The Saint BernardThe Saint Bernard is also known as: Alpine Mastiff, St. Bernhardshund
|Group classification: Working||Country of origin: Switzerland||Date of origin: Middle Ages|
|Weight (M): 150 - 200 lb||Height (M): 28"||Life expectancy: 8 - 10 years|
|Weight (F): 120 - 180 lb||Height (F): 25"|
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General Description of the Saint Bernard
The Saint Bernard is a dog whose every characteristic conveys strength, size and power. The head is large and broad with loose wrinkly skin, and the ears set high on the skull. The muzzle is short with a scissors or even bite. The eyes are intelligent and friendly, and are set deep enough in the skull that the eyelids do not close completely. The back and chest are well muscled and powerful, as are the fore- and hindquarters. The legs add significantly to the overall height of the dog and the feet are broad, both features adding to the dog’s effectiveness at trudging through snow. The coat can be either short or long, but is always dense and tough yet smooth to the touch. The coat is predominantly white and red, with the chest and feet always white, and the head having dark markings (called the ‘mask’).
Saint Bernard Temperament
The Saint Bernard’s imposing appearance and gargantuan size belies its mellow and easygoing nature. Perhaps owing to its centuries of use as an alpine rescuer, this dog is truly a gentle giant—great with kids and other pets. While not the most energetic or playful of breeds, the Saint Bernard is nevertheless devoted to its family and eager to please. Some Saint Bernards have a tendency to be strong-willed or stubborn; it is important to discipline these dogs firmly from a young age to ensure that they do not become unmanageable as adults.
Caring for a Saint Bernard
The Saint Bernard is a breed that does well when raised outdoors, if for no other reason than the awkwardness of keeping such a large animal in the house. Daily exercise is a must, but a modest walk or a quick run around the park should be sufficient. The dog does very well in cold temperatures, and in fact relishes them, but does poorly in heat. The Saint Bernard should have a place in the yard where it can get out of the sun and should be given a lot of water on warm days. Puppies have a tendency to become overweight, which can lead to serious bone and joint problems during adulthood. Take special care to ensure that your Saint Bernard is fed and exercised properly, and that he does not become obese. Common health problems include canine hip dysplasia (especially if the dog is overweight), osteosarcoma, ectropion, entropion and gastric torsion. Other health issues to be aware of include osteochondritis dissecans, seizures, diabetes and heart problems. Beware of drool – it’s unavoidable with this breed.
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We include the following list of misspellings so our internal search tools can send you to the right place. People often misspell Saint Bernard as Saint Burnard, St Bernard or Saint Bernarhd.