Exclusive Information about Saint Bernard Dogs, the Gentle Giants

Saint Bernard dog characteristics
The Saint Bernard is the kind of dog that steals your heart at first glance. These dogs are as saintly as they come, with a lineage of able alpine rescue dogs. Their gentle and kind behavior is a source of comfort to the family they belong to, while their massive size and guarding instincts instill fear in intruders.
Talk about old!
The Saint Bernard Club of America was formed way back in 1888, and is held in high esteem as one of the oldest breed-specific clubs in the United States.
Even as an adult human, it's easy to be intimidated by the sight of a Saint Bernard―massive is kind of an understatement here. But give it a minute at the most, provided you don't seem threatening to him, and he will floor you with his affectionate approval.
A BRIEF HISTORY
a purebred young saint bernard
Saint Bernard
Height: 26 - 30 inches at the shoulder
Weight: 120 - 180 lb.
Lifespan: 8 - 10 years

The St. Bernard was originally bred to be a rescue dog in the alpine region of Switzerland and northern Italy. Its ancestors are understood to be the Swiss cattle dogs and mountain dogs, who descended from the molosser breeds known to exist during the times of the ancient Roman empire.
It was much later in the 18th century that these dogs were seen accompanying monks from the hospice at the Great St. Bernard Pass high up in the Swiss Alps. It is said that these weren't actually trained by the monks―it was the older dogs who led the younger ones by example during rescue operations.

The first club exclusively dedicated to the St. Bernard breed opened in Basel, Switzerland in 1884. The St. Bernard remains the national dog of Switzerland to this day.
APPEARANCE AND TEMPERAMENT
a majestic saint bernard
This huge hulk of a dog is powerful and muscular. His head is massive, with a short but wide muzzle. His dark eyes are located on the sides below a pair of droopy ears. The tail is medium-sized and powerful at the base―he can easily knock down objects with an excited tail-wag. He can be either longhaired or shorthaired, and is mostly colored white with markings in tan, red, mahogany, brindle, and black.
With his imposing stature and looks, most people begin pacing backwards at the mere sight of a St. Bernard. But this dogs is anything but intimidating to those he regards as his own. By nature, this dog is extremely patient, kind, obedient, and friendly, which makes him a perfect companion to children. His guarding instinct is top-notch as well, and is quick to alert his people if he senses a threat.
His level of intelligence is remarkable, which makes him a quick learner. Be sure to train and socialize him as a puppy. It will help you raise a dog that is well-mannered and obedient. If you ignore this aspect, an adult dog this size can become a physical threat when he gets unruly or attempts to jump on people. Despite his gentle temperament, never leave children unsupervised with this dog, as he may unwittingly cause accidents due to his size.
Good qualities aside, this dog can be slow-paced and lazy. He does not need a lot of physical activity, but be sure to take him on long walks everyday. St. Bernards aren't aggressive, but have a tendency to knock down or push people and objects during playtime owing to their size. Train him to obey commands since a young age and get him used to walking on a leash.
HEALTH AND LIFESPAN
swimming saint bernard
This dog is highly prone to heatstrokes and exhaustion. Never let him out on hot days, and ensure that his room is cool at all times. Increase his water intake during summer, and provide access to cool, freshwater all day.
Like most large breeds, the St. Bernard's lifespan is short, extending between 8 and 10 years on an average. He is generally healthy, but may be prone to certain genetic conditions, especially those related to the bones. It is important that you feed and exercise him in a manner prescribed by the vet right since puppyhood. This ensures that he grows up to be a well-nourished and healthy adult.
GROOMING
vet examining a saint bernard
Brush your dog's fur 2 - 3 times a week to keep it clean and prevent matting. Make use of a shedding blade to remove loose hair strands during shedding season. He doesn't need frequent baths, unless he's gotten really dirty. His nails and teeth also require regular trimming and brushing respectively. Get him used to these sessions since a young age, so that it doesn't prove to be a hassle as he ages.