In This Article Dogsculture Covers:
The Saint Bernard is a powerfully built dog with square proportions. Substantial height and weight make him a top contender among the working dog breeds. His old profession in the native land was to guard the periphery.
But he is quite capable of showing some love. This Swiss dog is also good at search and rescue operations. Excellent athletic performance further elevates his status.
Saint Bernard personality:
Hard work in an icy cold environment is a specialty of this breed and they are not suitable for hotter climates. They can easily plow through deep snow. Keen guarding sense distinctly differentiates him from the so-called lazy breeds. He is always looking forward to accomplishing something.
But this dog has remarkably low exercise requirements. During leisure time, he prefers accompanying the family. They like to keep quiet while inside the house. Children will immensely enjoy his calm and friendly nature. But they drool a lot and do not suit a person who would rather have a clean place 24/7.
Various athletic excelling areas include weight pulling, obedience as well as drafting. This dog has the potential of rescuing an estranged person from a frigid temperature. Their dedicated coat has a unique role in this respect.
Measure Saint Bernard smartness:
The Saint Bernard is an average intelligent canine fellow. He captures the 65th position in the dog intelligence list developed by Professor Stanley Coren.
He follows a middle of the road approach regarding training, alertness, friendliness and playfulness. This dog certainly grasps your commands but you have to follow up with due diligence.
An easy going temperament should be appreciated all time. He wants to see you satisfied and this trigger works well in training sessions. Attachment to the family is always a huge priority. However, the Saint Bernard can occasionally do the thinking for himself which is usually translated as stubbornness.
What & how to feed:
Top quality food is vital for his good health. In fact, an adult Saint Bernard should have 6-7 cups of daily intake. An average 140 pound dog will need 2839 calories per day as put forward by the National Research Council of the National Academics.
Serve him two meals respectively in the morning and in the evening. Dog food requirement is in fact a dynamic issue and there will always lie a difference in this context from dog to dog. Get a detailed idea on dog feeding.
An ideal quantity actually relies on age, sex, activities, health and so many other aspects of an individual dog. You will certainly come to terms with the amount of food the dog needs as you continue feeding him for a period of time.
The Saint Bernard can finely adjust itself with both homemade and commercial products as long as they fulfill his energy necessities. You can provide him with large sized dog foods.
Do not choose the free feeding path. Take away the rest of the food 20 minutes after serving him. This practice will obstruct some bad outcomes such as wasting and obesity. Fillers contribute little to his energy requirements. Saint Bernard meals should be rich in protein and fat ingredients.
At least, 18-22 percent of proteins in each meal will provide this dog with ample energy. Beef, chicken, fish, turkey, eggs, dairy items and lamb are excellent sources of proteins.
Barley, cereals, vegetables and oats will give him some plant proteins. But vegetable proteins are not proficient in amino acid which is vital for the health of a dog. On the flip side, fish oil, flaxseed oil, safflower oil, and olive oil will supply the dog with necessary fat. Fat prevents an injury by protecting the internal organs with a protective layer. Bone and joint strength also derives from it.
Tapioca, brown rice, sweet potatoes, fruits, beetroot, pumpkin and vegetables serve him with carbohydrates and fibers. Carbohydrate is the source of long term strength. Vegetables should not exceed 1-2% of his total diet.
A commercial item has to be free of preservatives, dyes and flavors for the sake of his good health. In this respect, you may want to follow the guidelines set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). Clean water is a vital necessity for the dog.
Unnecessary use of treats causes overweight which can be a great concern for Saint Bernard. You should be careful in this respect.
Escape a few health issues:
The Saint Bernard is a pretty healthy dog breed and usually keeps away from most of the diseases. But you can always undertake some precautionary measures before buying a puppy.
A few health clearances from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) and the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) will clear the dog out of a list of major physical conditions.
However, your dog may not suffer from any of these listed diseases in his lifetime. Your proper concept on these issues might save both of you from a lot of troubles.
Bloat comes first in the list. This is a feeding related condition. Though the real cause is still unclear, you can avoid it with some strict regulations. Too fast eating and conducting physical exercise immediately following a meal will cause bloat.
Feeding from a raised bowl can be responsible too. His stomach distorts and the dog suffers from severe pain. It requires immediate vet attention.
As with all large sized dogs, hip dysplasia is common to the Saints. Femur head and hip socket experience a mismatch and the dog will suffer from lameness. An aggravated condition will be exposed in his leg carrying tendency.
This is an inherited disease and can be eliminated with surgery. An X-ray test can reveal this problem when the dog is still a puppy. Cell, tissue or bone growth abnormalities lead to elbow dysplasia. Either genetic or developmental issue is responsible for this situation. Elbow pain as well as lameness occurs as a result. The dog will become increasingly unwilling to move.
Laziness in mobility essentially leads to obesity. Then there is dilated cardiomyopathy which is in fact a heart disease. In this case, the heart gets enlarged and does not function properly. Lethargy, breathing difficulty and sudden collapse are some of the symptoms. Medications can mostly keep up his good stead.
Moreover, the Saint Bernard may suffer from cataracts, epilepsy, degenerative myelopathy and allergies.
Insightful care program:
Short and long-haired are two coat types you will find among the Saints. Brushing is needed 2-3 times every week. The short coat requires a rubber curry brush whereas a pin brush is sufficient for the long coat. You can deal with the tangles using a slicker brush or a metal comb.
Shedding is a substantial issue because of his large size and it becomes a headache during the seasons. During those times, you may have to brush the dog everyday. Bathing is not recommended unless you can spot dirt or smell.
Proper exercise method:
Remember that this dog is a poor exercise scorer in a hot and humid situation. So, do not take the Saint out in such a condition. As has already been mentioned, this dog usually look forward to accomplishing a bare minimum exercise quota.
He is especially not your regular jogging companion to be frank. You can take him out for a long walk. The Saint will be happy to take part in a sports session. Half an hour of activity will get him satisfied.
This dog is good at pulling a cart and you can employ him to draw a sled with your kids. He can also gloriously perform in drafting and carting competitions. Low key hikes are great alternatives in this regard. He will love an occasional free running spanning 15-20 minutes.
Saint Bernard training cues:
Large size always calls for special attention in socialization. This dog is no exception to that rule. Give him ample opportunity to meet and greet people and pets from an early age.
An inherent friendly nature will find the bits and pieces of this process. Forbid him from jumping on to your lap. Soon this gentle giant will become a grown up dog and this practice will become a real nuisance. Take general assistance form these training tips.
He has a guarding personality which is a blessing for the family. But restrict undue aggression from the very beginning. Introduce the crate at its puppy age so that you can deal with his house training in a better fashion. I t will help handle separation issues.
But an adult dog should not be confined inside the crate for more than 2-4 hours a day. Potty training is incredibly vital for this big dog. Obedience training is a must as it will gift you a round dog with admirable qualities. The Saint is an obedient dog.
So, you will not have to face tough challenges in training him.
Saint Bernard origin:
The Saint Bernard is a native dog to Switzerland and is a cross between the local and the Mastiff dogs. Saint Bernard Hospice is located in Saint Bernard Pass. The Hospice was a refuge to the travelers to and from Rome.
Saint Bernard of Menthon, a monk, established this place. The treacherous snowy path was a harbinger of death to many wayward journeymen.
So, the Hospice people felt a dire necessity for a strong dog who can help in search and rescue. Saint Bernard is an outcome of that effort. This dog came under outstanding attention throughout Europe and America in the 19th century.
The AKC recognized this distinct breed in 1885. Nowadays, this gentle giant enjoys the 48th position in the AKC breed popularity list.