Saint Bernards are a beloved breed for those who love giant dogs. They’re cute and cuddly as puppies, but they grow into gentle giants. This breed originated in Switzerland and it is an ancient breed that has been around for centuries. They’re known for their use in search and rescue efforts in mountainous regions, but more often, people just enjoy their company as companions and members of their families. If you’re interested in bringing a Saint Bernard into the family, but wondering about the expense, we have you covered. Our complete price guide for a Saint Bernard tells you everything you need to know about the initial investment and how much it will cost throughout the life of your beloved pet.
How much does it cost to buy a Saint Bernard?
Saint Bernards are not the most expensive dog breed to buy, but they’re not cheap either. The average price is $1,000 for a purebred Saint Bernard puppy from a reputable breeder. The prices can range from $550 to $2,000, depending on the quality of the dog, the breeder’s reputation, the economy in the region, and the demand, according to Hepper. Reputable breeders charge the most for dogs with high conformance to breed standards. It’s a rating system that sets the standard for the perfect Saint Bernard in terms of size, body proportions, coat, markings, abilities, and temperament. Dogs that lose points in any areas of the standards are not as highly valued. Most puppies born do not measure up to the strict criteria, and sell for an average of $1,000.
Why is breeder reputation essential?
Buying a purebred Saint Bernard is an investment, but it goes far beyond the financial investment. A dog becomes a member of the family. When you buy a puppy, it’s essential to find a dog that is healthy, free of physical defects and disease. Large dogs, St. Bernards included, tend to inherit genetic issues. Hip dysplasia is one of them. Reputable breeders own healthy breeding stock with genetic testing that shows the bloodlines are not prone to genetic problems. Some breeders may produce puppies with indications of problems in the future, but they will be honest about the medical screening results. These breeders take care of their breeding stock with comfortable and sanitary living quarters. They interact with their pets and socialize with them. Responsible breeders provide healthy and nutritious diets for their dogs and take them to the vet for regular medical checkups. The mother dogs receive prenatal care to ensure that the pregnancy is going well. Puppies receive a wellness checkup with genetic screening to determine health status. If the breeder still owns them when it’s time for vaccinations, the puppies receive their first round to prevent the development of common diseases.
Reputable breeders maintain complete records for their dogs that include medical histories, vaccination records, pedigree verification, and proof of bloodlines. Some breeders offer purebred dogs, while others hybridize them, but the point is you know everything that there is to know about the dog before you buy it. They have the best chance of living a happy and healthy life in their new home. Reputable breeders know the value of their dogs, and the expenses out of their own pockets to produce quality puppies. They charge per the going rate based on the value of the dogs. Puppy mills are only concerned with making a quick buck. They breed dogs and deliver litter in crowded and unsanitary conditions with little regard for the health and well-being of the animals. They raise large numbers of dogs and sell them as quickly as they can, often not knowing the health status of the dogs. Some do not even take them to the vet for a medical checkup, and few perform genetic testing. You’re fortunate if you leave with any paperwork about the dog, to verify its pedigree status. It’s risky to deal with this type of breeder, as the dog you buy may have health problems, costing a lot in medical bills, and breaking your heart as you watch them suffer.
Another issue is buying puppies online. Some cybercriminals run sophisticated scams to get your money. They steal photos and information from the websites of legitimate breeders and post them on a fake site. They may seem legitimate, but they’re not. They conduct all business online, or sometimes via phone, and agree to sell purebred Saint Bernard puppies online, then ship them to your home after you pay the full amount. After you pay, they disappear, and the dog never arrives. It’s best to go with the sure deal and only work with reputable breeders. Meet with them in person whenever possible.
Supply expenses for a Saint Bernard
Pet Budget points out the other expenses you will have during the first year of your puppy’s life. You will need to buy supplies for him before you bring him home. The total amount you will spend depends on the brands that you choose and where you purchase supplies. You can find most items you will need for under $200, but some new pet owners spend over a thousand to have the very best designer doggie supplies. You don’t need to break the bank to have all the supplies your puppy will need. He’s going to need a collar and a leash. You will also need a pet taxi to bring him home, and to transport him to and from his medical appointments safely. Dogs should be placed in pet taxis when they’re transported for their safety and yours.
Your puppy will also need food and water bowls, and healthy and nutritious puppy food. It’s best to not cut corners on your pet’s nutrition. You should also pick up some nutritious puppy treats for training. He will need a bed to sleep on. Some pet parents like to use a crate for training their puppies and keeping them safe when they’re away for a few hours. You will also need to pick up grooming supplies including a brush, a toothbrush kit, and mild pet shampoo. Finally, all puppies need to have chew toys. Choose high-quality toys with top ratings so they will last for a while. Teething puppies go through a lot of toys during the first year of life, so plan on replacing them as they become worn and frayed. You will also need to buy puppy pads for potty training, and a pooper scooper with bags for cleaning up his waste.
Other costs for a Saint Bernard
It’s a good idea to choose a vet for a medical screening. Your puppy will need to get his vaccinations, and it’s good to have an established medical provider. The cost of a checkup varies from one animal healthcare clinic to another, so it’s wise to investigate the rates. Regular checkups and vaccines can identify problems that may arise while they’re still minor. You may want to invest in pet healthcare insurance while your dog is still a puppy. If he does have severe issues, the policy will help defray the cost of medical bills. If your pet is exposed to fleas or ticks, you’ll spend more on products to help prevent and control infestations. It’s one of the drawbacks that go with pet ownership. Fleas are an issue that most dog-owners deal with.
If you’re a busy person with a career that takes you out of the home, you may need to hire a dog walker or a pet sitter. Again, the rates for these services vary depending on your location and the individuals you hire. Saint Bernards need daily exercise. If possible, the owners should walk the dogs as it’s an excellent way to bond with your pet, but if not, have someone else give him the exercise he needs. Some pet owners prefer to groom their dogs, but others use a grooming service. The average cost for shampoo and cleaning is around $50 for larger breeds, but the charges are different from one pet salon to another. Nail grooming is also something that needs regular attention. Saint Bernards are a lovable and friendly breed but they do require training from early puppyhood. You can opt to do the training yourself if you’re experienced with dogs. If not, you may have an additional expense for a dog trainer. They can help to improve behaviors in dogs and teach them basic commands.
Some pet owners go over the top with their desire to give their pets all the modern comforts and safety features. There are quite a few electronic toys on the market, to keep your pet occupied and challenged. Some pet owners who work during the day install two-way communication systems with audio and video. This allows you to see your pet and talk to him from your smartphone or computer. It’s not an essential supply, but it’s becoming more popular with pet owners. It helps them to be aware of their pet’s activities during the day and helps to prevent separation anxiety for puppies.
What about show dogs?
If your goal is to own a show dog, you will spend a minimum of $2,500 for a puppy. Some Saint Bernards with exceptional bloodlines and champions in the ancestral line can sell for as high as $10,000, according to Pet Price List. The price of the dog goes up and so do the associated expenses. Show dogs require skilled trainers to teach them the etiquette for dog shows. Unless you’re a professional dog handler, you will need to hire one to present your dog at the shows. Most show dogs receive professional grooming to prepare for competitions. You must also plan for the entrance fees for the competitions, travel expenses, and room accommodations for shows outside the local community.
Can you find a Saint Bernard at an animal rescue shelter?
The chances of finding a Saint Bernard at an animal shelter are low. It’s because this is a popular breed and most owners take good care of their pets. If you do come across a Saint Bernard at a pet rescue, the cost of adoption is far less than the price of buying a dog from a breeder. Animal shelter adoption fees range from $50 to $300, depending on the policies of the shelter. On the plus side, you’re giving a vulnerable pet a loving home and making room for more dogs at the shelter. On the downside, you will know little about the health history of the dog, his pedigree status, and most pet shelters mandate spay or neuter. You’re taking a risk adopting an adult dog from a shelter, but some people who have adopted rescued pets have found the love of their lives, and wouldn’t change a thing.
Consider your reason for buying a Saint Bernard before you make your move. If you’re looking for a house pet and companion, you won’t need to spend as much on a purebred Saint Bernard. Many dogs do not meet the strict criteria set for show dogs. They’re more affordable to purchase. As the dog ages, the monthly expense of ownership goes down to the cost of food and occasional vet visits in most cases. The first year is the most expensive as your puppy is growing. You’ll need to upgrade his supplies to keep up with his growing needs. You’ll spend more on food as time goes on, but the average cost is likely to be from $100 to $200 per month. The initial cost and first year are the most expensive, but the cost of ownership generally levels off as your dog matures. It’s wise to consider all possible expenses to ensure that your budget will allow you to meet the needs of your new pet throughout his lifespan.