Learn more about the gentle and protective St. Bernard (2023)

The St. Bernard is agiant working dog breedfrom Switzerland with a short to medium length coat that typically comes in shades of brown and white with black on the face. There are smooth and rough coat variants, with the smooth coat lying close to the body and the rough coat on the neck and legs being denser and longer.

Saint Bernards are known to be gentle giants. They are incredibly loyal and loving with their family. And her general love of people, eagerness to please, and determination to work have made her competentSearch and rescueAndservice dogs.

breed overview


HEIGHT:26 to 28 inches (female), 28 to 30 inches (male)

WEIGHT:120 to 140 pounds (female), 140 to 180 pounds (male)

MANTEL:Short to medium length straight or coarse double hair

COAT COLOR:Brindle and white, brown and white, mahogany and white, orange and white, red and white, or rust and white with/without black mask

LIFESPAN:8 to 10 years

TEMPERAMENT:Gentle, loving, protective




(Video) Saint Bernard Dogs 101: Everything You Need To Know - Is It the Right Dog for You?

Click play to learn more about the big and lovable St. Bernard

Characteristics of the St. Bernard

St. Bernards generally have a calm and loving temperament. And yourlove for childrenis a hallmark of their personality. Despite their size, they are only moderately energetic and do not need excessive exercise.

level of affectionHoch
child friendlyHoch
Pet friendlyMiddle
need for exerciseMiddle
Energy levelMiddle
tendency to barkLow
Menge an SheddingMiddle

History of the Saint Bernard

The Saint Bernard is a legendary hero of the Swiss Alps. It is more than 1,000 years old, although its exact provenance is uncertain. Some sources suggest that saints arose from crossbreeds between native Swiss dogs and large Asian dogs brought to Switzerland by Roman armies (perhaps theTibetan Mastiffor a similar dog).

The breed was named after Archdeacon Bernard de Menthon, who founded a hospice in the Swiss Alps as a refuge for travellers. For centuries, monks developed the dogs as companions, watchdogs, and workers rescuing lost and injured travelers in the Swiss Alps. Their highly developed sense of smell enables them to track down people in the snow.

The American Kennel Club first recognized the breed in 1885 and it has become quite popular in North America. St. Bernards have featured in pop culture, including the Beethoven films and the Stephen King novel Cujo.

Learn more about the gentle and protective St. Bernard (1)

Saint Bernard grooming

Plan to exercise your Saint Bernard every day to keep him happy and healthy, and keep up with regular grooming. Likewise, consistent training and socialization are key to a well-adjusted dog.

A practice

Although St. Bernards are generally easy-going, daily physical activity and mental stimulation are still important to their health and well-being. Aim for at least an hour of exercise a day through walks, hikes, and intense play sessions. Dog sports and even search and rescue or other assistance dog classes can also be a great way to burn off mental and physical energy. Many owners include their Saint Bernards as wellTherapiehunde.

Note that Saint Bernards do not tolerate hot weather well. So keep outdoor workouts short when it's hot.

personal hygiene

You can groom both the rough and smooth St. Bernard coat types in the same way. Brush at least weekly to remove loose fur and prevent tangles and tangles. Periods of higher hair loss typically occur in spring and fall when the weather changes. During this time, you may need to brush daily to keep up with all that loose fur.

Bathe your dog about every month depending on how dirty he gets. But check his ears weekly to see if they need cleaning of earwax, debris, and other abnormalities. Check the nails about every month to see if they need trimming. And try to brush your Saint Bernard's teeth every day.

In addition, St. Bernards are a very drool-prone dog breed. Expect to have a towel handy for daily drool cleaning around your dog's face, as well as on furniture, the floor, and other areas where your dog's drool might get.


Start training and socializing your St. Bernard as early as possible. It's important that these dogs learn their manners -- particularly not jumping on people, pulling on leashes, or stealing items from tables and counters -- before they reach their full size.

St. Bernards are generally eager to please and train well. Always use positive training methods as they can be sensitive to harsh corrections. And be consistent in your commands. Also, make sure to expose your dog to different people, other dogs, and different places from a young age to build their well-being and confidence.

Some Saint Bernards are prone toseparation anxiety, as the breed likes to be with their family as much as possible. Work on teaching your dog to be comfortable when you leave the house. Otherwise, destructive behaviors such as unwanted chewing can occur. If your dog is left alone frequently, a St. Bernard may not be the right breed for you.

Learn more about the gentle and protective St. Bernard (2)

(Video) EVERYTHING You Need To Know About The SAINT BERNARD

Common Health Problems

St. Bernards have relatively short lifespans compared to many other dog breeds and are prone to some inherited health issues, including:

  • gastric dilation volvulus (bloating)
  • Hip and elbow dysplasia
  • Degenerative myelopathy
  • Eye problems, includingEntropium(where the eyelids roll inward too far) and ectropion (where the eyelids roll outward)
  • heart problems
  • heat stress

Learn more about the gentle and protective St. Bernard (3)

Diet and Nutrition

Always keep fresh water available for your dog. And choose a quality, nutritionally balanced dog food. One made specifically for large breeds is ideal for a Saint Bernard. It's common to feed measured meals to ensure your dog is getting the correct calorie burn. And you should always let your veterinarian get the hang of both the type of food and the amount.

Like other deep-chested dog breeds, Saint Bernards are prone to thisbloating and stomach cramps. This can be life-threatening and is often the result of eating too quickly. Dividing your dog's daily food ration into smaller, more frequent meals and limiting exercise around meals can help prevent bloating. Be sure to ask your veterinarian about these prevention methods, the signs of bloat, and what to do if you suspect your dog has it.

10 Best Raised Dog Bowls of 2023

Where to Adopt or Buy a St. Bernard?

The St. Bernard is a moderately popular breed of dog. So it pays to check local animal shelters and breed-specific rescue groups for a dog that needs a home. If you're looking for a puppy from a reputable breeder, expect to pay around $1,000 to $3,000.However, this can vary widely based on bloodline and other factors.

For more information to match you with a Saint Bernard go to:

Overview of the Saint Bernard


  • Gentle and loving

  • eager to please

  • Usually good with children


  • drools a lot

  • Has a relatively short lifespan

  • Requires training to avoid jumping and leash pulling

(Video) Beethoven Dog Breed – Everything to Know About The Saint Bernard

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More dog breeds and more research

Regardless of the breed, it's important to do your research to ensure a dog fits your lifestyle. Speak to St. Bernard owners, reputable breeders, rescue groups, and veterinarians to learn more.

If you are interested in similar breeds visit:

  • Newfoundland
  • Leonberger
  • Dog

There's a whole world of potentialdog breedsout there - with a little research you can find the right thing to take home!


  • Are Saint Bernards good family dogs?

    Saint Bernards can make excellent family dogs as long as they have proper training and socialization. You tend to be gentle and patient with children. But they should always be supervised around small children. Because of their size, they could accidentally knock over a small child.

  • Are St. Bernards aggressive?

    Saint Bernards do not tend to be aggressive, especially when they have received proper training and socialization. They generally like people, although some can be a little shy around strangers.

    (Video) 10 Things Only Saint Bernard Dog Owners Understand
  • Are Saint Bernards good apartment dogs?

    A Saint Bernard can potentially live in a very spacious home as long as you are able to meet their exercise needs. The breed generally doesn't bark much to disturb neighbors. However, getting such a large dog up the apartment stairs or elevator can be a challenge.

Article Sources

The Spruce Pets uses only quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to back up the facts in our articles. Read ourseditorial processto learn more about how we fact-check our content and keep it accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. Heiliger Bernhard.American Kennel Club.

  2. St. Bernard puppies and dogs.Adopt a pet


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