Standard for the Saint Bernard
* GENERAL: Powerful, proportionately tall figure, strong and muscular in
every part, with powerful head and most intelligent expression. In dogs with a
dark mask the expression appears more stern, but never ill~natured.
* HEAD: Like the whole body, very powerful and imposing. The massive skull
is wide, slightly arched and the sides slope in a gentle curve into the very strongly
developed, high cheek bones. Occiput only moderately developed.
* The supra~orbital ridge is very strongly developed and forms nearly a right
angle with the long axis of the head.
* Deeply imbedded between the eyes and starting at the root of the muzzle, a
furrow runs over the whole skull. It is strongly marked in the first half, gradually
disappearing toward the base of the occiput. The lines at the sides of the head
diverge considerably from the outer corner of the eyes toward the back of the head
* The skin of the foehead above the eyes, forms rather noticeable wrinkles, more
or less pronounced, which converge toward the furrow. Especially when the dog is
alert or at attention, the wrinkles are more visable without in the least giving the
impression of morosity. Too strongly developed wrinkles are not desired.
* The slope from the skull to the muzzle is sudden and rather steep.
* The muzzle is short, does not taper, and the vertical depth at the root of the
muzzle must be greater than the length of the muzzle.
* The bridge of the muzzle is not arched, but straight; in some dogs, occasionally, slightly broken.
* A rather wide, well~marked, shallow furrow runs from the root of the muzzle
over the entire bridge of the muzzle to the nose. The flews of the upper jaw are
strongly developed, not sharply cut, but turning in a beautiful curve into the lower
edge, and slightly overhanging.
* The flews of the lower jaw must not be deeply pendant.
* The teeth should be sound and strong and should meet in either a scissors or an
even bite; the scissors bite being preferable. The undershot bite, although
sometimes found with good specimens, is not desirable. The overshot bite is a
* A black roof to the mouth is desirable.
*Nose: (Schwamm)-Very substantial, broad, with wide nostrils, and, like the lips,
* Here is a correct St. Bernard....he is a CHAMPION and also the sire to our
imported male from Europe......
* EARS: Of medium size, rather high set, with very strongly developed burr
(Muschel) at the base. They stand slightly away from the head at the base, then
drop with a sharp bend to the side and cling to the head without a turn. The flap is
tender and forms a rounded triangle, slightly elongated toward the point, the front
edge lying firmly to the head whereas the back edge may stand somewhat away
from the head, especially when the dog is at attention. Lightly set ears, which at
the base immediately cling to the head, give it an oval and too little marked
exterior, whereas a strongly developed base gives the skull a squarer, broader and
much more expressive appearance.
WOWE! Alot on the ears!!!
* Eyes: Set more to the front than the sides, are of medium size, dark brown,
with intelligent, friendly expression, set moderately deep. The lower eyelids, as a
rule, do not close completely and, if that us the case, form an angular wrinkle
toward the inner corner of the eye. Eyelids which are too deeply pendant and show
conspicuously the lachrymal glands, or a very red, thick haw, and the eyes that are
too light, are objectionable.
* Neck: Set high, very strong and when alert or at attention is carried erect,
otherwise horizontally or slightly downward. The junction of head and neck is
distinctly marked by an indentation. The nape of the neck is very muscular and
rounded at the sides which makes the neck appear rather short. The dewlap of the
throat and neck is well pronounced; too strong development, however, is not
* Shoulders: Sloping and broad, very muscular and powerful. The withers are
* Chest: Very well arched, moderately deep, not reaching below the elbows.
* Back: Very broad, perfectly straight as far as the haunches, from there gently
sloping to the rump, and merging imperceptibly into the root of the tail.
* Hindquarters: Well~developed. Legs very muscular.
* Belly: Distinctly set off from the very powerful loin section, only little drawn
* Tail: Starting broad and powerful directly from the rump is long, very heavy,
ending in a powerful tip. In repose it hangs straight down, turning gently upward
in the lower third only, which is not considered a fault. In a great many specimens
the tail is carried with the end slightly bent and therefore hangs down in the shape
of an "f." In action all dogs carry the tail more or less turned upward. However it
may not be carried too erect or by any means rolled over the back. A slight curling
of the tip is sooner admissible.
* Upper Arm: Very powerful and extraordinarily muscular.
* Hind Legs: Hocks of moderate angulation. Dewclaws are not desired if present,
they must not obstruct gait.
* Feet: Broad, with strong toes, moderately closed, and with rather high
knuckles. The so~called dewclaws which sometimes occur on the inside of the hind
legs are impercetly developed toes. They are of no use to the dog and are not taken
into consideration in judging. They may be removed by surgery.
* Coat: Very dense, short~haired (stockhaarig), lying smooth, tough, without
however feeling rough to the touch. The thighs are slightly bushy. The tail at the
root has longer and denser hair which gradually becomes shorter toward the tip.
The tail appears bushy, not forming a flag.
* Color: White with red or red with white, the red in its various shades; brindle
patches with white markings. The colors red and brown-yellow are of entirely
equal value. Necessary markings are: white chest, feet and tip of tail, noseband,
collar or spot on the nape; the latter and blaze are very desirable. Never of one
color or without white. Faulty are all other colors, except the favorite dark
shadings on the head (mask) and ears. One distinguishes between mantle dogs and
splash- coated dogs.
*Height at shoulders: Of the dog should be 27 1/2 inches minimum, of the bitch 25
1/2 inches. Female animals are of finer and more delicate build.
*Considered as faults: Are all deviations from the Saint Bernard standard, as for
instance a swayback and a disproportionately long back, hocks too much bent,
straight hindquarters, upward growing hair in spaces between the toes, out at
elbows, cowhocks and weak pasterns.
*Longhaired: The long~haired type completely resembles the short~haired type
except for the coat which is not short~haired (stockhaarig) but of medium length,
plain to slightly wavy, never rolled or curly and not shaggy either. Usually, on the
back, especially from the regionof the haunches to the rump, the hair is more wavy,
a condition, by the way, that is slightly indicated in the short~haired dogs.
*The tail is bushy with dense hair of moderate length. Rolled or curly hair, or a
flag tail, is faulty. Face and ears are covered with short and soft hair; longer hair
at the base of the ear is permissible. Forelegs only slightly feathered; thighs very
~APPROVED BY AKC~
*The Saint Bernard dog was first pictured in 1695, by an unknown painter. Until that
time, there were no records of dogs at the famous Hospice in Switzerland, and it is generally
believed that the dogs that eventually were called the Saint Bernard were bred from dogs
previously existing in the Swiss countryside. The original Saint Bernard was a short~haired
dog and was introduced to the Hospice as a guard dog, as a carting dog, and to work in the
kitchens turning a spit.
*The lifesaving abilities of the Saint Bernard were recorded in the years of 1787 to 1800.
From 1800 to 1812, the most famous and most honoured dog known in history, Barry, lived
and worked at the Hospice. His deeds have been recounted in many books. He saved the
lives of some 40 people and, having been retired, died in Bern in 1814, where he can be seen
today in the Museaum of Natural History.
*The brandy keg usually pictured with the Saint Bernard wasnever used but was a
figment of the imagination of the renowned painter Landseer. During the winters of
1816~1818, the snow storms at the Hospice were especially heavy, and it was thought that a
crossing with a long~haired Newfoundland would better protect the short~haired Saint
Bernard dogs against the cold. From this time on, litters occassionally included one or more
long haired puppies. It soon became evident that the long~haired dogs could not be used for
rescue work, as ice formed in the long hair and the dogs were weighed down to incapacity by
the accumulation of too much snow and ice. From then on, any long~haired puppies were
sent to live in the valleys, and the Hospice kept only the short~hairs. Both coat lengths still
your saint bernard....HE IS WORTH IT!