Like so many large breed dogs, Saint Bernards are an iconic breed that gained fame after the hit movie Beethoven. Who didn’t walk away from that movie wanting a Saint Bernard? This giant breed is full of patience, adaptability, and loyalty.
Originally bred to rescue travelers from drifts and avalanches in the Alps, this is a strong, tough, and trustworthy breed that’s built for the cold weather!
Saint Bernards are known for being excellent family dogs because of their laid-back demeanor around unpredictable babies and small children. If you’re looking for an extra-large and super friendly breed to add to your pack, read on. A Saint Bernard could be a great fit for you!
Physical Traits and Health of Saint Bernards
Saint Bernards make the list for one of the largest breeds out there. However, you will find a pretty big variation in weight, from 140 pounds on the low end and up to 260 pounds in some males! For this reason, before you get a Saint Bernard, it’s a good idea to ask your potential breeder about the size and weight of dogs in their line. This will give you a better idea of what you’re signing up for.
Like Collies, Saint Bernards come in two varieties, long-haired and short-haired. Both varieties are known for shedding and require brushing 1-3 times per week to keep shedding at bay. Additionally, you can expect this breed to do a very big shed twice a year when they blow their coat.
Saint Bernards are notorious for being big droolers, so that is definitely something to be aware of before adding one to your pack. Additionally, their large size puts them at risk for a number of health issues including bloat, hip dysplasia, eye disease, and a few others. Their life expectancy is between 8-10 years.
Personality and Lifestyle of Saint Bernards
Every resource out there has the same thing to say about Saint Bernards: they are incredibly friendly to everyone they meet! They are also described as generally agreeable, eager to please, and easy to train––which is important with a dog this big. It’s imperative that you train them early on to come when called, not jump up, and learn basic commands because their size can intimidate others.
Because their history is rooted in the cold mountains, Saint Bernards don’t do well in very hot environments. They can adapt to warm weather living, but they will need a cool spot to go to, and would probably do best in a home with AC if the outdoor temperatures get really high.
Unlike many other working dogs, Saint Bernards do not require a crazy amount of exercise. They are happy with one long walk per day or a good 30-minute play session to keep them healthy and stimulated. A nice perk is that Saint Bernard’s are highly adaptable and can sustain more activity. This means they can join you for longer walks, hikes, or other activities from time to time, but are generally low energy dogs day-to-day.
Potential Drawbacks to a Saint Bernard
With such a good nature, low exercise needs, and adaptability, what’s not to love about Saint Bernards? Let’s take a look at a few of the things to consider before choosing a Saint Bernard for your family:
- These are really big dogs! You are not messing around here, and need to make sure your home and lifestyle can accommodate this gentle giant
- Their life expectancy is on the shorter range for most dogs
- They drool––a lot!
- They are companion dogs and don’t do well if they are left alone for long periods of time
Thinking about a Saint Bernard for your family?
If you’re looking for a giant breed that’s great with kids, a Saint Bernard could be the perfect fit! And even without kids, this breed is the ultimate companion dog.
Other perks for busy families include their moderate exercise needs (compared to other working breeds), and their friendly and adaptable disposition.
A Saint Bernard could be a great addition to your pack!
Do you have a Saint Bernard? We’d love to hear about them below!