Irishchick Registered User

deejer said:
Well after an hour long chat on the phone with the lady last night I am happy that she is a responsible breeder with the relevant certs. I am calling to her on Sunday where she will be able to show me all the paper work, the two parents and our new pup.

Again thanks everyone here for the advise, much appreciated. I was not the most popular person at home when I said we may not be taking the dog though.

Please just make sure you SEE The Certs in person. If your fobbed off then walk away.

You would be even less popular at home if the pup became ill and you came home with huge vet bills

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andreac Registered User

Yes, make sure you see them. They are certs from the BVA in the UK, that have results for scoring of the hip and elbow and then there should be heart test certs as well.
The scores should be the average at minimum or preferable below the average for a Saint.
Saint Bernards have a score of 21 so the parents should be in and around that but preferably lower.
Heres the link from the BVA website with all the scores for you to have a look at.

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The Sweeper Patience, grasshoppa

+1 to all of the above.

Deejer, understand this: when you take that puppy, there's no way on this planet you'll ever give him back. Unscrupulous breeders RELY on the empathy of the ordinary person. You adopt a pup, you become attached to it, you adore it, and if it ends up being a poorly bred pup, you feel like you're its chance for a happy life and you'd never give it back to the mean person who it came from. Some folks even convince themselves they've rescued the pup.

With that in mind, just be aware that the following are standard excuses:

"I don't have the papers, I'll send them on"
"The vet okayed them, I'll get a copy of the certs and post them to you"
"The vet said I didn't need the x-rays - they're expensive and he said the dogs were fine"
"They're the picture of health, sure, look at them"

And so on.

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tk123 Registered User

DEFINITELY walk away if they don't have the proper certs. Don't feel sorry for the pup, don't con yourself into thinking you're "rescuing" it or that "everything will be grand" either. I love my dog more than anything but let me tell you handing over your little baby puppy to the vet for xrays (and in our case 2 operations) is extremely worrying and stressful.

Sorry if my post may seem harsh but you'll melt the minute you see the puppy and won't have your wits about you!!

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star-pants Closed Account

Everyone - just a note, if someone else has said something you wanted to say you can thank their post and quote that you agree along with any other extra points you have. Everyone repeating the exact same thing can come across a bit gang like. Thanks!

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tk123 Registered User

God I can't wait until Sunday to see pics of our new boards puppy!! That fuzzy puppy 'huh?!' look they have lol

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Taltos Registered User


Great choice in a dog

Hope some of the following helps.
we got 2 St Bernard-Bernese crosses from a breeder in Wexford nearly 19mts ago now during the heavy snows (which meant they weren't socialsed in time) - (her Bernese got into her St Bernard that she was breeded).
Were told bone scores etc were all fine, no history of issues in the mother but never checked the papers and to our shame never saw the mother. Our trust here has come back to haunt us - just wanted to get home while the roads were reasonably open before the next snow fall.

We did however get pet insurance - saved our lives and our bank balances.
For the first while all seemed fine - then when getting them neutered we chose to get an x-ray of their hips just on the off chance of any issues - gawd - both of them have really really bad hip dysplaysia - for a year now we have been bringing them to hydrotherapy every single week...

Some other things to watch out for.
1. Do research on the right food - you want to ensure you don't get a food that encourages growth. We are now feeding ours Orijin and boiled chicken and rice. As well intentioned as vets are they are dealing with sales guys so do your research online and talk to a number of breeders.
2. Walks - the Bernard does NOT need long walks - start very very slowly - say 5 minutes max and following vet guidance increase per month. We now walk ours a max of 30 minutes a day. With a rest day after the swim.
3. Begin training immediately - and I mean asap - ours are quite good on the lead - though then they get excited at seeing another dog they can pull a bit - combined they are nearly 15stone - but normally they are great - we use the front harnesses. Be careful of collars you want to protect their necks. Also you may have to repeat the training cycle 3 or 4 times as much as for another dog - St Bernards sometimes really need a command drilled in. For us - Stay sometimes works; Come here - well depends; Sit - can't use with the hips; Look - very good now.
4. Stairs - keep them off stairs - again can impact the onset of hip dysplasia.
5. Socialisation - expose them to as much good experiences as possible. Mine unfortunately had issues with some kids our neighbours mind while left alone a few times. Now meeting kids is a big problem... Similarly when they meet old folk with hats and sunglasses they get spooked. Cannot stress this enough - we found when we put ours into day care it worked wonders for us outside as our short walks just could not introduce enough new dogs. They are now great with other dogs mostly - just not people - one had a hip socket pop out so missed out on some early people socialisation - we are getting there though.
6. House proof - ours have
> chewed our skirting boards - destroyed sections.
> Licked the plaster off the wall back to bricks.
> Chewed wooden furniture to make it rickety - including our really good antique table and chairs - cost a fortune a few years ago - but who cares they are happy.
> Ate their way into a section of our leather sofa - a blanket and tape hides this.
> Ate and tore up some small trees and shrubs - they love wood - and for some reason sometimes like muck - so a few holes in the garden now.
7. House Training - we were using paper etc - and it was a mess. Someone suggested crate training - and this worked fantastically. For the first week get up every hour or so and take the puppy out to the toilet, and slowly extend the time. When introducing to the crate don't close the door straight away - again check online for guides on crate trainging - worked wonders for us and for another guy in work who used to get up to an absolute mess every morning.
8. Jumping up on you - Don't ever ever encourage this - your dog will soon be 7 or 10 stone - this will crush a kid if they try to jump up in excitement.
9. Bite inhibition - start it very early - use the yip to train the dog.
10. Handling - get your puppy used to you checking it all over - with their coats it is easy to miss a tic or a cut.
11 Eyes - check that the eyes are not too diamond shaped - this can cause problems but again you can find more online on this - we were lucky so don't need to worry about it.

Be prepared for everyone to come racing over to pet "Beethoven" - while this is good control it so that your little puppy doesn't get scared and learn to dislike interaction - always praise them afterwards and reward them.

I personally find this breed to be really really intelligent with very expressive faces when you know what to look for. They have definitely have firm ideas of self - so quite often you might find that if you say want them to go outside they will decide "fopp you matey" and stay where they are.

Take as many photos as you can - in a few months they will be huge - you won't see much of a difference but trust me without the photos you won't believe how little it was.

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portgirl123 Registered User

please also, which i havent seen anyone else mention on here is health of their eyes. apparently more and more saints are suffering with genetic problems with their eyes. my dog who is just 11 months has already had 4 ops on her eyes, 2 on each one. has also now had 2 ulcers on each eye. she has been treated for this but the ulcers keep coming back. vet is now sending her to a specialists. my concern now is that she is going to lose one or more of her eyes as they are so bad.
i knew when i got her she had eye probs, i got her for free as owner couldnt get rid of her and some of her brothers and sisters because of their eyes, didnt realise though how bad things where going to be. also one of the other pups is now suffering from her hips as well.
so please do urself a fAVOUR and make sure all the relevent health checks have been done. as others have said if she dont have the certs dont take the pup. if people started to turn away from puppy farmers/back yard breeders it would help to get rid of them. while it may be hard to walk away from a pup you have your heart set on i will tell you its harder still to watch them suffer.

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Irishchick Registered User

OP will you let us know how it goes?

deejer Registered User

Irishchick said:
OP will you let us know how it goes?

I sure will!

Jaz I am really nervous bout this now.

Taltos Registered User

No need to be nervous - St Bernard's make great pets - actually now after a year and a half I prefer - companions...

portgirl123 Registered User

OP,i didnt post to turn you of getting a saint just to be careful when you buy one that you are aware of the possible health risks. as saints are big dogs everything is so much more expensive. so far with my dogs eyes vet bills have cost me over €2000. i know i got her for free and was aware of her eye problems but now when i look at i would have saved myself a fortune if i had of gone to a reputible breeder, also the heartache it would have saved.
there is no way now in a million years i would get rid of her now or would i swap her for a health saint as he is part of the family. saint are brill dogs.
just op please make sure you get her health certs and by this the proper ones not just a card from the vets. if she has got them do your self and the dog and walk.

good luck with sunday

tk123 Registered User

What happened OP??

deejer Registered User

tk123 said:
What happened OP??

We ended up collecting her yesterday actually. It was a long drive to collect her but he was well behaved in the car. To be honest I was not sure about the breeder. She has owned bernards for years and the dogs just happy but I still wasnt convinced. (i guess this thread has alot to do with that). She had all the certs tracing the blood line of the dogs and she had the BVA certs which gave me some relief.

The mother and father were out the back and we had a look at them too. They both 3yrs old and I have to say that the father was a very impressive looking dog and looked in good shape. I was not so convinced by the mother though but maybe after popping out all those pups I should cut her some slack!

The pup, well as soon as he walked into the room I dont think my girlfriend was ever going to leave the house without him. He pulled out all the stops! I was trying to remain focused on asking all the questions and checking all the certs while she was busy rubbing his belly and thinking what name might suit him best.

So we bought him, he is home, and we are both happy. Im not sure he is so happy yet but I guess it will take him a while to settle in. It was late when we got home last night and I am in college "studying" today so when I get home this evening I will put up a photo.

Let the fun begin!

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tk123 Registered User

Ah can't wait to see a pic!

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