St. Bernard Information & Dog Breed Facts

Collection of all the general dog breed info about St. Bernard so you can get to know the breed more.

Group Working Dogs
Popularity Rank48
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St. Bernard dog profile picture
OriginSwitzerland flagSwitzerland Italy flagItaly
Other Names
What other names does the St. Bernard have?
Alpine MastiffBernhardinerSt. BarnhardshundSt. BernardSaint
Breed Type
What type of dog breed is it?
Purebred

Photo Gallery of the St. Bernard Breed

St. Bernard Price and Availability

Price
How much does the St. Bernard puppy cost? What is the price range of this puppy? What is the average price of this dog in the United States? How much money is a St. Bernard?
$1500-$1800
If you choose to purchase the St. Bernard, you should know that the mentioned amount of money is an average of the collected data from breeders’ sites and puppy finder places.

If you have a St. Bernard for sale, please advertise it on a reliable website to make sure the St. Bernard gets to a happy place.

Availability
How easy is it to get a St. Bernard? How many St. Bernard are there in the world?
Very frequent: The St. Bernard is quite easy to get. There is a risk of overbreeding, as it is an extremely popular breed.

Inbreeding is common because of its popularity. A new study suggests that inbreeding contributes to the incidence of disease and health problems.

So be careful, buy from a trustworthy place or kennel and seek the help of an experienced person, a professional, to make the right decision.

St. Bernard Size

Size
Is a St. Bernard small, medium or large dog?

How big do St. Bernard get?

Giant
Weight
How much does the St. Bernard weigh? How much should the St. Bernard breed weight? What is the normal weight of a St. Bernard?
110-200 pounds (50-91 kg)
Average Weight
What is the average weight of a St. Bernard?
155 pounds (70.5 kg)
Height
How tall is the St. Bernard? St. Bernard height:
25.5-27.5 inches (61-70 cm)
Average Height
What is the average height of a St. Bernard?
25.5-27.5 inches (65.5 cm)

St. Bernard Grooming, Hair and Care

Coat / Hair Types
What type of coat does the St. Bernard have? What does this canine coat/fur look like?
DenseRoughSmooth
Colors
What color is the breed's coat? What color is a proper St. Bernard's coat?
BrownRedWhiteBrindleTricolorBlack
Grooming
How to groom the St. Bernard and how often?
Average: The St. Bernard requires average grooming effort. Cutting the dog's hair by a professional groomer isn't essential.

Brushing the dog's coat is useful to reduce shedding. Ears and eyes should be cleaned regularly to avoid infections.

Don't skip the seasonal flea treatment too. Dog nail trimming and dog bath can be helpful sometimes.

Check the local pet store for dog grooming supplies and find the best dog shampoo to keep its coat healthy and give your dog a pleasant experience of a dog bath.

If you don't have the time, skill, or money to take care of your St. Bernard, search for a dog groomer or clipping service in your area and book an appointment.

Maybe you're lucky to have a dog boarding service that includes grooming or walk-in dog bath places nearby.

Shedding Level
How much do St. Bernard dogs shed? How to control, reduce and prevent the shedding of the Alpine Mastiff?
St. Bernards shed above average. It's a natural process of the hair growth cycle. The amount and frequency of hair loss mostly depend on their health status and breed type. If you don't like vacuum cleaning, you might have to reconsider your choice of having a puppy from the St. Bernard breed.
Bath Time / Bathing Frequency
How often does the St. Bernard need a bath? How often should bathe this dog? Can I bathe my St. Bernard every day?
4-6 weeks
Average. Experts recommended at least every 4-6 weeks for this family pup. According to a study, 56% of pet parents don’t bathe their dogs as frequently as they should, and 60% use the sniff test when deciding when it’s bath time.

Bathing your dog is beneficial to them in more ways than just one. It’s also a good time to look for unusual scratches, bumps, fleas, and other irregularities. When their hair is wet and flat against their body, these details are more visible.

St. Bernard Personality / Temperament

Temperament
What kind of personality does the St. Bernard have? What characteristics or traits does the breed have?
FriendlyIndependentGoingSocialGentleHappyQuiet
Intelligent Rank
How smart is the St. Bernard? Is the St. Bernard breed dumb or smart?
Low to average: This canine intelligence is not the brightest one. Keep in mind that if you want to teach them any tricks, they understand and memorize new commands in 40-80 repetitions. St. Bernard obey the first command 30% of the time or better. So if you want to have a smart dog, you might have to reconsider your choice with this breed.

The St. Bernard ranks below average in the intelligence ranking of dogs.

Trainability
Are St. Bernard dogs easy to train? Do they go well on dog training?
A slightly harder to train than average. St. Bernards aren't famous for their trainability. This breed needs more time and repetition to obey. It's challenging to teach them new commands, but not impossible.
Playfulness
How playful is this breed?
St. Bernards are not the most playful dog breed. Sometimes they do like playing, but that's not their favorite activity.
Sensitivity Level
How sensitive are they? St. Bernard sensitivity:
Sensitive: St. Bernards don't like an irregular daily routine, noisy household, and frequent guest visits.

This breed's emotional level reflects their owner's feelings and they don't handle punishments well.

Affection Level
How affectionate are they? Is a St. Bernard a good family dog?
High: St. Bernards are genuinely loyal, soft and gentle, loving and affectionate dogs toward their handlers. They enjoy quality time with their owners despite the activity and are considered great therapy dog for those in need. This breed responds strongly to their handler's emotions because they bond closely. Their happiness is your happiness.
Social Needs
How much social interaction does the Alpine Mastiff need? St. Bernard social needs:
St. Bernards need a lot of social interaction. They desire to always be with someone or around people. This breed hates being left alone.
Barking
Do St. Bernard dogs bark a lot? Are they barkers/noisy? Why does my Alpine Mastiff bark?
Low: The St. Bernard barks none to minimal. Perfect choice if you prefer a quiet breed.

Top reasons for barking: protection, alarm, fear, boredom, attention-seeking, greeting, separation anxiety, compulsive barking.

Watchdog Ability
Is St. Bernard good as a watchdog? Are they alert at night?
St. Bernards are average watchdogs. If they sense something different, they will alert you, but the observation isn't considered their main job.
Guarding Behavior / Territorial
Do St. Bernard dogs have aggressive behavior to protect their home/house/territory? Do they have guarding instincts?
St. Bernards strongly protect their territory. This breed is a complete security guard, so you don't have to be afraid in case of danger.
Biting Potential
Do St. Bernard bite humans? How likely are you to get bitten from the Alpine Mastiff? What are the odds of getting bitten by a St. Bernard? Why do dog bites happen?

Moderate

The St. Bernard has an average chance of biting somebody. Top reasons for dog bite: protection, pain, excitement, herding instinct, being provoked. (Data based on the available online bite statistics.)
Bite Force
Does the St. Bernard has a hard bite? What is the bite force of a St. Bernard? How much bite force does a St. Bernard have?

Above 400 PSI 🔼

St. Bernard bite force: The Strongest. Dogs that have a strong bite force are usually quite powerful and large.

They are very protective of themselves and their families, therefore a dog bite from them could be exceptionally dangerous with their PSI being above 400.

It is important that they’re trained to be around others safely.

Mouthiness
How much mouthing/nipping/play biting does the St. Bernard do?
St. Bernards have a low tendency to nip, chew, play-bite, or herd people. It's a common habit during puppyhood, not aggressive behavior. These "bites" don't hurt, but St. Bernards need to be taught for a good attitude.
Impulse to Wander or Roam
How likely is the St. Bernard to run away? Does this breed explore or wander a lot? Does St. Bernard roam?
St. Bernards are not the biggest explorers. They have low wanderlust potential. Low chance of escaping from home with this breed.
Prey Drive
Do this canine have a strong prey drive? Does St. Bernard have high prey drive?
Their prey drive is low. St. Bernards don't have an impulse to catch or chase small animals.
Apartment Friendly
Is St. Bernard good as an apartment dog? Can they live in a flat?
It is not the best choice if you want to keep them indoors, however, with careful exercise and several walks a day, they will tolerate the indoor environment, so it is possible to keep St. Bernard indoors.
Adaptability
Are they adaptable and easy-going?
St. Bernards adapt well to lifestyle changes and different living environments. They don't mind moving from one place to another with their owner.
Tolerates Being Left Alone
How long can a St. Bernard be left alone?
St. Bernards tend to have separation anxiety when their owners left them alone at home because they bond very closely with them.

St. Bernard Good With

Stranger Friendly
Are they aggressive or friendly towards/with strangers? St. Bernard temperament with other people:
St. Bernards are average friendly towards strangers.
Pet Friendly
Are they pet-friendly dogs? How well do St. Bernard dogs get along with other pets? Are St. Bernard dogs good with pets? What is this canine temperament with other pets?
St. Bernards are one of the friendliest dog breeds.
Child Friendly
Are St. Bernard dogs kid-friendly? Are they good with young children? St. Bernard temperament with children:
St. Bernards are kid-friendly dogs. This breed is a good choice if you have children.
Cat Friendly
How well do St. Bernard dogs get along with cats? Are they good with kittens? What is this fido's temperament with cats? Can they be good with cats? Can the St. Bernard breed live with a cat?
St. Bernards are very cat-friendly dogs.
Dog Friendly
Is St. Bernard good with other dogs? Are they dog-friendly dogs? How well do St. Bernard dogs get along with other dogs?
St. Bernards are very dog-friendly dogs. If you want more dogs in your family or you'd like to join dog meetups, the St. Bernard can be a great choice.
Good For First Time Owners
Is St. Bernard breed good for first-time owners? Do they make a good dog for novice owners? Is St. Bernard breed suitable for first-time owners?
No
St. Bernards are not good for novice owners, due to their stubborn personality.
Office Friendly
Are St. Bernards good office dogs? Do St. Bernards make good office friendly dogs? Can St. Bernards be office dogs?
No
St. Bernard is not the best dog breed for office environment.
Senior Citizens Friendly
Are they senior citizens friendly dogs? How well do St. Bernard dogs get along with the elderly people? What is the Alpine Mastiff temperament with senior people? Are St. Bernard dogs good for elderly owners?
St. Bernards are usually recommended for elderly people.

St. Bernard Health

Health Issues
Is it a healthy or unhealthy breed? Do St. Bernard dogs have health problems or genetic diseases?
Very healthy dog breed. The St. Bernard rarely meets with the veterinarian.
Health Problems
What genetic/health problems does the St. Bernard breed have? What are the health issues and concerns of the St. Bernard breed? Most common health risks of St. Bernard:
AllergiesBloatCataractsDilated CardiomyopathyElbow DysplasiaEntropionEpilepsyHip Dysplasia
Veterinarian Visits
How often does the St. Bernard breed need to go to the vet? How often should you take your dog to the vet? How often should the St. Bernard see the vet?
Rare
The St. Bernard should have a complete physical check-up at least every 12-18 months (but preferably once per year). If your dog shows any symptoms, call your veterinarian.
Life Expectancy
How long do St. Bernard dogs live? How old can a St. Bernard be? What is the age limit of the St. Bernard? How many years can the oldest St. Bernard live?

What is the average life expectancy / lifespan of a St. Bernard?

8-10 years
The average lifespan of St. Bernard: 9 years
Hypoallergenic
Is the St. Bernard breed hypoallergenic?
No
St. Bernards don't do well with allergy sufferers by causing allergic reaction. Some of the dog breeds are even considered to higher the possibility of an allergic response. Coat type isn't necessarily relevant, because most people are allergic to dander (flakes on the dog's skin) or saliva, not actually to dog hair.
Energy Level
How much energy does the St. Bernard have? What is the activity level of the St. Bernard?
St. Bernards have a lower energy level than other dogs. If you live a chilled life, this breed can be a good choice for you.
Activity Requirement / Exercise Need
How much exercise does a St. Bernard need? How much exercise do St. Bernard dogs require per day?
St. Bernards exercise need is minimal. If you live a slow life, this breed can be a good choice for you.
Sleeping Need
How much sleep does the St. Bernard breed need?
St. Bernards like sleeping so they do sleep a lot. They're not the most active dog breed. If you live an active life, this breed can be a bad choice for you.
Average daily food consumption
How much food does a St. Bernard need? What dog products should I buy? How much food does a St. Bernard breed eat per day? What is good dog food for St. Bernard? How much food should I feed my St. Bernard?
6 to 8 cups of high-quality dry food a day, divided into two meals.
Weight Gain Potential / Prone to Obesity
How easy to gain weight for this dog? St. Bernard risk for obesity:
Average to High: If you don't pay attention to the St. Bernard's weight, he can easily gain weight. More than one daily walk should be on schedule. To make your dog happy and fit, feed him with quality dry dog food and live an active life together. Try to find the happy medium between exercise and feeding.

If you notice any weight gain, consult your veterinarian and make a diet plan. Reduce unhealthy food and snacks, and measure the St. Bernard's weight regularly.

Weather and Climate
Which weather condition is preferred by this dog? Can they tolerate hot or cold weather and climate?
Tolerates warm and cold weather
Dogs that tolerate hot and cold weather are typically those that have a double coat of fur. Dogs with a double coat of fur have a layer of fur that insulates their skin and helps protect them from the cold and the heat.
Stinkiness
How stinky is this dog? Why does it smell bad and how to get rid of the smell?

High 🔼

The St. Bernard has a high chance of bad smell. Top reasons for dog stinkiness: infection of bad tooth/ear/skin folds, gas attacks.
Drooling Tendency
Does the St. Bernard drool?
The St. Bernard is a big drooler, so if you're disgusted by slobber spots on your clothes, you should choose a dog from another breed. Drooling is the unintentional saliva flowing outside of the mouth. It can be completely normal or a sign of a health problem. Certain dog breeds drool much more than others, just like the St. Bernard.

If you notice any change in your dog's drooling habit, you should contact a vet as soon as possible.

St. Bernard As a Working Dog

Service Dog
Are they good as service dogs? Can St. Bernard be a guide dog? Are they used as seeing-eye dogs?

Not really

This breed generally not used as a service dog. A service dog is a term used in the USA to refer to any type of assistance dog specifically trained to help people who have disabilities, such as visual impairment, hearing impairments, mental disorders, seizures, mobility impairment, and diabetes. Service dogs are protected under the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act).

St. Bernard is not the best breed for service purposes.

Therapy Dog
Are they good as therapy dogs? Can St. Bernard be a therapy dog? Are they good anxiety dogs? Can a St. Bernard be an emotional support animal?

Yes

This breed makes a perfect therapy dog. A therapy dog is a dog that might be trained to provide affection, comfort, and love to people in hospitals, retirement homes, nursing homes, schools, hospices, disaster areas, and people with anxiety disorders or autism.

St. Bernard breed is a good choice for therapeutic purposes.

Detection Dog or Sniffer Dog
Are they good as detection dogs? Can St. Bernard be a sniffer dog?

Not really

They are not typically employed for this type of work, but there may be exceptional cases. A detection dog or sniffer dog is a dog that is trained to use its senses (mostly its smell) to detect substances such as explosives, illegal drugs, wildlife scat, currency, blood, and contraband electronics such as illicit mobile phones.

St. Bernard is not the best breed for detection purposes.

Search and Rescue Dog (SAR)
Are they good as SAR dogs? Can St. Bernard be a search and rescue dog?

Yes

This breed would make an excellent search and rescue dog. The use of dogs in search and rescue (SAR) is a valuable component in wilderness tracking, natural disasters, mass casualty events, and in locating missing people.

The St. Bernard breed is a good choice for SAR purposes.

Boat and Sailor Dog
Are they good as boat dogs? Can St. Bernard be a boat dog?

Not really

St. Bernard breed usually doesn't like being on a boat.

Boat dogs were typically bred for their strength, stamina, and water resistance, as they were often required to perform tasks such as pulling in fishing nets, and jumping into the water to retrieve ropes or lines, or helping to move cargo.

Sailor dog is a type of dog that was bred to accompany sailors on their voyages. They were typically used for three purposes: as a working dog, a watchdog, and as a companion. A boat dog is a term used to describe a type of dog that was traditionally bred and used as a working dog on boats.

Cart Pulling or Drafting Dog
Are they good as cart pulling dogs? Can St. Bernard be a drafting dog?

Yes

A drafting dog or draft dog is a dog bred and used for cart pulling. Dogs bred for this work have strong builds and qualities that are needed, strength and determination.

St. Bernard breed is a good choice for drafting purposes.

Fighting Dog / Military Dog
Where St. Bernard dogs used as fighting / military dogs in history?

Yes

In history, this breed was unfortunately used for combat dogs. A combat dog is a specially trained dog that is used in warfare to help protect military personnel and assets. Combat dogs are often deployed in areas where there is potential for contact with the enemy, such as during raids or search operations. Combat dogs are typically assigned to either infantry or special operations units. They are used for a variety of tasks including area security, sentry duty, trackers, and explosive detection. In addition to their combat roles, combat dogs also play an important role in troop morale by providing companionship and emotional support.

St. Bernard Reproducibility

Gestation Length
How long is a St. Bernard pregnant?How long does it take to have puppies? How to tell if the St. Bernard breed is pregnant?

60-64 days

Reproductive cycle of the female St. Bernard: The first period called Proestrus lasts for about 9 days.

During this time the females start to attract males. You can notice by swelling vulva and bloody discharge.

The second part is the Estrus when the female is receptive for the male. It lasts for about 3 to 11 days.

The sign of the proestrus part is the soft and enlarged vulva. The discharge decreases and lightens in color.

The third part is the Diestrus. Normally, it occurs around day 14. In this period the female’s discharge changes for vivid red and coming to its end. The vulva returns to average, and she will no longer permit mating.

The fourth part called the Anestrus. The time frame between heat periods normally lasts about six months.

Litter Frequency

Once a year.

More frequent breeding is not healthy. It is very important not to buy a dog from a puppy mill, where the needs of the pups and their mothers are ignored. It's an inhumane high-volume dog breeding facility, where puppies born several times a year.
Litter Size
How many puppies can the St. Bernard have in a litter? How many puppies can the St. Bernard breed have for the first time? How many puppies does a St. Bernard have? How many puppies can a St. Bernard give birth to?
6-8 puppies

St. Bernard Recognition

AKC Group
Is St. Bernard recognized by the American Kennel Club?
Recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1885 as a Working breed.
FCI Group
Is St. Bernard recognized by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI)?
Not recognized by FCI.
Breed Recognition
What kennel clubs and organizations recognize or register the St. Bernard breed?
American Canine RegistryAmerican Kennel ClubAmerica's Pet RegistryCanadian Kennel ClubDog Registry of America Inc.Federation Cynologique InternationaleKennel Club of Great BritainNorth American Purebred Registry, Inc.American Canine Association, Inc.Australian National Kennel CouncilContinental Kennel ClubNational Kennel ClubNew Zealand Kennel ClubUnited Kennel Club

St. Bernard Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Health Issues: Very healthy dog breed.
  • Mouthiness: St.
  • Impulse to Wander or Roam: St.
  • Adaptability: St.
  • Child Friendly: St.
  • Cat Friendly: St.
  • Dog Friendly: St.
  • Senior Citizens Friendly: St.
  • Therapy Dog: This breed makes a perfect therapy dog.
  • Search and Rescue Dog (SAR): This breed would make an excellent search and rescue dog.
  • Cart Pulling or Drafting Dog: A drafting dog or draft dog is a dog bred and used for cart pulling.
Cons
  • Intelligent Rank: Low to average: This canine intelligence is not the brightest one.
  • Trainability: A slightly harder to train than average.
  • Hypoallergenic: St.
  • Shedding Level: St.
  • Drooling Tendency: The St.
  • Stinkiness: The St.
  • Weight Gain Potential / Prone to Obesity: Average to High: If you don't pay attention to the St.
  • Tolerates Being Left Alone: St.
  • Office Friendly: St.
  • Good For First Time Owners: St.

St. Bernard History

The history of the St. Bernard can be traced back to the 11th century, high up in the Western Alps of the canton of Valais (Switzerland). This territory was mostly uninhabited due to the rough climate conditions but there lies an important merchant route; the Great St.Bernant Pass. The area is only snow-free for a couple of months during the summer and has been a dangerous route for many travelers throughout history not only because of the rough environmental conditions but many pilgrims fell victim to attacks from Alpine bandits as well. Around 1050 a monk named Augustine St. Bernard de Menthon founded a hospice and monastery in the territory, to help the struggling travelers.

Around the 1660s and 1670s, the monks at Great St. Bernard Hospice acquired their first St. Bernards, which were presumably brought over by the Romans and were descendants of the mastiff style Asiatic dogs, burly, thick furred, strenuous and friendly animals to serve as their watchdogs and companions. At the turn of the century, servants called marroniers were assigned to accompany travelers between the hospice and Bourg-Saint-Pierre, a municipality, which was on the Swiss side of the pass. Marroniers were usually accompanied by these dogs, whose broad chests helped to clear paths and their incredible sense of smell and intelligence made them able to discover people buried deep in the snow.

Later they started to send the dogs out in packs of two or three alone to seek lost or injured travelers, in which they did an amazing job and saved thousands of lives through the next 150 years. When the pack found a buried traveler, one of them dig through the snow and lie on top of the injured to provide warmth and the other dog would return to the hospice to alert the monks of the stranded pilgrim.

We often associate St Bernards with certain things, one of which is their little wooden barrel attached to their leather collar. This thing had a part to play in rescue missions even though we do not certainly know what it was inside but presumably some type of alcohol possibly rum to warm up the injured or buried travelers.

Nowadays St Bernards are usually kept as family companions because since the evolution of infrastructure and technology rescue helicopters and other vehicles have taken over their life-saving service on the territory.

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St. Bernard Comments, Reviews and Questions

  • De"Andrew Jones

    Jun 28, 2022, 7:00:27 AM:

    I love saint Bernard's like omg bro i would kill for one of them

  • John

    Apr 15, 2022, 6:38:42 PM:

    I’ve had 3 Saints and I think they are the greatest dogs

  • St Bernard

    Jan 13, 2021, 3:32:05 PM:

    Too big? More of them to love!

  • Someone

    Nov 23, 2020, 8:38:57 PM:

  • Shaun

    Nov 2, 2020, 4:45:07 PM:

    Our very first dog is our beautiful lovely docile friendly cute playful mush Saint. Blessed to have him with us and the description given is accurate.

  • Kiasar

    Jan 24, 2020, 7:25:50 PM: