St Bernard - Information and NZ Breed Standards

Membership ID

St Bernard

General Information - St Bernard


extra large

8-10 years




Watchdog ability:

Protection ability:
very low

Area of Origin:

Date of Origin:
Middle Ages

Other Names:
St. Bernhardshund, Alpine Mastiff

Original Function:
Draft, search and rescue


The Saint Bernard, often referred to simply as the Saint and best known as the gentle giant, has been bred in Switzerland since the 17th century. This Swiss breed is named after St. Bernard of Menthon, who lived from 996 to 1081, and who founded the Hospice at the pass between Italy and Switzerland. For the past several hundred years, the St. Bernard dogs have lived at the Hospice and helped the monks search for and aid lost travellers. The powerful breed was also used in local villages to pull carts of food and supplies. By the mid to late 1800's, the breed was internationally recognised and its popularity began to spread. While the St. Bernard enjoys a cold, snowy winter, they are also well-adapted to warmer climates. The Saint should have daily exercise and plenty of room.


The Saint Bernard is a very gentle and friendly dog breed who loves children. This dog breed can make a good family pet, but it has to be obedience trained early because of its large size. The Saint Bernard should get daily exercise and have plenty of room to move. The Saint Bernard is considered to be a steady dog breed.


The Saint Bernard needs daily exercise in order to stay fit. Its requirements can be met with moderate walks and short runs, however. It is best raised outdoors, away from slick surfaces. Overweight puppies raised indoors are more prone to hip problems. It enjoys cold weather and does not do well in heat. This breed can live outside in temperate to cold weather, but does best when allowed access to both house and yard. Its coat, whether long or short, needs weekly brushing, more so when shedding. All Saints drool.

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