If you’ve seen the popular film Beethoven, you’ll likely find it difficult not to fall in love with a St. Bernard. The breed’s massive size and fantastic personality combine to make the St. Bernard a true “gentle giant.” But a large dog comes with a unique set of responsibilities. Potential dog parents need to be prepared before bringing home this loyal family companion.
Male: 165-200 lbs. Female: 150-200 lbs.
Although it’s important not to over-exercise your St. Bernard puppy in order to avoid injury during his growth period, an adult St. Bernard will benefit from long, leisurely walks and mental stimulation every day.
With their ultra-thick coats and super-slobbery jowls, the St. Bernard can’t help but leave a trail of hair and drool in its wake. You’ll need to wipe his mouth fairly regularly if you hope to keep the slobber in your home to a minimum.
Barking and Volume:
It’s hard to miss a St. Bernard when you see one, so it’s no wonder that this breed doesn’t feel the need to bark to make themselves known. If your St. Bernard is barking, it’s for a good reason, so you’d better check it out.
To ensure that your St. Bernard is properly socialized and well-behaved, a basic obedience course is definitely recommended. St. Bernards are highly intelligent dogs who are eager to please, which makes training them relatively easy.
Health Problems: The St. Bernard suffers from several health problems, many related to its large size. Be prepared for the possibility of hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, osteosarcoma, entropion (eye problems), epilepsy and heart disease. *A responsible breeder can help minimize the risk of genetic disorders.
Grooming Requirements: Daily home grooming is sufficient.
Training Requirements: The St. Bernard is eager to please and will respond well to a basic training course.
Other: St. Bernards are very big dogs, so it’s no surprise that their food bill could put your family’s grocery bill to shame.
Daily brushing (5-10 minutes) to remove loose hair and regular wiping of slobbery jowls will keep a St. Bernard looking great (and keep their mess at bay). While they do not require frequent bathing thanks to a dense, oily coat, the St. Bernards ears and eyes will need to be cleaned regularly.
Nicknamed “the babysitter,” (think “Nanna” in the popular children’s film Peter Pan), St. Bernards are particularly patient and understanding when it comes to children. They’re an ideal companion for kids, however early socialization and supervision is always a good idea.
Friendliness: Towards Animals
St. Bernards typically get along very well with other dogs and household pets as they enjoy companionship and hate to be left alone for long periods of time. However, as with most dogs, it is essential to socialize your St. Bernard with other dogs and pets from a young age.
Friendliness: Towards People
Although a St. Bernard may look threatening by virtue of his size, properly socialized St. Bernards are extremely friendly and love to receive attention from everyone, including strangers.
BE PREPARED FOR: Plenty of shedding and significant slobber in return for a lifetime of love and loyal companionship.