St. Bernard F A Q
Can I have pick of the litter? How do I make a deposit?
Before we list our puppies individually for sale on this site, we email the people on our waiting list all at the same time to give them pick of the litter. We contact those people when the pups are about a week old, after they have been checked by our vet for the first time. Most people choose a pup from the photos we email them. A deposit of $200 holds the puppy of choice, and PayPal offers the quickest way to get a deposit to us. (We cannot hold a puppy without a deposit.) Some people prefer to pick out the puppy in person if they are within driving distance. We ask visitors to wait until pups are at least 2 weeks old. By that time their eyes are opening and they are beginning to respond to their surroundings. Of course, puppy personalities develop over time and are not obvious at this young age.
Are your Saint Bernards “wet mouths” or “dry mouths”? What is the difference?
According to the Saint Bernard Club of America, there is no such thing as a dry mouth; all Saints drool. If you have ever been around a Saint Bernard, you know this! However, the amount of drool has much to do with the cut of the lower lip. The more droopy the jowl, the more drool. Show breeders prefer the droopy lower lip because it conforms to the breed standard. However, pet owners, especially those who plan to keep their dogs in the house, often prefer a tighter lower lip and less slobber. Our adult Saints which we breed have less droop to their lower lips and therefore less slobber.
Can you guarantee that your puppies will not develop hip dysplasia?
No one can guarantee a problem-free puppy. Hip problems can be genetic or environmental. We chose not to have our parent dogs hip x-rayed because even dogs with clear x-rays have a chance of producing a puppy with hip problems. Neither of our parent dogs has demonstrated any joint problems, and we give our dam Ester-C throughout pregnancy and lactation as an aid in healthy joint development. Environmental factors that can cause hip dysplasia may include slippery floors and frequent use of stairs for a puppy. The cause of hip dysplasia is one of the most debated topics in canine health, and advice varies greatly even among veterinarians. Do some research on the Internet and you’ll see! Of course, obesity is the most easily preventable cause of joint problems. Do not allow your dog to become obese, and you will greatly reduce the chance of joint problems.
What should I expect for my puppy’s feeding schedule, and what type of food?
We have been feeding Purina Puppy Chow Large Breed Formula. We will give you enough to last a few days after you take your puppy home. If you want to switch brands, do so gradually by mixing some of what he is used to with the new food. Large breed formulas contain vitamins and oils that promote joint health, so we recommend them. We moisten the puppy chow and allow it to “sog” for 5 minutes before feeding. We feed three times a day. An eight week old puppy eats about 3 cups of food each day, but usually more at the morning feeding than in the afternoon. As your puppy grows, he may not require the middle of the day feeding. However, it is very important to continue to feed your large breed dog at least twice a day instead of only once. Since large breeds are susceptible to bloat, smaller feedings more frequently can minimize the risk.
What are his sleeping arrangements like? Does he have a fluffy bed, a blanket, a crate, etc.? I want to buy whatever he’s used to.
Our puppies are raised as indoor/outdoor dogs, and they sleep in a pile with their litter mates. We will give you a piece of the blanket that was in the birthing box so that he will have a familiar smell with him when he leaves. He is used to a crate (with the door off) and he comes and goes at will. However, a crate is not very practical for a full grown Saint Bernard since you could never lift it! So a doggie bed or pile of blankets on the floor would work just fine. Your puppy will come to you partially paper-trained. If you have a room where you want him to sleep, we suggest you put newspapers on top of something waterproof on the floor a few feet away from his sleeping area. He should already know to use the newspapers to potty at night. As he gets older he won’t need to potty at night and can wait until you take him out in the morning.
Will my new puppy already have a collar? Has he been walked on a leash? Does he prefer a harness?
We do not keep a collar on the puppies due to the possibility of strangulation. We normally begin leash training around 8 weeks of age, so depending on when you pick up your puppy, you may be the one to start walking him on a leash. A collar is a better training tool than a harness, and he will get used to it quickly. An 8 week old Saint puppy has a neck of about 13”, but be sure to realize that the first small collar will not last for long!
Will my puppy have a specific potty/sleep schedule?
Since the whole litter of pups have been together since birth, they potty and sleep whenever the urge strikes! Very often, a puppy will need to potty a few minutes after eating, so taking him outside after he eats is a good idea.
The first few nights at your home may pose a problem sleeping–just like a new baby! Expect your new puppy to whine and cry because he misses his litter mates. He will want to cuddle up with something soft and warm. A stuffed animal is a good substitute to his litter mates. Only allow him to climb in bed with you if you intend to allow him to keep doing so when he is full-grown and weighs 150 pounds. (Imagine that!) Your puppy will nap frequently during the day, and Saint Bernards tend to just drop where they are when they are tired. If you have young children, remind them that it is important for the puppy to nap undisturbed to remain healthy.