The Saint Bernard is the big, loveable lump of the canine fraternity. He is the friendly giant who wants to help out whenever he can. Of course, he is also much more than that as you will discover. Seeing a female saint Bernard with her young pups eclipses most sights in nature. Never will there be another dog quite like the Saint Bernard and his fame as a fearless search and rescue dog goes before him. He is a hardy old breed of dog who has become very comfortable in his own skin.
The Saint Bernard is classified as a working dog.
- Weight varies considerably. A smaller example may weigh under 110 lbs while big daddies can top 200 lbs.
- Markings tend to be white with red areas or red (possibly brindle) with white. St. Bernards often display a dark mask. The breed has two distinctive coats, the one short-haired and the other long-haired. Both varieties will shed hair copiously. Their thick coat is water resistant.
- Males grow to around 26-28 inches, with the female being just a touch smaller.
A Saint Bernard’s Nature
- Saint Bernards are incredibly affectionate and utterly loyal. This tends to negate their advantages of weight and size in terms of handling; they are usually very willing to please. (Please note, though, any large dog may become a handful for owners of small stature if the dog has not been trained thoroughly when young.) These bodily well muscled and bulky fellows are extremely sharp mentally but normally just want to chill out. That said, Saint Bernards are exceptional guard dogs and very protective.
- Regardless of their size, they are superb with children. Sure, sometimes they like to get their own way but they will ultimately go with the flow. However, be warned. In return for their incredible fidelity, Saint Bernards demand a high level of attention and affection. They are very much people’s dog and will become very insecure without their love.
- Saint Bernards need only a moderate amount of exercise. A gentle walk once or twice a day should normally suffice. As with most dogs, a yard for general meandering is preferable, although if you are prepared to walk them often enough, they do make for great apartment pets.
- The most important thing to note about Saint Bernards, as far as looking after them is concerned, is that they abhor heat. So, if you want a Saint Bernard, make absolutely sure that you will be able to provide him with cool retreat that’s accessible to him at any time he needs it.
- Saint Bernards shed hair biannually and it is bountiful. The obvious solution when they are shedding is to groom them once or twice a day with a stiff brush; combs work well but are a lot more time-consuming.
- Try to keep washing and shampooing to an absolute minimum to reduce their risk of a skin disorder. Watch out for problems around their eyes and ears and clean both as necessary.
- Try to train them early and make sure they have plenty of contact with you and other members of the family and other pets.
- In spite of their enormous intellects, Saint Bernards are usually only prepared to go so far when it’s a question of learning ‘tricks’. They will happily be obedient in the basics and should present no problems with walking, sitting etc. but they are generally not too interested in being told what to do beyond that.
- A beautifully wistful looking creature, a Saint Bernard endears himself to all and makes an ideal family pet. However, in spite of his apparent nonchalance which seems to say ‘let tomorrow worry about tomorrow’, he is in fact extremely concerned about his security if not given sufficient attention. It is good advice to only get a Saint Bernard if you have sufficient time and energy to invest in him. If you