Saint Bernard

"Cask of Brandy Not Included"

Photo of Saint Bernard


Saint Bernards were named after the Swiss monastery and hospice (and the founding monk) where they were raised for many years. The monks at St. Bernard formed rescue missions for those caught in the often unexpected blizzards or avalanches of the Alps. Their dogs were willing and able assistants, aiding the distressed traveler. Originally, they accompanied the monks on their search and rescue missions, but their skill in finding the lost was so legendary, the dogs were often sent out on their own. After aiding the victim by digging him out of the snow and lying next to the person to provide body heat, one of the dogs plowed back to the monastery to sound the alarm. In modern times, they are good-natured companions with striking good looks. They're willing to pull carts or sleds, occasionally filled with squealing youngsters.


Calm and placid, the Saint does not take up as much room in a house or apartment as a much smaller but more active dog.


The Saint has two varieties: longhaired and smooth. Most are red or a reddish brown with white markings – or vice versa. Patches may be brindle. As puppies, they look like gorgeous, fluffy stuffed animals. Buyers should be aware they don't stay that size! Their great big heads give them a majestic appearance. Drooping jowls mean drool is part of living with a Saint!


These dogs grow quickly, reaching adult height while they still have a puppy brain. Win the battle of wills while they still have a puppy body and you can move him! Once the pup understands what you want, he'll follow you willingly – slowly perhaps but contentedly.

Grooming & Care

The smooth variety can be brushed quickly with a “slick” and a promise. The longhaired takes a bit more time, but is still simple brushing. When you have a dog this size, however, it's going to take more than five minutes!

Health Concerns

Look for parents who are free of hip dysplasia (a real challenge with a dog this size), bloat and eye problems. Eyelids might sag, catching debris, which is painful to the dog.

Famous Saint Bernard

The rescue Saints at the St. Bernard monastery, especially Barry, who's reported to have saved between 40 to 100 people's lives.

Ideal Owner
Activity Level 3
Schedule 5
Home 9
Children 48
Experience 51
Quick Facts
Grooming 110
Exercise 61
Challenges Drool and more drool. Owners should always be aware of the chance for bloat.
Height 25 to 34 inches
Weight 120 to 180 pounds
Life 7 to 9 years
Home Alone 20
With Kids 114
With Strangers 91
Availability 23

This client information sheet is based on material written by: LifeLearn

© Copyright 2014 LifeLearn Inc. Used and/or modified with permission under license.