Known to be loving, gentle and tolerant in spite of their size, Saint Bernards are good with families with well-behaved children. In addition, they are eager to please, making training easier.
The food requirement for a Saint Bernard may be lower than for other breeds of similar size because their temperament is more placid and they need less exercise.
Droopy eyes, floppy ears (naturally)
Energy Level: Laid back
Life Expectancy: 8-10 years.
Tendency to Drool: High Tendency to Snore: Moderate
Tendency to Bark: Low
Tendency to Dig: Low Social/Attention Needs: High
Draft, search, rescue
Characteristics: Double coat, flat
Colours: Red and white, brindle and white
Overall Grooming Needs: Moderate
AKC Classification: Working
UKC Classification: Guardian Dog
Saint Bernards are very large, powerful, muscular dogs.
A male Saint Bernard's height can range between 70-75cm, and can weigh between 63-81kg. A female's height may range between 65-70cm, and can weigh between 54-63kg.
The dogs may be long-haired or short-haired. Coat colours include red and white, brown and white, and brindle and white. Some dogs have dark masks over their eyes. The ears are set high on the head and are floppy. The eyes are dark and a little droopy. The forehead is fairly wrinkled. Saint Bernards also have jowls, which makes them prone to drooling.
Because the dogs are so large, they take longer than many other breeds to mature fully. They generally do not reach their full size until they are 2 or 3 years old.
Saint Bernards are loving, placid dogs. Their instinctive friendliness is likely to offset a stranger's initial fear of approaching such a large dog. However, Saint Bernards are equally quick to protect family members who they believe are in danger.
Because they are so friendly, gentle and tolerant, Saint can be especially good for families with well-behaved children. Known to be exceptionally understanding and patient, Saint are careful not to injure a child.
These dogs are eager to please, which can make training easier than with other breeds.
The Saint Bernard is a social being. Nothing makes them happier than participating in family activities. Conversely, this dog is likely to sulk if they feel left out of any fun. As the adult Saint Bernard is so large, training is imperative, the earlier the better. The breed is known to be obstinate on occasion. However, once a Saint Bernard understands what is expected their instinctive desire to please will generally offset any stubbornness.
The adult Saint Bernard sheds twice a year, in spring and fall. Regular brushing will help to minimise such shedding.
Whilst they need to eat enough food to maintain a healthy weight, do not overfeed a Saint Bernard. Excess weight can strain the joints and worsen any problems in the dog's hips or elbows. The pound-for-pound food requirement for a Saint Bernard may be lower than for other breeds because their temperament is more placid and they need less exercise than many other breeds.
As is the case with other very large breeds, Saint Bernards live relatively short lives. Life expectancy is generally 8 to 10 years.
Saint Bernards are powerful, giant-sized dogs with deep roots in myth and legend. Although traditionally thought to have originated at a monastery-hospice in the Swiss Alps in the 11th century, the dog's first verifiable appearance at the monastery, or anywhere else, probably occurred about 600 years later.
Experts believe that these first monastery dogs were intended for use as watchdogs. Not long thereafter their life-saving abilities became apparent. Over the next three centuries, Saint Bernards were credited with saving well over 2,000 human lives.
Today's Saint Bernards are known not only for their historic exploits, but also for their love and devotion to their human companions, especially children. Two popular children's movies of the 1990s, “Beethoven” and “Beethoven 2,” capitalised on this trait to tell stories of a lovable Saint Bernard's adventures with his suburban American family.