Saint Bernard Breed - Dog & Puppy Information & Characteristics

Saint Bernard is large-sized, renowned rescue dog from Switzerland. These huge dogs are extremely affectionate towards their families. Saint Bernard dogs can also manage quite well with life in an apartment. Due to their calm and gentle nature, dogs from this breed also get along well with children. However, Saint Bernards need to be properly introduced and supervised when interacting with other dogs. Once they form a bond with other dogs, they develop a lifelong attachment. The Saint Bernard dog breed fares well in cold climate and cannot tolerate hot weather.

Key specifications of a Saint Bernard

Whether you are looking to adopt a Saint Bernard puppy or an adult dog, there are some details you must know to prove your pooch with proper care. Let’s look at a Saint Bernard’s lifespan and other physical characteristics:

Weight54 to 81 kg
Height26 to 30 inches
Lifespan8 to 10 years
CoatShort or long

Physical appearance of Saint Bernards

Saint Bernards can have two types of coats - longhaired or shorthaired. Either of these coats can have the following colors:

  • White and brown
  • White and orange
  • White and red
  • Red and white
  • Rust and white
  • Mahogany and white
  • Brindle and white
  • Brown and white
  • Orange and white

Identifying a purebred Saint Bernard puppy can often be challenging. Doing this can get even more difficult if you have never owned a dog from this breed before. To help you out, here are the physical traits that help point out purebred Saint Bernard dogs:

  • Giant bodies
  • Droopy eyes
  • Drooping ears
  • Jowls

Saint Bernard personality traits

The dogs of this breed are friendly, loyal, and playful. Each dog can have a different personality, ranging from quiet to lively and energetic. Owing to their history as protectors, Sain Bernards will watch over you, your family, and your house. Due to this, they also have a tendency to bark at strangers, and will not let them in until they are convinced of their harmlessness. Despite these qualities, these dogs never get aggressive or intimidating. 

Do Saint Bernards need training?

Saint Bernards love to please which makes training them quite an easy and enjoyable task. Like other breeds, a Saint Bernard too needs to be trained in obedience and socializing at an early age. Although, given Saint Bernard’s temperament, training them is an experience that you will look forward to. You can also try to make training more fun with a reward-based method. This can be done with the help of nutritious and yummy dog treats.

How to care for a Saint Bernard?

If you are planning to bring home a Saint Bernard puppy, you need to know what to expect and how to care for it. Here are a few important aspects of caring for this breed: 

  • Health issues

Being a large-sized breed, Saint Bernards can be prone to various health issues such as heart disease, hip and elbow dysplasia, eye ailments, and bloat. While conditions like heart ailments cannot be tested for at the time of adoption, other problems, such as dysplasia, can be checked.

  • Grooming

Both longhaired and shorthaired Saint Bernards require regular grooming. This includes brushing them once a week to keep the coat clean and combing to avoid tangles. Shedding happens twice a year, during which, the coat will need to be brushed every day to remove shed hair. Bathing can get quite tedious but needs to be done regularly as well. 

  • Physical activity

Saint Bernards are not very active and only require moderate amounts of exercise. They will enjoy going on daily walks with you, which is also a sufficient physical activity for them.

  • Nutritional requirements

It is crucial to only buy good quality and trusted dog food for a Saint Bernard. You may also want to ask your vet for a food chart for your dog. Having a professionally written Saint Bernard feeding guide will prove immensely helpful for you and your pet. All these precautions are necessary in order to prevent the dog from experiencing bloat, which can be life-threatening. A vet can help you understand whether there are any gaps in the nutrition in your dog’s meals. 

A brief history of Saint Bernards

The Saint Bernard’s origins lie in Switzerland. This breed is the country’s most well-known rescue canine. These large mountain dogs that were bred to assist find and save missing travelers have lived at the Hospice du Grand St. Bernard since the middle of the 17th century. Originally, these dogs were kept there to protect the monks and their property. Records also state that these dogs used to guide monks in the snowy Alps after which, they began aiding in rescuing lost travelers. The breed got official recognition in the Swiss Kennel Club in 1880.

Want to learn more about different dog breeds? Head over to our breeds category page for more information.

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