The Saint Bernard is a very large, strong, muscular, powerful dog. As long as the weight stays in proportion with the height, the taller the dog the more prized. This breed has been used as an avalanche and rescue dog in the snowy passes near the Hospice. This amazing servant of mankind has saved more than 2,000 people.
St. Bernard has a highly developed sense of smell and also seems to have a sixth sense about impending danger from storms and avalanches (perhaps it may hear very low frequency sounds that are beyond our ability to hear). There are two varieties: short-haired and long-haired; the short-haired variety is more often used for mountain work because it can tolerate cold temperatures while the long-haired variety’s coat tends to collect icicles.
This dog can find a person even under many feet of snow. Some of this breed’s talents are: search & rescue, watchdogging and carting.
White with red or red with white, the red in its various shades; brindle patches with white markings, mahogany, black – in various combinations.
Very dense, water-resistant, tough, without feeling rough to the touch. There are two types of coat: rough, and smooth. Both types of coats are easy to groom. Comb and brush with a firm bristle brush, and bathe only when necessary. This breed sheds twice a year.
Some are prone to “wobbler” syndrome, heart problems, skin problems, hip dysplasia, and extropion (a folding outward of the eyelid rim, usually on the lower lid). Twisted stomachs should be watched for. This breed is prone to bloat; it is best to feed it two or three small meals a day instead of one large meal.
This breed is extremely gentle and friendly. It is very tolerant of children. It is slow moving, obedient, and patient. It is eager to please and extremely loyal to its family. Since this dog is so large, be sure to socialize it very well at a young age with people and other dogs. Training should be gentle and start at an early age while the dog is still a manageable size.
Keep in mind that an unruly dog of this size presents a problem for even a strong adult if it is to be exercised in public areas on a leash, so take control from the onset. The Saint Bernard makes a good watchdog; even its size is a good deterrent. This breed tends to drool after drinking or eating. It has an excellent sense of smell.
This breed will do okay in an apartment if it is sufficiently exercised. It is relatively inactive indoors and a small yard is sufficient. It can live outdoors, but would much rather be with its family. This breed has a low tolerance for hot weather, warm rooms, and cars.