Dog breeds: Saint Bernard dog

Dog breeds: Saint Bernard dog

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Origin, classification and history

Origin: Switzerland.
F.C.I classification: Group 2 - pinscher, schnauzer, molossoid and Swiss cattle dogs.

The Dog of San Bernardo (St. Bernhardshund) is among the largest dogs in the world, nicknamed the "Giant of the Alps". Its cradle of origin is located on the border between Italy and Switzerland, at an altitude of 2472 meters. It is the largest of all molossoids. There are several hypotheses of its origin. It certainly derives from the large heavy molosses of the distant Assyrian-Babylonian lineage. Among the Sumerian-Akkadian civilizations molosses similar to this dog were already present. The hospice of S.Bernardo was founded by the nobleman Bernardo da Mentone in 1049 with the generous intention of giving shelter to travelers and the missing; in this hospice molosses were used who specialized in rescue. The relief work of the San Bernards reached its peak in the twenty years 1790/1810. the selection of the breed was carried out by monks very seriously. Over the years, the breed has specialized in human rescue, and is currently the most suitable breed in the world for this significant role. With the drafting of the Standard on 2 June 1887, at the Cytological Congress in Zurich, the dog's evolution of the Saint Bernard Dog officially began. In 1970 the Italian San Bernardo Club (CISB) was founded, whose creator is the breeder Antonio Morsiani.

General aspect

Large dog, mesomorphic brachycephalic, the largest of the Molossians. He is a powerful figure, proportionate height, vigorous and muscular in every part, with a powerful head and extremely intelligent expression. In dogs with dark masks, the expression appears more severe, but never grim. There are two varieties: the long-haired and the short-haired ones, which are morphologically the same except for the difference in the coat. Females are finer and more delicate.


This dog is the only complete animal rescuer in the high mountains. Race is a symbol of strength, endurance and attachment to man. His generosity is now proverbial. Everyone knows that this dog would sacrifice his life to save a human life. His temperament is exceptional. He is a fairly independent dog. Very attached to his owner and to those he considers friends. He can be a fearless guard and defense dog. His courage is incredible; he never backs down from a dangerous situation, he believes there is someone who needs him.
Many books and films portray him with the symbolic grappa bottle tied around his neck, to demonstrate his ability and generosity in helping people in difficulty.

Saint Bernard dogs (photo

Mother with Saint Bernard puppy (photo

Saint Bernard dogs (photo


- males absolute minimum 70 cm at the withers
- females at least 65 cm at the withers.
Weight: at 60-80 kg; (many subjects reach much greater weights).

Trunk: heavily circled, moderately descended thorax, must not go beyond the elbows. Back very wide and perfectly straight up to the loins and from here, in soft descent, the dorsal line joins the croup, then imperceptibly inserting itself in the root of the tail. The belly detaches itself clearly from the renal region and is only moderately retracted.
Head and muzzle: very important and powerful as the whole body. The skull is massive and broad, slightly convex and fits laterally into the highly developed cheekbone arch with soft roundness. Occipital crest only moderately developed. The highly developed orbital arch forms an almost right angle with the axis that crosses the entire skull. The nose-frontal jump is clear and falls rather quickly on the muzzle. The muzzle is short, not pointed and the section perpendicular to its root must be greater than the length of the muzzle itself. The nasal bridge is not arched, but rather straight and, in some dogs, slightly interrupted. The upper lips are strongly developed, they are not clean cut. The lower lips should not hang too low.
Truffle: very consistent, broad with widely open nostrils, it must always be black like the lips.
Teeth: robust, moderately strong development. Scissor, pincer bite, slightly prognostic if the incisors still touch. The lack of P1 cannot be penalized. The black palate is desired.
Neck: inserted high, very robust. Erected in attention. A clean furrow marks the conjunction of the head to the nape. Very muscular nose, convex on the sides, so the neck seems somewhat short. Throat and dewlap well pronounced, but not developed in excess.
Ears: of medium size, attached rather high with a very developed pavilion, slightly detached from the base wing, they fall laterally with a clear fold. Soft lobe, in the shape of a rounded triangle. Ears with weak insertion.
Eyes: placed more on the front than on the side, of medium size, dark brown, with intelligent and friendly expression, moderately sunken.
Limbs: very powerful and exceptionally muscular arm. Straight and powerful forearm. Moderately angled hocks. Unwanted spurs, if they remain, must not however hinder movement. Wide feet, moderately closed, with powerful and very arched toes.
Shoulder: wide, oblique, very muscular and powerful. Strong pronounced withers.
Pace: determined, easy and loose.
Musculature: decidedly highly developed and evident.
Tail: it is long, very heavy and ends with a solid tip.
Skin: rather detached and elastic.
Hair: short-haired variety: very thick, short, close-fitting and smooth, supported but not rough to the touch. The thighs are slightly panted. The tail has longer and thicker hair that gradually decreases towards the tip. On the tail the hair must appear bushy, but without forming fringe or plume.
Long-haired variety: medium-length hair, from smooth to slightly wavy, never curled or frizzy and even less tangled. Tail with thick hair and moderate length.
Allowed colors: white and red or red and white. Red in its different shades. Scattered spots with white marking. The red and yellow-brown colors are of equal value. Mandatory white are: chest, feet, tip of the tail, nasal bridge, frontal band and patch at the nape. The white collar is highly sought after. The coat must never be unicolor or free of white.
Most common defects: non-standard measures, enognatism, incorrect movement, incorrect angles, defective rear end, depigmented truffle, narrow head, long muzzle, light bone, delicate appearance, saddle back, disproportionately long back, excessively angled hocks, straight back, hair surfacing in the interdigital spaces, barrel posterior, vaccinated, left-handed, ectropion, entropion, lack of multiple premolars, monorchidism, cryptorchidism.

curated by Vinattieri Federico -

Video: Dogs 101 - Saint Bernard (May 2022).