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Breeding All About It

Saint Bernard Rescue Foundation, Inc.   Kansas City .. 816-763-0692


Saint Bernard

Charlie (Customer Since 2000)

Charlie is a sweet boy and unlike most Saint Bernard's he is very playful, hyper and energetic. His favorite pastime is running the fence line and playing with the neighbor's dogs. He also likes to say "Hi" to the morning walkers in his neighborhood as he is demonstrating above!



AKC Ranking: 38

Family: Livestock Dog, Sheepdog, Mastiff

Area of Origin: Switzerland


 SAINT BERNARD (AKC Working Group) Height: over 27 1/2 inches (male); over 25 1/2 inches (female). Weight: 150 to 170 pounds. Size: Very Large.


May take some effort to find. 


The Saint Bernard was developed at (and named for) the Saint Bernard de Menthon Hospice in the Swiss Alps. The breed is most likely descended from ancient mastiffs Romans brought to the region about 2,000 years ago. The original Roman mastiff was probably interbred with local dogs to create the breed we know today. The Saint Bernard was used as an avalanche and rescue dog in the snowy passes near the Hospice. More than 2,000 people have been saved by this amazing servant of mankind. The dogs search out and find the lost or injured traveler, and then lick him and lie next to him to give him warmth. Then one dog from the party heads back to the Hospice to get a full rescue team. The Saint Bernard's sense of smell is so excellent that he can find a person even under many feet of snow. This breed is also known for his ability to foretell storms and avalanches, perhaps because he 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 he can tolerate very cold temperatures. The long-haired variety's coat tends to collect icicles. 


A grand, imposing, tall dog with a massive, broad head, and short untapered muzzle. There is a deep furrow running from the muzzle attachment, up between the eyes, and gradually disappearing as it reaches the occiput. The forehead is wrinkled. The ears are pendant. The nose is large and black with well developed nostrils. The teeth should meet in a scissors or level bite, with the scissors bite preferred. The medium sized, deep- set dark brown eyes are set frontwards. The thick neck has a pronounced dewlap. The legs are very muscular and powerful. The tail is quite long. The double coat is either rough or smooth, and very thick. Generally comes in red and white, orange and white, or brindle and white with a black mask over the eyes and ears. The chest, feet, noseband and tail tip must be white. 


Avoid puppy mill and pet shop puppies. Badly bred Saint Bernards can be very unstable, aggressive and unfit as pets. Purchase your dog from a reputable breeder. Beware of hip dysplasia. Buy only from OFA certified stock. Prone to bloat, tumors and heart disease. Tends to drool, wheeze and snore. Don't overfeed. The long-haired variety needs more grooming than the short-haired variety. A regular daily walk of a mile is recommended. Mature St. Bernards can do well in an apartment if sufficiently exercised. 


Calm and dignified. Obedient, very devoted and loyal. Wants to please. Steady, kindly and patient with children. Since the dog is so gigantic, be sure to socialize very well with people at an early age. 


Children: Excellent with children. Friendliness: Loves everyone. Trainability: Slightly difficult to train. Independence: Needs people a lot. Dominance: Moderate. Other Pets: Good with other pets if raised with them from puppyhood. Combativeness: Friendly with other dogs. Noise: Not a barker. 

Grooming and Physical Needs:

Grooming: Moderate grooming needed, depending on long or short coat. Trimming & Stripping: No trimming or stripping needed. Coat: Medium long coat. Shedding: Constant shedder. Exercise: Needs lots of exercise. Jogging: A good jogging companion. Indoors: Relatively inactive indoors. Apartments: Will be OK in an apartment if sufficiently exercised. Outdoor Space: A small yard is sufficient. Climate: Prefers cool climates. Owner: Not recommended for novice owners. Longevity: Short (under 10 years). 


Watchdog, search & rescue, and carting. 

For More Information:

Call the AKC Breeder Referral Hotline: 1-900-407-PUPS for the name of a breeder referral representative in your area.



                                     At A Glance

Energy Level

Exercise Requirements


Affection Level

Friendliness toward dogs

Friendliness toward other pets


Friendliness toward strangers

Ease of training


Watchdog ability  
Protection ability
Grooming requirements (Long Hair)

(Short Hair)    

Cold tolerance
Heat tolerance
Life Span 8-10 Years