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Saint Bernard

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About the Saint Bernard

Saint Bernard is a dog with a very well-developed sense of direction and sense of smell. He is friendly with the little ones, with other animals or dogs and attentive to strangers, making him an excellent family dog ​​who needs socializing. Saint Bernard has an average level of activity and is used in mountain rescue actions. The dog has a fast growth rate and should not be kept in the heat.

What does a Saint Bernard look like?

The Saint Bernard dog is easily recognizable due to its strong body, wide chest and vigorous back. The head is large, strong with a pronounced stop and a short but thick snout. The eyes are dark brown, while the ears are medium-sized, worn down. The tail of Saint Bernard is long, heavy and tall at the base.

As for the fur, there are two varieties of the breed - one with long hair and one with short hair. However, in both cases the fur is thick and straight. The colour of the fur varies from white and yellowish-brown to white and red. The minimum height of a male is 70 cm, while in females it is 65 cm. The ideal weight of the breed varies between 65 and 80 kg.

The ideal owner for the Saint Bernard dog

Saint Bernard is an ideal breed if you want a dog with a moderate energy level, making it a suitable dog for the apartment. Moreover, it is a bread to consider if you want a companion for children and a good guard for home and family, which in addition to all this is also easy to train.

However, quadruped is not the ideal option if you care a lot about house cleaning. In addition, the breed's resistance to heat is not very high, so adaptability to weather conditions is a bit difficult and could be problematic if you live in a warm area. Although the energy level is moderate, Saint Bernard needs to be given time for daily walks and exercises. Moreover, he prefers the company of his master, so it is not an ideal breed if you have been away from home for a long time.

Saint Bernard's personality and behaviour

As a personality, Saint Bernard dogs are gentle and friendly animals, despite their opulent stature that could convey the opposite. The main feature of the breed is calmness, expressed by the slow movements of the animal. However, when the quadruped is on alert, it becomes energetic and agitated. Patient and self-assured, Saint Bernard is never aggressive, but rather protective of his home and family.

Loyal and affectionate

This breed has a special relationship with its owner, being very attached to the human factor. Precisely for this reason, Saint Bernard has a great desire to please his master. It follows exactly the orders and directions received. However, in order not to be confused, it is good to receive clear and firm orders. The quadruped must know clearly what his master wants from him.

Patient, confident and ideal for security

Due to the well-developed sense of smell, the quadruped is also used in special missions, such as finding people in danger in the mountains area or after avalanches. With a thick fur and being strong, Saint Bernard will withstand even the harshest winter conditions.

When not used as a utility or guard dog, the quadruped is a very pleasant, loyal and affectionate pet dog with the whole family, as long as it is not required to be too active.

The Saint Bernard dog in the family

Saint Bernard is a wonderful pet for the family, always with an acute desire to please his owner. In order to accurately respect the family hierarchy, the Saint Bernard must know exactly who the master is. As long as he knows his role and position in the family, the dog will be obedient, loyal and pleasant.

Even though they are massive, Saint Bernard dogs are caring and protective towards children, which is why they are also used as therapy dogs. However, because they are overweight and massive, it is not recommended that they sit around children under the age of 7 without being supervised. The main reason is that when they play with the little ones, they may tear the children to their feet or roll over them.

Interaction with other animals

The Saint Bernard is also gentle when it comes to other animals or other dogs he will meet. If he is socialized since his early years, he will be even more friendly with the other animals.

Friendly with strangers

The Saint Bernard is an attentive and agile guard animal. When he feels that family members are in danger, he becomes protective and aggressive, immediately alerting his masters.

Reduced barking tendency

Saint Bernard is noisy only when it senses a potential danger. He will announce the strangers with a bark, but he will not be aggressive towards them.

Saint Bernard dog food and care

Very large dogs, Saint Bernard need a proper diet. Owners of such breeds can save a lot of money if they provide the animal with proper nutrition. However, there is no right food model for this breed, each owner being free to choose. Because they grow quickly in height and weight, the dogs need consistent food - dry or cooked. However, the owner must be careful with the amount of food given to the dog. Variety and vitamins are the key to a proper diet for Saint Bernard.

Fur that requires special attention

The Saint Bernard long-haired specimens need regular brushing and more careful care. Also, this breed needs a lot of space to develop and live healthy.

The owner should regularly check the eyes of the dogs to check if they have drooping eyelids, this breed being quite prone to eye diseases.

At the same time, care must be taken to keep the animal away from areas with a lot of heat, whether we are talking about the space of the house or about the car with which the quadruped is usually transported.

Common ailments and predisposition to disease

The Saint Bernard is a breed that suffers from quite a few congenital diseases, a fact caused, say experts, by the low genetic spectrum from which it was created. Among the main diseases of the breed are those of circulation, as well as ophthalmological. Elderly dogs are most prone to carcinogenic bone tumours, especially in the limbs. Passivity in the behaviour of the animal can be a sign in this regard, so it is good to see a veterinarian immediately. A first step to having a healthy dog would be to inform about the kennel where the dog is to be taken.

The most common diseases of the Saint Bernard breed are:

  • albinism
  • gastric volvulus
  • epilepsy
  • hip dysplasia
  • skin allergies
  • temperament problems
  • laryngeal paralysis

Environment and adaptability

The Saint Bernard is a dog that adapts quite easily to the living environment, except in areas where temperatures are hot. When he is in his comfort zone, he is malleable and obedient when he has imposed rules. At an early age Saint Bernard is much more adaptable to the new climate, to different rules or a new territory. However, as he gets older, the quadruped becomes much more territorial and more reluctant to change.

Yard or apartment?

Due to its very large size, the Saint Bernard dog needs a suitable space. It does not feel comfortable if it is fenced by a small space, but it also adapts to apartment life if it has daily movement.

Dogs of this breed are used to leaving dung and a lot of hair around it, so you will always have to sweep and mop after them. Precisely for these reasons, Saint Bernard does best in a house where cleanliness is not a priority.

Low tolerance for being left alone

The Saint Bernard is an animal quite dependent on human attention. He can hardly stand to spend a lot of time alone, so it is advisable to avoid leaving your dog in the house, even for a few hours a day.

Adaptation to the weather

The Saint Bernard is a dog sensitive to certain climatic conditions. It is an animal adapted especially to the low temperatures, which it can withstand brilliantly, instead, it must be protected from the hot weather. He also doesn't do well if he lives in a very warm house or travels in a car with the heat on.

The training and of the Saint Bernard dog

The training of Saint Bernard dogs should start when they are puppies, and the first lesson should be not to pull on the leash. The training will be done calmly, but also with firmness and consistency. Because it is an animal that grows very fast in weight and height, it should not be required too much physically, especially during development. Otherwise, the dog will suffer from bone or joint disease.

Intelligence

Even though it is a rather slow and soft animal, the Saint Bernard has a native intelligence and gentleness. Thus, in addition to being an excellent companion, the dog is also used in utilitarian actions, such as finding the victims of avalanches or lost in the mountains.

Energy level and exercises

Saint Bernard has an energy level that decreases with age. If the Saint Bernard puppy is quite curious and lively, when he reaches maturity, the dog gets used to the activities that will not require much, which helps him if he is going to grow up in an apartment.

The instinct of hunting and tracking

The Saint Bernard is not a hunting animal, instead it has a very well-developed sense of smell. Thus, the quadruped is used in the search actions of the mountain rescuer.

Other details

The history of the Saint Bernard breed

The Saint Bernard dog has its origins in the alpine mastiff dog breeds, bred in this origin since Roman times. In the 18th century, the breed was mated with the German Dog and Bloodhound, which contributed to the growth of the four-legged stature and the development of a much stronger sense of smell.

Saint Bernard dogs have been appreciated and recognized worldwide for their ability to find and rescue missing persons in mountain areas. Even the name of this breed comes from the Saint Bernard Pass in Switzerland, where a specimen of this breed, Barry, saved 40 lives between 1800 and 1812.

Useful links:

https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/st-bernard/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Bernard_(dog)