Saint Bernard Dog Breed Profile

Patient và caring Saint Bernards aren’t just known for their massive size—they have huge hearts, too, full of devotion for their human companions. Intelligent, mellow, and playful, learn how they can serve and adore a family like yours.
Breed Group herding hound hybrid non-sporting none sporting terrier toy working
Dog Size extra large (101 lbs. or more) large (61-100 lbs.) medium (26-60 lbs.) small (0-25 lbs.)
Other Traits apartment-friendly cold weather tolerant easy khổng lồ groom easy khổng lồ train good for first-time pet owners good hiking companion high potential for weight gain high prey drive highly territorial hot weather tolerant hypoallergenic loves water low prey drive prone to lớn health issues requires lots of grooming svào loyalty tendencies tendency to chew tolerates being alone
Temperament aggressive sầu aloof anxious friendly gentle outgoing playful protective timid willful
height 26 to 30 inches
weight 1đôi mươi lớn 180 pounds
life span 8 to lớn 10 years
breed size extra large (101 lbs. or more)
good with children seniors dogs cats families
temperament gentle friendly outgoing playful
intelligence high
shedding amount seasonal
exercise needs low
energy level calm
barking level quiet
drool amount high
breed group working
coat length/texture long medium
colors red brown / chocolate / liver
patterns bicolor
other traits easy to lớn train easy khổng lồ groom prone lớn health issues low prey drive sầu high potential for weight gain cold weather tolerant good for first-time pet owners svào loyalty tendencies good hiking companion

When you think about a Saint Bernard, it’s easy to lớn envision a fun day playing in the snow followed by a cozy night curled up together by the fire, you with a good book and hot cocoa, her with a crunchy bone. A Saint’s sweet, loving, và calm disposition coupled with her gigantic kích cỡ makes you feel safe, and that’s exactly what these former search-and-rescue animals want you to be. Alert watchdogs but gentle with children, Saint Bernards are delightful family companions, eager to participate in whatever is going on at home—some even pout a bit if they feel left out!


While Saints vì chưng thrive in cold weather, there’s no need to lớn live in their native sầu Swiss Alps lớn enjoy them. Karen Shaw Becker, DVM, is the author of Real Food for Healthy Pets and co-founder of Dr. Becker’s Bites. She believes it’s essential for animal guardians to lớn make knowledgeable decisions to maximize the healthspan of their animals. She says “both short-haired và long-haired Saint Bernards adapt well lớn most environments because of their flexible, easy-going personalities as long as they always have a cool place lớn rest.”


The Saint Bernard is in the top five sầu of the American Kennel Club’s largest dogs menu, not only because of height—about 30 inches or higher at the shoulder—but also because of her weight. Male dogs easily range 140–180 pounds, while female pups are approximately 120–140 pounds, according to lớn the AKC. Maybe they leave sầu one paw off the scale.

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The proud bearing of a Saint starts with her large round head lifting from a deep chest, and a massive square muzzle is slightly raised lớn sniff the air. Her sense of smell is excellent. Jowls hang loose và so vì chưng her ears, short và floppy framing her face—also referred to as a mask. Her eyes are deep-phối và soft brown.


Some Saints appear to lớn have sầu actual masks, as their eyes và cheeks may be blaông xã, brown, or red. The trắng on the tip of their tails & along their bellies, forepaws, and chest extends khổng lồ their muzzles, và it often continues in a long line between the eyes khổng lồ the cap. Coat colors are either red and White or white and brindle. 


Few things demonstrate power like a Saint Bernard’s body toàn thân, a blochồng of solid muscle from her cap to fluffed tail. Her back & legs are equally proportioned. Saints have sầu double coats to protect them from the elements, but some are short-haired & others are long-haired. 


Wherever you are, that’s exactly where a Saint wants khổng lồ be. She’s a devoted family dog who’s too proud lớn cling, and too well-mannered to lớn bark a lot. A Saint is simply happiest when surrounded by all her humans, especially children. She has infinite patience for kids who treat her kindly. 


A Saint Bernard is so mellow và loving, it’s easy khổng lồ overlook how just her form size might be a problem. Like many large dogs, Saints have sầu an extended adolescence—usually until age 2, according lớn the Saint Bernard Club of America (SBCA). So a 100-pound pup with endless slobbery kisses to giới thiệu & unlimited cheerful energy can be a bit much for some people, especially younger children.


It's a good idea to lớn enroll Saint Bernard puppies in kindergarten once all their vaccinations are complete. Brainy và eager to lớn please, Saints bởi vì well during training. Classes often last a year or longer, so during this time, positive sầu trang chính reinforcement includes a lot of socialization và routine. This way, they get khổng lồ know all family members & their friends well, & they make the connection lớn the important but simple commands they learn in no-fear obedience training, such as come, sit, stay, & no.  


Most Saints aren’t overly destructive sầu if left alone, especially if they receive proper training, but they don’t lượt thích being left behind or outdoors for long periods of time. This is when they’ll show a little stubborn cheek, barking more often, chewing on things, & doing other things you don’t want, the SBCA says. Crate training helps for when you’ll be gone for a couple of hours. A Saint might take refuge under the dining table or behind a chair if she feels overwhelmed, but a den to call her own is a better solution. A veterinarian can consult with you about sizes, comfort, & training. 


You can count on a Saint to be an alert sentry. As kind as she is, she uses kích thước to her advantage to lớn protect her people. If you hear her bark in the middle of the night, pay attention.

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Since she’s so friendly và not prone to lớn woofing without reason, a Saint Bernard’s temperament might be neighborly enough for apartment living, but it’s also lượt thích stuffing a loaf of bread into lớn a teacup. She needs to have room to lớn stretch, spread, & ramble. 


Saints don’t require as much exercise as other working dog breeds, but they vì chưng need purposeful daily movement. A casual stroll once or twice a day through the backyard or down a nice wooded path satisfies them emotionally and physically. This easygoing companionship is one reason why mature Saints are good choices for retired people. 


While in their prime, playful Saint Bernard dogs can keep the pace with families who enjoy outdoor activities. They’re instinctively good at hauling, the AKC says, so hitching them lớn a cart full of kids for an impromptu hayride is fun for everyone!


General yard fencing should be fine, as she’s not likely to lớn bolt over or burrow under it if she knows the rules. This also means she’s secure and doesn’t have to be on leash when the family is outside. Most Saints have sầu a low prey drive sầu & vày well with all other animals at trang chính, especially if introduced khổng lồ them early on, so everyone can tumble & play together. Extra care might be necessary with a rescue. 


Setting up a Saint’s indoor environment requires forethought. After all, anything you phối on the kitchen counter might be gone in a flash, and her swaying tail can clear items on a coffee table. 


The SBCA wants you khổng lồ have the best relationship possible with this gentle giant & offers a không tính tiền booklet khổng lồ help you understand their needs và your role as their guardian.  


Oh, those soft, saggy Saint jowls are filled with so much drool! While she needs that extra saliva for digestion, most owners don’t want it on their pants, the floor, the couch...so, they get in the habit of wiping their Saints muzzles after every meal and water slurp and receive semi-dry smooches in return. 


Another aspect of consistent Saint Bernard care is shed patrol. It doesn’t matter if she’s long-haired or short-haired: Her double coat needs extra TLC to lớn keep the fur in check. Weekly brushing is a must to lớn remove loose hair, dirt, and tangles. Daily brushing is a necessity during shedding high seasons of fall & spring, the AKC recommends. 


Saints track in whatever they romp in, so depending on their màn chơi of activity, pamper them with a spa chăm sóc sức khỏe và làm đẹp day of a bath, nail trlặng, paw kiểm tra, và ear cleaning once a month or so. Home dental care is important too, as her teeth need brushing a few times a week.  


Becker believes biologically appropriate food and a Saint Bernard’s immediate environment are the most important factors in determining health, vitality, and lifespan. “Saint Bernard owners need to monitor their dog’s weight throughout their lifetime. These gentle giants tover to lớn put weight on easily, which only adds to the burden of their massive frames,” she says. “Keeping them lean và muscular is the best defense against age-related weakness later on.


“Saint Bernard owners should also be aware of the symptoms of bloat,” she adds, which include abdomen swelling & pain, excess salivation, restlessness và pacing, and retching. “Like other deep-chested breeds, they can suddenly develop this life-threatening medical condition that requires immediate veterinary intervention.” A few potential causes for bloat include whether a Saint eats or drinks too much và then exercises intensely, consumes a large meal, or drinks a lot of water after her meal. 


Like many large working dogs, a Saint’s genetics determine if she’s prone lớn elbow and hip dysplasia—conditions that cause severe pain, crippling arthritis, and eventual joint degeneration. “Please don’t buy a puppy until you personally đánh giá copies of test results from the mom & dad,” Becker says. “Saint Bernards who contribute khổng lồ the ren pool should be screened for hip, elbow, eye, & heart problems; autoimmune thyroiditis; and DNA tested for degenerative sầu myelopathy.” Saints younger than 1 year old can also suffer from inherited osteochondrosis, which is defective cartilage.


A Saint Bernard’s temperature tolerance is fairly balanced, as long as you don’t leave this snow-loving sweetheart outside on hot days. With her insulating double coat, she’s at serious risk of heatstroke. So take slow, meandering walks on shady soft paths in the early morning or later in the evening, & allow her to lớn relax indoors when the sun và the heat are high.


With a lot of dedicated care and attention, your Saint should be able to lớn make the most of her 8–10 year lifespan.   


Saint Bernards’ ancestors likely include the Roman empire’s Molosser war dogs, which were bred with other dogs native to the Alps, the AKC says. 


In 1050 an Italian archdeacon named Bernard of Menthanh mảnh founded a monastery & hospice to lớn help travelers in the treacherous Alpine passes between Italy and Switzerlvà. Pilgrims en route lớn Rome traveled summits as high as 8,000 feet on their journeys & were often in peril. In future centuries, monks at the Hospice of the Great Saint Bernard used the monastery's guard dogs to help save poor souls stranded in 40-foot drifts và cascading avalanches. 


Before receiving the name of Saint Bernard in 1880, these tireless rescuers were also called Sacred Dogs, Monastery Dogs, Alpine Mastiffs, và Alpendogs. Some canine historians refer khổng lồ records stating that over the course of three centuries, the breed saved more than 2,000 people along the Great Saint Bernard Pass, according khổng lồ Smithsonian Magazine.  


The most famous Saint Bernard of this life-saving history is Barry der Menschenretter, born in 1800. He reportedly rescued more than 40 lost souls in his lifetime. Upon his death, his fur was used on a statue now on display at the Natural History Museum of Berne in Switzerlvà.     


Another heroic Saint, Bamse, was the Free Norwegian Forces mascot in World War II và traveled aboard the ship Thorodd. When he died, he received full military honors.


Saints have graced the silver screen for years. Some of their most famous films include Beethoven in 1992 và Beethoven’s 2nd in 1993. A Saint made a brief but fashionable appearance in 2006 with actress Anne Hathaway in The Devil Wears Prada. In 2020, a computer-generated Saint Bernard-Scotch Collie mix shared the screen with her co-star Harrison Ford in The gọi of the Wild
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