Originally the Saint Bernard dog breed was used to guard the grounds of Switzerland’s Hospice Saint Bernard as well as to help find and save lost and injured travelers. Today the St. Bernard enjoys the comforts of family life in many homes across the world. He is versatile and excels in the show ring and in obedience trials, drafting (pulling a cart or wagon), and weight pulling competitions.
Dog Breed Group:Working Dogs
Height:2 feet, 2 inches to 2 feet, 6 inches tall at the shoulder
Weight:120 to 180 pounds
Life Span:8 to 10 years
- A Saint Bernard is a giant-size breed and although they are generally quiet inside, they are not best suited to apartments. They need space to move or just to stretch out in.
- If you consider yourself a neat freak, then the Saint Bernard is not the breed for you. They drool and their paws track in their fair share of mud. They are heavy shedders and shed, or blow, their coat twice a year.
- Saint Bernards generally take longer to mature mentally. This leaves you with a very big puppy for several years.
- Although Saint Bernards make wonderful family pets, they are not recommended for homes with young children, as they can unintentionally knock over and hurt small children.
- Originally bred to withstand the cold temperatures of the Alps, the Saint Bernard does not do well in heat.
- Saint Bernards are not known for barking without cause.
- Saint Bernards are a short-lived breed, usually only 8 to 10 years.
- The Saint Bernard should not live outdoors away from his family. All dogs do better when they are in the house with the family they love, and the Saint Bernard is no exception. Although their coats and build make them an obvious choice for outdoor living, their temperament and inability to cope with heat makes it a poor decision.
- Thanks to the popularity of movies such as Beethoven, which features a large Saint Bernard, many irresponsible breeders and puppy mills produce these gentle giants. To make sure you get a healthy dog, never buy a puppy from an irresponsible breeder, puppy mill, or pet store. Look for a reputable breeder who tests her breeding dogs to make sure they’re free of genetic diseases that they might pass onto the puppies, and that they have sound temperaments.