St Bernard

GENERAL APPEARANCE : There are two varieties of St. Bernard:


• Shorthaired variety (double coat, "Stockhaar").

• Long-haired variety.


Both varieties are of considerable size and impressive in appearance. They have a balanced, powerful, tough, muscular body with an impressive head and an alert facial expression.

Personality:  Calm, friendly and companionable.

Power Level : Active.

Good with children:  Yes.


Good with other dogs:  With supervision.


Grooming:  Seasonal.


Life expectancy : 8-10  years old.

Bark level:  Bark when necessary.


At the top of the great Saint Bernard pass, 2469 meters above sea level, a hospice was founded by monks in the 11th century as a place of refuge for travelers and pilgrims. There, large mountain dogs have been kept since the mid-17th century for guard and protection. The existence of such dogs has been documented pictorially since 1695 and in a document written at the hospice in the year 1707. The dogs were soon in use as companion dogs and especially as rescue dogs for travelers lost in snow and fog. The chronicles on the numerous human lives saved by these dogs of the "white death", published in several languages, and the verbal reports of the soldiers who crossed the passage with Bonaparte's army in 1800, spread the fame of Saint Bernard, called at that time of the Barry dog, across Europe during the 19th century. The legendary «Barry» dog became the epitome of the rescue dog. The direct ancestors of the São Bernardo were the large farm dogs common in that region. Within a few generations and aiming at a defined ideal type, these dogs were developed for the current type of breed. Heinrich Schumacher, from the town of Holligen, near Bern, was the first to start issuing genealogical documents for his dogs in 1867. In February 1884 the "Schweizerisches Hundestammbuch" (SHSB), the Swiss registry book, was started. The first record was São Bernardo "Leon", and the next 28 records were also from São Bernardos. On March 15, 1884, the St. Bernards-Club was founded in Basel. On the occasion of an international canine congress on June 2, 1887, the St. Bernard dog was officially recognized as a Swiss breed and the breed standard was declared mandatory. Since then, the Saint Bernard has been regarded as the Swiss national dog.

Country of Origin: Switzerland.

BEHAVIOR AND TEMPERAMENT:  Friendly by nature. Temperament from calm to cunning; vigilant.

HEAD:  Powerful, imposing and very expressive.




Skull: Strong, broad, seen in profile and slightly rounded from the front. When the dog is alert, the socket of the ears and the top of the skull form a straight line, which slopes on the sides in a curve to the high and strongly developed cheeks. The forehead dropping abruptly towards the muzzle. Occipital bone only moderately developed, and superciliary ridges well developed. The frontal furrow, which starts at the base of the forehead, is distinctly developed and runs down the middle of the skull. The forehead skin forms small wrinkles above the eyes that converge to the frontal furrow. When the dog is at attention, they are moderately visible; on the contrary, they are quite imperceptible.


Stop: Distinctly pronounced.




Nose: Black, wide and square. Nostrils wide open.


Muzzle: Of uniform width. Straight nasal bridge, with a slight groove.


Lips: Black pigmented edge of the lips. Lips of the upper jaw are strongly developed, firm and not too pendulous, forming a wide curve towards the nose. The corners of the mouth remain visible.


Jaws and Teeth: Upper and lower jaws are strong, broad, and equal in length. Scissor or pincer bite well developed, regular and complete. A well-fitting mouth with undershot teeth with no space between the lower and upper incisors is acceptable. Absence of PM 1 (premolar 1) and M3 is tolerated.


Eyes: Medium size. Dark brown to chestnut color. Moderately deep gaze with a friendly expression. Natural tightening of eyelids is desirable. A very small angled fold in the lower eyelid with the third eyelid only slightly visible, as well as a small fold in the upper part is allowed. The edges of the eyes are completely pigmented.


Ears: Of medium size, set high and wide. Strongly developed cartilages. The edges are flexible, triangular, with rounded ends. The back edges are slightly raised, and the front edges are seated close to the cheeks.

NECK: Strong and of sufficient length. The dewlap and loose skin on the neck are moderately developed.


  • BODY: Overall appearance is imposing, balanced, impressive and well-muscled.


Withers: Well defined.


Back: Broad, strong, firm. Topline is straight and horizontal to the loin.


Croup: Long, slightly sloping, merging smoothly with the root of the tail.


Chest: Moderately deep chest tip with ribs well sprung but not barrel-shaped. Does not protrude below elbow level.


Underline and belly: Moderately tucked back.


TAIL: Defined as broad and strong. Long and heavy tail. The last vertebra reaching at least the hock joint. When at rest, the tail hangs downwards or slightly upwards in its final third. When excited, it is driven higher.  




FOREQUARTERS: Seen from the front, the arms are straight and parallel. Vertically it is moderately wide.


Shoulders: Shoulders oblique, muscular and well attached to the chest wall.


Arms: Longer than the shoulder blades. The angle between the scapula and the arm is not too sharp.


Elbows: Well closed.


Forearms: Straight, strong bones, with lean musculature. Pasterns: Seen from the front they are vertical, in the extension of the forearms; seen in profile, they are slightly oblique. Feet: Broad, with strong toes, joined and well arched.


HINDQUARTERS: Muscular, with moderate angulation. Viewed from behind, the hind legs are parallel and do not stand together.


Thighs: Strong, muscular, broad.


Knees: Well bent, not turning in or out.


Legs: Sloping and quite long.


Hocks: Slightly bent, firm.


Metatarsals: When viewed from behind they are straight and parallel.


Feet: Broad, with strong toes, joined and well arched. Ergos are tolerated if they do not hinder movement.


  • GAIT/MOVEMENT: Long-range harmonic movement with good conduction of the hind limbs, and the back remains stable and firm. The front and hind legs move forward in a straight line.  


  • COAT


Coat: • Short-haired variety (“Stockhaar”, double coat): The outer coat is dense, soft; well closed and thick. Plenty of undercoat. Thighs with a light coating. Tail covered with dense fur.


• Long-haired variety: The outer coat is smooth, of medium length and with an abundance of undercoat. Short hair on face and ears; hair normally slightly wavy over hips and croup. Feathered arms. Thighs with good coating. Tail with profuse hair.


Color: White main color with larger or smaller light red spots (spotted coat dogs) to a continuous light to dark red mantle covering the back and flanks (mantle dogs). A flawed reddish-brown cloak is of equal value. A reddish-brown burst color is allowed. Brownish yellow is tolerated. Dark shadows on the head are desirable. A light touch of black shading on the body is tolerated.

Mandatory white markings: Chest, paws, tip of tail, snout band, stripe on head and spot on neck. Desirable Markings: White collar. Symmetrical dark mask.


SIZE:  For males minimum 70 cm. For females minimum 65 cm. For males maximum 90 cm. For females maximum 80 cm. Dogs that exceed the maximum height will not be penalized as long as their overall appearance is balanced and their movement is consistent.


  • FAULTS  

Any deviation from this standard should be considered a fault and penalized in exact proportion to its severity and its effects on the health and well-being of the dog.  



• Aggressiveness or excessive shyness.

• Any dog that shows any sign of physical or behavioral anomaly must be disqualified.

• Atypical dogs.