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Saint Bernard

The legend lives on

Pinscher and Schnauzer - Molossoid Breeds - Swiss Mountain and Cattle Dogs

Original Name : St. Bernardshund

Type : Molossoid

Male size : 27½-35½ inches

Female size : 25½-31½ inches

Degree of grooming :

Countries of origin : Switzerland


Saint Bernards are friendly giants of a generally calm disposition but not lacking in vivacity despite their imposing stature. While not the most widespread of the mountain dogs, for over a century they have definitely been the best known and the most popular.There are two varieties. The shorthair has a dense, smooth, close-lying, coarse topcoat and an abundant undercoat, while the longhair has a straight, medium-length topcoat, again with an abundant undercoat.


Powerful, expressive, imposing, with a well defined stop and a forehead that falls abruptly to the root of the muzzle.



Generally imposing, harmonious, impressive and very muscular.



White with smaller or larger splashes of reddish brown (splash-coated dog) all the way to an unbroken reddish brown mantle covering the back and flanks (mantle dog).



Medium-sized, set high and broad, strong burrs.



Broad and strong at the base, long and heavy. The last tailbone reaches at least to the hocks.



Short or long.


The hospice at the Great St.-Bernard Pass 8000 ft above sea level was established in the 11th century as a refuge for travelers and pilgrims. From the middle of the 17th century, the monks began keeping big mountain dogs for guarding and protection, a fact attested to in drawings dating from 1695 and a note in a hospice document from 1707. It wasn’t long before these dogs were being used to accompany travelers, and especially as search and rescue dogs in snow and fog. There are testimonies in many different languages to the breed’s work as a life-saver. Soldiers in Napoleon’s army, which crossed the pass in 1800, also spread the legend of a dog named Barry, the prototype search and rescue dog.Its direct ancestors were the large farm dogs that populated much of the surrounding region. Within a few generations, breeders produced the current breed, which was recognized under the name Saint Bernard on June 2, 1887. The breed has been regarded as the national dog of Switzerland ever since.

Did you know ?

Saint Bernards have their own museum in Switzerland, close to where they originally come from, the Hospice of Great St. Bernard’s Pass, where one Saint Bernard, Barry (1800-1814), reportedly saved 40 lives. Since 2005, the Hospice has been the official breed home, thanks to the generosity of Barry Foundation donors.


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