The Saint Bernard is a beloved family favorite with a long history of serving as rescue dogs in the western Alps of Italy and Switzerland. But beyond their rich history, these dogs offer a range of coat colors and personalities that make them a true treasure to have in any home.
Saint Bernards have seven recognized coat colors, ranging from orange and white to brindle grizzle. Each of these colors has its own unique appeal and can be a defining characteristic of this breed. The orange and white Saint Bernard, for example, is a popular choice because of its deep orange pigment that creates a warm glow in different lighting. Brindle grizzle, on the other hand, boasts a unique pattern that looks almost like a tiger, with lots of different color variations adding to the appeal.
Despite their large stature, Saint Bernards are a loving and affectionate breed that makes an excellent family pet. They tend to have a lot of energy as puppies, but calm down as they age. As gentle giants, they love to give hugs and play with children, making them an excellent addition to homes with kids aged six and older. However, it’s important to remember their size and strength. These dogs can knock people over accidentally, so it’s important to supervise them around small children and older adults.
As large dogs, Saint Bernards require a nutrient-dense diet that supports their active lifestyle and fast metabolism. A high protein diet with essential nutrients like glucosamine and chondroitin can help strengthen their joints and bone cartilage. Commercial dog food like dry kibble and wet canned food can offer a balanced diet. Pet parents can also feed them fresh food diets, but it can be expensive, so it’s best to talk to their veterinarian to find the best option.
One of the drawbacks of owning a Saint Bernard is their long, thick coats that require routine grooming. Their thick double coats shed profusely year-round, and seasonal blowouts only complicate matters further. You’ll need a range of grooming tools like slicker brushes and deshedding tools to keep your Saint Bernard looking and feeling their best.
Saint Bernards are prone to certain genetic health conditions like bloat, hip dysplasia, and osteosarcoma. Regular vet checks-ups are essential, especially in the first year of life to monitor growth, receive vaccinations, and prevent parasites. Buying from reputable breeders can help alleviate some of these issues, but pet parents should be prepared for costly veterinary bills for unexpected health problems.
While these gentle giants make excellent pets, there are a few potential downfalls. First and foremost, drooling is a part of owning a Saint Bernard, so if this is an issue, it may be best to consider other breeds. Additionally, these dogs are prone to flatulence, which can be unpleasant for some people.
In conclusion, the Saint Bernard is a wonderful pet with a lot to offer. With their range of coat colors, affectionate personalities, and lovable nature, they make excellent family pets. However, it’s important to remember their size and strength, as well as the potential health issues and grooming needs that come with this breed. With the right care and attention, a Saint Bernard can bring a lot of joy and love to any family.