How to care for a Saint Bernard


Although San Bernardo is typically a mountain dog, it can also live in the city and in hot areas. However, this requires additional measures to consider, since it is not where it is best.

  • It is a large animal, the elevation of the cross in a male San Bernardo ranges from 70cm to 90cm and a female from 65cm to 80cm.
  • It has a longevity of 9 to 12 years.
  • There are two varieties: the long-haired and the short-haired.
  • It is prone to heart problems, to suffer hip dysplasia and problems in the eyelids and ears. Regular cleaning of the ears and eyelids (removing the litters) can be of great help to prevent further problems. Go to the veterinarian to be told the best way to do it. The ear cleaning service is also offered in dog groomers, however in atypical areas for this type of breed they are difficult to find.
  • Change coat twice a year. That does not mean that the rest of the year is not releasing hair, these animals are a double cleaning in the house (hairs and drool will be the most common to clean). You have to brush once a week and almost daily in the times of the change of coat.

  • It is easy to train (although it is not his best virtue), affectionate, affectionate, faithful and above all good with children. It is an excellent animal, a model of goodness and intelligence. Perfect as a guard dog and faithful companion.
  • He knows how to impose himself when it comes to protecting his people.
  • He has a habit of not barking too much, only if it is absolutely necessary.
  • He drools a lot, and not only when he is hot or hungry. You should take care of your oral hygiene to reduce these situations, consult with the veterinarian.
  • Although it needs a lot of space, it adapts surprisingly to very small places just to be with its owners.
  • The heat suffers a lot and therefore you need to drink a lot of water throughout the day.

Tips and information about your care:

  • Make sure that your drinkers are always at your disposal and it is recommended that there be more than one spread around the house or garden.
  • Large amounts of food must be provided, always taking into account their age, weight and unique characteristics.
  • You need outdoor exercise with daily walks, but not exceeding due to your propensity to suffer certain diseases related to the hip and stomach.
  • Everything is bigger (droppings, toys, leash, etc.).
  • Make sure you have a vehicle adapted to your needs and well conditioned.

Additional advice if you live in a hot area:


  • Height at the cross: males at least 70 cm and females at least 65 cm.
  • Weight: from 60 to 90 kg
  • Cap: white and red or white and brown yellow
  • Aptitudes: guard and avalanche dog
  • General ranking:Giant dog breeds
  • Classification according to the AKC:Group 3: Working dogs
  • Classification according to the FCI:Group 2: Pinscher and Schnauzer dogs Molosoides and mountain dogs and Swiss boyeros> Molosoides

We all have in mind the image of Saint Bernard like a big and good-natured dog, that tirelessly crosses large forests with a barrel of liquor hanging from the neck.

The Saint Bernard descends from the Roman molossus (original mastiff introduced in the Alps by the Romans about 2,000 years ago) and the race began to become popular when the monks of the Hospice of St. Bernard raised them to rescue lost travelers between fog and snow.


The Saint Bernard He is calm, calm and affectionate. Despite this, puppies must be firmly educated to be able to control them as adults, since it is a breed of great power.

The Saint Bernard It is wide, tall, heavy and hard bones. The eyes, of benevolent expression, are of a medium size and dark brown. The ears hang on the sides of the cheeks. This breed has a very muscular neck, very sharp double chin and a broad and firm back. The limbs are straight, the feet are large and the tail is long.

There are two varieties of Saint Bernard: those with straight hair and those with hard and long hair. The colors are reddish brown, reddish tabby and yellowish brown (orange). These three colors always combine with white markings.


It is a dog of enormous strength and can be perfectly educated inside a home. It adapts well to family life although it tends to drool and needs space. It is convenient that you exercise daily. Due to its large size, it is an animal that eats a lot, so its maintenance cost is quite high.

It is very important to brush the Saint Bernard daily and keep it neat, with special attention to the mouth and eyes.

Due to the large dimensions of the Saint Bernard, its thoracic conformation is very deep and large and this can cause it to be exposed to stomach torsion. The cause of this movement can be given by an abundant meal followed by an axial rotation movement of the stomach. The only solution is a surgical therapy.

Tips to buy a San Bernardo

Searching for a puppy online carries risks. To be clear about the professionalism of the hatchery with whom you contact, we recommend that.

  • You make sure that your questions are answered, that you are knowledgeable about the breed (that attends dog shows), and that it offers to track the puppy after the sale. Is it implied, or is it limited to setting a price?
  • See if it is recommended by other breeders, or if it has references from satisfied customers.
  • Make sure that it has affix, that its dogs are registered in the LOE and have pedigree in order. Keep in mind that processing the pedigree of a puppy is not expensive, distrust phrases like "if I give it to you with pedigree it will be much more expensive." More information about the prices of a puppy
  • I give you guarantees in relation to health problems, physical, hereditary. Does the puppy deliver with veterinary primer, chip, vaccinations, deworming and veterinary checks a day?
  • You ask him to show you his facilities and let you see the specimens. Are they disease free?
  • And finally, remember that puppies need a minimum of two months with their mother before being delivered. Be wary of who wants to speed up the process.

The nanny dog

The Saint Bernard He is a dog with a lot of history behind his back. He is currently considered an ideal dog for life in family for the care and affection it brings. It seems as if it was destined to cause happiness and avoid evil in people. This is demonstrated by the many and proven stories about his work of guide and rescue in mountainous areas, thus avoiding huge cold deaths to lost travelers.

With a height that varies between 70 and 90 centimeters, it has some special abilities For the rescue. Its fine nose helps you locate people buried in the snow, even if they are several kilometers away. And he does this on his own initiative. Therefore, it is priceless as tracker. In addition it is known to develop very well in hostile lands.

The San Bernardo are already used more as a companion animal than as a rescue dog. With it, you have the protection secured. In spite of his goodness, he will attack if he thinks they take away something he considers from his property or attack one of his own. And although it may seem awkward because of its physical attributions, it is more agile than is believed.

There are many theories about the origin of the species. José Ramón Hoz, breeder, illustrates a bit: "The theory that convinces most scholars is the one directed by C. Séller, H. Kramer Y A. Heim in which the San Bernardo is related to the ancient molosse of the lineage Assyrian Babylonian. "This race dates from the time of first roman emperor. The vicissitudes of the Roman military expansion helped the rise of the species through the Alps according to theory.

During the Middle Ages They would be used as guard dogs in castles. So until we reach the point where all theories agree. And this is when the monks of Hospice of the Great San Bernardo, founded by the noble Bernardo de Mentoneen In 1049, they started using them as guides. Due to a fire in which several manuscripts burned, we cannot confirm on what exact date this fact took place.

So, the San Bernardo began to rescue Mountaineers and travelers lost in these areas. Of them the most remembered is 'Barry', which is said to have saved 40 human lives. For its part, the breed remains with few changes due to isolation which occurred in relation to other canine specimens. The name of Saint Bernard it was attributed in the century XIX, being previously known as Mastiff of the Alps.

This dog is known for its character good-natured Y affectionate. He is a faithful and calm friend. Especially takes a lot of affection for children and the elderly, and takes care of them more than any other member of the house. That's why he is said to be the 'babysitter dog'. He obeys his master without fuss and loves peace. Knowing his strong physique, he usually avoids fights although he doesn't get along very well with small races.

It is also the perfect guardian of the house As already mentioned, the little ones are safe with him.

Another advantage that it has with respect to other dogs is that it does not usually destroy the furniture or pay its curiosity with pillows and cushions. If this were not enough, your goodwill is seen in your predisposition to learning and play. The only thing that could be blamed is that it is stubborn.

A priori, you do not need special care. Like all dogs, you need to be brushed weekly, bathed a couple of times, a year, etc. It is also necessary to update vaccination and deworming. Regarding the exercise, you should do it but in a way moderate. You should not lie down all day or exercise too much because that can harm you.

Something you need to live is affected. You need to be involved in the family, feel one more. If this does not happen, the dog tends to be arisco. Even so, this is not usual and the dog shows us his love whenever he can. Another requirement is the space. You cannot have yourself on a floor, you need to move freely, even to sleep.

One of the characteristics that it has is its salivation. It tends to drool a lot, that is important to know when planning the hygiene of the house. I also snore but if I didn't, it would be too much perfect.

Everything you should know about San Bernardo

The dog that became popular both for the cartoon series "Heidi" and for the saga of films "Beethoven" He is a great moloso, strong, elegant and outgoing whose appearance is friendly and peaceful. One of those affable "nanny dogs", capable of protecting the smallest of the house with moderate aggression.

The most famous of the boyeros dogs is a symbol of tranquility, courage and loyalty. An animal that will conquer your heart as soon as you welcome it into your home, since it is a noble and fascinating dog in equal parts.

In ancient times, the San Bernardo, race that comes from the Alpine Mastiffs, which were taken to Switzerland by the Roman army, were short-haired and quite aggressive dogs. For a while the breed seemed almost extinct, but that was when it was used blood of German Bulldog and Newfoundland to reactivate it.

The story of this dog has its roots in the call “Great Mount of St. Bernhard”, A hill that is situated between Italy and Switzerland, at a height that is around 2,473 above sea level. In such a remote place, a hospice for pilgrims and travelers was founded, back in the 11th century, in which in the next century they began breeding large and robust dogs, which would fulfill the mission of monitoring and protecting the home.

In the beginning such dogs would be dedicated to defending the monks and exercising the functions of guardians inside the hospice, although soon they were aware of the multiple abilities of these dogs for the search for people lost and buried by avalanches. It was then that the breeding and training of these dogs began to rescue people.

The monks dedicated themselves to document the incredible work of these animals, elaborating Chronicles about those copies of San Bernardo who managed to save lives of lost people in the area. It was the year 1707 and it was not until about 1800, when Napoleon Bonaparte's soldiers began to spread their celebrity throughout Europe.

Thanks to such incredible skills, one of these dogs, in name Barry, He came to save about 40 human lives, which has earned him that his taxidermized body is exposed in the National Museum of Bern.

In 1865 the name of San Bernardo began to be used and in 1887 its specimens were recognized as a Swiss dog breed, becoming the “Swiss national dog”. Today, this giant giant continues to stand out, apart from as a companion dog, as an unparalleled tracker. An animal that knows how to develop perfectly in hostile lands, which makes it the perfect rescue dog.

Characteristics and physical features

With a height at the cross of at least 70 centimeters and a weight that ranges between 55-90 kilos, this impressive dog is tall, wide, heavy and hard bones, capturing in his path all eyes.

His head It is really impressive, being of a very large, strong and wide size, with remarkably developed supraorbital rings. His eyes, moderately sunk, they are medium in size and their benevolent expression stands out, varying their color from dark brown to hazelnut. Your stop or naso-frontal depression It is very pronounced. Your nasal cane It is straight. His truffle It must be black. His snout It is wide in its entirety.

Your jaws They are wide and both the upper and the lower have the same length. His bite It can be scissors or piza, regular, complete and well developed. A slight superior prognathism is allowed, but with the condition that the incisors do not lose contact. The absence of premolars 1 (PM1) as well as M3 is also tolerated.

His ears they hang on both sides of the cheeks and are wide, triangular, medium, with the rounded end and high insertion. His neck He is very muscular and has a very sharp double chin. It's tail It is strong and with a wide base. It must be long enough to reach the hock when it is at rest and has it hanging.

His sturdy body He is muscular and well proportioned. Your profile It is rectangular, since its length is somewhat greater than its height at the cross. Your back It is firm, broad and powerful. His chest it is moderately deep and its flanks They are almost not withdrawn. Your limbs they are straight and his feet they are big.

His movement It must be harmonious, with long steps. It must have a good thrust from the hind limbs and, while the back is stable and firm, both the anterior and posterior limbs have to move straight ahead while the animal is walking.

Color and fur

There are two varieties of San Bernardo, one with short hair and one with long hair, both with the same size and the same traits at the level of behavior:

  • The variety of short hair (Stockhaar, double hair) It has a smooth and dense outer layer, attached to the body. As for its inner layer, it is composed of a thick lanilla. His thighs have remarkable fringes of hair and the fur of his tail is very thick.
  • The variety of long hair It has an outer layer of smooth, medium length hairs. As for the inner layer, it is composed of a thick lanilla. The hair that covers the hip and rump is wavy in some specimens. His thighs have fringes of abundant hair, while the previous members have a flag. The hair of the face and ears is short. The tail shows abundant dense hair.

With regard to color, both varieties have the same, that is, their specimens are white with brown-reddish spots. This reddish hue can occur from the form of spots of various sizes, to form a continuous mantle that covers the spine and flanks.

In the same way, brown-yellowish spots are tolerated, as well as certain traces of black color on his body. Certain parts such as the nasal cane, the nape, the frontal band, the tip of the tail, the sill and the feet, must be white.


The Saint Bernard He is a companion that wastes affection and affection in abundance. Obviously, its size does not correspond to that of a standard dog and this is something you should assess before proceeding to its adoption.

Your outgoing and pleasant temperament It makes them great pets for children and very protective of their owners and their home. This is the character that San Bernardo should show, although in each race there are variations in temperament, which must be taken into account when choosing one of this size.

This rested animal, very patient and slow-moving, is loyal and enthusiastic and is happy whenever he manages to please his owner. However, given its size, it is very necessary to early socialization, both with the rest of the people and the animals.

The one we have in our hands is not a race that should live in a small flat, since it is very likely that it will never end up accommodating itself in such a small space. The ideal for him is power live in a big house and, if you have a garden where you can walk freely, much better.

The exercise needs of San Bernardo are moderate today and do not have much to do with their ancestors' assets. Their specimens, like those of any other race, need to be exercised daily, taking a long walk.

The quiet walks on which they entertain are one of their main hobbies, along with the game and even spend many times comfortably lying at the feet of its owner. Therefore, it is not a very excitable dog that needs constant attention.

The San Bernardo tolerate quite well that they leave their space, that is, certain moments of independence in which they themselves decide how to get distracted. This does not mean, at all, that they can spend excessive time alone, to the point of feeling abandoned, because they would inevitably end up becoming unsociable animals and experiencing separation anxiety.

One factor that you have to count on when adopting a San Bernardo is that drool, leaving a trace of saliva in its path, to which we must add that snores, but of course, it would be otherwise a perfect animal.

In his favor, it must be said, however, that he is not a destructive dog who will be given to bite the furniture in your house and pay for it with your cushions and pillows. Very different thing is that, with its huge tail, it unintentionally breaks everything it finds in its path, the same thing that happens when it shakes its head, so we insist on its need for space.

If you are looking a good watchdog that of San Bernardo can become a great choice, since its size makes it a formidable deterrent. As a curiosity we will tell you that they also have a very developed sense of smell that makes them have a sixth sense when it comes to alerting us of imminent dangers, such as avalanches or heavy storms.

Relationship with other pets

The San Bernardo is perfectly aware of his strength and physical strength, but he is not at all an aggressive dog looking for a fight. The small races do not like them too much, so they do not usually get along very well with them. A good and early socialization will improve this trend.

Basic care

The life expectancy of San Bernardo, the noble giant of the dogs, is situated between 8 and 10 years, a figure that with your careful care can reach and even exceed. It is up to you to fulfill them in a dignified and happy way, which responds to your having been able to fulfill the serious commitment you acquired when you decided to adopt it.

Apart from the care we are going to mention next, think that a dog of this breed needs a lot of affection and feel a member of the family, for which he will not hesitate to get involved in the daily activities of the home. Otherwise, it could become arisco.

As the owner, you will have to make him give affection, with being the leader of the strong and constant pack that he needs, so that he does not tend to assume leadership and want to submit to his own criteria.


The voracious appetite of San Bernardo is an aspect to keep in mind when making the decision to adopt it, as it will be an expense in which you will not be able to skimp and, in addition, we anticipate that you will not be the only one.

An adult of this breed can devour several kilos of food a day. You will have to ensure that their health does not suffer, for which you should look for a high-end feed suitable for dogs of that excessive size, which will also present as an additional advantage to help you wear a sensational coat.

In no case can you neglect the hygiene of a dog, not only for its own sake, but for the rest of the people who live with it. Poor dog hygiene will bring a bad smell that will be extremely unpleasant in the home.

Daily, don't neglect either basic hygiene of your eyes and mouth, which you must assume as another habit and that you can always do at the same time so that you do not forget.

Dental hygiene

Be aware that, from a puppy, you will have to habituate your Saint Bernard to the periodic toothbrushes, since you must do everything possible so that the tartar does not end up depositing on the surface of your teeth.

Although this habit is surely not to your liking, think that it is one of the best gifts you can give your pet, because the lack of dental hygiene is associated with a large number of ailments, among which periodontal disease stands out.

Bath and drying

Bathing a San Bernardo, especially if you are not exactly friends with water, can become an adventure. In summer you can do it outdoors, in the garden, but in winter you will have to ally yourself with the bathtub and the warm water.

Its drying is not anything either, once it has been shaken, you should use the electric dryer. An ideal alternative is go to a canine aesthetic center, which will have facilities specially prepared for avalanche dogs.

These "special dogs" of the monks, have always had a double mantle that kept them warm in the Swiss mountains. A lovely white and gold coat that you should brush daily, giving them once every 8 or 10 weeks a complete complementary brushing.

Vaccines and antiparasitic treatments

So gigantic dog can lose the battle against various tiny microorganisms if you as an owner do not respect his vaccination schedule. Parasites can also be very dangerous for your body, so placing pipettes and antiparasitic collars will be equally mandatory.

More common diseases

The San Bernardo is a pretty healthy dog ​​for its enormous size, which is not an obstacle for him to get sick at some point in his life. One of the health problems that can prove fatal to the breed is the gastric dilation, also known as swelling. Next to it, you can be affected by hip and elbow dysplasia, heart disease, entropion and ectropion, heat stroke, tumors and "wobbler" syndrome.


This dog does not lack intelligence, so it is easy to train him. Now you must be aware that it is essential a good education and socialization from puppy, because a San Bernardo, which sometimes reaches 100 kilos, would not allow you to control him as an adult if you did not decide to do so.

As in any powerful race, early socialization, training and your good work in correcting the slightest deviation from your behavior as soon as possible, will play a decisive role in your behavior once you reach adulthood.

As puppies, you should start by socializing him with all the people and animals around him, starting with the family nucleus and continuing with the rest. The next thing you should do is get down to work as far as the basic standards teachingof home behavior it means.

It will be easy for you to train this iconic snow dog in obedience, but always based on the fact that for a breed of this size it is one of your obligations and not an option, otherwise the future problems derived from ignoring your orders would make living together impossible.

Fortunately, and as usual in the canine world, this breed responds formidably to the positive reinforcement, so you will have to forget about the authoritarian traditional means of training, which included physical punishment, and focus on this comforting method.

It will be enough for you to praise and reward the behaviors you expect from him and do "the blind eye", with those you don't want, hoping that they will gradually correct themselves. It is not necessary that every time you do something right you reward him with treats, because he thinks that this could lead to an increase in weight of the dog, harmful to his health (even more in this breed, which tends to be overweight). The pampering, praises and caresses will also work as a powerful stimulus for this giant of the Alps.

It strongly affects the order to sit, because it will be very useful to you when it is a teenager of such size that comes running towards you, with the consequent danger of lying down. That he comes to your call, that he respects your possessions and does not bite them, as well as that he does not jump on people (as this can be a monumental scare) will be other orders that you cannot stop teaching him.

From puppy, also emphasize that when walking should not pull the belt or there will come a time when you will not be able to control it, so taking it out for a walk can go from being a pleasure to becoming a real torture.

Do not miss any day without insisting on the idea that should make exercise, because this is a race that needs a "little push" in that sense since, when alone, its behavior is rather lazy. However, when you are present, you will not hesitate to do whatever you entrust in order to count on your approval.

Finally, remember that this breed responds perfectly to dog training whenever you take into account all its possibilities and capabilities. If in principle you do not see yourself able to become your faithful friend, you can always turn to a professional trainer.

In fact, the San Bernardo advanced training tasks, in the event that the animal is going to be used for tasks such as rescue, must be carried out by someone who has sufficient accreditation and preparation. Remember that this dog is not as agile as others in the style of boxers or Belgian shepherds can be, but performs as few tasks.