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Known to be loving, gentle and tolerant in spite of its size, Saint Bernards are a good with families with well-behaved children. In addition, they are eager to please, making training easier.

     Saint Bernard At a glance

Size:

Weight Range:

Male: 120-200 lbs.
Female: 120-200 lbs.

Height at Withers:

Male: 27 in.

Female: 25 in.

Features:

Droopy eyes, floppy ears (naturally)

Expectations:

Exercise Requirements: <20 minutes/day
Energy Level: Laid back
Longevity Range: 8-10 yrs.
Tendency to Drool: High Tendency to Snore: Moderate
Tendency to Bark: Low
Tendency to Dig: Low Social/Attention Needs: High

Bred For:

Draft, search, rescue

Coat:

Length: Medium
Characteristics: Double coat, flat
Colors: Red and white, brindle and white
Overall Grooming Needs: Moderate

Club Recognition:

AKC Classification: Working
UKC Classification: Guardian Dog
Prevalence: Common


The Saint Bernard Dog Breed

The food requirement for a Saint Bernard may be lower than for other breeds of similar size because his temperament is more placid and it needs less exercise.

Saint Bernards are very large, powerful, muscular dogs.

A male Saint Bernard's height can range between 28 and 30 inches, and he can weigh between 140 and 180 pounds (63 to 81 kilograms). A female's height may range between 26 and 28 inches, and she may weigh between 120 and 140 pounds (54 to 63 kilograms).

The dogs may be longhaired or shorthaired. Coat colors 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.

Personality:

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, Saints can be especially good for families with well-behaved children. Known to be exceptionally understanding and patient, Saints are careful not to injure a child.

These dogs are eager to please, which can make training easier than with other breeds.

Living With:

The Saint Bernard is a social being. Nothing makes him happier than participating in family activities. Conversely, this dog is likely to sulk if he feels that he is being left out of any fun. Because the adult Saint is so large, training is imperative, the earlier the better. The breed is known to be obstinate on occasion. However, once a Saint understands what is expected of him, his 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 minimize such shedding.

While the dog needs to eat enough food to maintain a healthy weight, do not overfeed a Saint. 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 may be lower than for other breeds because his temperament is more placid and he needs 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.

History:

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, however, their life-saving abilities became apparent. Over the next three centuries, Saints were credited with saving well over 2,000 human lives.

Today's Saints 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,” capitalized on this trait to tell stories of a lovable Saint Bernard's adventures with his suburban American family.