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How Much Does a St. Bernard Cost? (2021 Price Guide)

When it comes to the cost of owning a dog, their price usually goes up as the dog increases in size. Based on this logic, the St. Bernard is one of the most expensive dogs around. They are much larger than other dogs and are known as “gentle giants” for a reason. All the costs associated with keeping these dogs are typically higher than other breeds, simply due to their size.

For instance, you will need to purchase a big dog bed for a St. Bernard. You also have to consider how much this dog eats and prepare for purchasing that much food.

St. Bernard puppies aren’t actually that expensive. The average puppy costs about $600 to $2,000 when you purchase from a breeder. Most pet-quality dogs are around $1,000.

However, their monthly upkeep cost is quite expensive. Most people will spend about $200 a month to feed and care for these animals. Many will pay closer to $300 with a puppy, as they simply need more vet care and one-time purchases.

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Bringing Home a New St. Bernard: One-Time Costs

Like all dogs, St. Bernards have quite a few one-time costs that you need to budget for. You will need to pay for the puppy themselves. The price of this can depend on where you purchase the puppy. However, we highly recommend choosing a puppy from a qualified breeder. This may cost a bit more, but you will end up with a healthier and better-socialized dog.

On top of paying for the puppy, you will also need to purchase a range of different supplies. Your dog will need a crate, toys, bowls, and other items. Most of these things need to be purchased before you even bring the dog home, so you should budget for them alongside the price of a puppy.

Saint Bernard dog outdoor
Image Credit: Bernell MacDonald, Pixabay

Free

Few dogs are free. Those that are usually come from accidental litters or are free for a reason. Even owners who can no longer take care of their dogs usually don’t give them away for free. Usually, an adoption fee is important for the best interest of the animal. A fee helps ensure that the animal isn’t going to be used for nefarious purposes (like re-selling the dog for a few bucks or using them to train fighting dogs).

Furthermore, dogs that are available for free usually haven’t received the proper vet care. The owner probably hasn’t put much money into them, or they wouldn’t be giving them away for nothing.

Adoption

  • $50-$300

You can occasionally find St. Bernards at adoption facilities. Often, people will purchase these dogs as puppies, not realizing how large they can become as adults. When the dog just keeps getting bigger, they are sometimes turned over to adoption facilities.  These dogs will likely be young adults. Puppies are much rarer at rescues.

Despite their larger size, these dogs usually don’t cost more than any other dog at a pet facility. In many cases, they will cost anywhere from $50 to $300, depending on the organization. This money goes toward the dog’s vet expenses while they were there.

Breeder

  • $600-$2,000

Most pet-quality St. Bernards are going to be around $1,000. If the dog has champions in their bloodline, they’ll likely cost about $2,000. If you find a dog for under $500, you should be suspicious. Cheaper dogs often come from backyard breeders or puppy mills.

While breeders are often more expensive, they put a great deal of money and work into their dogs. Most puppies receive vaccinations and vet care before being adopted, which can lower your overall cost. Many are also careful about socializing their puppies, ensuring that they adapt better to their new homes.

St. Bernard lying on grass
Image Credit: Ilona Krijgsman, Pixabay

Initial Setup and Supplies

  • $510-$820

You will likely end up paying quite a bit for your St. Bernard’s initial supplies. Since they are larger, you can expect to pay for bigger items. Large dog beds can be quite expensive, while small ones can be found for as little as $25. The same can be said for practically any dog item, ranging from toys to bowls to crates.

Therefore, you should budget for more than you might expect when bringing a St. Bernard puppy home. If you’re purchasing your puppy from a breeder, we recommend slowly buying items over time. If you won’t have your puppy for another few months, you can watch for sales to purchase many of these items at a discount.

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List of St. Bernard Care Supplies and Costs

Food and Water Bowls $20
Dog Collars $20
Leash $15
ID Tag $5-$15
Dog Bed $60-$110
Dog Crate $90-$165
Urine Odor Removal Spray $10
Toys $90-$155
Brush (x2) $15-$45
Shampoo $10-$20
Toothbrushing Supplies $10-$15
Toenail Clippers $15-$30
Training $150-$200

How Much Does a St. Bernard Cost Per Month?

  • $185-$771 per month

As a dog’s size increases, the cost for upkeeping that dog also goes up. For that reason, a St. Bernard’s monthly cost is quite high. It isn’t unattainable by any means, but it will be significantly more than that of a Shih Tzu, for example.

These dogs eat significantly more than most, rack up higher vet costs, and cost more at the groomer. Their larger size has much to do with this.

Before adopting a St. Bernard, you need to keep all of this in mind. These dogs may not be that expensive to purchase as a puppy, but you’ll be spending hundreds a year to care for them. Don’t adopt one unless you can properly afford it.

female saint bernard outside
Image Credit: Artush, Shutterstock

Health Care

  • $135-$281 per month

These are the costs that you’ll need to consider for your dog’s health. They include things like vet bills, food, and grooming costs. In many cases, you can’t skimp on the prices in this category. Your dog needs these things to live a long and happy life. If you don’t provide them, then you’ll likely end up paying more later.

Most of a St. Bernard’s costs are high. Their larger size means that you’ll be paying more for vet bills and food costs, for example.

Food

  • $58-$66 per month

St. Bernards cost a great deal to feed. You’ll easily spend triple or even quadruple as much on their food as you would for other dogs. In some cases, you may even need to purchase multiple bags of dog food in one month, even if you’re purchasing the largest bags available.

In general, you’ll probably end up purchasing over 500 pounds of dog food a year for an adult St. Bernard. Since puppies are smaller, you’ll need to purchase less. It takes these dogs at least 2 years to reach their full weight, so keep this in mind when budgeting for food.

Grooming

  • $0-$60 per month

You don’t necessarily have to take your dog to the groomers. St. Bernards can be groomed at home if you have the time for it. Since they have so much hair, though, this can take a long time. Luckily, their fur is easy to take care of, even though it is quite thick.

Some owners may decide to take their dog to a professional groomer occasionally. You may want to do this during shedding season or whenever your dog needs a bath. Since these dogs are larger, the cost at the groomer will likely be higher. You can expect to pay about $65 to $120 for each visit.

Medication and Vet Visits

  • $37-$85 per month

You can expect to pay extra for each vet visit. Any medications that your St. Bernard needs will be more expensive, as a higher dosage will be necessary. This includes surgeries too, as anesthesia will be required at a higher dose, and an extra person may be necessary to move the dog around.

Many factors go into a dog’s vet bills. Location is a significant one. In more expensive places, you can expect vet bills to be pricey too.

You will usually pay more for the care of an adult St. Bernard than of a puppy. While puppies need more vet care, adults are much bigger. Expect costs to go up as your pet ages.

Saint Bernard sitting in meadow
Image Credit: rokopix, Shutterstock

Pet Insurance

  • $40-$70 per month

Pet insurance is recommended for St. Bernards. Emergencies and illnesses have not been included in this budget because they can occur at any time.

Insurance can help you cover unknown costs. These dogs are prone to several health conditions, and many of them can cost thousands to treat. Surgeries for this breed are often more expensive because they are bigger dogs.

Environment Maintenance

  • $0- $400 per month

St. Bernards don’t need that much exercise. They may be large, but they are called “rug dogs” for a reason. They tend to spend most of their time laying around. Most are not particularly destructive either.

However, they do need a bit of exercise. If you can’t take them on a walk every day, then you will need to invest in a dog walker. Most owners do not need to make this investment, since taking their dog on a single walk can fit into their schedule.

Still, some owners may find that they need a dog walker a few times a week. In these cases, you can expect the cost to add up. A single walk can cost as much as $25.

Entertainment

  • $50-$90 per month

While these dogs aren’t that active, you can expect them to play around. This is particularly true when they are younger, as they will be more active, just like every other puppy. Since they are so big, you will need toys to match their size. Larger toys are more expensive.

You should expect to purchase about one to two toys a month, and most of these won’t be cheap. We recommend choosing high-quality toys so they last longer. This will save you money in the long run.

st bernard dog on the streets
Image Credit: b1-foto, Pixabay

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Total Monthly Cost of a St. Bernard

  • $185-$771 per month

St. Bernards can be quite expensive to own, so you should plan appropriately. However, month by month, you won’t be spending much more on a St. Bernard than any other dog. It is more of the long-term costs that are significantly higher.

Most people will spend around $200 a month on this dog’s upkeep. A puppy will technically be more expensive because you’ll need to purchase more supplies. However, if you budget for these separately, you can plan on paying about the same monthly amount for a puppy or even a little bit less.

Additional Costs to Factor In

When you adopt a dog, there are other costs that you may need to account for. Many of these are difficult to budget for because they may occur when you least expect them.

For instance, treatments for illnesses and accidents will likely be necessary at some point. But you can never know exactly how much money these treatments will cost or when they will occur.

Some dogs may also damage your house or furniture, and these things will often need repairs. St. Bernards are large dogs, so they can do quite a bit of damage. Sometimes, your dog may also need more training. Most St. Bernards won’t need more than a few sessions, but some may need many.

We recommend having an emergency fund of at least $5,000 for these dogs. This should cover accidental costs.

St. Bernards on a Budget

If you’re looking for a budget dog, this isn’t it. Their large size often means that you will be paying quite a bit for these dogs. However, there are a few things that you can do to lower their cost.

We do not recommend trying to find a budget puppy or skimping on the cost of the first supplies that you give your canine. Budget puppies are typically cheaper for a reason and may cost you extra money in the long run. If you purchase lower-quality supplies, they will often break. This will lead to you buying more, which often means that you’ll end up paying more in the end.

That said, there are a few places that you can save when you adopt a St. Bernard.

st bernard face
Image Credit: Ilona Krijgsman, Pixabay

Saving Money on St. Bernard Care

Due to their size, it is easy to purchase items in bulk for this dog. Purchase the biggest bag of dog food that you can find. It will save you money and prevent you from needing to return to the store quite as often.

You may be able to purchase toys in bulk as well. Subscribing to a toy subscription box may help you save money, but you will have to find one that can support this large canine.

On top of these methods, take care of this dog yourself as much as possible. If you skip the groomer and dog walker, you can lower your costs considerably. However, this will mean that you need to do more work yourself.

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Conclusion

St. Bernards are among the more expensive dogs out there. Their large size means that you will be spending quite a bit to house and feed these canines, so prepare accordingly.

Puppies themselves aren’t that expensive. Typically, you can find one for between $600 to $2,000 if you go with a professional breeder. Other places may be cheaper, but they usually don’t produce high-quality puppies.

After purchasing a puppy, you will spend between $185 and $770 a month to care for them. Usually, those who skip the groomer and don’t need a dog walker will spend less.

The remainder of your budget will mostly go toward food and vet costs.

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Featured Image Credit: Grigorita Ko, Shutterstock