Saint Bernard

Share this breed
Saint Bernard

Saint Bernard Overview

Many people imagine Saint Bernards as rescue dogs carrying flasks of brandy around their necks for lost travellers in snowy Switzerland. While the brandy flask is just a myth, it is true that Saint Bernards were trained as alpine rescuers many centuries ago.

These gentle giants get their name from the Great St Bernard Pass, located on the Swiss-Italian border. The dogs were bred by monks at a hospice there. Although some Saint Bernards now have long coats, the first members of this breed were short-haired as longer hair would have been impractical in such snowy weather. True to their history, the Saint Bernard of today is an intelligent and compassionate breed. These dogs will become fiercely loyal to their family members, and while they definitely enjoy playtime outdoors (especially in snow), they’re also very happy when curled up with you at home.

The 1990s movie series Beethoven, featuring a lovable Saint Bernard, helped give this breed a recent boost of popularity among families, and it’s true that they do make a great family dog. With appropriate training, Saint Bernards will be friendly and patient with adults and children alike. Due to their enormous size, early socialization is needed to make sure they learn not to knock people over! Eager to learn, Saint Bernards continue to be excellent candidates for search and rescue dogs. The Saint is also a good pick for a therapy or service dog, due to their calm and loving personalities. 

Did you know?

A 19th-century Saint Bernard named Barry became especially famous for his search and rescue talents, and has been credited with saving over 40 lives.

Saint Bernard Stats

  • Kid-Friendly Kid-Friendly

  • Good with other animals Good with other animals

  • Easy to train Easy to train

  • Therapy dog Therapy dog

  • Service dog Service dog

  • Working dog Working dog

Popularity ranking**
26-30 in / 120-180 lbs (L)
Average lifespan
8-10 years
Activity level
Little to none
Barking level
Little to none
Coat length

Caring for your breed

Daily serving

Daily kibble serving

5-6 cups

Daily exercise

Daily exercise

1-2 hours


Grooming frequency

Brushed Weekly

Dog Food

Feeding your Saint Bernard

These large dogs do eat a considerable amount of food. Feeding at least twice daily is recommended to keep your Saint Bernard healthy. As with many large breeds, they are prone to bloat, a potentially fatal stomach problem—regular small meals can help prevent this from occurring. Ensuring that your Saint Bernard receives food tailored to large breeds will also help them stay healthy. Your vet can recommend the best type of food for your Saint Bernard’s age and size. As with all dogs, be cautious when sharing table scraps, and don’t overdo it with the treats, as overeating can lead to health problems. 


*Contrary to popular belief, there are no 100% hypoallergenic dogs. There are breeds, however, that have non-shedding coats and are suited well to allergy sufferers.
**The breed popularity ranking is based on the most current ranking of the American Kennel Club (AKC)

Want some free advice?

By submitting your email address, you agree to receive communications from Pawzy, and you acknowledge and agree to Pawzy's Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can unsubscribe at any time by contacting us at