The Saint Bernard is the friendly giant of the dog world. As a dog that can weigh up to 200 pounds and is known for shedding and drooling, the Saint Bernard is not the right pet for everyone. But for the individuals who choose to adopt a Saint Bernard into their family, they will be given a loyal, loving, and friendly companion.
History & Origin
The Saint Bernard is an old animal without a well documented origin. In the late 1600s, the Saint Bernard was used to aid travelers in the Great Saint Bernard Pass, a border area in the Alps between Switzerland and Italy. They were used to pull sleds, find lost travelers, and to stand watch.
The history of the Saint Bernard greatly attributes to its need to assist their owners. When a Saint Bernard would find a lost traveler in the cold, snowy weather of the Alps, the dog would lay next to the lost individual to keep him or her warm until help could get there.
Saint Bernards are large dogs with a strong body and a droopy face. While they may appear intimidating, they are gentle giants.
There are a number of standard colors for the Saint Bernard. Those colors include brindle grizzle, brown and white, mahogany and white, orange and white, red and white, rust and white, white and brown, white and orange, and white and red. Markings for a Saint Bernard include a black mask.
While Saint Bernards may appear scary and unapproachable, they are actually extremely friendly and social. At times, they may forget about their size or act unaware of their weight, which can make them a risk to small children or elderly family members who might not have the strength to withstand the animal.
With the right training, a Saint Bernard will learn not to jump when they are excited and how to approach people with ease. Owners should begin training sessions while the dog is still a puppy so that they are raised with the manors necessary for easy living with such a large dog.
The Saint Bernard is a very large dog. The male Saint Bernard will be over 27.5 inches tall when full grown and can weigh between 120 pounds and 200 pounds. The female Saint Bernard will be slightly smaller, usually above 25 inches in height and also weighing between 120 pounds and 200 pounds.
For the most part, Saint Bernards are healthy animals and will remain healthy when well taken care of. But even with the best care, Saint Bernards may develop certain canine conditions like hip dysplasia or eye diseases.
Owners should know the various signs and symptoms of these canine diseases. Catching a condition early can allow the dog to get the treatment they need as quickly as possible, improving the chances of a full and fast recovery.
Saint Bernards will also need to make routine trips to their vet for check ups. Because it can be difficult for the common dog owner to know all the symptoms of all the canine diseases, a vet can give a trained overlook of the dog and assess their health. Finally, owners will want to ensure the dog receives all the vaccines and immunizations they will need to stay healthy.
Other than their great size, Saint Bernards are not difficult to care for. If an individual has the space, means, and strength to take care of such a large animal, they can be great additions to a family home.
Although Saint Bernards may want to feel a bit lazy from time to time, they will need to be walked every day. As such large animals naturally, they can gain weight quickly and it can be hard to lose the weight when it is put on. Just a walk around the neighborhood or a run in the park is all a Saint Bernard needs to be sufficiently exercised.
Saint Bernards are okay when they are left alone, but they would rather spend time with their owners or other animals. If they must be left alone, owners should ensure they have enough space to be comfortable and move freely.
As extremely large dogs, owners of Saint Bernards will need to ensure they are meeting all the dietary needs of their animal. It is essential to feed a Saint Bernard a dog food formula that was created with their size and activity level in mind. The dietary needs of a Saint Bernard will change as the dog grows, so owners should consult with a vet for the best possible feeding schedule.
Saint Bernards will need fresh water consistently throughout the day to keep them healthy and hydrated. Owners with particularly active Saint Bernards should keep water with them at all times for their animal.
Saint Bernards have a medium coat length that requires occasional grooming. Because their medium coat is known to shed, frequent brushings can keep the shedding to a minimum and ensure the dog’s coat is shiny, healthy and beautiful.
In addition to frequent brushings, the owner of a Saint Bernard will need to bathe the dog regularly. As working class animals, Saint Bernards are known to get a little dirty. In addition to the excessive drooling commonly associated with the large animals, Saint Bernards are not a breed that can get away with minimal bathing.
Owners can help their dog ward off infection by checking the Saint Bernard’s ears for a buildup of wax, dirt, or debris and by brushing the dog’s teeth regularly. Frequent clipping of the dog’s nails can prevent cracking and overgrowth.
Although Saint Bernards are extremely gentle and fun-loving animals, they certainly aren’t for any family. For a Saint Bernard to be comfortable in a home, they need a lot of space and a large yard or outdoor space to play in. If a family cannot provide the room for a dog the size of a Saint Bernard, they should probably consider a different breed.