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With their heavy, shaggy coats and prodigious tracking ability, the St. Bernard became a breed prized for their ability to locate lost or injured people in the bitter cold and snow of the Alps.
While today's St. Bernards are a little larger and shaggier than their forefathers, they are beloved by many for their generally kind, gentle demeanor. Classified as a "giant" dog breed (usually weighing at least 140 lbs.!), early training is advised to ensure a well-behaved adult - even a strong person can have trouble controlling an untrained St. Bernard on the leash!
Despite their gentle demeanor, St. Bernards are prone to a number of hereditary and congenital conditions that can adversely affect their health – not to mention your family’s vacation fund. Some of the conditions and illnesses St. Bernards are prone to include heart problems such as dilated cardiomyopathy; digestive issues such as gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV or bloat); joint conditions such as hip and elbow dysplasia; and eye issues such as entropion.
Thankfully, Petplan pet insurance covers all hereditary and chronic conditions as standard. Which means if your lovable St. Bernard inherits more than just his dad’s slobbering kisses or his mother’s endearing snorts and snores, you’re covered.