Breed-related disease: Saint Bernard

The St. Bernard or St Bernard is a breed of very large working dog originated in Switzerland along with several other breeds, including the Bernese Mountain Dog, Entlebuch Cattle Dog, Appenzell Cattle Dog, and Greater Swiss Mountain Dog.

They probably were created when dogs native to the Alps were crossed with Mastiff-type dogs that came with the Roman army during the time of the emperor Augustus. By the first millennium CE, dogs in Switzerland and the Alps were grouped together and known simply as Talhund” (Valley Dog) or “Bauernhund” (Farm Dog).

The Saint Bernard is one of the most popular giant breeds. Its powerful and muscular build contrasts the wise, calm expression. The breed has either long or short hair, ranging in color from a deep to a more yellowed brown, with white markings always present.

Even though the Saint Bernard is not very playful, it is patient, gentle, and easy-going with children. It is willing to please and shows true devotion to its family. Sometimes the dog displays its stubborn streak.


The Saint Bernard breed, which has a lifespan of 8 to 10 years, may suffer from major health problems such as:

Hip Dysplasia: This is a heritable condition in which the thighbone doesn’t fit snugly into the hip joint. Some dogs show pain and lameness on one or both rear legs, but you may not notice any signs of discomfort in a dog with hip dysplasia.

Entropion: This defect, which is usually obvious by six months of age, causes the eyelid to roll inward, irritating or injuring the eyeball. One or both eyes can be affected. If your Saint has entropion, you may notice him rubbing at his eyes. The condition can be corrected surgically.

Epilepsy: This disorder causes mild or severe seizures. Epilepsy can be hereditary; it can be triggered by such events as metabolic disorders, infectious diseases that affect the brain, tumors, exposure to poisons, or severe head injuries; or it can be of unknown cause (referred to as idiopathic epilepsy).

Osteochondrosis; is another inherited orthopedic condition that can affect Saints and many other breeds. It’s a defect in the formation of growing cartilage that causes it to fragment. It usually appears in dogs younger than 1 year.



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