Some dogs are born small and stay small, while other dogs are born small then blow way up in size.
Today, we are talking about a breed that, without a doubt, falls into the latter category. Meet the big, happy, and fluffy Saint Bernard.
In this article, we are going over one of, if not, their most defining features. Their growth, of course! We will take a look at all phases of their growing stage; from day zero to day 730 and beyond.
Plus, we are going to answer the biggest questions people have about their growth. This is a BIG article, so let’s get right into it.
General Info About This Breed
Rescuer, gentle giant, and an all-around fluffanator, the Saint Bernard is a large, powerful, and loving goofball. Originally hailing from the Swiss Alps, the Saint Bernard is one of the most recognizable dog breeds due to their status as rescue dogs and, of course, thanks to a famous series of movies, hugely popular in the 90s. Dun Dun Dun Dun . . .
But don’t let the movies fool you, St. Bernards are far from being known as menaces. They are known for their fantastic grace and patience despite their enormous size, making them wonderful around small children. In fact, today, the family home is where you’re most likely to come across this delightful breed.
However, make no mistake, the Saint Bernard is an incredible working dog. That’s because this breed has — and continues to — save countless lives along the Italian-Swiss border and in many other places around the world.
The earliest known written record of this breed is from 1707 and comes from the Great St Bernard Hospice at the Great St Bernard Pass. Boy, wonder how they got their name?! However, pictures and drawings show this breed existed at least by the 1690s.
Interestingly enough, it wasn’t until the 19th century that “Saint Bernard” became the common name for these dogs. Before, this breed was referred to by a great number of names including “Saint Dogs”, “Noble Steeds”, “Alpine Mastiffs”, or “Barry Dogs”.
It’s important to note that all the way up until sometime in the 19th century, there was another dog who would sometimes be referred to as the St. Bernard, The Alpine Mastiff.
While the Alpine Mastiff is the modern St. Bernard’s ancestor, they looked quite a bit different, dawning a shorter, all-brown coat, and smaller frame. The St. Bernard we all know and love is a combination of the Alpine Mastiff, Great Dane, and Newfoundland.
“Gentle giant” is a phrase used time and time again to describe the Saint Bernard, and that’s because it’s a perfect description of them. They love their family from the smallest of the smallest to the largest of the largest and are kind to all whom they come across.
Early training and socialization are still strongly recommended because the last thing you want in life is an unruly 150lb dog running a muck of things. Saint Bernards are always ready to please their owner, and while they are unlikely to ever excel at being guard dogs, they will sometimes bark at strangers, making them great watchdogs.
Health & Grooming
The average lifespan of the St. Bernard is 8-10 years. Like nearly all large dog breeds, they are prone to hip dysplasia, and if not given proper nutrition and the correct exercise, they can struggle with a lifetime of bone and joint issues.
Along with this, they are at an increased risk of developing the eye disorders: ectropion (eyelid turned out) and entropion (eyelid turned in).
These all might sound scary, but it’s important to note that most St. Bernards live a very healthy life. For many owners, the bigger issue is handling all that hair.
There are two varieties of the Saint Bernard’s coat: short and long, but besides picking out the right brush, it doesn’t matter too much because they both shed a lot. Make sure you have a vacuum that works — the ones with a bag are strongly recommended.
Regular brushing is a must if you want to keep your house clean, and you’ll want to be prepared for their seasonal coat “blowout” that typically happens in the spring and fall.
Feeding Your Saint Bernard Puppy
Most professionals recommend a diet made up of kibble or wet food formulated for large and giant breed puppies. This diet is recommended for the first two years. After they have finished growing, you may wish to look into switching them to a raw diet.
However, if your pup is doing fine on kibble or wet food, then no worries as these diets are recommended by most professionals.
This for a few different reasons, mostly due to salmonella concerns and mineral deficiencies. A raw diet is not recommended for this breed while they are growing due to their careful and high nutritional needs. Calcium and phosphorus deficiency can occur fast in poorly planned raw diets.
Stages Of Growth
On average, a St. Bernard puppy weighs about 1 1/2 pound at birth, but don’t worry! They get big fast. St. Bernards spend about two years growing.
They’ll typically reach their final height their first year around the sun, while their final weight will be about another year off. Mentally, many St. Bernards like staying in the puppy phase a decent bit after they’ve finished growing.
Growth of Female Saint Bernard
By 3 months, a female Saint Bernard should weigh right around 37 to 48lbs. WOW, that’s like 30 times bigger than they were just 3 months ago.
At 6 months old, the average female Saint Bernard is leaving behind her medium dog status and entering the large dog category averaging 69 to 88lbs.
A full year around the sun, and only a modest 50-75+ times bigger, your average female Saint Bernard should be passing the 100lb mark at this point. 100 to 130lbs is the average size for a one-year-old female St. Bernard.
At a year, most female St. Bernards are reaching their final height, but they still have some time before reaching their final weight.
At two years of age, most St. Bernards have been finished growing for a few months at this point. However, some (usually the males) continue to grow — mostly weight — until the 24th month. The largest females can weigh around 150lbs, while smaller females may barely break the 100lb marker.
Growth of Male Saint Bernard
At just 3 months of age, the male Saint Bernard puppy stands at an impressive 48 to 55 pounds on average. This means they already weigh more than a large number of fully-grown dogs.
They may still act like puppies, but their average size of 88 to 100 pounds sure doesn’t make them look like one anymore. It’s incredible how astonishingly rapid St. Bernards grow, especially the males. This highlights the immense need for a diet that is designed for large or giant breed puppies.
136 to 165 pounds is the expected standard for a one-year-old male St. Bernard.
By month 24, most male St. Bernards have finished growing, but some may continue to grow even after turning 2, with some still growing close to age 3. Their final weight . . . .drum roll . . .150 to 180lbs.
Like with female Saint Bernards, males will finish growing in height before reaching their final healthy weight. Oh, and the males that don’t stop growing after reaching age 2 and often surpass 200 pounds! That’s just incredible. Can you imagine if we grew that fast?!
*How long does it take for a Saint Bernard to fully grow?
Most Saint Bernards are fully grown by month 24 or age two. However, some, notably, the males can continue to grow for about a year more.
*How big will my St Bernard be?
Most male Saint Bernards weigh between 140 and 180 pounds, with a shoulder height between 28 and 30 inches. Females are a bit smaller but not by much weighing an average of 120 to 140 pounds and standing 26 to 28 inches at the shoulder.
*How much should a 6 month St Bernard weigh?
A male St. Bernard will average between 88 and 100 pounds at 6 months of age, while females will range between 69 and 88 pounds.
*How much should a 4 month old St Bernard weigh?
At just 4 months of age, most St. Bernards are hovering around 50lbs in weight.
*Will a Saint Bernard protect you?
The Saint Bernard is a gentle giant who loves their owner above all else. This, combined with their large size and deep bark, can make them into decent watchdogs. However, they are not an aggressive breed by any stretch of the word. This means they are far from the best dog for protection.
*Are St. Bernards hard to train?
Despite their large size that can definitely seem intimidating to work with, the St. Bernard is incredibly easy to train. These are working dogs, and they love pleasing their people, especially their owners.
Many St. Bernard owners report that they don’t even need to use treats when training. Praise and ear rubbings are often enough.
However, sometimes, OK often, their calm and gentle nature gets the best of them. St. Bernards are smart, but they like taking training slowly. And if something like the heat is too much for them, they just don’t want to do any work at all.
But who can blame them? Be patient and gentle with them, and you will be rewarded with a wonderfully trained and obedient pupper.
*How long does a Saint Bernard live?
Saint Bernards live between an average of 8-10 years.
*Are Saint Bernards dangerous?
The book and movie Cujo couldn’t be further from the truth because Saint Bernards are one of the least dangerous dogs around. The biggest danger with them is their size and sometimes clumsy nature, meaning it’s good to watch them around small children and items that can be easily knocked over.
*How much should a Saint Bernard weigh?
Saint Bernards average between 120 and 180 pounds. However, some males are able to surpass 200 pounds by about a dozen or so pounds.
“One of the greats gifts we receive from dogs is the tenderness they invoke in us” – Dean Koontz
Caring for a giant dog breed can come with some challenges — mostly in the beginning when ensuring good nutrition and exercise for healthy growth — but there is nothing quite like having a big dog by your side. And the Saint Bernard is a wonderful example of these majestic leviathans.
Gentle, patient, and they make fantastic pillows, St. Bernards are a terrific breed who are a great fit for a lot of people from young families with kids to those with limitations that don’t want to handle a strenuous and high-maintenance dog.
Remember, one of the most important parts in caring for this breed is ensuring their diet is formulated for large breeds and that it is appropriate for their stage in growth.
It’s incredible how fast these big guys and gals grow, and mishandling their nutrition, especially when they are doing all that rapid growing, can spell a lifetime of health issues. But don’t worry at Tindog, we’re always here to help with any questions you have about raising your pup.
Loved this article? If so, make sure to check out our other articles featuring a range of topics from the best diets to the best training methods to the coolest new dog breeds.
At Tindog, we’ve got the best experts in pet health working diligently to bring you everything you need to know about giving your puppers a healthy and happy life.