St. Bernards are quite large and can grow up to 120 to 180 pounds in weight or even heavier.
While most dogs in this weight range do not have very long lifespans, the St. Bernard defies odds by living up to 10 years and a bit more in some rare cases. The longevity seen in the breed is largely due to how healthy they generally are.
However, Saint Bernards do have a few health issues that you have to keep an eye out for and plan for in terms of lifetime maintenance costs.
Here are a few of the health issues that St. Bernards have.
Hip And Elbow Dysplasia
This is quite common with large dogs and the St. Bernard is no exception. The condition affects formation of the joints in the hip and elbow leading to joint instability and even arthritis later on in life.
As with most other dog breeds, epilepsy in St. Bernards is a hereditary condition. Unfortunately, this is one of the breeds that is worst affected by the condition which gets progressively worse to handle as the dog gets older.
Bone cancer is easily the most common type of cancer that affects St. Bernard dogs. It mainly affects the dogs when they are in their middle to old age and starts as changes in gait. If not dealt with promptly, it could be life threatening. That is why regular vet checkups are so crucial with St. Bernards.
The Saint Bernard is one of the most affected dog breeds by this disease. Dilated cardiomyopathy causes progressive weakness and failure of the heart which is eventually what hurts and kills the dog.
St. Bernards were built for very cold weather in the Swiss Alps. They do not do very well in hot and humid conditions. If you notice your St. Bernard panting a lot, they are probably having a hard time regulating the heat in which case some shade and cold water should do the trick.