Breed Spotlight: Saint Bernard

Saint Bernards are often known as gentle giants for their watchful and patient demeanor and very large build. The breed has a unique past, originally bred to serve as guard dogs on the grounds of Switzerland’s Hospice Saint Bernard. They were also used to help find and save lost and injured travelers. Their heroic nature has translated into a kind, gentle and intelligent attitude, making Saint Bernards great family pets. Do you think a Saint Bernard could be a fit for you? Read on to learn more.


Saint Bernards are friendly and welcoming, with an overall kind and patient temperament. This makes them a good option for a family dog, as long as they have space to move around. They love attention but are not as demanding as other breeds. While they may not be as demanding for attention, it is still important to socialize them early on. Exposure to many people and experiences can ensure they grow up to be well-rounded. They get along well with other pets and children because of their careful and patient attitude.


Most Saint Bernards live 8 to 10 years, but it is important to remember they can be prone to certain health problems. Some of the more common conditions include hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, dilated cardiomyopathy, epilepsy and certain eye conditions. These risks are reduced if dogs are purchased from more conscious breeders who work to improve the overall health of their dogs. Saint Bernards are very large dogs and stand between 28 to 30 inches for males and 26 to 28 inches for females. Males weigh an average of 140 to 180 pounds and females weigh 120 to 140 pounds. When considering a Saint Bernard, you should also keep in mind their drooling and shedding habits. They are prone to drool often and shed their coats about twice a year.


Training is extremely important for Saint Bernards due to their size. An untrained Saint Bernard can quickly become overeager, damaging your home and knocking people over. Those with young children should be cautious when considering this breed because of their size. Positive reinforcement training works best with Saint Bernards, and it is important to be consistent throughout the training process. Early socialization can also help with training. A well-trained Saint Bernard is a great family companion.

Exercise Needs

While they are a large, powerful breed, Saint Bernards only require a moderate amount of exercise. One long walk or play session can be enough to keep them healthy and happy. While they may not require much exercise, they do need space to roam. Saint Bernards do not work well in apartments or small homes because of their size. This is an important thing to consider when looking into Saint Bernards.

If you want a big, lovable pup, a Saint Bernard may just be the dog for you. As long as you keep in mind the various aspects of health and personality that this breed requires, you are sure to have a healthy, happy pup.

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