Saint Bernard

Working Group

Saint Bernard dog sitting in front of white backgroud

Height at Shoulders

Females 26-28 in, Males 28-30 in

Weight

Females 120-140 lbs, Males 140-160 lbs

Life Expectancy

8-10 yrs

History

The Saint Bernard originated during the 17th century at a monastery founded by a monk named Bernard of Menthon. St. Bernard of Menthon established this monastery along with a hospice around the year 1050 near a treacherous pass in the Alps that connected Italy and Switzerland in order to help travelers. This pass was a particularly dangerous area, with avalanches and snow drifts creating sometimes lethal conditions. Over the centuries, monks bred a working dog that would be able to locate and assist travelers that had gotten lost or otherwise met an ill fate in the pass. This dog was the Saint Bernard, although slightly smaller than the modern breed. Interestingly enough, they never got any rescue training from the monks, but older dogs would teach the younger dogs their search-and-rescue tactics.

Breed Characteristics

While not all Saint Bernards will display the exact characteristics typical of the breed, most share a personality and temperament can be generalized by the characteristic rankings below. 

Intelligence

Affection Towards Family

Friendliness Towards Strangers

Friendliness Towards Other Dogs

Exercise Needs

★★★★☆

★★★★★

★★★★★

★★★★★

★★★☆☆

Energy Level

Sensitivity

Noise Level

Prey Drive

Shedding

★☆☆

★★★★☆

★★★☆

★☆☆☆

★☆

Intelligence

★★★★☆


Affection Towards Family

★★★★★


Friendliness Towards Strangers

★★★★★


Friendliness Towards Other Dogs

★★★★★


Exercise Needs

★★★☆☆


Energy Level

★☆☆


Sensitivity

★★★★☆


Noise Level

★☆


Prey Drive

★☆☆☆


Shedding

★☆

Common Traits

Friendly, good-natured, and gentle

Drool and shed heavily, and have a knack for tracking dirt and mud into the house

Thrive on human companionship and like to be a part of family events

Slow to mature, generally taking a few years to grow out of "puppyhood"