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208 Breeds, 422 Health Conditions  |  Find a Vet

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Saint Bernard


Saint Bernard Facts

  • Group
  • Working
  • Affiliations
  • Height
  • 25.5" - 30"+
  • Weight
  • 120-180+ lbs.
  • Lifespan
  • 10 years | Add yours

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  • Exercise Requirement
  • Moderate - This breed enjoys typical daily activity
  • Training Requirement
  • Average Training Time
  • Grooming Requirement
  • Moderate
  • Colors
    • White / Brown
    • White / Red
    • White / Chestnut
    • Brindle
    • Red
    • Brown
  • Breed Characteristics
    • Can be trained as a watch dog or guard dog
    • Good with children
    • Ok outdoors
    • Rescue heritage

True Cost Of Ownership

Alternate Names

None known.


The Saint Bernard originated in the Alps between Switzerland and Italy.

Date Of Origin

This breed developed in the seventeenth century.


The Saint Bernard was developed in the 17th century by Swiss monks at the Hospice of Saint Bernard, a refuge for travelers crossing the mountain passes between Switzerland and Italy. They were used as drafting, guarding, turn-spit, and search and rescue dogs. Saint Bernards are believed to have saved over 2,000 lives through their work at the hospice. They were likely descended from Roman mastiffs. The breed first came to the U.S. in the 19th century.


The Saint Bernard is a large, powerful, square shaped dog with a large head and deep furrow over the skull. The skull is twice as long as the short blunt muzzle. When alert, the skin wrinkles under the diamond shaped, dark brown eyes. The medium size drop ears are set high, and are shaped like rounded triangles. The nose is broad and black and there are strongly developed flews. The feet are large and the tail is naturally long. The double coat has a dense undercoat and thick straight outer coat that is short or long. It is red, brown, or brindle with white markings at the chest, feet, tip of tail, nose band, and neck. There is generally a dark mask and ears.


This is an affectionate, fun loving, and playful dog that is equally friendly with strangers and family. It makes a poor guard dog, but will bark at intruders. It is very good with children.


This breed is best known for its search and rescue work, however, it is also and excellent guard dog, farm dog and companion. Be wary of heavy amounts of shedding if kept indoors. Professional grooming can help to alleviate the problem.

Health Concerns

Albanism, bloat, epilepsy, skin allergies, laryngeal paralysis.

Additional Information

The Saint Bernard does best in a home where neatness is not a concern. A rural or suburban home is preferred, although it can adapt to city life as long as it has enough room.

Show Sources & Contributors +


The Howell Book Of Dogs

Publisher: Wiley Publishing Inc, 2007

Website: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/

Author: Liz Palika

Dog Bible

Publisher: BowTie Press, 2005

Website: http://www.bowtiepress.com/bowtie/

Authors: Kristin Meuh-Roe, Jarelle S. Stein

Simon & Schusters Guide to Dogs

Publisher: Simon & Schuster inc, 1980

Website: http://www.simonandschuster.com

Author: Elizabeth Meriwether Schuler

The New Encyclopedia of the Dog

Publisher: Dorling Kindersley Publishing, 2000

Website: http://www.dk.com

Author: Bruce Fogle

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