St Bernard

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São Bernardo file

Saint Bernard (in German Saint Bernardshund) belongs to the group of working dogs, and is considered a guard and rescue dog. Owner of a mild temperament, this dog adores its owners and is usually extremely devoted to them, having a behavior that can (in some cases) verge on possession. Sometimes, it ends up getting to know who the commander is in a relationship between pet and tutor - since this breed is very lacking in attention and affection and, many times, it spends the whole day following its owner and 'demanding' caresses and various treats.

As is well known by many, this dog gained immense popularity worldwide in the mid-90s - because it was at that time that the film named “Beethoven” was launched, with a dog of the São Bernardo breed as great protagonist of the feature - and making the breed acquire the sympathy and love of the spectators from the most diverse locations in the world.

Originally from Switzerland, this canine breed is classified in the category of mastiff dogs or sheepdogs - and its strength and endurance have already been (and are until today) used to peculiar human beings in different jobs and tasks, which included since herding to actions related to the rescue of people.

In addition to the film Beethoven, this dog is also well known throughout the world due to a series of cartoons that used to portray him as a great savior in icy regions - showing him with the already known and small barrel around his neck in actions that helped people who were drowned or lost, for example.

Follow the text below to learn more details about the behavior, appearance, care and health issues that can be part of the life of a São Bernardo dog, and analyze the possibility of taking one of them home and having a true hero affectionate within your home.


São Bernardo is a canine breed that originated in the Swiss Alps, and that was developed from crosses of ancient molossi (Mastiff from the region of the Alps of the Romans known more than 2000 years ago) - brought to the region by the troops of Rome. The monks were largely responsible for the survival of the race; since, since 1660, they started to breed St. Bernard dogs in a specific monastery, called the Hospice du Grand St. Bernard - which was located in one of the highest points of those mountains (and where travelers used to pass so that I could cross the Alps). According to scholars of the breed, São Bernardo's first purpose was to protect properties; followed, then, by rescue missions, which began in the 18th century. Finding buried victims and seeking help from the monks in case the victim could not move became, then, the main function of these dogs - who had the necessary capacity and resistance to perform this type of work without harming themselves.

Physically, they were crossed in order to obtain a robust dog, with an insulating coat and with an excellent nose, that could work in rigorous situations. Rescue missions at the time used to involve two dogs of the breed; being that when they found a victim, the dogs would lie down next to her in an attempt to warm up her body and, while one of them tried to revive the victim (by licking his face), the other would go back to the monastery to “warn” the monks go up on what happened and get more help.

The smelling ability of São Bernardo dogs is also considered one of the most powerful tools for it to be efficient in rescue work - since the animal can smell a person buried up to ten meters deep in the snow. As a result of this and for all his skill in rescue tasks, there was a specimen of the breed called Barry that was highlighted in a Swiss museum, being stuffed after his death and displayed on the site as a great hero - since he had participated in more 40 rescues throughout his life.

Although the barrel hanging from the neck has become one of the great symbols of the dogs that acted in rescue, this only happened due to a forgetfulness of workers that used to be close to the dog - and even at the time many supporting that these dogs should wear the barrel around their neck in their rescue missions, this has never, in fact, become a widely practiced custom.


São Bernardo is a great friend of its owner. He loves affection and attention and can be quite possessive about his family. They are protective, but São Bernardo's behavior is not at all aggressive and; so you can have an animal of this breed at home. They are extremely sociable and learn easily when a command is taught - appearing at number 113 on the list that ranks the most intelligent dog breeds in the world.

In addition to being quite calm and balanced, the São Bernardo dog also has a great relationship with children and people of all personality types; being suitable for living in houses with large families. According to the rules that form this table, the dog of the São Bernardo breed would be able to learn and understand a specific command when repeated between 40 and 80 times, with a chance of about 30% of understanding a teaching in a single repetition.


Tall, powerful and with impressive muscles, the São Bernardo can startle at first sight. It can be white with red or white with brown and black spots on the head and eye area. The benevolent eyes are medium in size and dark brown in color. His ears hang down the sides of his cheeks. This breed is very muscular on the neck and its cheeks are large and heavy. Its tail is long and quite hairy in the specimen of long hair. There are two varieties of São Bernardo: the short and smooth hair and the long hair, in both cases the coat is very thick. The short-haired ones are usually smaller, with males reaching up to 75 kg. The longhaired ones have very long and slightly wavy strands. They are usually much larger, with males and females easily reaching 90 kg.

With regard to height, male dogs of this specific breed can reach up to 70 centimeters; while the females remain a little smaller, but equally large, reaching up to 65 centimeters in height.

Specific care

It is a dog of great strength and can be brought up perfectly inside a home. It adapts very well to family life, but tends to drool and need space. It is recommended to take him for a walk at least 3 to 4 times a week, but because of his size and weight, he gets tired easily if the walk is too long and tiring. Because of its large size, this is an animal that eats a lot and, therefore, its maintenance cost tends to be quite high.

It is very important to brush the São Bernardo daily and keep it always clean, focusing on the mouth and the eyes - since the formation of knots in its coat can facilitate the accumulation of dirt, and this can lead to the appearance of skin problems, for example, like dermatitis. Baths should be administered once a month so that the animal's hygiene is up to date and Le can reach its full life expectancy, which is about 14 years.


Like large dogs, the São Bernardo can suffer from hip dysplasia and stomach twisting. Therefore, it is important that he has access to periodicals to visit veterinarians (allowing the hip dysplasia to be diagnosed early) and that he eats small portions at each meal, avoiding the risks of suffering from gastric torsion due to overdoing the amount of food eaten.

The main problem that the São Bernardos has been presenting in Brazil - due to the hot climate - is pyodermatitis, it is not contagious neither for humans nor for other animals that are living with it. This dermatitis is an infection on the animal's skin caused by excess moisture. To control this infection, you must limit the baths (at most one per month) and dry it well. Care must also be taken in the rainy season. Prevent it from getting wet for a long time.

Video: This Giant St. Bernard Learns To Love Her Annoying Little Goat Brother. The Dodo Odd Couples

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