Breed: St. Bernard
Temperament: Gentle, good with kids, loyal, guard dog
Lifespan: 8-10 years
Recommended for: Moderately experienced dog owners
Other Names: St. Bernhardshund, Bernhardiner, Alpine Mastiff
St. Bernard dogs are easily recognized by their large head and characteristic red-and-white coat. Most St. Bernards have brown eyes, although a few have icy white or pale blue eyes. Their fur can be smooth and cling to the dogs, dense and heavy around the dog's neck. St. Bernards weigh between 64-120 kilograms. Males can grow up to 80 centimeters tall, while females can grow up to 73 centimeters.
St. Bernards make perfect family dogs since they are very gentle. These dogs are especially patient with children. They will go to great pains to avoid hurting children and will defend them from danger. St. Bernards not only make good family dogs, but they are also good guard dogs. Even though they have a calm temperament, their impressive size wards off malicious intruders.
Health and lifespan
St. Bernards are susceptible to a host of genetic problems. Since they grow quickly, they need adequate nutrition. Otherwise their bones will quickly deteriorate, and may develop serious health problems. St. Bernards are also prone to bone cancer, epilepsy, heart disease, hip dysplasia, bloat and seizures. Often due to their health problems, St. Bernard dogs usually live from 8-10 years.
St. Bernard puppies are very active and hyper. Therefore, an ideal owner should start training St. Bernards early. Owners must take training seriously so that the dog is under control before it becomes too large. The dog's size can be a problem unless it is properly trained. Owners must also have the time to take them on daily walks. However, as St. Bernards age, they become less active and may not require as much exercise.
St. Bernards typically shed twice a year. Although the dogs may not need to be groomed every day, many owners do so to reduce the amount of dog hair in their home or yard. Start grooming St. Bernard puppies while they are young so that they get used to the process. Use a simple slicker brush and a medium-to-wide comb for grooming.