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Posted on 07-28-2017

Breed Bio: All About Saint Bernards

What Saint Bernards Look Like:

With adult dogs weighing in between 120-180 pounds, depending on gender, most people will first notice their size! While this breed is tall, they are proportionately muscular for their frame. Another trait of the breed is drooling, which is quite common, so something that potential owners should be prepared for.

They are most commonly found in nine different color patterns, and can have either short or long coats. Their powerful heads can sometimes be adored with a “mask” of markings as well. Regardless of coat length, it’s recommended that routine brushing be done to help with shedding and overall grooming.

Group: Working Group.

What’s Their Story:

There are many different theories as to the origin of the breed, so not many concrete facts about how the breed came to be the dogs we know and love today. However, it is speculated that Saint Bernards may be descendants of “Molosser” dogs introduced to the Alps (many theories point to Switzerland) by Roman armies.

Why They Make Great Pets:

Many regard this breed as a “gentle giant.” A friendly breed that does well with family members of all ages, Saint Bernards make for playful puppies that generally mature into laidback adults. They are known for being very intelligent, eager to please their owners (both traits that can make them very trainable) and extremely loyal. Their intelligence and congenial personality has made them a reliable breed for search and rescue missions as well as a lovable family member for households across the country.

Ideal Owners for This Breed:

While they don’t often require a lot of exercise, and sometimes their size leads to a more relaxed demeanor, this breed should still see daily activity. They do well with owners that spend time with them on walks and playing outdoors, which will oftentimes make for a content Saint Bernard; with more emphasis on play as a puppy. Their dense coats were made to withstand cold temperatures, so they do not do well in the heat so owners should monitor their temperature and time outside in hot weather.

Potential Health Concerns:

Generally a healthy breed, there is a potential for hip dysplasia in Saint Bernards. Like many larger breeds, they also need to be monitored for bloating. 

Fun Facts:

Check out some more facts about Saint Bernards:

  • Prior to 1830, all Saint Bernards had short hair. Over the course of a few years (which stemmed from bad weather), they were cross-bred with longer-haired dogs, creating the long hair Saint Bernards of today. 
  • Saint Bernards are used for rescue missions that have helped save thousands of lives.

For more information about Saint Bernards, please head on over to the breed’s page on the American Kennel Club website.

Let an Animal Hospital of Woodstock staff member know if you have any questions or inquiries about this breed! We are always happy to help.

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