nothing more than to chew on kitchen tables and chairs and on the sides of kitchen cabinets and get great satisfaction chewing on their owners shoes. They have a low tolerance of heat so warm houses will cause them discomfort and leads to excess slobbering. Homes with stairs must be fitted with child gates as running up and down stairs can cause untold damage to the bones of a growing puppy and can lead to Hip & Elbow Dysplasia in later life. A juvenile Saint Bernard cannot under any circumstances be over exercised as their bones do not reach maturity until after 18 months old. This is the time that breeders will Hip and Elbow score their dogs, scoring below this age will not give an accurate reading. Depending upon the bloodlines the head does not reach maturity until 5 years old. Saint Bernard’s kennelled outside must have a draft free house that is easily cleaned and maintained. They are a very social breed so they should not be kennelled on their own. Saint Bernard’s are not a “ beginner breed” so experience in large breeds is a requirement for puppy buyers as they can be quite stubborn and must be trained at an early age.
For more information on this breed of Dog, check out Sandra’s web site dedicated to the the Saint Bernard. Sandra will also be on hand again this year at the Dog Breed Village as herself & Tommy and the Saints return as Breed Village Representatives, after representing both Long haired and smooth coated Saint Bernards at last years Pet Expo