St. Bernard dog breed

The St. Bernard has been regarded as Switzerland’s national dog since 1884.

Name : St. Bernard dog
Country of origin : Switzerland
Classification : FCI, group 2, standard no. 61


There are about 600 St. Bernard dogs in Switzerland, not a very common breed. Around one hundred pedigree puppies are born each year.

Size and weight

Height at withers: Lower limit for males: 70 cm, for females: 65 cm

Weight : Male from 70 to 80 kg, female from 50 to 65 kg

Short- or long-haired coat

The breed comprises two varieties: short-haired dogs and long-haired dogs. Historically, the Canons favoured short-haired dogs due to the high levels of snow on the Great Saint Bernard Pass, as snow tends to stick to longer fur. For reasons of genetic diversity, 3/4 of the dogs bred by the Barry Foundation are short-haired and the remaining 1/4 long-haired.

Short-haired : Thick, smooth close-lying and coarse top-coat with abundant undercoat.

Long-haired : Straight and medium-length top-coat with abundant undercoat. Regular brushing essential.


White base with patches of reddish-brown of different sizes (splash-coated dog), which can form a continuous reddish-brown mantle over the back and flanks (mantle dog).

Life expectancy

Eight years on average


Friendly, temperament ranging from calm to lively, alert.


Several walks per day and plenty of space to run around. In light of its build, it is a sporty animal and a skilled draught dog.


The St. Bernard is primarily a family pet but can also be a draught dog depending on its build. Its good-natured disposition makes it ideal for social activities.


Its owner must have plenty of time available to take care of it correctly and provide sufficient outdoor space for it to run around freely.

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