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St. Bernard

St. Bernard Dog Breed Information

In a Sentence:

A large breed of dog with a thick coat, droopy jowls and a reputation for rescuing people in the mountains.

Scientific Name:

Canis lupus familiaris.
Type:Mammal

Size:

St. Bernards are considered a Very Large Dog breed. read more >>
Weight:64-120 kg.
Height:70-90 cm (27-35 inches) at the shoulder.
Length:80-100 cm.

Lifespan:

The average lifespan of a St. Bernard is around 8-10 years. However, with proper care and attention, some St. Bernards can live up to 12 years or more. read more >>

Behavior:

What type of dog is a St. Bernard, how do they behave and what temperament do they have? See below for a detailed overview of their traits and personality.

Personality & Temperament

St. Bernards are known for their gentle, friendly and affectionate personalities. They are often described as being loyal and devoted to their owners, making them excellent family pets. Here is a detailed overview of St. Bernard’s personality and temperament:

  • Friendly: St. Bernards have a very friendly nature. They love to be around people and are always eager to make new friends. They are not aggressive and are generally good with children and other pets.
  • Affectionate: St. Bernards are very affectionate dogs. They love to cuddle and be close to their owners. They are often called “gentle giants” because of their size and their gentle nature.

 Loyal: St. Bernards are extremely loyal dogs. They are devoted to their owners and will do anything to protect them. They are also very protective of their home and family.

  • Calm: St. Bernards are generally calm dogs. They are not overly active and are content to lounge around the house. They are not high-energy dogs and do not require a lot of exercise.
  • Intelligent: St. Bernards are intelligent dogs and are easy to train. They are quick learners and respond well to positive reinforcement training methods.
  • Independent: St. Bernards can be independent dogs. They are not clingy and do not require constant attention. However, they do enjoy spending time with their owners and being part of the family.
  • Patient: St. Bernards are patient dogs. They are not easily agitated and are good with children. They have a high tolerance for noise and chaos, which makes them excellent family pets.

Overall, St. Bernards are gentle, friendly and affectionate dogs. They are loyal and devoted to their owners and make excellent family pets. They are calm, intelligent and patient, making them a great choice for families with children.

Intelligence

St. Bernards are generally considered to be intelligent dogs. They are renowned for their ability to learn quickly and their willingness to please their owners. They have a strong work ethic and can perform a variety of tasks, such as search and rescue, tracking and therapy work. However, like all dogs, their intelligence can vary depending on the individual dog and their training and socialization.

Trainability

St. Bernards are generally easy to train due to their intelligence and eagerness to please their owners. However, they can be stubborn at times, so consistent and patient training is necessary. Positive reinforcement methods, such as treats and praise, work well with St. Bernards. It’s important to start training early and socialize them with other people and animals to prevent any behavioral issues. Overall, with proper training and socialization, St. Bernards can make well-behaved and obedient companions.

Sleep

St. Bernards are big sleepers and can sleep for up to 14 hours a day. However, the amount of sleep they need can vary depending on their age, activity level and overall health. Puppies and older dogs may require more sleep, while younger and more active dogs may need less. It’s important to provide a comfortable and quiet sleeping area for your St. Bernard to ensure they get the rest they need.

Bark

St. Bernards can bark occasionally, but they are not excessive barkers. They may bark to alert their owners of strangers or unusual sounds, but they are generally quiet and calm dogs. However, like all dogs, their barking behavior can vary depending on their individual personality and training. read more >>

Drool

St. Bernards are famous for their heavy drooling. They have a tendency to drool a lot, especially after eating or drinking or when they are excited. The amount of drool can vary from dog to dog, but it is generally considered to be a lot. If you are considering getting a St. Bernard, it is important to be prepared for their drooling and to keep a towel handy to wipe their mouth. read more >>

Lick

Whilst St. Bernards are heavy droolers, the amount they lick can vary depending on the individual dog. Some St. Bernards may lick more than others due to their personality or behavior. However, excessive licking can be a sign of anxiety or stress, so it’s important to monitor your dog’s behavior and seek advice from a veterinarian if you have concerns.

Jump

St. Bernards are not known for their jumping ability. They are large and heavy dogs that are more suited for activities such as hiking and rescue work.

Dig

St. Bernards aren’t generally excessive diggers. However, like any dog, they may dig occasionally out of boredom or to bury a bone. It is important to provide them with plenty of exercise and mental stimulation to prevent destructive behaviors like digging.

Good Fit for You?

Is a St. Bernard the right dog for you? Keep reading to find out how compatible you are with a St. Bernard.

Exercise

St. Bernards are large and active dogs that require a moderate amount of exercise to stay healthy and happy. They need at least 30-60 minutes of exercise daily, which can include walks, hikes or playtime in a fenced yard. However, it’s important to note that St. Bernards are prone to joint problems, so their exercise should be low-impact and not too strenuous. Additionally, they should not be exercised in hot weather, as they are susceptible to heatstroke. read more >>

Space

St. Bernards are large dogs and require a significant amount of space to live comfortably. They need a minimum of a large yard or outdoor space to run and play. Ideally, they should have access to a large indoor space as well, such as a spacious living room or family room. They are not well-suited for small apartments or homes with limited space. It’s important to note that St. Bernards are also prone to obesity, so regular exercise and a healthy diet are crucial for their overall health and well-being.

Apartment

St. Bernards are not typically recommended for apartment living due to their large size and high energy levels. They require a lot of space to move around and exercise and may become restless and destructive if cooped up in a small living space for too long. Additionally, their large size can make them difficult to maneuver in small apartments or elevators. If you live in an apartment and are considering getting a dog, it may be best to look for a smaller breed that is better suited to apartment living. read more >>

Left Alone

St. Bernards are loyal and affectionate towards their owners and they generally do not like to be left alone for long periods. They thrive on human companionship and may become anxious or destructive if left alone for extended periods. Therefore, it is recommended that St. Bernards are not left alone for more than 4-6 hours at a time. Proper training and socialization can help them adjust to being alone for short periods, but they are happiest when they are with their family.

Kid/Family Friendly

Yes, St. Bernards are generally good with kids and families. They have a gentle and patient nature, making them great companions for children. They are also very loyal and protective, which can make them great watchdogs for families. However, due to their large size, it is important to supervise interactions between children and St. Bernards to prevent accidental injuries. Additionally, St. Bernards require a lot of exercise and space, so families should be prepared to provide them with plenty of outdoor activities and a large living space. read more >>

Perfect Fit

A St. Bernard would be a perfect fit for a household that has a large living space and a yard for the dog to roam around. They are famous for their size and strength, so they need plenty of space to move around and exercise. They are also very friendly and social dogs, so they would do well in a household with children or other pets. However, due to their size, they may not be suitable for households with very young children or elderly individuals who may be at risk of being knocked over. Additionally, St. Bernards require regular grooming and maintenance due to their thick coats, so a household that is willing to invest time and effort into their care would be ideal.

Pros and Cons:

Owning a St. Bernard comes with its own set of pros and cons. Here is a table with 5 pros and cons of owning a St. Bernard:

ProsCons
1. Loyal and protective1. Requires a lot of space
2. Great with children2. Can be stubborn and difficult to train
3. Good watchdogs3. High grooming needs
4. Affectionate and gentle4. Can be prone to health issues
5. Excellent hiking and outdoor companions5. Can drool excessively

Overall, owning a St. Bernard can be a rewarding experience for those who have the space, time and patience to care for this lovable breed.

Cost:

The cost of a St. Bernard in Australia can vary depending on several factors such as the breeder, location and the dog’s lineage. On average, a St. Bernard puppy can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000 in Australia. However, it is important to note that the initial cost of buying a dog is just a small part of the overall expenses that come with owning a pet. Other expenses such as food, veterinary care and grooming should also be considered. read more >>

Breed History:

St. Bernards were originally bred in the Swiss Alps in the 17th century by monks at the Hospice of St. Bernard. They were bred as rescue dogs to help find and save lost travelers in the snowy and treacherous mountains. The dogs were trained to use their keen sense of smell to locate people buried under snow and their large size and strength allowed them to pull sleds and carry supplies. St. Bernards were also known for their gentle temperament, which made them ideal companions for the monks and the people they rescued. Today, St. Bernards are still used as search and rescue dogs, but they are also popular family pets due to their friendly and loyal nature.

Current Usage

St. Bernards are still used as working dogs in various roles, although they are also popular as pets. Here are some of the ways they are currently being used:

  • Search and Rescue: St. Bernards are known for their ability to locate people who are lost or trapped in the snow. They have a keen sense of smell and can cover large areas quickly, making them valuable in search and rescue operations.
  • Therapy Dogs: St. Bernards are gentle and affectionate, making them ideal candidates for therapy work. They are often used in hospitals, nursing homes and schools to provide comfort and emotional support to patients and students.
  • Avalanche Rescue: St. Bernards are trained to locate people buried under snow after an avalanche. They are equipped with special gear, such as avalanche transceivers, to help them locate victims.
  • Draft Work: St. Bernards are strong and powerful dogs that can pull heavy loads. They are often used in draft work, such as pulling carts or sleds.
  • Law Enforcement: St. Bernards are sometimes used in law enforcement, particularly in countries such as Switzerland where they are native. They are trained to detect drugs, explosives and other contraband.

Guard Dogs

While St. Bernards are large and imposing dogs, they are not typically used as guard dogs. They are renowned for their gentle and friendly nature and are more likely to greet strangers with a wagging tail than to act aggressively towards them. However, their size and bark may be enough to deter potential intruders. If you are looking for a guard dog, there are other breeds that are better suited for this role. read more >>

Where Are They Found?

St. Bernards are popular in many countries around the world, but some of the countries where they are most commonly found include:

1. Switzerland6. Australia
2. United States7. France
3. Canada8. Italy
4. Germany9. Japan
5. United Kingdom10. Russia
read more >>

Climate

St. Bernards are best suited to cooler climates with moderate to heavy snowfall. They were originally bred in the Swiss Alps, where they were used as rescue dogs in the snowy and mountainous terrain. They have a thick, double coat that provides insulation and protection from the cold and their large size and strength make them well-suited for working in harsh weather conditions. However, they can also adapt to warmer climates as long as they have access to shade, cool water and air conditioning during hot weather. read more >>

Population

It is difficult to determine the exact number of St. Bernards in the world, as there is no centralized database or registry for all St. Bernards. However, it is estimated that there are tens of thousands of St. Bernards worldwide, with the majority of them being in Europe and North America.

Physical Appearance:

St. Bernards are large, muscular dogs with a distinctive appearance. They have a thick, dense coat that is usually white with patches of red, brown or brindle. Their heads are broad and square, with a strong jaw and deep-set eyes that are usually brown. They have large, floppy ears that hang down to the sides of their head. St. Bernards have a powerful, sturdy build with a broad chest and strong legs. They have a gentle expression and kind eyes, which give them a friendly and approachable appearance. Overall, St. Bernards are impressive dogs that exude strength and confidence.

Coat:

Colours:

St. Bernards can be various shades of brown, red or brindle with white markings. The white markings are typically found on the chest, feet and tip of the tail. Some St. Bernards may also have black markings on their face and ears.

Hair/Fur Length:

St. Bernards have long hair that can range from medium to long in length. Their coat is thick and dense, with a soft undercoat and a rough outer coat. The hair around their neck and chest is particularly long and fluffy, giving them a distinctive appearance. Regular grooming is necessary to keep their coat healthy and free of tangles and mats.

Shedding:

Yes, St. Bernards do shed. They have a thick, double coat that sheds moderately throughout the year and heavily during shedding season, which occurs twice a year. Regular grooming and brushing can help manage shedding and keep their coat healthy. read more >>

Grooming:

The St. Bernard has a thick, dense coat that sheds moderately year-round and heavily twice a year during shedding season. They require regular grooming to keep their coat healthy and free from mats and tangles. Brushing their coat once or twice a week with a slicker brush and a comb is recommended. They also need to have their ears cleaned regularly to prevent infections.

The St. Bernard does not require haircuts, but trimming the hair around their ears, paws and sanitary areas may be necessary to keep them clean and comfortable. It is important to note that excessive trimming or shaving of their coat can disrupt their natural insulation and cause skin problems.

Hypoallergenic:

No, St. Bernards are not hypoallergenic. They have a thick, double coat that sheds heavily, which can cause allergies in some people. If you have allergies, it is recommended that you spend time with a St. Bernard before bringing one into your home to see if you have any allergic reactions.

Speed:

St. Bernards are not renowned for their speed, as they are a large and heavy breed of dog. They typically have a top speed of around 24 to 32 km/h (15 to 20 mph). However, their strength and endurance make them excellent rescue dogs in mountainous regions. read more >>

Health:

St. Bernards are generally healthy dogs, but like all breeds, they can be prone to certain health issues. Some of the most common health issues St. Bernards are faced with include:

  • Hip dysplasia: A genetic condition where the hip joint doesn’t develop properly, leading to arthritis and pain.
  • Elbow dysplasia: A genetic condition where the elbow joint doesn’t develop properly, leading to arthritis and pain.
  • Bloat: A life-threatening condition where the stomach fills with gas and twists on itself, cutting off blood flow to the organs.
  • Cardiomyopathy: A heart condition where the heart muscle becomes weakened and enlarged, leading to heart failure.
  • Osteosarcoma: A type of bone cancer that is common in large breeds like St. Bernards.
  • Entropion: A condition where the eyelid rolls inward, causing irritation and potentially leading to eye infections.

read more >>

Teeth:

St. Bernards typically have 42 teeth, which is the same number of teeth as most other dog breeds. read more >>

Eyesight:

St. Bernards have a decent eyesight, but it is not their strongest sense. They rely more on their sense of smell and hearing to navigate their surroundings. However, they do have good peripheral vision and can detect movement from a distance.

Nipples:

St. Bernards usually have six to eight nipples. The exact number can vary within this range, but six to eight is the general count for this breed.

Gestation:

Litter Size:

The typical litter size for St. Bernards is between 6 to 8 puppies. However, litter size can vary depending on several factors such as the age and health of the mother, genetics and environmental factors.

Gestation Period:

The gestation period for St. Bernards is typically around 63 days, although it can range from 58 to 68 days. read more >>

Heat:

St. Bernards typically go into heat twice a year, although the frequency can vary.

Male vs Female:

There are several differences between male and female St. Bernards:

  • Size: Male St. Bernards are generally larger and heavier than females. Males can weigh up to 180 pounds, while females typically weigh between 120-140 pounds.
  • Temperament: Female St. Bernards tend to be more independent and aloof, while males are more affectionate and outgoing.
  • Energy level: Male St. Bernards are typically more energetic and playful than females.
  • Health issues: Female St. Bernards are more prone to urinary tract infections and reproductive issues, while males are more prone to prostate problems.
  • Coat: Male St. Bernards tend to have thicker and longer coats than females.
  • Maturity: Female St. Bernards tend to mature faster than males, both physically and emotionally.

read more >>

Tips and Advice:

St. Bernards are large and lovable dogs that require proper care and attention to ensure their health and happiness. Here are some tips and advice for caring for a St. Bernard:

  • Provide a balanced and nutritious diet that is appropriate for their size and activity level.
  • Regular exercise is important to keep them healthy and prevent obesity. However, be mindful of their joints and avoid excessive jumping or running on hard surfaces.
  • Grooming is essential to keep their thick coat clean and healthy. Brush them regularly to prevent matting and remove loose fur.
  • St. Bernards are prone to drooling, so keep a towel handy to wipe their mouth and prevent skin irritation.
  • Regular vet check-ups are important to monitor their health and detect any potential health issues early on.
  • Socialization is crucial to prevent aggression and anxiety. Expose them to different people, animals and environments from a young age.
  • St. Bernards are known for their loyalty and affection, so give them plenty of love and attention to keep them happy and content.
  • Provide a comfortable and spacious living environment with plenty of room to move around and relax.
  • Train them using positive reinforcement techniques to ensure they are well-behaved and obedient.
  • Lastly, be prepared for their size and strength. St. Bernards can weigh up to 200 pounds, so make sure you can handle them and keep them under control in public places.

Food:

St. Bernards are large dogs and can eat a significant amount of food. However, their exact food intake will depend on their age, weight, activity level and overall health. As a general guideline, adult St. Bernards typically require 4-6 cups of high-quality dog food per day, divided into two meals.

St. Bernards are not typically considered food-oriented dogs. They may enjoy treats and table scraps, but they are not known for being particularly food-motivated or prone to overeating. However, it’s important to monitor their food intake and ensure they maintain a healthy weight, as obesity can lead to a variety of health problems in large breeds like St. Bernards. read more >>

Facts:

Here are three interesting facts about St. Bernard:

  1. St. Bernard dogs were originally bred to be rescue dogs in the Alps. They were trained to search for and rescue lost or injured travelers in the snow and mountains.
  2. St. Bernard dogs have a keen sense of smell and can detect scents from miles away. This makes them excellent search and rescue dogs, as well as great companions for people with disabilities.
  3. The most famous St. Bernard dog was named Barry, who lived in the early 1800s. He is credited with saving the lives of over 40 people in the Alps during his lifetime. Today, his stuffed body is on display at the Natural History Museum in Berne, Switzerland.

read more >>

Names:

St. Bernards are majestic and gentle giants with a friendly and loving nature. When selecting names for St. Bernards, it is often suitable to consider names that reflect their noble appearance, their Swiss heritage or their warm and affectionate personality. Here are 15 names that would be a good fit for a St. Bernard:

  1. Max: A strong and classic name that matches St. Bernard’s confident and noble presence.
  2. Bella: This name conveys beauty and grace, reflecting St. Bernard’s gentle and loving nature.
  3. Bruno: A name that represents the St. Bernard’s sturdy and robust build, symbolizing their strength.
  4. Heidi: Inspired by Swiss folklore, this name embodies the breed’s Alpine heritage and friendly nature.
  5. Luna: Signifying the moon, this name captures St. Bernard’s calm and peaceful demeanor.
  6. Winston: A distinguished and regal name that complements St. Bernard’s dignified and majestic character.
  7. Nala: This name conveys sweetness and affection, reflecting St. Bernard’s gentle and loving personality.
  8. Swiss: A name that signifies the breed’s Swiss origin, paying homage to their historical significance.
  9. Daisy: A name that embodies St. Bernard’s cheerful and friendly nature, symbolizing their joyful spirit.
  10. Hugo: Signifying intelligence and nobility, this name matches St. Bernard’s intelligent and noble disposition.
  11. Molly: This name represents St. Bernard’s affectionate and loyal nature, symbolizing their devotion.
  12. Bear: A strong and powerful name that reflects St. Bernard’s massive size and protective instinct.
  13. Lily: Signifying purity and innocence, this name matches St. Bernard’s gentle and loving temperament.
  14. Alpine: Inspired by the breed’s mountainous origins, this name represents their adventurous and resilient spirit.
  15. Zeus: A name that signifies strength and authority, fitting for St. Bernard’s commanding presence.

These names capture the essence of St. Bernards, highlighting their majestic appearance, friendly nature and Swiss heritage. They provide a fitting identity for these gentle and loving companions.

Famous:

Over the years, many St. Bernards have become famous for their incredible feats, appearances in movies and ownership by famous people. Here are some of the most famous St. Bernards of all time:

  • Barry – Perhaps the most famous St. Bernard of all time, Barry was a rescue dog who saved over 40 lives in the Swiss Alps during the early 1800s.
  • Beethoven – The lovable St. Bernard from the 1992 movie of the same name, Beethoven was a pop culture icon in the 90s.
  • Cujo – The terrifying St. Bernard from Stephen King’s novel of the same name, Cujo was a vicious dog who terrorized a small town.
  • Nana – The loyal St. Bernard from J.M. Barrie’s “Peter Pan,” Nana was the Darling family’s nursemaid and protector.
  • Buck – The St. Bernard from Jack London’s “The Call of the Wild,” Buck was a sled dog who learned to survive in the harsh Alaskan wilderness.
  • Rufus – The St. Bernard owned by the Royal Family, Rufus was a beloved pet of Queen Victoria and King Edward VII.
  • Goliath – The St. Bernard owned by the famous actor and comedian, Jackie Gleason, Goliath was a beloved companion who appeared on “The Jackie Gleason Show.”
  • Balto – While not a St. Bernard, Balto was a famous sled dog who led his team on a 1925 serum run to Nome, Alaska, saving countless lives.

Summary:

The St. Bernard is a large breed of dog that originated in the Swiss Alps. They were originally bred for rescue work in the mountains and are known for their strength, intelligence and gentle nature. St. Bernards are typically friendly, loyal and affectionate and are often considered to be great family pets.

In terms of physical traits, St. Bernards are large and muscular, with a thick coat that can be either short or long. They are typically white with brown or black markings and have droopy jowls and a friendly expression.

St. Bernards have a long history of working as rescue dogs in the Alps, where they were used to locate and rescue lost or injured travelers. They were also used as guard dogs and as draft animals, pulling carts and sleds through the snow.

As pets, St. Bernards are generally well-behaved and easy to train, although they do require a lot of exercise and space to roam. They are great with children and other pets and are renowned for their gentle and patient nature. However, due to their large size, they may not be suitable for apartment living or for families with very young children.