Choosing a dog breed for your future canine companion can prove very difficult indeed; after all, there are just so many breeds out there, it’s hard to decide on just one! This is especially difficult to do because your dog will be with you for more than a decade, possibly two, and that’s a long time to be with anyone – not to mention a dog you have yet to really get to know! This, ultimately, is one of the reasons that a purebred dog is often so appealing. Breeders have spent several centuries shaping each breed to think and behave in a particular manner, with each breed having its own proclivities, interests, strengths, and weaknesses. When you get a purebred dog, you can bet that you know what you’re getting. Perhaps that’s why so many choose the Saint Bernard!
Yet taking a Saint Bernard into your home is a big responsibility, no pun intended. Saint Bernards are big dogs with plenty of energy, and as such they require lots of exercise and other outlets for that energy. AS with any dog, in fact, there many reasons to own a Saint Bernard, but any responsibilities that also come with the breed.
First, if you want a dog that is big, and we mean BIG!, then a Saint Bernard may be for you. They are huge, heavy, and powerful, with lots of physical strength. Their thick, furry coat adds to the appearance of size that is characteristic of the breed, adding to the bear-like size of the breed! Fortunately, this size and power is paired with a very kind and easy-going temper; you rarely need worry that a Saint Bernard will react aggressively towards someone unless that dog has been deeply abused, mistreated, or ill-raised in the past. Indeed, Saint Bernards are the definition of loyal companions, and are often put to work pulling carts, sleds, and other cold-weather jobs that are tough for humans, but which Saint Bernards actually enjoy quite a bit!
Training, of course, is key here. A Saint Bernard needs training just like any other dog, but this breed is especially responsive to training, so long as it is administered in a slow, friendly manner – to match the personality of the breed itself! These dogs, unless trained to do otherwise, will want to sit on your feet and lean their considerable weight against you; in order to minimize your own discomfort form owning such a large and friendly dog, you will want to train them to be more aware of their weight and size. Similarly, when Saint Bernards are young, they can be rather rambunctious, jumping and wanting to play; if you don’t train them to cease this behavior, it can become problematic throughout the dog’s young age.
Your Saint Bernard is, essentially, a social and friendly animal; leaving it alone too much can lead to a lonely, destructive, and even aggressive dog. It is your duty to properly socialize your Saint Bernard by taking him or her to dog parks, visiting friends, and just generally making sure that your dog is getting regular exposure to other people and dogs. You can really help to stamp out any aggressiveness, dominance, and stubbornness in the dog through consistent and friendly training! Just watch out for the shedding and drooling!