Renowned as the rescue dog of Switzerland, the Saint Bernard was bred for centuries by the monks from the St Bernard Hospice in the Swiss Alps. The Saint Bernard’s sense of smell enables them to scent a human against the wind up to two miles away, and sense blizzards and avalanches up to twenty minutes before they occur. Their ability to locate bodies buried in as much as three metres of snow has resulted in them finding countless travellers trapped in drifts and leading them to safety.
Their hallmark is their huge, majestic head and benevolent dignified expression. Their coat may be rough or smooth, and is generally medium in length.
Affectionately known as a Saint, the Saint Bernard is the gentleman of the canine world – very powerful but extremely placid. They adore children, and make an intelligent, loyal and affectionate companion dog. Their deep resonant bark is a marvellous deterrent to burglars.
Regular brushing will keep the coat smooth and shiny.
Training and exercise
Training Saint Bernards can be easy as they love to please.
Being a large breed, the Saint Bernard grows rapidly within the first year or so. So much stress is placed on fast growing bones and joints that it is important to keep the dogs from gaining weight too quickly. Limiting exercise in the first year will protect the growing puppy from injuries and stresses that may affect them well into their adult life.
For the latest research in breed-related problems in Saint Bernards, visit the University of Sydney’s LIDA (Listing of Inherited Disorders in Animals) website.