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St Bernard Dog Breeds: Learn the Basics About Them

Originally, the St Bernard breed of dog was used to protect the grounds of the St Bernard Hospice in Switzerland, as well as to help find and save lost and injured travellers. Today, the St. Bernard enjoys the comforts of family life in many homes around the world.

He is versatile and excels in the show ring, in obedience trials and in weight pulling competitions.

The St Bernard rescued people from the cold, cold winds and snows of the Alps, which used to be very treacherous for travellers. He is a kind, gentle, intelligent and good-natured dog. It is also a giant, a large, muscular dog that can reach a height of 75 centimetres and a weight of 80 kilograms.

St Bernard dog breeds come in short-haired and long-haired varieties, with the short-haired being favoured by the monks of St. Bernard Hospice, where the dogs originated.

Despite its size, the Saint Bernard is a calm indoor dog capable of becoming a wonderful family friend. Although he is quiet indoors, he is good if he has easy access to a yard where he can have some room to spread out. However, he can live in small spaces, as long as he gets a good daily walk.

More important than the size of your home is your tolerance for mess. St Bernards are not the best choice for those who love tidiness and cleanliness as they drool, tracking in mud and dirt. With this breed, sanctity is not necessarily next to cleanliness.


Characteristics and temperament of the St Bernard


Known as the giant dogs that rescue people in the Swiss Alps, St. Bernards are beloved as gentle family dogs with big hearts and friendly temperaments. But you should give them serious thought before deciding to bring one into your family.

 St Bernard puppy

St. Bernard breeds require a lot of love and devotion. Their size alone dictates the need for basic manners and early obedience training. The fact that they can even rest on the kitchen table demands that they be taught their boundaries.

Although this breed loves to be with the children of the family, their size requires close supervision. They would never intentionally harm a child, however, a huge paw or powerful tail may accidentally strike a child.

They are enthusiastic participants in any family activity and will become upset if they are not included. St. Bernards rarely bark without good reason. They are good guardians and protectors of their family, but should never be considered a watchdog.

Because of their large size, you should choose a puppy carefully, checking its background for common health and temperament problems.

In general, the breeder of the puppy should be able to provide you with proof of parental health clearances, and you should also be comfortable with the behaviour of adult St. Bernards in the breeder’s home.


Health problems of Saint Bernards


Saint Bernard breeds of dog, like many other breeds, can have particular health problems, which include:

– Hip dysplasia: Due to its large size, the Saint Bernard is particularly prone to hip dysplasia, a joint disease that can eventually paralyse dogs, depending on its severity.

– Overweight: As with any large or giant breed, care should be taken not to overfeed or supplement young puppies. Too rapid growth or excess weight can place undue stress on young, still-growing joints and cause or aggravate elbow or hip problems. Consult with your dog’s veterinarian when it is appropriate to switch to an adult formula and keep a close eye on the weight level of your growing Saint Bernard. They continue to grow and mature for at least the first three years.

St Bernard temperament

– Short life expectancy: As with most giant breeds, St. Bernards commonly have short lifespans of 7 to 11 years. Some individuals may live longer, but short lives are the rule rather than the exception.

– Other conditions: You should check for other conditions this breed may have, such as entropion (a condition of the eyelid) and epilepsy. Like other breeds of similar size and beak, the Saint Bernard can be susceptible to problems such as heat stroke and bloat.


Frequently asked questions about the St Bernard


– How much do they eat: Saint Bernard breeds cannot be bred or kept on more food than is necessary. Because Saint Bernards are gentle dogs, they generally require less food per kilogram of body weight than most smaller, more active breeds.

– Are they good with children: Sure; they understand children and are incredibly careful not to hurt them. They make excellent nannies and companions. Naturally, a child should never be allowed to torment any dog, regardless of breed.

St Bernard poodle

– Are they easy to train: Due to the size of the animal, the Saint Bernard must be trained and this must be done early in their lives. Fortunately, they are eager to please and will begin to respond to commands as soon as they understand what you want from them.

– Do they shed: Yes, twice a year, usually in spring and autumn, they lose much of their coats to help them adapt to the changing seasons. During the rest of the year, there is rarely any discomfort from shedding.

– Do they drool: Yes. Depending on the weather, the level of excitement and the shape of the dog’s mouth, most St. Bernards will drool on occasion. Technically, there is no such thing as a ‘dry-mouthed Saint Bernard’, but most of these dogs do not drool to an offensive degree.


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