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25 Things to Love About St. Bernards

Written by: Arlene Divina
Arlene Divina, one of the content writers at IHD, loves going on adventures with her adorable fur baby. She now creates informative content for pet parents. Read more
| Published on April 21, 2024

The St. Bernard is a breed synonymous with strength, rescue, and gentle spirit. Originally bred in the Swiss Alps, these dogs were first used by monks at the St. Bernard Hospice to locate and save lost travelers in heavy snow conditions. With their immense size, ranging typically from 140 to 260 pounds, and their thick, warm coats, St. Bernards are designed to withstand cold weather and navigate rugged terrain. Despite their formidable appearance, St. Bernards are known for their calm and friendly demeanor, making them excellent family pets. They possess a deep bark and a watchful nature but are more likely to greet strangers with a wag than a growl. Their patience and tolerance make them particularly good with children, and their instinctive desire to help and protect is as strong today as it was in their monastic past. Here are 25 reasons why owning a St. Bernard can enrich your life and bring joy to your home.

1. Unmatched Strength

St. Bernards are epitomes of physical strength and endurance. Their powerful build enables them to perform demanding tasks that many other breeds could not manage. Originally used to traverse the dangerous terrains of the Swiss Alps for rescue missions, their strength is now more often used for pulling carts and participating in weight pulling competitions, showcasing their muscular physique and formidable power.

2. Legendary Rescue Dogs

The history of St. Bernards as rescue dogs is legendary. These dogs have been credited with saving thousands of lives with their ability to detect avalanches and find lost travelers. Their keen sense of smell and unerring instincts made them invaluable companions in rescue missions, a legacy that continues to define their character.

3. Gentle Giants

Despite their size, St. Bernards are gentle giants. They are known for their calm and loving nature, often seeking out human affection and thriving on companionship. This gentle demeanor makes them excellent pets for families with children, as they are patient and careful with young ones.

4. Excellent Family Pets

St. Bernards are excellent family pets. They are protective of their home and family and display a loving and nurturing attitude towards all family members. Their presence alone can bring a sense of security to a household, while their sociable nature ensures they become an integral part of family activities.

5. Good with Other Animals

St. Bernards generally get along well with other animals, including dogs and cats, especially when raised with them from a young age. Their non-aggressive nature and patience help them to adapt to various household pets, making them suitable for multi-pet homes.

6. Minimal Exercise Needs

Contrary to what their size might suggest, St. Bernards do not have high exercise requirements. A few short walks daily and regular playtime are sufficient to keep them healthy and content. This relatively low need for exercise makes them suitable for those who cannot provide extensive daily physical activity.

7. Distinctive Appearance

With their massive size, deep eyes, and expressive face, St. Bernards have a distinctive and memorable appearance. They are often featured in media and popular culture, which attests to their iconic status and striking looks. Their presence is imposing yet warmly reassuring.

8. Adaptive to Cold Weather

St. Bernards are particularly well-adapted to cold weather, thanks to their thick, dense coat. This makes them ideal pets for regions with harsh winters, as they can withstand the cold better than many other breeds, enjoying outdoor activities despite the snow and chill.

9. Affectionate Nature

St. Bernards are incredibly affectionate. They often show their love through physical closeness, leaning on their owners or lying at their feet. This affectionate nature extends beyond the family circle, as they are usually friendly with strangers, greeting them warmly.

10. Calming Presence

The calming presence of a St. Bernard is palpable. They exude a serene confidence that can be particularly comforting in stressful situations. Their quiet disposition and steady nature make them excellent emotional support animals or therapy dogs.

11. Easy to Train

Despite their independent streak, St. Bernards are relatively easy to train due to their desire to please their owners. They respond best to positive reinforcement techniques such as treats and praises. Proper training from a young age is crucial to harness their potential and ensure they are well-behaved.

12. Loyal Companions

Loyalty is a defining trait of the St. Bernard. They are devoted to their families and will go to great lengths to protect their loved ones. This loyalty, combined with their protective instincts, makes them dependable companions in all circumstances.

13. Good for Novice Owners

St. Bernards can be good for novice owners because they are not as demanding as some other large breeds in terms of exercise and grooming. Their forgiving nature and willingness to please make them manageable for first-time dog owners who are ready to handle their size and basic needs.

14. Impressive Bark

St. Bernards possess a deep and resonant bark that is effective as a deterrent, yet they are not excessive barkers. Their bark is typically used to alert their owners to something important, making them excellent watchdogs.

15. Community Admirers

St. Bernards often attract admiration and attention in public spaces due to their size and striking appearance. They can act as social bridges, facilitating interactions with other people and helping to build a sense of community around them.

16. Not Prone to Wander

St. Bernards are not prone to wandering. They are usually content to stay close to home and their family, preferring the comforts of familiar surroundings. This trait makes them less likely to stray, which is an advantage for keeping them safe and secure.

17. Suitable for Rural and Urban Environments

Thanks to their adaptable nature, St. Bernards are suitable for both rural and urban environments. Whether they have a large yard to roam in or regular walks in a city park, they can thrive in various settings as long as they have enough space to live comfortably.

18. Enjoys Participating in Community Activities

St. Bernards enjoy participating in community activities, especially events that allow them to interact with people and other dogs. Their friendly nature makes them stars at such gatherings, often loved by both children and adults.

19. Low Risk of Aggression

St. Bernards have a low risk of aggression. They are naturally inclined to be friendly and are typically well-mannered if properly trained. Their non-aggressive demeanor makes them safe companions for families.

20. Seldom Needs Grooming

Although St. Bernards shed, their grooming needs are relatively modest. Regular brushing and occasional baths are sufficient to keep their coat in good condition and minimize shedding, which helps in maintaining a clean home environment.

21. Inspires Responsibility

Owning a St. Bernard can inspire responsibility, especially in families with children. Caring for a large dog requires dedication and teaches valuable life lessons about commitment and the rewards of caring for another living being.

22. Attracts Positive Attention

The unique appearance and kind nature of St. Bernards often attract positive attention. They are frequently a favorite among pet enthusiasts and can bring smiles and joy to those around them, enhancing social interactions.

23. Can Be Couch Potatoes

St. Bernards are known to enjoy lounging and can be quite the couch potatoes. Their love for relaxation makes them excellent companions for quiet evenings at home, providing cozy warmth and companionship.

24. Provides a Sense of Security

The mere presence of a St. Bernard can provide a significant sense of security. Their size and vigilant nature make them excellent protectors of their home and family, offering peace of mind to their owners.

25. Unconditional Love

Perhaps the most cherished quality of St. Bernards is the unconditional love they offer to their families. Their affection, loyalty, and protective nature make them not just pets but cherished family members who enrich the lives of those around them with love and devotion.

Learn More About the St. Bernard Dog Breed: Information, Facts & Pictures

St. Bernards embody the essence of a gentle giant. They bring together the rare combination of strength, gentleness, and loyalty, making them exceptional companions. Ideal for families or individuals looking for a dog with a calm demeanor and loving nature, St. Bernards offer everything from companionship and protection to unconditional love and affection. Owning a St. Bernard is a commitment to nurturing a deep bond that is as rewarding as it is enduring, making every moment spent together a treasure.

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