Saint Bernard Description
The Saint Bernard is a very large, strong, muscular dog, with a powerful head. As long as the weight stays in proportion with the height, the taller the dog the more prized. There are two types of coat: rough, and smooth, but both are very dense and come in white with markings in tan, red, mahogany, brindle, and black - in various combinations. The face and ears are usually shaded with black and the expression is intelligent and gentle. In the rough-coated dogs, the hair is slightly longer and there is feathering on the thighs and legs. The feet are large with strong well-arched toes, making the Saint Bernard's sure-footed in the snow and ice. They have a highly developed sense of smell and also seem to have a sixth sense about impending danger from storms and avalanches.
Saint Bernard Temperament
They are extremely gentle and friendly and very tolerant of children. The Saint Bernard is slow moving, patient, and obedient. Extremely loyal, this breed wants to please. Since this dog is so giant, be sure to socialize it very well at a young age with other people. It is highly intelligent and easy to train, however training should begin early, while the dog is still a manageable size. Bear in mind that an unruly dog of this size presents a problem for even a strong adult if it is to be exercised in public areas on a leash, so take control from the onset. The Saint Bernard is a good watchdog. Even its size is a good deterrent. They drool after they drink or eat.
Saint Bernard Height, Weight
Height: 25.5-27.5 inches (61-70 cm)
Weight: 110-200 pounds (50-91 kg)
Saint Bernard Health Problems
Good health but some are prone to "wobbler" syndrome, heart problems, skin problems, hip dysplasia, and extropion - a folding outward of the eyelid rim, usually on the lower lid. Twisted stomachs should be watched for. As these dogs are prone to bloat, it is best to feed them two or three small meals a day instead of one large meal.
Saint Bernard Living Conditions
The Saint Bernard will do okay in an apartment if it is sufficiently exercised. They are relatively inactive indoors and a small yard is sufficient. They can live outdoors, but would much rather be with their family. They have a low tolerance for hot weather, warm rooms, and cars.
Saint Bernard Exercise
A long walk each day is needed to keep the Saint Bernard in good mental and physical condition. Puppies should not have too much exercise at one time until their bones are well formed and strong. Short walks and brief play sessions are best until the dog is about two years old.
Saint Bernard Life Expectancy
About 8-10 years.
Saint Bernard Grooming
Both types of coats are easy to groom. Comb and brush with a firm bristle brush, and bathe only when necessary. Shampoo may strip the coat of its oily, water-resistant properties, so use a mild soap. The eyes, which may be inclined to water, need special attention to keep them clean and free of irritants. This breed sheds twice a year.
Saint Bernard Origin
This is a very ancient breed. It was founded in AD 980 by St Bernard de Menthon as a refuge for travelers through the perilous Alpine pass between Switzerland and Italy. It is descended from the Tibetan mastiff and therefore must have originated with the mastiff brought to the Alps by the Romans around the year 1000. The monks probably crossed the ancient mastiff with the Great Dane and the Great Pyrenees. Its use and popularity as a rescue dog began in the middle of the seventeenth century. The Saint Bernard was used as an avalanche and rescue dog in the snowy passes near the Hospice. More then 2,000 people have been saved by this amazing servant of mankind. The dogs search out and find the lost or injured traveler, and then lick him and lie next to him to give him warmth. Then one dog from the party heads back to the Hospice to get a full rescue team. The Saint Bernard's sense of smell is so excellent that he can find a person even under many feet of snow. This breed is also known for his ability to foretell storms and avalanches, perhaps because he may hear very low frequency sounds that are beyond our ability to hear. There are two varieties: short-haired and long-haired. The short-haired variety is more often used for mountain work because he can tolerate cold temperatures. The long-haired variety's coat tends to collect icicles. Some of the Saint Bernard's talents are search & rescue, watchdogging and carting.
Saint Bernard Group
Mastiff, AKC Working