Saint Bernard: The Loveable Nanny

 Monday Sep 12,2022
By  Lancaster Puppies

Saint Bernards are a well-known breed in pop culture as a loveable family dog, from Peter Pan to Beethoven. This depiction of Saint Bernards is absolutely true! They’ll make an excellent addition to your family.

History of Saint Bernards

Saint Bernard Characteristics: Very Easy to Train, Great With Kids, Calm & Gentle, Requires Space, Great Watchdog

Saint Bernards originated in the Swiss Alps, where they were once used by hospice monks in the Middle Ages to find lost travelers and pull carts in the deep snow. During the 1800s, the monks began to breed their Saint Bernards to become bigger with thicker coats. It was around this time that the breed made its way to the United States. The Saint Bernard Club of America was formed in 1888. Over the following century, the Saint Bernard became very popular in America, and it became one of the most popular dogs in America during the 1960s and 70s. Today, the Saint Bernard enjoys modest popularity and can be seen in homes, movies, and dog shows across the country.

Saint Bernard Characteristics

Appearance & Coat

Saint Bernards have an iconic look with droopy eyes, floppy ears, wrinkles, and thick double coats. Their colors are generally brown and white, red and white, or brindle and white all with a black mask.


Saint Bernards are sweet and loving to just about everyone they meet. They are especially loving of children and have even been nicknamed the “Nanny Dog” because of how patient they are with kids. They love attention but are not as demanding of it as other breeds.


Saint Bernards are generally healthy but could suffer from hip or elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, or Von Willebrand’s disease. Dysplasia is when a joint doesn’t fit snugly together. Hypothyroidism is an abnormality in the thyroid gland that reduces metabolism. Von Willebrand’s disease is a bleeding disorder.

Caring for a Saint Bernard

A Saint Bernard’s Ideal Home

A Saint Bernard’s ideal home is one with a loving family and children. They get along well with other pets or on their own. If you live in a hot climate, a Saint Bernard might not be the best fit. They were bred in the Swiss Alps and are accustomed to cold climates with their thick double coats. They are also droolers, so don’t expect your house to be clean all the time. Saint Bernards are a working breed, so they’ll love it when you give them a job around the house.

Training Best Practices

Saint Bernards were used in the French Alps to rescue climbers caught in heavy snow and avalanche conditions

Early training is essential for Saint Bernards. They can be a little slower to mature than other breeds and are easily excited when people enter the door. Training with positive reinforcement will help them feel excited for people but be reserved in their actions. Saint Bernards are working dogs that can be trained in a variety of dog sports like cart pulling (what they were bred for in the Alps).

Exercise Needs

Saint Bernards need a moderate amount of exercise. They are not a high-energy breed but still need a daily walk or game of fetch. Training is a good outlet for exercise and mental stimulation, too.

Grooming & Hygiene

Saint Bernard coats need brushing three times a week. During shedding season, you might want to brush them more often. Saint Bernards don’t need bathing too often unless they become visibly dirty or smelly. They can develop stains around their eyes, you may wish to wipe their face down with a damp cloth as often as you brush them.

Find a Saint Bernard for Your Family

If you’re ready to add your own Nana or Beethoven to your family, check out the Saint Bernards available from sellers on Lancaster Puppies. You won’t regret adopting this loveable family member.