Before you concider breeding with your Saint Bernard please take the following into
Cost of breeding stock:
If you really want to breed responsible, you’ll have to start with registered breeding animals.
A dog or bitch purchased from the junkmail, without any registration papers just won’t do,
as you’ll have know idea what the backround of that dog is, or what genetic health problems
will you breed into the next generation. If you do this, you cannot consider yourself to be
a breeder, but rather an unresponsible backyard puppy farmer.
Thus you will have to purchase a dog from a reputable breeder, and reputable breeders
won’t sell ‘the best’ offspring at a pet only related price. To get a breeding dog without
breed restrictions will unfortuantely cost a lot more then just a ‘pet animal’.
If the breeder don’t scrutinize between the two (pet and breed animals) you should rather
shop around some more, as there should be a definate distinction. Top animals cost more!
Also, if dogs are purchased for future breeding, it should be advisable that you know the
‘backround’ of the parents and grandparents. Was any health screening done? Like hip
dysplasia, elbow displasia etc.
Clean hips are not the alpha and omega, but you should make sure that one breeding
partner should have better hips then the other, otherwise you’ll go downhill!!
Unfortunately there isn’t a lot of Breeders in SA that sell breeding stock, so the alternative
would thus be to import from europe.
Top quality European bloodlines sell from anything from EUR1200 -EUR1800, and shipping
to SA is about the same price.
From European Union countries a number of tests need to be done before importing, thus
raising the price even more, as well as possible quarintine regulations.
Cost of health and genetic screening:
Before breeding it’s advisable to do health checks on both the bitch and stud (if you don’t
own the stud you can request a clean bill of health from stud owner).
The bitch should be dewormed, and all innoculations up to date. She should also be
tested for any vaginal infections, as this can cause serious damage to the unborn litter.
Males should also be checked for any canine STD’s.
Both breeding partners should be screened for genetic disorders like hip dysplasia.
All these test cannot neccesarily be done by a normal vet, and sometimes a specialist might
be needed thus costing more.
Genetic test results are also forwarded to KUSA.
After mating is done, the bitch’s pregnancy should be monitored. Scans at 30 days, possible
x-rays around day 52 (for piece of mind).
Provision should also be made in case of a required emergency c-section, and aftercare of
Cost of specialised feeding:
Once pregnancy is confirmed, the bitch should be put on a high maintenance diet. This
would be the top-of-the range kibble of your preffered brand, or puppy kibble.
Advisable is also addition of fresh liver like chicken liver to the dieet, as this provides
additional Iron, benefitting puppy growth, red bloodcell building (transporting oxygen to
the puppies) and thus building the stamina of the bitch and the road to a healthy pregnancy,
and strong puppies.
Once the litter is born the bitch will eat up to 3x her normal quantity of food, and at around
3weeks the puppies need to start on solids. Thus you will need to make provision for quite a
large amount of dog food for this period, and it should of be top quality, also costing more.
Cost of marketing:
Once the pregnancy is confirmed serious effort should be put into marketing of the litter, as
this is a specilized dog breed, and thus a very limited market.
Ads should be timiously booked for specilized animal magazines, and ofcourse the internet
and other printed media.
The aim is to sell your puppies before 10 weeks old, as when puppies goes into the ‘uglies’
at around 12-15 weeks, it gets all the harder to sell them.
Cost of registration of a litter:
Without registration, your litter is of very little value, and thus the registration should be
KUSA charge a fee per pup, and adding a whole litter up, can be quite pricey. You, as
owner of the dam should also be a KUSA member, and there is a fee for membership.
Cost of microchipping:
Microchipping is essencial when dealing with valuable dogs, and also helps in marketing
Chips are not cheap, and the vet also charge a consultation fee, plus implantation fee.
For a whole litter this can be quite a big some of money.
Vet cost for the litter:
Before you sell your puppies you’ll need to deworm them prefferable bi-weekly, and at
8 weeks the innoculations should be done.
Vet would charge a consultation fee, plus the administering of innoculations, as well as
the innoculations themselfs. For a whole litter, this bill can also be quite high!
There is also a possibility of puppies in need of vet care whilst you are raising them,
and provision should thus be made for such eventuality.
Cost in time, caring for the litter:
A newborn Saint litter will need 24/7 care for atleast the firs 14-21 days of there lifes.
The risk of the dam stepping or laying on a pup by accident is quite high, thus they’ll
need to be under survaliance the whole time.
If it’s a large litter, all puppies should be regularly checked and weighed to make sure
all is getting enough milk. If this is not happening, some puppies might need to be
handreared on puppy formula and depending on the age this can be every 2-4 hours
This might mean taking leave from work for this amount of time, or hiring someone
to do this on your behalf.
If this is not possible, please do not attempt to raise a litter of Saint puppies.
Possible cost of keeping unsold puppies:
If you don’t sell your litter of pups before 10-12 weeks, you might have a serious
problem. Can you afford to ‘keep’ 2 or 3 pups and raise them, and train them?
As the older a Saint pup, the more unlikely it will be to sell them, and since YOU
bred them, they will be your responsibility.
Also consider that some of your sold pups might need to be rehomed in a year
or two, if the new owners need to move into a townhouse, or immagrate, or
have serious health issues. You stay responsible for said dog, even if it’s a year
So please consider if you will be able to take care of the dog you have bred.