Saint Bernards are a large breed. They usually run to huge sizes and are muscular to boot. They can reach around 30 inches in height and can weigh up to 180 pounds. They can be longhaired or shorthaired, but the latter used to be the more preferred variety.

A shorthaired coat on a Saint Bernard is usually smooth and dense. They would have bushy hair on their thighs, and the tail would be covered with long hair that is also dense. The tail hair becomes shorter as it approaches the tip. Longhaired varieties may have a wavy consistency but are not shaggy or curly. The forelegs may be somewhat feathered, but there’s bushy hair on the thighs and tail.

The color of Saint Bernards ranges in all kinds of red shades along with a combination of white. There could be white markings, brownish yellow shades, and brindle patches. The white is in the chest area and in a kind of collar around the neck. It would also sometimes encircle the nose, feet, and tail’s tip.

The Saint Bernard dog is usually highly obedient and is suitable for several types of competitions. It’s able to stay in a family home or apartment and is opened to learning several tricks. It’s good-natured as well as intelligent, kind, and gentle.

While not very playful, Saint Bernards are good for snuggling up to and being patient with children. However, they’re usually quite powerful and can be an issue when there’s a small child around. Even a little inadvertent push from their tails could knock a child down.

Saint Bernards were originally used for guarding the Hospice Saint Bernard in Switzerland. In addition to guarding, they were trained to find any lost or injured travel and help save them. The breed itself was probably created when native dogs in the Alps were bred with dogs with Mastiff-like characteristics.

It’s not clear just when these large dogs started being used for saving lives and guarding the Hospice, but there is a painting from 1695 which shows similar shorthaired dogs. Records about these dogs being used for the monastery date back to 1703. Over the years, some of the refinement and characteristics of the dogs were developed due to the monastery’s isolation and breeding with dogs from other valleys. Trying to get the dogs a thicker coat resulted in a longer-haired species, which was not suitable for the cold environment and were given away.

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