Pet Advisor Blog

Saint Bernard – Dog Breed Guide

Breed summary

Size: Giant
Weight: 110 to 200 pounds
Height: 25.5 to 27.5 inches
Longevity: 10
Bark Tendency: Low
Aggression: Low
Compatibility to other pets: Low

Adopt a Saint Bernard, Dog Breed Guide

Saint Bernard dogs are so famous worldwide and revered in the Swiss Alps for being live saving dogs. One particular Saint Bernard dog was given its own monument that stands in Switzerland’s Natural History Museum located in the city of Bern. The dog’s name was Barry, a Saint Bernard that impressively saved 40 people while servicing as a search and rescue dog at the Hospice of Saint Bernard. The breed was once called Barryhund, in honor of this impressive Swiss dog.

There are two coat varieties of this breed:

  • The Smooth Coated or Short Haired Saint Bernard has tough and very dense short hair.
  • The Longhaired Saint Bernard has medium-length hair that can be slightly wavy or straight.

Official Name
Saint Bernard
Some of the names used to call the Saint Bernard dog include the St. Barnhardshund, Alpine Mastiff, Bernhardiner or simply the St. Bernard.

Date – 17th Century
Country – Switzerland
Family / Group – Working, Guardian, Mastiff

Recognized By:
Continental Kennel Club
Fédération Cynologique Internationale
American Kennel Club
United Kennel Club
Kennel Club of Great Britain
Canadian Kennel Club
Australian National Kennel Club
National Kennel Club
New Zealand Kennel Club
American Pet Registry, Inc.
American Canine Registry
Dog Registry of America, Inc.
North American Purebred Registry, Inc.

Saint Bernard is a dog breed that originates from the Swiss Alps sometime during the 17th century. They were bred and developed by Swiss monks who were operating the Hospice of St. Bernard. This is a place of refuge for people travelling across the mountain ranges and passes that serve as borders between Italy and Switzerland. The Swiss monks created these dogs to be used in drafting, as turn-spit dogs, guard dogs and specifically as search and rescue dogs. Since the establishment of the hospice, the Saint Bernard dogs that were bred there are credited for saving more than 2,000 lives. These giant dogs are the descendants of the ancient Roman mastiffs that were used by the Roman Legion.

Saint Bernard dogs are gentle giants that will be equally friendly and accommodating with its family and complete strangers. Their affectionate and fun-loving disposition makes them very good with children of all ages. They are also known to be very playful; a rare trait for dog breeds their size. Although considered to be poor guard dogs for their very friendly nature, they will bark loud when intruders are near.

Bred For
The St. Bernard dog breed were created to be used in drafting, as turn-spit dogs, guard dogs and specifically as search and rescue dogs.

The Saint Bernard is one of the giant dog breeds known to do well if kept as apartment pets. Owners should meet their exercise requirements if this is the case. These are dogs born to work in the Swiss Alps and will have very low tolerance in areas with hot weather conditions as well as places that are hot including cars and rooms. St. Bernard dogs are known to snore and wheeze.

Both coat types of the St. Bernard breed are very easy to groom. These very large dogs shed hair twice a year in average amounts.

Saint Bernard dogs are highly intelligent are known to be one of the easiest to train. Some dogs of this breed may display stubborn behavior but it should be a problem if gentle, firm, consistent and very patient training methods are used.

St. Bernards are gentle giants that face various health related problems. They are prone to develop heart related problems, skin related diseases, tumors, extropion, hip dysplasia. These large dogs are also known to be at high risk on having the wobbler syndrome.

Mature Saint Bernards require long walks every day. St. Bernards’ aged two years and below should be taken on short walks and given brief playing time every day.