The Gentle Giant- Saint Bernard

Saints are famous watchful and patient “nanny dogs” for children. The Saints are “very powerful,” “extraordinarily muscular,” “imposing,” and “massive”, but very gentle dog breed. This breed has huge head with a wrinkled brow, a short muzzle, and dark eyes. The Saint’s coat is white, with shades of tan, red, mahogany, brindle, and black.

Other names for the Saint are the Alpine Mastiff, Bernhardiner, and St. Bernhardshund

  • Height: 28-30 inches (males), 26-28 inches (female)
  • Weight: 140-180 pounds (male), 120-140 pounds (female)
  • Life Expectancy: 8-10 years

SB 3

Some St. Bernard dogs are prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. The breed is susceptible to a life-threatening condition where the stomach distends and twists.

Saint Bernard comes in long-haired and short-haired varieties, but both types of coats require the same care. They need weekly brushing to remove dirt. During shedding season, brushing is a daily activity. St. Bernard needs a moderate amount of exercise. A Saint is happiest when he is doing activities together with his owner.

Early socialization and puppy training classes are mandatory for big and strong dogs like St. Bernard and Kangal. Saints are kind-hearted and eager to please, so they generally start responding to commands immediately. A Saint wants to be with his family, and may get anxiety issues if he is regularly left alone for long periods of time.


  • The Saint Bernard originated in the Alpine region of Switzerland.
  • There it gained reputation as a search and rescue dog.
  • The Saint Bernard got its name from the Great St. Bernard Hospice in the western alps.
  • Barry, the most famous of the rescue dogs at the St. Bernard Hospice saved between 40 and 100 people. He has his own monument in the Cimetiere des Chiens and his body has been preserved at the Natural History Museum in Berne, Switzerland.
  • Over the years Saints have been credited with saving nearly 2000 people from the hazards of the Alps.
  • Saints are prone to hip and elbow dysplasia, osteosarcoma, seizures, heart problems, and eczema.
  • The first Saint Bernard Breed Club was organized in Basel, Switzerland in 1884.
  • There is a town in Ohio, U.S. called St. Bernard.
  • They are known for their excessive drooling, but there are a some that have a drier mouth.
  • They cannot handle extreme changes in temperature, hence its important keep them cool in summers.
  • Most don’t reach maturity until 3 years of age, so be prepared for your Saint to keep growing and learning for quite some time.
  • Instinctively good watchdogs, the Saints are great at sensing danger.
  • The Saint requires minimal exercise and makes a great apartment dog.
  • Saint’s are now commonly used for cart pulling, weight pulling, agility, and nose work.
  • Benedictine V Schwarzwald Hof was the largest recorded Saint with the weight of 315 pounds.
  • Some of the Saint’s closest doggie relatives are the English Mastiff, the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, and the Bernese Mountain Dog.
  • The original St. was about the size of a German Shepherd.
  • Saint Bernards are thought to be descendants of Molosser dogs which were brought to Europe by the ancient Romans.


One thought on “The Gentle Giant- Saint Bernard

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  1. Wow… Nice facts about Saint Bernard… I too have Saint Bernard which is extremely gentle, friendly and very tolerant, especially with kids. They are intelligent and easy to train. They are needed to socialize during puppyhood only. They are slow moving, patient, obedient. They really know how to please people. They are extremely loyal as well.


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