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AKC Meet the Breeds: Saint Bernard

American Kennel Club, Inc. (c) 2011

Originally used to locate freezing and helpless travelers during snowstorms, the Saint Bernard now uses his intelligence and strength in conformation and obedience competitions, cart pulling and weight pulling. Although powerful and muscular in build, Saints possess a gentle and dignified temperament. Their coats can be long or short and range in color from deep brown to brown-yellow. White markings are required.

A Look Back
It is generally believed that the dogs eventually called Saint Bernards were bred from dogs previously existing in the Swiss countryside. The original Saint Bernard was a short-haired dog and was introduced to the Hospice (a refuge for travelers crossing the treacherous passes between Switzerland and Italy) as a guard dog, a carting dog and an avalanche dog that rescued travelers trapped in the snow.

Right Breed for You?
Both long-haired and short-haired Saint Bernards shed and need regular grooming. New owners should be prepared for drool -- there is no such thing as a dry mouth Saint. This breed makes wonderful family companions with obedience training and daily exercise, but due to their larger size, may do better living in the country or suburbs.

  • Working Group; AKC recognized in 1885.
  • Ranging in size from 25 1/2 to 27 1/2 inches tall at the shoulder and 130 to 180 pounds.
  • Avalanche rescue.

AKC Meet the Breeds is a registered trademark of the American Kennel Club, Inc.