Blog Introduction: If you have ever seen a Saint Bernard, you know that these dogs are big—really big. But why is that? It turns out there are a few different factors at play here. Let’s take a look at why Saint Bernards are so large.

Breed History

The Saint Bernard breed has been around for centuries and was originally bred in Switzerland and Italy as an alpine rescue dog. The breed was developed to be able to withstand extreme weather conditions and rugged terrain, so they had to be larger than the standard working dog breeds of the time. These dogs become mainstream thanks to the Disney Movie Beethoven.


In order to create the perfect mountain-rescue dog, Saint Bernards were carefully bred over many generations until they reached their current size. Early on, some of the dogs used in breeding were crossed with other large breeds such as Mastiffs and Newfoundlands, which likely contributed to their size today. As the breed continued to be refined over time, more emphasis was placed on size rather than agility or speed.

The Breed Standard

According to the AKC (American Kennel Club) breed standard, Saint Bernards should be between 25-27 inches tall at the shoulder for males, and 24-26 inches tall for females. They should also weigh anywhere from 140-180 pounds for males, and 120-140 pounds for females. With such a wide range in size, there is room for variation within the breed standard.

Intentional Breeding Practices

It’s also important to note that breeders have intentionally focused on developing larger and larger Saint Bernards for many years. This practice has resulted in an average weight of 140 pounds for male Saint Bernards and 120 pounds for females—significantly higher than other large breeds like German Shepherds (average weight 75–95 pounds) or Golden Retrievers (average weight 65–75 pounds).

Saint Bernards are considered a “giant” breed because of their immense size compared to other breeds. There are two main reasons why they are so big: genetics and environment. Saint Bernards have naturally been bred over time to be larger dogs due to their original purpose of finding lost travelers in snow storms. Additionally, being raised in colder climates (like those found in the Swiss Alps) can promote growth since cold temperatures help keep inflammation down in dogs’ bodies which allows them to grow bigger than normal.

In conclusion, there are several reasons why Saint Bernards are so big—their history as an alpine rescue dog, crossbreeding with other large breeds, and intentional breeding practices aimed at creating even bigger dogs over time. While this enormous size may not be ideal for everyone looking for a canine companion, it is clear that these majestic animals were bred exactly how they were intended—to be strong enough to handle extreme weather conditions while providing assistance in mountainous regions!