Welcome to the YOUNGSTEAD Saint Bernard web site, where you can read up-to-date, relevant, useful and practical information on every aspect of owning a Saint Bernard dog.
Please bear with me as I list the qualifications and experience that I believe entitle me to present this information.
I have spent the past thirty-five years working with Saint Bernard dogs. I have attended shows, have exhibited both my own dogs and many others on over five hundred occasions in thirteen countries around the world. Youngstead Saint Bernards are credited with forty-one registered breed champions.
In order to learn more about the Saint Bernard dog, I have travelled to dog shows throughout South Africa, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, France, Austria, Belgium, England, the USA, Denmark, Portugal and the Czech republic. I have personally handled Saint Bernards in shows in most of those countries. I have attended breed seminars presented by many of the great names in current Saint Bernard history. These include seminars on nutrition, grooming, training, breeding, artificial insemination, bone structure, eyes, teeth, skull structure, movement and detailed commentary on the FCI standard, as well as many other aspects of our breed.
I have personally trained many, many Saint Bernards, as well as many other breeds. I have also treated sick dogs, lost dogs to disease or old age, personally whelped many puppies and personally buried many loved dogs, mostly my own, but also some that belonged to friends and fellow Saint Bernard enthusiasts.
I have used my own Saint Bernards at over 450 ( that’s not a typing error: over four hundred and fifty) fund raising and charity events countrywide and have walked many hundreds of kilometres while my dogs pulled a carriage on which children had rides, for welfare, schools, orphanages, rescue organizations and many other events.
I am an internationally qualified judge for all working breeds, although I specialise in Saint Bernards. I have judged at many shows and at several specialist Saint Bernard shows, including the World Union of Saint Bernard Clubs, held in Germany in 2014, and again in Portugal in 2016.
I currently own my sixty-fifth Saint Bernard, and still have fifteen Saints living with me.
I worked for a summer at the monastery at the Great Saint Bernard Pass, from where the breed originated, living in the attic of the monastery and spending every day working with the dogs, maintaining the kennels, exercising the dogs in the mountains and presenting the dogs to the hundreds of daily visitors to the kennels.
During this time I also conducted tests on the dogs in the mountains (see article on Mountain Tests) and wrote a book on my adventure (Sixty-three Days ).
I have been the Chairman of the Saint Bernard Club in South Africa for the past ten years, and I am a member of several international Saint Bernard clubs.
These personal experiences, my education and my qualifications provide me with the background to present this information.
On this web-site you will discover what owning a Saint Bernard is all about. It may be that you have owned many Saint Bernards yourself, and you possibly own one or more at this time. You may exhibit Saint Bernards at dog shows, or might have done so in the past. You may have bred a few litters, or made up some champions. Perhaps you have trained Saint Bernards in obedience, carting or competition. To all those of you who fit into this category I say, “Well done”. Hopefully you have contributed positively to the welfare and improvement of the Saint Bernard breed.
However, this website is dedicated to the Saint Bernard dog with specific reference to our experiences over the past thirty-five years. Some of them have been good, while others have been the complete opposite. It is important to remember that throughout the entire thirty-five years our objective has always been the welfare and improvement of this wonderful breed! The fact that the breed has changed over the past thirty-five years is also significant.
There have been several changes to the breed standard which have generally been to the benefit of the health of the breed. Some breeders have resisted these changes for their personal reasons, while others have manipulated the standard to fit their own view of the ideal Saint Bernard. One must remember that this is a centuries-old breed that has been adapted over time to become the breed that we know today. As current breeders, exhibitors or judges, it is important to recognize that we are only the guardians of the breed for future generations. It is vitally important to ensure that we fulfil this task in a responsible manner that guarantees the future of our breed. (See article entitled : Guardians of the breed.)
Throughout the site I have used laymen’s words and terms where possible. I know and use technical terminology such as telegony, phenotype, occiput or dystocia, but the average household does not have a breeding or technical canine dictionary available.
Obviously, I have developed a personal philosophy regarding all aspects of the Saint Bernard breed, and it is this philosophy that has guided me to success with my hobby, ultimately to the benefit of the breed. You do not have to agree with my philosophy since there are many ways to achieve the same objective. I believe that there is still much to learn and many Saints to see. I look forward to my next show, next litter, next champion and next seminar with more enthusiasm than ever before.
So, whether you are an experienced Bernhardiner or a newcomer, please take what you can from my experiences and ensure that you apply the knowledge you gain to ultimately benefit the Saint Bernard dog.
If you are not sure how to solve a problem, ask! Send a question through the Member’s Queries, and I will gladly try to assist you.
We hope that you enjoy reading about this wonderful breed and take something positive from this site. Never stop learning!
Join the Member section here and start reading! There are currently 7 exclusive articles/seminars available totaling over 100 pages with over 25 000 words and scores of photos and diagrams. That is as much as an entire book, and we have lots of other information to add. Every time new information is posted you will receive notification via e-mail through the Newsletter.