Saint Bernard

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Is the Saint Bernard right for you?

Species group:

The basics:
The Saint Bernard is the legendary rescue dog of Switzerland. They are large, hardy, and enjoy being given something worthwhile to do, so they are best recommended to the owner who likes working with a larger dog. In the myth, this dog sets out to rescue avalanche victims with a little cask of brandy secured around its neck. In reality, while they probably didn't carry brandy, they reportedly saved more than 2,000 people over the years after a monk named Saint Bernard established a hospice in Swiss Alps on a route popular with travelers and pilgrims.

In the aftermath of blizzards and avalanches, a pack of four Saint Bernards would set out to find and rescue victims. On locating someone in need, dogs would lie on either side of the body to provide warmth. A third dog would lick the face to while the fourth dog would return to the hospice for aid. One such dog, named Barry or Berry, is said to have rescued as many as 100 people.

Appearance / health:
Saint Bernards are large dogs with a wide skull and a distinct stop. The muzzle is short and does not taper. They have black broad noses with wide nostrils. The brown eyes have a friendly, intelligent expression. They have medium-sized ears, which stand slightly away from the head at the base. The chest is well arches and moderately deep. The back is very broad. The legs are muscular and well developed.

Saints usually shed their dense coats twice a year, usually in spring and fall. At other times, they do not shed much.

Saints require moderate amounts of exercise. A daily long walk is sufficient to keep them healthy and happy. Strenuous exercise in the puppy stage can damage puppies' bones.

As with any large dog, Saints are prone to hip dysplasia, a condition marked by abnormal joint formation that can eventually lead to lameness. Overfeeding may lead to obesity, which can lead to problems with bones. Eye problems and epilepsy occur in some dogs.

Behavior / temperament:
Saint Bernards are extremely friendly though their size and bark can seem intimidating to an intruder. However, they are extremely protective of their family members. They love to be included in all family activities. Many Saints drool a lot.

They require patient, kind training and socialization beginning at an early age.

They rarely bark without a good reason.


gentle giant, natural protectors, total sweetheart, loving cuddly dogs, GREAT family dog, calm demeanor


St. Bernards drool, daily brushing, big vet bills, hip issues, hot Summer, shorter lives


lower energy housedogs, service dog training, drymouth kind, massive Saint Bernard

From shelters/rescues



Saint Bernard

Richmond, VA




Saint Bernard

Williamsville, IL




Saint Bernard

Mokena, IL


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