(St Bernard, Alpine Mastiff, Bernhardiner, St. Barnhardshund) The Saint Bernard is a powerful, large-sized dog with a strong, muscular build and a commanding presence. While these dogs are very tall, brawny, and imposing, they are not offensive or ill-natured in appearance. The neck of this breed is high-set, sturdy, and carried erect when the dog is alert or at attention. When the dog is relaxed, the neck hangs horizontally or slightly downward. Because of its muscular nape and rounded sides, the neck appears to be shorter than it actually is. A pronounced dewlap exists across the dog’s throat and neck. The Saint Bernard’s shoulders are broad and sloping, and their withers are well-defined. They have a comparatively deep, well-arched chest that does not reach below the level of the elbows. Their broad back is absolutely straight and their hindquarters are well-developed. Limbs of this breed are very muscular, straight, and strong. Their hocks are moderately angulated and their feet are broad and feature a set of strong toes. Their belly is slightly drawn inwards and their upper arms are very burly and well-muscled. The Saint Bernard’s head is very large and impressive. Their massive skull is broad, slightly arched, and has sides that curve into the dog’s high, well-developed cheek bones. The forehead skin forms noticeable wrinkles that converge toward the furrow. They have a short muzzle that is not tapered, and the height of the muzzle is greater than the muzzle’s length. Their furrow is pronounced, comparatively wide, and shallow. It runs from the base of the muzzle to the nose. Their teeth are strong, sound, and close in a scissors or even bite. Ears of this breed are high-set, medium-sized, and feature a well-developed burr at their base. Their eyes are frontally set, medium-sized, and dark brown in color. The Saint Bernard’s short-haired coat is dense, tough, and lies smoothly. Coat colors for this breed include white with red, red with white, various shades of red, and brindle with white markings. There is a long-haired variety of Saint Bernard that is exactly the same as the short-haired variety with the exception of the coat length and texture. The long-haired type has a medium-length coat that is straight or slightly wavy. The Saint Bernard has a bushy tail that is broad, tapered, and ends in a powerful tip.
The Saint Bernard is very docile, even-tempered, and friendly. The breed is very patient and good with children. They are gentle, slow-moving giants that consistently aim to please. They are loyal, obedient, and easy to train. Because of the breed’s massive size, training and socialization should begin at an early age. This breed makes a good watchdog.
25 – 28 inches
110 – 200 pounds
The Saint Bernard is a generally healthy breed, but some lines are prone to a variety of health concerns including “wobbler” syndrome, heart problems, hip dysplasia, and extropion. Occasionally, skin problems and twisted stomachs are also prevalent. Because the Saint Bernard is susceptible to bloat, it is ideal they be fed two or three small meals per day. This breed typically lives for 8 to 10 years.
The Saint Bernard is an ancient breed that was founded in 980 AD by St. Bernard de Menthon. They descend from the Tibetan mastiff, and they are likely to have originated from the mastiff that was brought to the Alps by the Romans in the year 1000. It’s probable that this mastiff was crossed with the Great Dane and the Great Pyrenees to produce the Saint Bernard. This breed was first utilized as a rescue dog in the seventeenth century. Over 2,000 people are reported as having been rescued by this breed. The Saint Bernard has the ability to detect the arrival of avalanches and storms, probably because they are able to hear low frequency sounds that humans cannot. There are two varieties of Saint Bernard: long-haired and short-haired. The short-haired variety is customarily used for mountain work because of their ability to withstand cold temperatures. The Saint Bernard has a number of natural talents including search and rescue, carting, and watching.
The coat of the St. Bernard is easy to groom and take care of. Their coat should be brushed with a firm bristle brush and bathed only as necessary. Shampooing can strip the coat of its water-resistant properties and natural oils, so a mild soap should be used instead. Eyes of this breed should be kept clean. The St. Bernard sheds heavily twice per year.
The St. Bernard is content to live in a small household or apartment if it is sufficiently exercised. They are a comparatively inactive breed indoors, and they are happiest with at least a small yard. While they would much rather live indoors with their family, this breed is capable of living outdoors. Because of their thick coats, they are sensitive to hot weather. A long walk is the ideal form of exercise for the St. Bernard. Puppies of this breed should not receive much exercise at one time. Excessive physical activity for St. Bernard puppies can hinder bone growth.