My wife Cathy and I bought our first Saint Bernard in 1982. One was never enough. We have never looked back. At one stage we owned 30, but have generally between 15 and 20 adults at any time.
We live on a 6.5 acre smallholding in the South of Johannesburg where we have lived for 20 years. We have raised our 4 children, Andrea, Ryan, Ashleigh and Jessica with lots of farm animals, horses, goats, sheep, turkeys, chickens, rabbits… and of course OUR SAINT BERNARD dogs. Our philosophy is that by using only the best available dogs in our breeding program, we will improve the quality of the Saints in SA.
We started showing our dogs in 1987 and registered our kennel name Youngstead in 1989. Since then we have made up 42 champions, 30 from our own breeding and 12 from dogs brought into Youngstead kennel.
Our dogs have won 5 Best in Show awards at All Breeds shows, 5 Reserve Best in Show awards at All Breeds shows and 16 Specialist show Best in Show awards.
Trips to Europe
During 1997 I toured around Europe for 5 weeks visiting Saint Bernard kennels, shows, etc. I had the opportunity to see 355 Saints up close, from more than 28 established kennels in Switzerland, Germany, Austria, France, Italy and England. I also attended 2 shows and a breed seminar. A British breeder, Mrs Leslie Byles, allowed me to exhibit her 2 dogs at the Richmond show in England, which was a memorable occasion for me. I spent many hours learning from, chatting to, and mingling with Saint Bernard fanciers and breeders. I returned to SA with a different outlook and a resolve to strive for continued improvement in my breeding results.
This had been a very worthwhile and gratifying experience. I returned to South Africa with greater knowledge of the Saint Bernard dogs.
In 1999 I returned to Switzerland to attend the 115th anniversary show held near Zurich, and again visited other breeders and their dogs. I was privileged to exhibit YOUNGSTEAD ERASMUS at the show, which was another memorable occasion for me.
At the WUSB in 2001, I showed Youngstead Mona Lisa at the 110th Anniversary show of the German Saint Bernard club and at the Forum Show 2001.
I had the opportunity to show a daughter of Youngstead Erasmus, Yara v. Liebegg at the 125th anniversary show of the Swiss club in 2009, where she won BEST VETERAN ON SHOW in the Swiss Breeds Show!
I have shown and handled my own dogs as well as others in many countries, including England, Switzerland, Germany, France, Belgium, Czech Republic, Italy and Denmark. I have also attended the SBCA national show and 3 other specialist shows in the USA.
I have been part of the Saint Bernard Club in South Africa since 1987, serving in every position as a committee member and I have been the club Chairman since 2005.
I’m also presently the Chairman of the Working and Herding Breeds Association Golden Reef.
I have been a member of the Saint Bernard Club of Switzerland since 1997.
I am also a member of the Saint Bernard clubs of Germany and Italy since 2006.
I have served on the committees of various All Breed clubs and have been on the committee of the Witwatersrand KC since 2002.
Brief look at our Dogs
In 2007 a dog I bred, Ch. Youngstead Innes, was the number 1 Working Group winner in South Africa, and 6th best show dog for the year, of ALL breeds. This fantastic achievement remains a record in SA, as no other Saint has achieved this before or since!
I have imported 5 dogs from Swiss bloodlines, and exported over 80 dogs to 15 countries.
My second import as a rough (long hair); BALU vo.da RUSCHIGER SITA of YOUNGSTEAD, also from Switzerland.
He was undoubtedly the tallest Saint in S.A. standing 90cm at the withers!
The above two dogs were the first of several dogs we imported and we look forward to bringing many more good quality Saints into SA to support our breeding program.
Conferences and Seminars
In 2007 I was a guest speaker at an international conference held in conjunction with the 40th anniversary show of the Saint Bernard club of Italy. I also handled a bitch to Best in Show in the movement category, and represented Germany in the first ever “Saint Bernard Olympics” beating teams from Spain, Austria and Portugal to take second place Silver behind the 1st placed Italian team.
I have attended many Judges seminars and specialist breed seminars, as well as seminars on many subjects such as conformation, teeth, AI, nutrition, Long term kenneling, training and many others, in the USA, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, UK, Belgium and France, Czech Republic and Denmark as well SA.
I have attended breed seminars in SA on every breed in the Working Group, as well on breeds from many other groups, such as Basenjis, Cardigans, Pekinese, Bulldogs, Shih Tzu, Pointers, Retriever ( Golden) Retriever ( Labrador ) Weimaraner, Australian Cattle dog, Australian Shepherd, Border Collies and too many other to list.
I have also given 6 FCI Breed Seminars to Judges, Learner Judges and Saint Fanciers here in South Africa, as well as a Ring Stewarding seminar. I often act as the Official representative of our Kennel Union at shows in SA.
At the WUSB in Germany 2014 I presented a seminar to the International judges meeting, on Mountain Tests I conducted at the Great Saint Bernard Pass, together with Saint Bernard Movement.
HOSPICE DU GRAND SAINT BERNARD
Now, as you probably already know, the Monastery of the Grand Saint Bernard was the original birthplace of the Saint Bernard dog. Named the Hospice du Grand Saint Bernard, This monastery was established almost ten centuries earlier by Bernard de Menthon, in order to assist travellers crossing the Alps between Switzerland and Italy. From roughly 1700, dogs have been kept by the monks at the monastery for guarding and rescue work, and later were developed by the monks specifically for this rescue task, growing into the dogs we know today.
In 2008 the monks were looking for a suitable person to care for their valuable Saint Bernard dogs, at the oldest, most famous kennel in the world. That person would get to live in the monastery for a whole summer, interacting with the monks and spending all day, every day, in the company of a dozen Saints, thousands of tourists, and also many visiting Saint Bernard breeders, judges and enthusiasts. I immediately volunteered. My offer was accepted and I lived and worked at the Monastery of the Grand St Bernard, as a dog keeper, for the summer. Feeding the dogs, cleaning the kennels, caring for, training and exercising the dogs daily in the mountains and interacting with tourists visiting the kennels were part of my duties. I remain the ONLY current breeder outside of Switzerland to have ever done this.
I wrote a book titled SIXTY THREE DAYS detailing this fantastic adventure, published in 2012 in English and 2013 in German. Available elsewhere on this site in both hardcopy and e-book format.
World Union of Saint Bernard Clubs (WUSB)
THE WUSB SHOW 2000
The WUSB show in Italy 2000 was my first WUSB show, although I had been to shows in Germany, England and Switzerland and exhibited Saints in the latter 2 countries. It was certainly a very special event to attend, since it was the first WUSB show of the new millennium, and the 200th anniversary of Barry 1. It also gave me the opportunity to attend the WUSB breed seminar and conference as well as the Forum seminar and the Italian Saint Bernard show. Both shows were held in the most wonderful setting around the castle at Bagnara and it was obvious that both committees had put in a tremendous effort to ensure that the shows would be successful, and they were! I also caught up with friends that I had met on my 2 previous tours of Saints in Europe and made many new friends and contracts amongst the international Saint Bernard fraternity.
The highlight of my tour was being presented with a commemorative plaque, from the WUSB and the CLUBITALIANO SAN BERNARDO, at the dinner held the evening between the 2 shows. This wonderful gesture was a confirmation of my acceptance in the international Saint Bernard community and has inspired me to continue with my efforts to breed Saint Bernards that conform to the high standard found amongst the best dogs in Europe. I have since made every effort to attend the annual WUSB shows as often as possible and hope to be able to exhibit my own dogs there in the future.
I have attended many WUSB since and was instrumental in The Saint Bernard Club of Tvl, South Africa, becoming members of the WUSB in 2009.
Youngstead Saint Bernards have done an enormous amount of dog carting spanning 3 generations of our saints and covering many thousands of kilometers. We have supported many charities with our fund raising over the years.
SBCS, Animal anti cruelty, Cotlands Baby Sanctuary are just a few to mention.
Promotions and Advertisements
Youngstead Saint Bernards are always a popular attraction at Fund Raising promotions, Fun Days, Shopping Centres and Birthday and Christmas Parties. This has proven to be an excellent way to train and socialize our dogs as well as promoting Saint Bernards to the general public.
We currently own 18 Saints and manage a small boarding kennel on my property where we provide boarding for all dog breeds and for cats. We also provide inboard training for all breeds and have successfully trained over 100 dogs personally.
View Judging Info
I am an Internationally qualified judge for the Working group of 38 breeds and have had the pleasure of judging the Saint Bernard Specialist Open show in 2012 and the Specialist Championship show in 2014, as well as the World Union of Saint Bernard clubs show 2014 in Germany, and again I Portugal in 2016. I was elected to judge at the WUSB in Italy in September 2018.