The St Bernard: thinking of getting a St Bernard?
Last Updated: 23/11/2023
St Bernards are extremely patient and loving family members – just keep your eye out for the drool!
Let’s take a closer look at the St Bernard.
Place of origin: The Western Alps of Italy and Switzerland
How big do St Bernards get? 65 – 90cm
How heavy are St Bernards? 64 – 120kg
Life Expectancy: 8 – 10 years
Colour: Brown, Red, Brindle, White
Please note: A dog’s exercise, training/stimulation and grooming requirements can depend on several factors such as age and health. The same goes for ongoing costs of ownership. For advice on one specific dog, we always advise chatting with a vet.
How much exercise does a St Bernard need?
The St Bernard’s exercise requirements are fairly modest. One or two brisk walks a day should keep them in tip-top condition.
These dogs are huge and grow very quickly, which can sometimes cause trouble with their bones. You can prevent this by maintaining their healthy weight and by keeping your St Bernard away from slippery surfaces.
St Bernards originate from alpine weather, so don’t do too well in the heat. It’s best to walk your St Bernard at cooler times of the day and if you live somewhere with a permanently warm climate, a St Bernard may not be the breed for you.
Training: how to train a St Bernard
St Bernards are sweet, friendly-natured dogs and are usually easy enough to train. It’s important to do it as soon as possible though – before your St Bernard grows too big.
Their friendly nature may see your St Bernard jump up at people or even steal their food, so focus on obedience training from a young age and always use positive reinforcement.
You’ll need to brush your St Bernard 3 times a week or so to keep their fur in tip-top condition. During moulting season, you may find you need to brush them more often – probably once every day. This will minimise the amount of hoovering you find yourself needing to do.
St Bernards are also droolers so if you’re not a fan of cleaning, you may be better suited to a lower-maintenance breed.
St Bernards are very friendly, welcoming and a true saint around children. They’re careful in their company and very patient – although they might be a tad too big for smaller children.
Owing to their great size, your St Bernard will feel most at home where there’s lots of space. They’re definitely not suited to apartment living.
If you’re seeking an even-tempered companion that’ll be great around children, a St Bernard could be just the breed for you.
When considering the lifetime cost of owning a St Bernard, remember to take into account:
- Food and dietary needs
- Veterinary care
- Pet insurance
- Kennels or dog sitters
- Regular St Bernard grooming costs
- Toys and equipment
Need more info?
For more info on finding the best dog breed for you and your lifestyle, have a chat with your vet.