5 Fascinating Differences and Similarities Between Saint Bernard and Bernese Mountain Dog


Both Saint Bernard and Bernese Mountain Dog breeds are renowned for their unique looks and remarkable size. With a rich heritage, these breeds are celebrated for their loyalty, strength, and gentleness. This piece explores the parallels and contrasts between these two magnificent dog breeds.

Origins and Background

The Saint Bernards, originally cultivated in the Swiss Alps, boast a lengthy history tracing back to the 11th century. They were christened after the Great St. Bernard Pass, where they played the role of rescue dogs, aiding numerous lives in the snow-laden mountains. Their exceptional navigational skills and cold resistance made them ideal for this role.

Conversely, Bernese Mountain Dogs were bred in Switzerland’s Bern region. They primarily functioned as farm dogs, recognized for their strength and endurance in cart-pulling and livestock herding. Their tranquil temperament made them excellent companions for farmers and their families.

Saint Bernard and Bernese Mountain Dog

Physical Traits

An outstanding resemblance between Saint Bernards and Bernese Mountain Dogs is their commanding size. Saint Bernards, however, are generally larger, standing 26-30 inches tall at the shoulder and weighing anywhere between 120-180 pounds. They possess a robust, muscular physique with a wide skull and expressive eyes.

Bernese Mountain Dogs stand 23-27.5 inches tall at the shoulder and typically weigh between 70-115 pounds. They have a compact build with a slightly elongated body compared to their height. Their tri-colored coat – black, white, and rust – is one of their most distinct features.

Learn more about Bernese Mountain Dogs on Wikipedia.

Character and Personality

Both breeds are recognized for their gentle disposition and are generally kid-friendly. Saint Bernards, despite their large size, are incredibly gentle and patient. They are sociable, eager to please, and enjoy human companionship.

Know more about Saint Bernards.

Bernese Mountain Dogs, on the other hand, are also affectionate and loyal, with a slightly more playful nature. They love participating in family activities and are often referred to as gentle giants.

Health and Longevity

In health matters, both breeds encounter certain breed-specific issues due to their large size. Saint Bernards are susceptible to heart conditions, hip dysplasia, and eye disorders. They typically live around 8-10 years.

Bernese Mountain Dogs also suffer from hip dysplasia, along with progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) and histiocytosis (a type of cancer). Their lifespan extends slightly longer than that of Saint Bernards, averaging around 7-10 years.

Exercise and Training

Both breeds necessitate moderate exercise for health maintenance. Saint Bernards, due to their size, may experience joint problems if over-exercised at a young age. Brief walks or play sessions suffice for them.

Bernese Mountain Dogs, being working dogs, demand more physical activity. Regular walks, play sessions, and mental stimulation through training are crucial for them.

In terms of training, both breeds are intelligent but can exhibit a stubborn streak. Consistent, positive reinforcement methods yield the best results for both.

Final Thoughts

Whether you opt for a Saint Bernard or a Bernese Mountain Dog, both breeds offer a unique mix of loyalty, strength, and gentleness. Their rich history, distinctive looks, and affectionate natures make them a delightful addition to any family. However, their large size and potential health challenges require dedicated care and attention.

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