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Saint Bernard - Appearance & Grooming

Source: PetWave, Updated on July 16, 2015
Saint Bernard


Imposing yet lovable describes the appearance of the massive Saint Bernard. The head is broad with well-developed cheekbones, the muzzle is not tapered and a deep furrow runs from the muzzle attachment up between the eyes, finally blending into the occiput. The ears are medium in size, set high atop the head and stand away from the head at the base, with the flaps drooping towards the head. The teeth meet in a scissors bite. The nose is black, large and sports well-developed nostrils. The dark brown eyes are set front, are deep set and give the dog an air of friendliness and intelligence. The neck is thick and has a pronounced dewlap. The broad back is perfectly straight as far as the haunches where it then gently slopes to the rump. The tail is long and bushy and may be carried slightly bent upward. The coat comes in short and long varieties and may be red, red with white, or brindle with white.

Size and Weight

Males should stand a minimum of 27.5 inches at the shoulder and females should stand a minimum of 25.5 inches. They can range in weight from 120 to 180 pounds. The average weight for males is 170, and for females 160 pounds.

Coat and Color

Saint Bernards wear either short or long coats. The short coat is dense and smooth with slighly bushier hair on the thighs and long, dense hair covering the tail. The long coat is wavy, but never curly or shaggy. There is feathering on the forelegs and the thighs and tail are thick and bushy.

The coat comes in various shades of red with white or, conversely, white with red. The red shade can vary from brindle with white markings to a brownish-yellow color. White appears on the chest, as a collar around the neck, as a noseband, on the feet and at the tip of the tail. Desirable markings include a white spot on the nape of the neck and a white blaze on the face. A dark mask on the head and ears is also considered desirable.

Grooming Needs

A Saint Bernard should be brushed at least three times per week. Short haired dogs should be brushed with a hound mitt and long haired coats should be brushed with a pin brush. Twice per year, during periods of heavy shedding, a shedding blade should be employed to prevent mats from forming. This breed does not need to be bathed frequently. When bathing at home, outdoors is usually the best option, unless a large, walk-in shower is available.

Saint Bernards can develop tear stains around the eyes. Wipe them daily with a damp cloth or a veterinarian-approved product designed to remove tear stains.

Check the ears on a regular basis for signs of wax buildup, irritation or infection. Clean the ears with a cotton ball and a veterinarian-approved cleanser; never use a cotton swab in a dog's ear canal. Teeth should be brushed on a weekly basis to prevent tartar buildup, promote gum health and keep bad breath at bay. Trim nails monthly if the dog does not wear the toenails down naturally outdoors.

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