Breed Spotlight: Saint Bernard - PetFirst
Breed Spotlights

Breed Spotlight: Saint Bernard

by MetLife Pet Insurance
3 years ago

Life Expectancy: 8-10 years

Dog Breed Group: Working group

Weight: 120- 180 lbs

Height: 2 feet, 2 inches to 2 feet, 6 inches tall at the shoulder


Trainability: 5

Due to his massive size, training is critical for the Saint Bernard. An untrained Saint can easily knock people over unintentionally. Training your Saint won’t be as simple as other breeds due to their high level of intelligence combined with a relatively stubborn personality but once trained, they’re loving, gentle giants.

Shedding Friendliness: 3

Be prepared to handle some fur on your clothes and around your home. The Saint is a relatively heavy shedder. If you brush your Saint regularly, you’ll notice a significant decrease in the shed level.

Ease of Grooming: 5

Brush your Saint three times per week with a rubber curry brush or grooming glove for shorthaired coats. For Saints with longhaired coats, brush using a pin brush three times per week.

Health: 7

Saints are known to be generally healthy, but due to their size they’re prone to certain health conditions.

Exercise Needs: 4

The Saint does not require a significant amount of exercise but going for a brief walk or two each day is important to prevent obesity.

Good with Children: 9

The Saint Bernard is a loving, patient, and gentle family dog who enjoys the company of all people in his or her household including young children and other family pets.

Barking Restraint: 2

The Saint is generally not a big barker. They’re known for their quiet personality.



If you adopt a Saint, be prepared to handle a giant puppy until she’s several years of age. Saints take longer to mature mentally, but their personality is truly one of a kind. Saints are known for their loving, friendly, and gentle personality. Commonly known to be therapy dogs, they are gentle to people of all ages ranging from child to an elderly adult.


Training a Saint can be difficult due to their extreme intelligent and stubborn personality so consistency and persistence is key. As long as you maintain a consistent routine with your Saint and she knows what is expected of her, she will do her best to please you.

The Saint also has a very low prey drive which makes training a bit easier when compared to other breeds.


Saint Bernards can be found with two coat types; short-haired or long-haired. If your Saint is shorthaired, she should be brushed three times per week with a rubber curry brush or grooming glove. If your Saint is long-haired, use a pin brush three times per week to brush through her beautiful coat.

Saints do not require frequent bathing. When they do bathe, be sure all of the shampoo has been rinsed and ensure their coat dries fully.

Saints are also known for the stains around their eyes. Using special eye wipes found at most pet stores can keep your Saint’s eyes stain-free.


Bloat- Bloat is most commonly seen in large, deep-chested dogs. Bloat is a life-threatening condition which needs to be examined by a veterinarian immediately. Bloat may occur if your dog eats too quickly or drinks large amounts of water at a time.

Hip Dysplasia (as found in many large breeds)

Entropion- A deformity of the eyelid

Top 10 Most Common Health Issues for the Saint Bernard

  1. Hip dysplasia
  2. Entropion
  3. Epilepsy
  4. Bloat
  5. Obesity
  6. Dilated Cardiomyopathy- enlarged heart
  7. Allergies
  8. Hypothyroidism
  9. Elbow dysplasia
  10. Cataracts

Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances.

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