Guidelines and Statement of Policy
for the Saint Bernard Club of America
The basic reason for breeding and exhibiting St. Bernards is the improvement of each generation of the breed over the previous generations. All breeding and exhibiting activities should be viewed in this light. In keeping to this aim, the following practices are suggested.
- Breeders shall strive for perfection of the St. Bernard accordance with the official standard set by the American Kennel Club. In this regard they shall:
- Maintain high standards of health, care, safety and humane treatment of their dogs.
- Remember that a very small percentage of St. Bernards are of breeding quality.
- Use only physically sound and temperamentally sound stock, free from severe hip dysplasia, eye malformations, and poor temperaments. St. Bernards with outstanding defects should be spayed or neutered.
- Refuse stud service to any bitch that is unregisterable or shows the above or other obvious defects.
- Study and learn the good and bad points of their own stock, never doubling up on a known or visible fault or faults represented in the pedigrees of the dogs concerned.
- Ideally, X-ray for evidence of hip dysplasia at the age of one year or older, treating the mild cases as they would any other fault and excluding from breeding programs dogs with evidence of severe hip dysplasia. X-rays should be read by recognized authorities on the disorder. Not every veterinarian is competent to take or pass upon such X-rays.
- Refrain from breeding the bitch until her second season, preferably waiting until at least 18 months of age. A bitch shall be bred no more than two out of three seasons, this depending upon the size of the litter whelped and her condition. It is suggested that in most cases a period of one year lapse between litters.
- Breeders shall not sell stock or offer stud services without true representation to the public, nor use misleading or untruthful statements verbally, in writing, or advertising.
- No member shall buy or sell St. Bernards through brokers, agents or commercial pet outlets nor buy or sell in litter lots, nor sell to persons whose activities tend to degrade the breed.
- Puppy buyers should expect from their breeder a packet containing the following: a truthful four-generation pedigree, a vaccination and health record, written instructions concerning the care, feeding and training of the dog purchased (Basic Care booklets are useful here), a Bill of Sale and Application for Registration in accordance with AKC requirements with the limited registration category used when appropriate, copies of the Illustrated Commentary and tri-fold standard, an application blank for subscriber status to the SBCA, referral to website location and the Advisor Program, and lastly a contract stipulating what the breeder's policy is regarding the rare stiuation where the puppy can longer be kept by the purchaser. Ideally, no dog from an SBCA breeder should end up in Rescue.
- Purchasers shall be urged to spay or neuter St. Bernards not suitable for breeding.
- Registration papers shall be supplied without extra charge with every AKC dog. If the dog is not for breeding, this may be agreed to in a contract between buyer and seller, and/or placed with AKC's Limited Registration status.
- A breeder shall guarantee the health of his stock subject to a veterinarian's examination within 48 hours of the sale.
- Breeders shall price their dogs in accordance with local rates for quality St. Bernards. Undercutting the price of Saints eventually will make it impossible to breed good dogs for the return which can be anticipated.
- A breeder shall try to keep in touch with the progress of this breeding in order to better analyze his own programs.
- Breeders shall exhibit at dog shows where feasible. In so doing, they shall show a spirit of good sportsmanship and behave and dress so as to enhance public opinion of the Breed.
- Members shall not degrade any other kennel or member. It is the obligation of all to give advice and assistance to less experienced fanciers in a spirit of kindness and courtesy.
- No puppy shall be placed prior to being wormed and inoculated in accordance with standard veterinary practices.
- Breeders will not place their puppies prior to seven (7) weeks of age.
- It is our intent that no dog bred by a member of the SBCA will be homeless, turned in to a rescue organization, or surrendered to an animal shelter. Breeders will be responsible for the dogs, bitches and litters which are directly owned, co-owned or whelped by them.
In applying for membership, an applicant indicates they understand that serious infractions of the following Guidelines and Statement of Policy where the infraction is deemed detrimental to the Saint Bernard breed, the individual dog or to the Saint Bernard Club of America will result in expulsion from the club as outlined in the club's Constitution in the By-Laws, Article VII.