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Saint Bernard Breed Summary

Friendly, Calm, Protective, Gentle Giants 

These giant doggies are one of the largest breeds on the planet and are renowned worldwide for their amazing rescuing skills in the mountainous regions of Switzerland. It's thought that they have rescued hundreds of people from death over many centuries!

They also make lovely family pets due to their natural affinity for children. Although large, they don't actually need that much space to live in and need less exercise than you may expect as well!

Funny Fact: These guys are the national dog of Switzerland!

Kennel Club Group Working Dog
Lifespan 8 - 10 years
Height (at the withers) Males 70 - 90 cm, Females 65 - 80 cm at thewithers
Weight Males 64 - 120 kg, Females 64 - 120 kg
Coat Rough or Smooth coat that is Dense and Lies Close to the Body
Colour Brown & White, Brown & White & Dark Shadings, Mahogany & White, Mahogany Black & White, Mahogany Brindle, Mahogany White & Dark Shadings, Mahogany White & Orange Shadings, Orange & White, Orange & White & Dark Shadings, Orange & Black & White, Red & White, Red & White & Dark Markings, Red Brindle, Tricolour
Eye colour Dark
Common health issues Entropion, Hip dysplasia, Skin infections, Diabetes mellitus, Bone cancer/osteosarcoma, Epilepsy, Bloat/gastric dilatation volvulus (GDV), Heart disorders and more especially Cardiomyopathy, Osteochondritis, Panosteitis, Elbow dysplasia, Genu valgum, Abnormal calcification, Pituitary abnormalities
Other Names St. Bernhardshund, Bernhardiner, Alpine Mastiff

Away from the cold, Saint Bernard’s now enjoy the comforts of family life. Dissimilar to their appearances, they are extremely gentle and quiet dogs, who enjoy nothing more than lying down and day-dreaming. As long as they have long daily walks, they will be very happy. One thing to note with these gentle giants, they are very messy. They drool, shed and tend to enjoy walking in the mud. So, if you’re a little OCD about tidiness, then this probably isn’t the breed for you! They are not suitable for living outdoors and often suffer from heat exhaustion, so it’s best to keep these guys inside where they can find a cool spot to relax in. They are also excellent with children, but it’s good to keep an eye on them, as smaller children may be accidentally knocked down! 

This giant breed originated in Switzerland and was named after the Saint Bernard Pass, a well-known and once treacherous pathway that used to lay 8,000 feet above sea level. It was so dangerous that you could only travel along it between July and September. Remains of the pass can still be seen today! A hospice was founded near the pathway in the hope it could aid travellers passing by and it's thought that the Saint Bernard Dog guarded the hospice and also helped to find stuck and lost passers-by! It’s unknown when this breed first came about, but a painting from 1695 depicts a very similar dog to the one we see today. As they had such thick coats of hair, they were able to protect themselves from the cold weather, and it’s thought they saved around 2,000 travellers throughout their time guarding the hospice. Nowadays, they can be found both on and in front of the T.V, and still at the Hospice as living representatives of the buildings history!