It’s a dog’s life at Pakoa Nani



By Tammy Schneider

David Manton was sitting out a snowstorm in 1973 at a friend’s house when he had his first encounter with a Saint Bernard. He recalls how the dog treated him like family and was never threatening or frightening, in spite of its enormous size. By 1974, Manton had his own Saint Bernard, and when Easter Lily gave birth to her first litter in 1976, it was already in the cards that he and wife Pauline would get in to the breeding business.


“They are gentle giants,” said Manton. “They do not know their size.”


The couple continued to raise dogs over the next few years, and in 2015 registered the kennel name of Pakoa Nani, the Hawaiian translation of Easter Lily. They operated for a time out of Mississauga, until moving to Kincardine two years ago. Two of their dogs, Blackie, a male, and Ophelia, a female, are Canadian champions.


Since moving to the area, their dogs have produced 25 pups in total. All pups are CKC registered, and are vet-checked and vaccinated before they leave the Manton’s. The dogs have an extremely placid disposition, even though their size could make them quite intimidating. Tiny pups that are under a kilogram at birth grow to full size within three years. Males range between 77 and 82 kilograms, while females might tip the scales at an average of 73 kilograms. A full grown male can stand between 70-90 centimetres, and females are usually between 65 and 80 centimetres high. Needless to say, animals of such size come with sizeable appetites, and an adult male might eat close to two litres of dry dog food each day, and several bowls of water. The Mantons, as part of their breeding protocol, feed each dog a diet based on its specific needs, in order to produce the heathiest pups possible. Dogs, like people, have food allergies, and they are diligent in making sure the menu suits the dog.


Indoors at Pakoa Nani, the dogs have ample space to stretch out and relax, as well as access to a large fenced-in area where they can run and stretch their legs and play with siblings. A characteristic of the breed is a natural inquisitiveness, so new sights and sounds in their exercise space bring them running.


Of the nine dogs currently residing in the Manton home, eight are smooth coats, and one is a rough coat (a breed made popular by the movie Beethoven). The dogs are completely socialized, and live comfortably in the Manton home alongside other Saint Bernards and people. When the pups are sent out to adopting homes, they are about nine – 10 weeks old, and are healthy and happy.


The number of Saint Bernard breeders is dwindling, in part due to the number of backyard breeders that don’t show the care and love the Mantons give their dogs. Pakoa Nani services an international market and provides dogs to adopting families across Canada and in the United States. Prices for the dogs are dependent on demand, but a smooth coat will cost about $2,000, and a rough coat about $2,500.


Pauline Manton describes the dogs as a near-perfect pet for families and those that will devote time and care to the animals. One of her dogs has been placed as a therapy dog with two brothers with autism, and she receives regular updates and positive reviews of how the children respond to the dogs.


“They are excellent companions,” Manton said. “They are fabulous with kids, loyal and protective.”