This friendly giant may be familiar to you for its reputation as both a watchdog and life-saver in the snowy Swiss Alps. The Saint Bernard dog breed has certainly accrued a mighty reputation, but what’s it like to adopt one? Are they easy to train? Do Saint Bernards bark? How much work is it to groom them? All that and more can be found in this guide on the Saint Bernard dog breed.
Do Saint Bernards Bark a Lot?
Saint Bernards are very calm and placid dogs, wanting to be with their families as much as possible. This breed is instinctively friendly and won’t respond to strangers with fear or barking, if trained properly. Most of the time, a Saint Bernard will only bark to alert its owner to something strange or wrong that it happens to notice.
The Saint Bernard can be intimidating to intruders because of its size, but this breed doesn’t usually make for good guard dogs or watch dogs.
However, the Saint Bernard is a very large animal and any behavioral issues gathered from a lack of training will be, proportionally, very large. With a deep, large voice, the Saint Bernard will bark very loudly if left alone for overlong periods of time. Because this breed is so social, it’s best to keep a Saint Bernard around others as much as possible to prevent this anxiety.
Do Saint Bernards Make Good Pets?
Yes, this dog breed is a wonderful pet, if you’ve got a large home, a good outdoor area where they can get a lot of exercise, and you don’t have small children. Saint Bernards are lovable, loyal and sweet. If you are particular about keeping your home in perfect order, the Saint Bernard dog breed might not be for you. Their sheer size makes them seem to be a little on the clumsy side, so you’ll need to dog-proof your home and be comfortable with sharing space with this breed.
Saint Bernards are big dogs with thick double coats, so they can be prone to overheating. Make sure they have plenty of shade and access to water to cool off when they’re outside in summer and warmer climates.
Facts About Saint Bernards
The Saint Bernard was used by humans as early as the 11th century when a monk established a hospice to aid pilgrims traveling across Europe. With many travelers crossing the treacherous Swiss Alps, the powerful Saint Bernard was able to traverse the snow and rescue people who were trapped in the snow.
- Size: Saint Bernards are large, weighing between 120 and 200 pounds.
- Life expectancy: Their life expectancy tends to be short, as with most larger breeds, living 8 – 10 years.
- Coat: Medium length, with a flat double coat
- AKC group: Working group
Are Saint Bernards Easy to Train?
Saint Bernards are very social dogs that want to be involved with their families. Both curious and playful, Saint Bernards are good with children but also a potential danger to them due to their larger size. It’s best not to have a Saint Bernard in a household with toddlers, but they are suitable companions for older children.
Their large size leads to them being polite and easy-going, but behavioral issues can develop if they’re left alone for long periods of time. Train by rewarding good behaviors and keep in mind that they take longer than some other breeds to mature. Expect them to keep growing until they’re 2 or 3 years old.
Saintly Bernards Rescue suggest that people who aren’t comfortable being “top dog” at home might not do well with the giant Saint Bernard. They suggest perhaps a Labrador retriever or golden retriever, which are dog breeds that are eager to please. The Saint Bernard dog breed is trainable, but they do best in households where their humans are confident leaders.
Do Saint Bernards Need Grooming?
Saint Bernards come both short and long haired, but their coats will require weekly brushing to prevent dirt buildup. The best grooming brush for a Saint Bernard is a pin brush or metal comb to remove loose hair. When they shed twice a year with season changes, expect to be brushing your Saint Bernard daily. It’s best to keep an eye on your Saint Bernard’s nails as well. Letting them grow out too long will lead to problems with walking. They do well with a nail grinder, like the one we carry in our online store.
Saint Bernard Mixes!
Saint Bernards are known for their kindness, friendliness, and intelligence. These traits can be mixed with other breeds for a unique, if quite large, companion that will be unlike any other!
Here are some popular Saint Bernard breed mixes
- Golden Saint (golden retriever X St Bernard)
- Labernard (Labrador retriever X St Bernard)
- Saint Berdoodle (St Bernard X poodle)
- Saint Bermastiff (St Bernard X mastiff)
- Saint Bernewfie (St Bernard X Newfoundland)
- Saint Bernese (St Bernard X Bernese mountain dog)
- Saint Berxer (St Bernard X boxer)
- Saint Dane (St Bernard X Great Dane)
- Saint Pyrenees (St Bernard X Great Pyrenees)
- Saint Shepherd (St Bernard X German shepherd)