How Stubborn Are Saint Bernards?

How stubborn are Saint Bernards?

The Saint Bernard breed is known for their stubbornness, which can present challenges when it comes to training. Understanding the level of stubbornness in Saint Bernards is crucial for effectively training them and managing their behavior.

Key Takeaways:

  • Saint Bernards are known for their stubbornness, which can make training more challenging.
  • Understanding the level of stubbornness in Saint Bernards is important for effective training methods.
  • Consistency and positive reinforcement are key when training a stubborn Saint Bernard.
  • Proper socialization and early training can help mitigate the challenges associated with stubbornness.
  • With patience and the right approach, a strong bond can be formed with a stubborn Saint Bernard.

Saint Bernard Background & History

The origin and history of the Saint Bernard breed are deeply intertwined with the beautiful and mountainous country of Switzerland. Dating back to Roman times, Saint Bernards have a rich heritage that spans centuries.

Originally, these noble dogs were bred by Swiss monks living in the Saint Bernard Pass, a high-altitude route connecting Switzerland and Italy. Their main purpose was to assist the monks in their hospice care efforts, providing companionship and helping with various tasks.

Over time, the Saint Bernards’ incredible strength and endurance were discovered, and they were put to work in lifesaving efforts amidst the treacherous Swiss Alps. Search and rescue became their specialty, as they fearlessly ventured through deep snow and hazardous conditions, helping lost travelers and guiding them back to safety.

Swiss monks played a vital role in the breed’s development, as they carefully selected dogs with the desired traits needed for their work in the mountains. Through generations of careful breeding, the Saint Bernards we know today were created.

“The history of Saint Bernards is a testament to their resilience, loyalty, and unwavering dedication to assisting those in need.”

These remarkable dogs became legends, capturing the fascination of people worldwide. They were celebrated for their bravery, strength, and gentle nature. In the late 19th century, the breed caught the attention of the rest of Europe and made its way to other countries, including the United States.

Today, Saint Bernards continue to honor their heritage as loving family companions and devoted working dogs. Their remarkable history remains a testament to their incredible abilities and the special bond they share with humans.

Saint Bernard Temperament & Personality

Saint Bernards are beloved for their gentle, kind, and loving nature. Their temperament makes them excellent family companions, especially for households with children. They are known for their loyalty and unwavering devotion to their families. Saint Bernards have a natural affinity for strangers and are approachable and friendly in social situations. Their gentle temperament and patience make them well-suited for interacting with children.

However, it’s important to note that Saint Bernards require attention and can experience separation anxiety if left alone for long periods of time. This can lead to destructive behaviors out of stress or boredom. Regular companionship and mental stimulation are essential for their overall well-being. Interactive toys, puzzle feeders, and engaging activities can help keep them mentally stimulated and prevent destructive behaviors.

Training a Saint Bernard

Training challenges with Saint Bernards can arise due to their stubborn nature. However, with the right approach and techniques, you can successfully train your Saint Bernard to be a well-behaved and obedient companion.

Enrolling your Saint Bernard in puppy classes is an excellent way to start their training journey. These classes provide early socialization opportunities, allowing your pet to interact with other dogs and humans in a controlled environment. This exposure helps them develop good social skills and reduces the likelihood of behavior issues later on.

When training a Saint Bernard, positive reinforcement is key. These dogs are sensitive and responsive to praise, so rewarding them with treats, verbal praise, and affection when they exhibit desired behaviors is highly effective. This method creates a positive association with training and encourages your Saint Bernard to repeat those behaviors in the future.

Establishing yourself as the pack leader is crucial in training a stubborn Saint Bernard. These dogs have a dominant nature and respond well to firm and consistent leadership. It is important to set clear boundaries and rules for your pet from the beginning. Be assertive and confident in your commands, and make sure to reward good behavior promptly.

Consistency is vital when training a Saint Bernard. Set a regular training schedule and stick to it. Repetition and practice will help your dog understand expectations and reinforce the desired behaviors. Keep training sessions short and engaging to maintain your dog’s interest and motivation.

Remember, training a Saint Bernard requires patience and dedication. Don’t get discouraged if progress seems slow at times. With positive reinforcement, consistent leadership, and a gentle yet assertive approach, you can overcome the training challenges and build a strong bond with your beloved Saint Bernard.

Exercise Requirements for a Saint Bernard

Saint Bernards, despite their large size, need regular exercise to stay physically fit and manage their energy levels. Providing them with the right amount of physical activity is crucial for their overall well-being.

On average, Saint Bernards require a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise per day. This can be in the form of walks, playtime in a securely fenced yard, or engaging in activities that allow them to run and explore their surroundings. Remember, a tired Saint Bernard is a well-behaved Saint Bernard!

When exercising your Saint Bernard, it is important to incorporate obedience training into their routine. This helps prevent them from becoming too enthusiastic and approaching strangers, as their friendly nature can sometimes cause them to be overly exuberant. By incorporating obedience exercises, you can ensure that your Saint Bernard understands commands and has good leash manners.

In addition to daily exercise, mental stimulation is also vital for Saint Bernards. These intelligent dogs thrive on mental challenges and enjoy tasks that require problem-solving. You can engage their minds through puzzle toys, obedience training sessions, or even simple hide-and-seek games.

It’s important to keep in mind that every Saint Bernard is unique, and their exercise needs may vary based on factors such as age, health, and individual energy levels. If you’re unsure about the appropriate exercise routine for your Saint Bernard, consult with your veterinarian or a professional dog trainer who can provide personalized guidance.

Saint Bernard Lifespan & Longevity

Saint Bernards typically have an average lifespan of 8 to 10 years. As a large breed, they may have a shorter lifespan compared to smaller dogs. Factors such as genetics, overall health, and lifestyle can also affect their longevity.

Proper care is crucial in ensuring the well-being and longevity of Saint Bernards. Regular vet check-ups, vaccinations, and preventive measures against common health issues are essential. Providing a balanced diet that meets their nutritional needs is also important.

In addition, exercise plays a significant role in maintaining their health and extending their lifespan. Daily exercise helps prevent obesity, strengthens bones and muscles, and promotes overall fitness. It is recommended to engage in activities that are suitable for their size and energy levels.

“The average age of Saint Bernards can be influenced by factors such as genetics, diet, exercise, and healthcare. Providing the right care and attention can help maximize their lifespan and ensure they live a happy and fulfilling life.”

To ensure their longevity, it is crucial to be aware of specific health issues that are common in the Saint Bernard breed. These may include hip dysplasia, entropion, and heart conditions. Regular health check-ups, early detection, and proper management can help mitigate these potential health concerns.

In summary, with the right care, exercise, and attention to their health needs, Saint Bernards can live a fulfilling life, despite their relatively shorter lifespan compared to other breeds. Providing them with a loving and nurturing environment is crucial for their overall well-being and longevity.

Saint Bernard Breed Popularity

Saint Bernards are beloved as gentle and loyal family pets, particularly for those with spacious homes. While their popularity has grown over the years, they are currently ranked 49th on the AKC’s list of most popular dog breeds. Their lower ranking can be attributed to their short lifespan and large size, which may be a consideration for some potential owners. However, their affectionate nature, gentle temperament, and their role as a family companion make them an excellent choice for those seeking a loving and devoted pet.

Feeding Requirements for a Saint Bernard

Saint Bernards, like many large breeds, have specific feeding requirements to maintain their health and prevent obesity.

To ensure your Saint Bernard receives the proper nutrition, it is recommended to feed them 5 to 6 cups of high-quality dry food per day, divided into two equal meals. This portion control helps prevent overeating and weight gain.

If left unchecked, obesity can lead to various health issues, including joint problems and heart disease. It is crucial to carefully monitor your Saint Bernard’s diet and weight to keep them healthy and active.

To determine the appropriate diet for your Saint Bernard, it is advisable to consult with a veterinarian. They can take into account factors such as their age, metabolism, and weight to provide personalized feeding recommendations.

Remember to avoid overfeeding or giving excessive treats, as this can contribute to weight gain. Maintaining a balanced diet and portion control is key to keeping your Saint Bernard at a healthy weight and preventing obesity-related problems.

Grooming a Saint Bernard

Saint Bernards have a dense and thick coat that requires regular grooming to prevent matting and shedding. Proper grooming not only helps maintain the health and appearance of their coat but also contributes to their overall well-being. Here are some essential grooming tips for keeping your Saint Bernard looking and feeling their best:


Brushing is a crucial part of grooming for Saint Bernards. They should be brushed 2 to 3 times a week to remove loose hair, prevent matting, and keep their coat clean and healthy. During shedding seasons, which usually occur twice a year, daily brushing is recommended to manage excessive shedding. Use a slicker brush or a deshedding tool to effectively remove loose hair.

Teeth Care

Regular dental care is essential for your Saint Bernard’s oral hygiene. Brush their teeth regularly using a dog-specific toothbrush and toothpaste. This helps prevent tartar buildup, bad breath, and dental diseases. Introduce tooth brushing gradually, with patience and positive reinforcement, to ensure a positive experience for your dog.

Nail Trimming

Trimming your Saint Bernard’s nails regularly is crucial for their comfort and mobility. Long nails can be painful and may even cause difficulty in walking. Use a high-quality nail clipper designed for dogs and ensure that you only trim the tips of the nails to avoid cutting the quick. If you are not confident in trimming your dog’s nails, consult a professional groomer or veterinarian for assistance.

Ear Care

Regular ear cleaning is important to prevent ear infections in Saint Bernards. Check their ears regularly for any signs of redness, discharge, or foul odor. Clean their ears using a dog-specific ear cleaner and cotton balls. Gently wipe the inner folds of the ears, avoiding going too deep to prevent any damage. If you notice any signs of an ear infection, consult a veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment.


Bathing your Saint Bernard should be done as needed, typically every 4-6 weeks. Use a dog-specific shampoo that is gentle on their skin and does not strip their natural oils. Avoid over-bathing, as it can dry out their coat and lead to skin irritation. When bathing, thoroughly rinse out all the shampoo and make sure to dry their coat completely to avoid any moisture-related skin issues.

By following these grooming tips, you can ensure that your Saint Bernard’s coat remains healthy, clean, and free from mats and tangles. Regular grooming sessions not only help maintain their coat but also provide an opportunity for you to bond with your furry friend.

Are Saint Bernards Good With Children?

Saint Bernards are renowned for their gentle nature and patience, making them excellent companions for children. Their compatibility with kids stems from their tolerant and forgiving temperament, allowing them to engage in rough play without any aggression or harm. Due to their natural intuition, Saint Bernards have an inherent understanding of how to interact with younger family members, making them ideal playmates and protectors.

However, it is crucial to ensure proper introduction and socialization between Saint Bernards and children. This helps establish a positive and harmonious relationship, where both parties feel comfortable and secure. Teaching children how to respect the dog’s boundaries and avoid any rough behavior is equally important in fostering a safe environment for everyone.

Saint Bernard Health Issues

Saint Bernards, like many other dog breeds, are prone to certain health issues that owners should be aware of. Two common health issues in Saint Bernards are hip dysplasia and entropion.

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a condition where the hip joint doesn’t develop properly, causing problems with mobility and discomfort for the dog. This condition is more common in larger dog breeds, including Saint Bernards. Regular health check-ups and genetic testing can help diagnose hip dysplasia early and allow for proper management and treatment.


Entropion is a condition where the eyelid rolls inward, causing the eyelashes to rub against the eye’s surface. This can lead to irritation, redness, and discomfort for the dog. Entropion is also more prevalent in certain breeds, including Saint Bernards. Treatment for entropion often involves surgical correction to prevent further damage to the eye.

To minimize the risk of these health issues, it is crucial to choose a reputable breeder who follows proper breeding practices and provides health clearances for the parents. Regular veterinary check-ups are also essential to monitor your Saint Bernard’s overall health and address any potential issues early on.

Saint Bernard Temperament and Training Tips

Training a Saint Bernard requires understanding their unique temperament and implementing effective training methods. Here are some tips to help you handle their stubbornness and encourage positive behavior:

Establish Consistent Rules: Consistency is key when training a Saint Bernard. Set clear boundaries and stick to them to avoid confusion. Ensure all family members enforce the same rules to maintain consistency in their training.

Provide Socialization: Early socialization is crucial for Saint Bernards to develop good behavior and become comfortable around other people and animals. Expose them to various environments, sounds, and situations to help them adapt and feel confident.

Use Positive Reinforcement: Saint Bernards respond well to positive reinforcement. Reward good behavior with treats, praise, and affection to motivate them to repeat desired actions. Avoid harsh punishments or negative reinforcement, as it can lead to fear or aggression.

Show Patience: Saint Bernards may take longer to learn new commands or behaviors due to their stubborn nature. Be patient and persistent in your training efforts. Break down complex tasks into smaller, more manageable steps to help them understand and succeed.

Be Assertive and Lead: Saint Bernards respond best to assertive leadership. Establish yourself as the pack leader and display confident and assertive body language. This helps them understand your authority and encourages them to follow your commands.

By following these Saint Bernard temperament tips and using effective training methods, you can effectively handle their stubbornness and foster a well-behaved and obedient Saint Bernard. Remember to be patient, consistent, and provide them with plenty of love and positive reinforcement throughout their training journey.


In conclusion, managing the behavior of Saint Bernards can be a challenging task due to their inherent stubbornness. However, with the right training and approach, their behavior can be effectively controlled and guided. Understanding their unique temperament is the first step towards successful training.

It is crucial to establish yourself as the pack leader and maintain consistency in training methods. Positive reinforcement, such as praise and rewards, tends to work best with these sensitive and responsive dogs. Patience and assertiveness are key qualities to possess when dealing with their stubborn nature.

Additionally, providing regular exercise and mental stimulation is essential for managing their energy levels and preventing destructive behavior. A happy and fulfilled Saint Bernard is more likely to exhibit good behavior. Taking the time to properly socialize them from an early age will also contribute to their overall well-being.

To ensure long-term health and happiness, it is important to address the specific needs of Saint Bernards. Regular veterinary check-ups, a balanced diet, and appropriate grooming practices will help prevent common health issues and keep them in optimal condition. By prioritizing their overall well-being, you can establish a strong bond with your Saint Bernard and ensure a harmonious relationship.

Source Links