St. Bernards

Cheerful and versatile, the St. Bernard breed can make fabulous family members. Here’s what you need to know about adopting these big beauties.

St. Bernard dogs originated in Switzerland, where they were used to find and save travelers who were lost or injured in the Swiss Alps. Still happy to help out anyone in need, today’s St. Bernards are loving, sweet and obedient.

You probably associate this giant breed with the hit Beethoven movies, in which the star is none other than a St. Bernard. Just like in the movies, this breed is super friendly and gets along well with people, children and other pets.

Why We Love the St. Bernard Breed

  • St. Bernards hold fast to the “saint” portion of their name. They love all things and all people, and will take extra care not to intentionally harm smaller animals or children with their cumbersome size.
  • Though these pups are large, they are quiet. They don’t make a commotion and are not known for barking without a cause.
  • These guys are not prone to be aggressive. Regardless of training, the St. Bernard breed is very unlikely to attack unless it’s in defense of a family member.

Things to Consider

  • That thick (probably drool-filled) coat sheds heavily — especially twice yearly when they lose their undercoats. Get your grooming brushes and bathtubs ready!
  • Despite these pups’ gentle demeanor, they are indeed huge. They’ll try their best not to harm children or small pets, but should never be left unsupervised with either as they could accidentally step or lie down on them.
  • St. Bernard dogs tend to keep their puppy-like behaviors longer than most breeds, so you may wind up with a rather large dog with the mentality of a baby.

Why Rescue?

The popularity of the Beethoven movies unfortunately led to a gross overbreeding issue with the St. Bernard breed. Attempts to ride the coattails of the movies led to irresponsible breeding habits, which exacerbated this breed’s health issues. Hip dysplasia, eye disease, von Williebrand’s disease and elbow dysplasia are all relatively common for these pups. If you’re considering adopting a St. Bernard, don’t shop around with an irresponsible breeder — bring home one of many rescues that need your help!

St. Bernard Rescues

Whether you’re looking for a St. Bernard puppy or an adult St. Bernard dog, there are tons of pups near you just waiting to find their forever home! Here are just a few:

Sweet, patient & mild
Avg. Weight
120 - 180 lbs
Weekly brushing required
Avg. Life Span
8 - 10 Years
St. Bernards near 20149
Animal Rescues near 20149
Organization City, State Contact
Persian Rescue of Virginia
Ashburn, VA
The Cats at Longstreet
Sterling, VA
Save The Tails Rescue Group, Inc.
Leesburg, VA 1 888 379 5558 x1
Humane Society of Loudoun County
Leesburg, VA (703) 777-2912
Little Buddies Adoption and Humane Society
Reston, VA
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