5 Facts About Saint Bernards

saint bernard puppies sitting in leaves

Saint Bernards are large, fluffy dogs that are known for their huge size. These dogs are also known to have a gentle, sweet nature and to love people. Here are a few more facts about Saint Bernards:

1. They Were Originally Bred for Search and Rescue

The Saint Bernard may be a versatile working dog around a farm, but they were also originally bred for search and rescue in harsh conditions. Bernard of Menthon was a monk that established a hospice in the Swiss Alps in 1050 to aid pilgrims from Rome who were attempting to navigate the area.

Because of this, the area was called Great St. Bernard Pass or St. Bernard Pass. Monks operating the hospice in the area developed a working dog to handle the harsh conditions and also to serve as a search and rescue dog. This is how the Saint Bernard got its name.

They help find and rescue travelers that got lost in the snowy landscape or buried. When not doing that, they could be found herding and guarding livestock and also hauling goods to market for farms and dairies.

2. Saint Bernards Are Gentle Giants

Although Saint Bernards grow into huge dogs, they are known for being gentle giants. They tend to be loyal and loving sweethearts that get along with children, other dogs, and other pets. They may accidentally knock into things or people as puppies in their excitement or forget their size and try to be a lapdog as an adult, but they are patient and gentle.

They are even often referred to as “nanny dogs” because they tend to be patient with children, act as a playmate to them, and take on a watchful guardian type of role. As long as they have been properly socialized, they will be warm and friendly with strangers once they have been introduced.

3. Low-Impact Exercise is Best for Saint Bernards

Doing too much too soon can damage a growing puppy’s joints and bones. Because of this, it’s important to keep things low-impact until puppies finish growing. As a giant dog breed, it takes a little longer for a Saint Bernard puppy to finish growing. Usually, it’s 2 years or more before a large or giant breed’s bones and joints finish developing.

Even once they are fully grown, it’s still important to keep things low-impact to help protect your Saint Bernard’s joints. Although they are sturdy dogs that can handle a lot, their huge size makes things like running not a good fit. Your vet can help you determine when your Saint Bernard puppy is done growing and can recommend some good activities for them.

4. They Are at Risk for Bloat

Deep-chested dog breeds are at risk for bloat. Sometimes, it can just be gas. But, sometimes, bloat in dogs can cause gastric torsion, where the stomach flips. In this case, bloat quickly becomes dangerous and will be fatal if not corrected.

Because of this, it’s important for you to know how to reduce the risk of bloat and also the symptoms. The earlier you are able to detect a problem, the quicker you can get help for your dog.

5. Saint Bernards Can be a Good Fit for First-Time Owners

Saint Bernards are intelligent dogs that pick up on things quickly and are eager to please. As long as they can handle their size and keep training clear and consistent, these dogs are a good fit for first-time dog owners.

Because they grow into such big dogs, it’s important to train your dog not to jump up early on and to also start leash training early. Even if you don’t necessarily need them, puppy training classes can still be a good idea. They can help you keep training consistent, strengthen the bond with your puppy, and even help socialize a puppy.

These are just a few facts about Saint Bernards. If they sound like the right dog breed for you, learn more about them, and then take a look at the available Saint Bernard puppies. You could end up finding your best friend!