Attention all Saint Bernard owners:  more blood samples are needed by the AKC Charitable Health Foundation. Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University Dr. Claire Sharp and her team at Tufts University are looking to collect blood (in EDTA anticoagulant) for the extraction of DNA from dogs that have had GDV or are from at risk breeds that have not had GDV. The DNA samples will be used for a genome wide association study in at risk breeds in order to identify single nucleotide polymorphisms that are associated with increased risk for GDV. This is part of a larger study evaluating the pathophysiology of GDV from a systems biology perspective (CHF Grant 1937-B).

Please help our breed by taking part in this program.  Click on:



All of us who have been loved and owned by a member of our gentle breed consider ourselves Ambassadors for the Saint Bernard. We also serve as true Advocates for their health, welfare and well-being. After all, the credo for the Saint Bernard Club of America is “A Non-Profit Organization Devoted to the Welfare of the Saint Bernard”.

Further, Article 1, Section 2a in our Constitution (adopted and approved well over a century ago) clearly states “to encourage and promote the ownership, selective breeding, showing and training of purebred Saint Bernard dogs, and to do all possible to bring their natural qualities to perfection.” Our Guidelines and Statement of Policy starts off by stating “The basic reason for breeding and exhibiting St. Bernards is the improvement of each generation of the breed over the previous generations.”

In addition, the Vision Statement for the SBCA’s Strategic Document clearly states “To do all things within the SBCA’s power to protect and advance the interests of the Saint Bernard.”

The breed depends on us – if not us, then who? The 4 important documents mentioned above are quite clear in their messages…… it’s us.

And how can we do this? One way is by supporting the Health Initiative created by the SBCA’s Health Panel and approved by the Board of Governors of the SBCA in 2011. Breeders especially have a vested interest in supporting the HI. Who among us has not been affected by one or more of the three main killers in our breed; bloat, epilepsy and osteosarcoma.

Not only does there need to be financial support, it’s necessary to pass the word along. Many of you have Facebook pages and participate regularly through the social media. Can you help spread the word in those ways? Many of you have contact with non-SBCA members through your local clubs or neighborhood. One does not have to be a member to support the health, welfare and the future of our breed. What about those who purchase a Saint from you, whether a puppy or an older dog? What about those who come to you for stud service? Would you consider an annual donation to the HI of 10% of the purchase price of a pet puppy or stud service? All breeders like to hear from owners of previously placed puppies: “he was the best dog we ever had and gave our family 10 years of love.” This would be an excellent opportunity to mention the Health Initiative and suggest that they honor the dog they loved and lost with a donation in his/her name to the HI for health research.

By your support of health research, you demonstrate the concern and commitment that all Saint fanciers should have for the health of the breed. The Health Initiative is generating approximately $25,000 per year through donations and fundraisers. It is important to compile sufficient reserve to be able to support the major research grants when promising proposals arise in areas crucial to Saints such as epilepsy, osteosarcoma and other cancers. Without the reserve we might not be able to collect the funds necessary in time to fund a particularly important proposal for Saints. (e.g., CHF’s bloat study required $50,000 from the SBCA to be a founding sponsor, making us one of only a handful of major sponsors in the AKC-CHF’s special Champion Sponsor category.)

We invite you to use the Health Initiative Sponsorship Form for your next donation. And to those of you who have already contributed so generously, and continue to do so, we thank you.