The Saint Bernard - what kind of animal is it, and where does it come from?
The Saint Bernard started to be considered a certified dog breed in 1867. The first official breeding facility was located nearby Bern. But the main standard of the breed was accepted twenty years later.
Interestingly enough, historical records indicate that these dogs were known in the Middle Ages. The first mentions of the animal are from the 11th century. It is believed that the breed originated in the Peninne Alps, where the dogs were used by monks living in the mountains. Searching for pilgrims and taking them to safety was their main purpose.
What does the St. Bernard look like?
According to the FCI classification, the Saint Bernard is a giant dog breed. Males grow up to 70-90 cm (2.3-3 ft) tall at withers. Females are only slightly smaller, with the height between 65 and 80 cm (2.1-2.6 ft) at withers. Depending on the dog and the conditions it lives in, the Saint Bernard’s weight ranges between 55 and 120 kilograms (121-265 lb).
There are two types of the Saint Bernard dog. They are distinguished according to the length of their hair:
- short-haired Saint Bernard,
- long-haired Saint Bernard.
According to the breed’s standard, dogs with white fur and reddish brown markings are preferred. The classification acknowledges brindled dogs as well, but they are rare.
The Saint Bernard - a dog of a strong character?
The Saint Bernard is a dog of a calm and balanced character. Thanks to this, it’s a perfect companion for both loners and families. It’s friendly and caring towards children. It’s also characterized by the lack of excessive enthusiasm that might be problematic, considering its mass. Owners of other domestic animals don’t have to worry, either - the Saint Bernard gets along well with other pets.
Because of the animal’s stature and strong character, it’s a perfect guard dog. Also, don’t judge the animal by its looks, despite its heavy weight and big size, it’s a dog that loves physical activity and playing. They are also distinct for:
- high intelligence,
- great memory.
Are Saint Bernard dogs for everyone?
The Saint Bernard is a perfect dog for almost everyone. If you decide on such a dog, you have to remember about the size of the animal. Keeping it in an apartment is tiring both for the owner and the pet.
A dog of this breed is perfect for a house with a yard, where it can run around freely and play with the family. Apart from that, one cannot forget about everyday walks.
Training the dog is a very important aspect. Without proper practice, the animal might become problematic.
The Saint Bernard - does it need training?
The Saint Bernard is a very intelligent dog with an excellent memory. But it doesn’t mean it doesn’t require any training. St. Bernard puppies have to be taught obedience from their earliest days, so they don’t pose problems as adult dogs.
A lack of training, combined with the size of the dog might be dangerous. For this reason, it’s crucial to teach the Saint Bernard the basic rules of the household. Certain commands will also be useful during walks.
The Saint Bernard - diet
Are you wondering how to feed a Saint Bernard dog? An adult dog might weigh over 100 kilograms. Regardless, the dog’s diet is quite standard. Puppies should be fed more frequently, and the number of meals per day are gradually reduced. An adult dog should be fed twice a day.
The type of food should match the breed. Granulated food for dogs of moderate to high activity level is the best option. Note that dogs of this breed are quite picky about their meals. Any changes in the diet or the frequency of feeding should also be consulted with a veterinarian.
How to take care of a Saint Bernard?
The Saint Bernard is not difficult to take care of. Even if you have a long-haired type dog at home, don’t worry about frequent brushing. Once per week is enough. A puppy or adolescent Saint Bernard has to be brushed more often. Thanks to this, it can shed its underfur easily.
Other things you should remember about if you own a Saint Bernard include brushing its teeth - do it every day. Don’t forget about trimming the claws once every two weeks, and removing dirt from the dog’s ears and eyes.
Is the Saint Bernard a breed resistant to diseases?
Because of the dog’s body build and large size, the breed is vulnerable to various diseases. The most popular ones include the following:
- hip dysplasia,
- eyelids defects,
- heart diseases,
- excessive salivation,
- twisted stomach,
- ear infections.
Make sure to take the dog for regular checkups at a veterinary clinic. If detected early, most problems can be cured effectively, and their development stopped.
The Saint Bernard - lifespan
The average lifespan of these animals ranges between 8 and 10 years. It’s not a rule, of course, as every dog is different. The lifespan is affected by the living conditions of the animal, and any diseases it might suffer from.
What is the cost of a Saint Bernard dog?
Are you wondering what kind of money to prepare if you want to buy a Saint Bernard? A puppy costs about $600. The prices differ depending on the breeder, the dog’s pedigree and colors. The most expensive Saint Bernards cost $2,000 and more.
📍 What does the Saint Bernard look like?
The Saint Bernard is included in the category of large dogs. No wonder, as these dogs might grow up to 90 centimeters (3 feet) tall at withers. Depending on the variety, the dog can have either short or long fur. It has characteristic white color with large and small brown spots. Some dogs have other colors - but it's an exception.
📍 How much does the Saint Bernard weigh?
The Saint Bernard's weight depends on its height, lifestyle and diet. On average, it should be 64-82 kilograms (141-181 lb) for males, and 54-64 kilograms (119-141 lb) for females. Some dogs might weigh even 120 kilograms (265 lb), but they are exceptional - such heavy body mass is not regular for this breed.
📍 How long do Saint Bernards live?
Saint Bernards have relatively short lifespans. The breed lives 8 years on average, maximally 10 years. Of course, it's not a rule, and some dogs live 12, 13, or even 14 years.
📍 How much does a Saint Bernard cost?
The prices for a puppy with a pedigree start at $600, so it's not very high. Depending on the colors of a dog, the price might get higher. Unique dogs might cost over $2,000.