There are many health issues in this breed.  We have detailed a few of them on this page.  In the future, we plan on having more detailed information available.

Hip Dysplacia

  • See an OFA of Penn Hip certification or denial on both parents before you buy!
  • Get a written contract with your breeder guaranteeing that your puppy will not develop Severe Genetic Hip Dysplacia.
  • Remember that Hip Dysplacia is a polygenetic disease and is not purely traced at the moment to genetics.  It is partially a result from environmental and genetic causes, so keep your puppy thin and be careful!  Don’t let them jump!

Genetic Epilepsy

  • Far too many Saints have Genetic Epilepsy.  Who wants a 160 pound seizuring dog?  Be very careful and inquire!  The cute little puppy you have now may have it later on – BEWARE!  Do NOT buy from a backyard breeder, pet store, or puppy mill.  If your breeder won’t talk about it or doesn’t track their puppies… RUN!
  • Inquire to your breeder about any known epileptic dogs in your puppies background.  Make sure you have a written contract with your breeder should your puppy develop Genetic Epilepsy before the age of 4 years.

Temperament

  • It is important to have a good temperament in a giant dog.  If a Chihuahua bites a child they may have a few stitches. If a Saint Bernard bites a child, its face could be gone or worse!
  • Genetic temperament is important!  A good dog can be ruined but a bad dog will never be good!
  • Make sure you meet the mother of the puppies and inquire about the father.  Ask to meet the other dogs in the kennel. If you can’t touch every one of them, don’t buy even one of them!  This means every dog in the kennel.  The sire is sometimes not on the grounds, but other than him, every animal should love you.  If the sire is not on site, make sure you see at least a picture and a three generation pedigree.
  • Please realize that all Saint Bernards go back to Swiss lines and there is no such thing as a pure Swiss line.  Also, a Swiss line does not guarantee a superior animal.
  • Also realize that an AKC registration is just that… a registration.  It does NOT mean that you have a healthy dog or that it meets the Saint Bernard Standard.  Sometimes its not even a purebred dog.  It just means that someone said that they bred two dogs together.  It is not a health guarantee.