The Saint Bernard is probably the most famous of all the rescue breeds.
They are best known as the dogs from the Great Saint Bernard Pass in the Swiss Alps.
Although they are no longer used for rescuing travellers from the mountains, the breed still
has strong links with the monks of the Hospice of the Great Saint Bernard, who first bred the dogs
for their rescue value.
The modern Saint Bernard is very different from that of the type bred by the monks. Over the years
the breed has got larger and heavier, but still keeping the original character of that old and proud
history from which they originated.
SO YOU WANT A ST BERNARD AS A PET?
DO NOT rush into buying a St. Bernard until you ask yourself: do you mind a dog that
slobbers or a dog that sheds hairs on your carpet. If you are houseproud, lead a busy life
or are out at work full-time, the St. Bernard is NOT the breed for you.
St. Bernards make very good family pets in the right environment. They are very loving and will brighten any
home with their presence, but picking this breed as a pet needs to be thought through very carefully.
They have different needs to other breeds, mainly due to their size and they are not the ideal pet for people who
work long hours, as they love company and need to be part of the family.
THE MOST FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
People ask many questions about the breed and these are a few, with the answers.
How Much Do They Eat?
A St. Bernard will not "eat you out of house and home". An adult St. Bernard usually requires no more food
than other large breeds. Depending on what type of food is fed, an adult will consume about 0.5Kg per day of a complete food or to manufacturers advice. Feeding fresh meat, they would require about 1 - 1.5Kg per day plus a mixer. A growing puppy's requirements are different and a diet sheet and advice re: feeding should be provided by the puppy's breeder.
How Much Do They weigh?
They are a Giant Breed and they could grow to over 30 inches at the shoulder and weigh over 15 stone as an adult.
Females are usually smaller and weigh less than the males.
Is There Much Slobber?
Yes, they do slobber. but if you love the breed you always have a "slobber cloth" handy!
Do you have to live in a large house?
Not really, as they don't take up too much space, but they do like to be comfortable.
Do They Require Very Much Grooming?
There are two types of coat: a smooth (short-haired) and a rough (long-haired) coat.
The smooth needs to be brushed on a regular basis. The rough coat needs more attention
and regular grooming.
Both coat types shed hair, the rough more than the smooth and hair on the carpet, furniture and clothes
are part of the joy of owning a St. Bernard!
Do They Require a Lot of Exercise?
As a puppy, exercise should be restricted to free play, with short trips out and about for socialisation.
As the dog gets older the amount of exercise will depend on the individual dog.
Are They Easy To Train?
Because of their size, a St. Bernard MUST be trained and this must be done early in his life, as an unruly
untrained 15 stone dog is no laughing matter. They are a breed who is eager to please and will begin responding
to commands as soon as they understand what you want of them. A word of warning though, they can have a very stubborn streak and will turn a "deaf ear" at times!
Are They Good with Children?
Yes. A St. Bernard appears to have an in-built understanding of children and their ways and build up extremely close bonds. They are usually most gentle and careful around children. Naturally, children and dogs must be supervised at all times and children must be taught not to be rough or tease a dog.
How Long Do They Live?
Like any breed, there are some that live to a great age, but the average life span is between 8 - 10 years.
Do They Suffer With Any Health Problems?
Sadly, like most breeds, the St. Bernard can suffer with certain health problems. The breed is prone to hip and elbow dysplasia and other bone & joint problems; eye problems; heart problems,epilepsy and bloat. It is advisable to have adequate pet insurance.