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Pet Insurance for Saint Bernards

Find out all about Saint Bernards and their common health conditions, then compare pet insurance options from some of Australia’s leading insurers.

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, updated on September 15th, 2023       

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Price range

$2,500 – $4,000

Height

65–90cm

Weight

55–80kg

Personality

Gentle, patient, friendly

Coat length

Short (smooth) or long (rough), double coat

Exercise needs

Moderate

Kid-friendly?

Yes

Life expectancy

8–10 years

Saint Bernard

Overview

The Saint Bernard, originally hailing from the Swiss Alps, is renowned for its impressive size and gentle nature. Bred by monks at the Saint Bernard Hospice for rescue missions in the treacherous alpine passes, these dogs exhibit a kind and friendly disposition. Despite their imposing stature, they are known for their affectionate and patient temperament, making them excellent companions.

Their dense double coat, designed for sub-zero temperatures, requires regular grooming to maintain its health. In the Australian climate, they may need extra care to stay cool during hot summers. Saint Bernards are intelligent and adaptable, but they benefit from consistent training and early socialisation. They thrive in homes where they receive ample exercise and mental stimulation.

As family pets, Saint Bernards are gentle giants, often displaying affectionate behaviour towards their loved ones. They are well-suited to families that can accommodate their size and provide the necessary attention and exercise. With their history of aiding mountain rescues, Saint Bernards are an excellent choice for families seeking a loyal and protective companion.

Common diseases and conditions of Saint Bernards

  • Hip dysplasia: this is a genetic condition where the hip joint doesn't develop properly, leading to arthritis and mobility issues.
  • Elbow dysplasia: similar to hip dysplasia, this is a developmental issue affecting the elbow joint, causing lameness and discomfort.
  • Osteosarcoma: this is a malignant bone cancer, more common in larger breeds like Saint Bernards. Early detection is crucial.
  • Entropion and ectropion: these are eyelid conditions where the eyelid rolls inward (entropion) or outward (ectropion). Entropion can cause eyelashes to rub against the cornea, leading to irritation and potential vision problems if untreated. Ectropion can also lead to eye irritation. Both conditions require veterinary attention and may need surgical correction.
  • Cardiomyopathy: this is a condition where the heart muscle weakens, potentially leading to heart failure. Regular veterinary check-ups are important for early detection.
  • Epilepsy: this is a neurological disorder that can cause seizures, which can often be managed with medication.

Breed-specific issues:  

The immense size of Saint Bernards can be a challenge in smaller living spaces, requiring owners to provide ample room for them to move comfortably. Additionally, their tendency to slobber, attributed to loose lips and substantial jowls, can be a daily concern. These dogs are also prone to weight gain, and owners need to carefully manage their diet and exercise to prevent obesity, which can lead to various health issues. Furthermore, their dense coats, though protective in colder climates, can be a challenge in warmer weather, making it crucial to keep them cool and comfortable.

How much does pet insurance cost for a Saint Bernard?

There are many factors that can influence the cost of pet insurance for your Saint Bernard, including the following: 

  • Age: the older your dog is, the more pet insurance is likely to cost. This is because older dogs tend to have more physical health conditions and illnesses due to age, and so present a higher insurance risk.   
  • Type of insurance you choose:  there are three basic types of pet insurance for dogs available in Australia; accident-only, accident and illness, and comprehensive insurance. An accident-only policy is the cheapest type available, with comprehensive coverage costing the most. 
  • The policy annual limit: each pet insurance policy has an annual limit, which is the maximum amount that will be paid out on the policy in one financial year. Annual limits range from around $10,000 up to $25,000 or more.  
  • Sub limits: in addition to an annual limit, there may also be sub limits which apply to the policy, for example a $300 sub limit for consultation fees, or a $5,000 limit for cruciate ligament conditions.  
  • Benefit percentage: pet insurance does not cover 100% of the cost of your vet bill. Instead, it may pay a percentage of the total bill. This can range from 50% for cheaper policies, up to 90% for top-of-the-range cover. 
  • Excess amount: this is the amount you’ll need to pay out-of-pocket each time you make a claim on your policy. Some pet insurance policies do not come with an excess amount, whilst others do. 
  • Any add-ons you choose: it’s possible to add on more cover options to a basic policy, such as emergency boarding fees, routine care and dental care. These add-ons extend the scope of your pet insurance, but do increase the overall cost of the policy.
  • Discounts: some insurers offer discounts of between 5% and 15% if you have multiple pets insured together, if you pay your premium annually, or if you bundle your pet insurance with other forms of insurance with the same company.  

Types of pet insurance you can choose from

Why compare pet insurance with Savvy?

Common questions about Saint Bernards

Are Saint Bernards good with children and other pets?

Yes – Saint Bernards are typically excellent with children due to their gentle and patient nature. They often form strong bonds with kids and are known for their tolerance. However, as with any dog breed, supervision is essential when interacting with young children. Saint Bernards can also get along well with other pets if properly socialised from a young age.

How much exercise do Saint Bernards require?

Despite their size, Saint Bernards are not overly active. They need regular exercise to keep them in good shape and maintain muscle tone. Daily walks and some playtime are usually sufficient. However, it's important to avoid strenuous exercise, especially during their puppy growth stages, to prevent joint issues, which the breed is prone to.

Are Saint Bernards easy to train?

Saint Bernards are intelligent dogs, but they can be independent and somewhat stubborn. Successful training involves early socialisation and consistent, positive reinforcement techniques. Patience is essential, and they often respond well to reward-based training methods.

Are Saint Bernards high maintenance in terms of grooming?

Yes – Saint Bernards can be high-maintenance in terms of grooming. Their dense double coat requires regular brushing to prevent matting and to keep it healthy. They shed seasonally, so more frequent brushing may be needed during those times. Additionally, cleaning their slobber-prone areas, such as their jowls and neck, is essential to prevent skin issues.

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Saint Bernard

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