Saint Bernard

a laid back gentle giant...

St Bernards are giant dogs weighing up to 120kg - (that's two adult women!) They are famous for their history of Alpine rescues but these days they are more inclined to be just family pets.

Because of their enormous weight and strength, unruly St Bernards can be dangerous. It is essential that these dogs are socialised from puppyhood and fully obedience trained. They can be quite difficult to obedience train, so patience and persistence is essential. You must ensure that any bad habits are extinguished because dogs their size will be nightmares if they are allowed to rule the roost.

St Bernards have a naturally gentle temperament and are fantastic with children. They are very careful with little children

They don't often bark but will protect you if they sense you are threatened. Their sheer size is usually a deterrent to any would be intruder. They get on well with other dogs and will turn a blind eye to the household cat. They really couldn't be bothered giving chase. These dogs are, in fact, quite lazy and will need encouragement to exercise. They need an hour's walk every day at a lumbering pace but you will need to be enthusiastic about it, because they will rarely be at the door urging you on. Be mindful that they don't fare well with big temperature changes, so they won't want to leave the air conditioning for a walk in the hot summer sun. St Bernard puppies need a very slow build up to exercise while their bones are growing so rapidly. Hip and elbow dysplasia are very common in this breed and care must be taken not to stress their joints when young. Climbing stairs or jumping into cars is an absolute 'no no' for St Bernard puppies.

Diet is also very important. Puppies need a carefully controlled diet that promotes their bone growth. Adult dogs need large quantities of quality food so it is expensive to feed St Bernards. Remember not to exercise these dogs after they've eaten or it will cause them huge discomfort.

Grooming is a daily job. They have a huge coat to get through and what you don't brush out will end up all over the house. So will their slobber! These dogs are big droolers.

With lots of love and care, St Bernards may live to 10, but generally they die between 6 and 8 years old. Make sure you buy from a reputable breeder to ensure the healthiest puppy.

<ul><li> Giant dog.</li> <li>Very good with all children and other animals.</li> <li>Daily exercise needed.</li> <li>Daily grooming - high shedders.</li> <li>Good watch / guard dog</li> <li>Expensive to feed</li> <li>Short life span.</li> </ul>