15 Dog Breeds Most Similar to St. Bernards

A Saint Bernard dog wearing a barrel in snowy weather.
© Becky Swora/Shutterstock.com

Written by Kellianne Matthews

Published: January 14, 2024

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St. Bernards, also known as Saint Bernards, are truly remarkable creatures, revered for their affectionate and gentle nature. Famous for their heroic role as rescue dogs in the Swiss Alps, these massive dogs thrive in cold climates. They are also gentle giants who make excellent family pets and particularly adore children. However, if a St. Bernard doesn’t quite fit your lifestyle, don’t worry. There are lots of other breeds with similar personalities and temperaments. Let’s take a look at some of the dog breeds that share many of the same charming qualities and characteristics of the St. Bernard! 

1. Newfoundland

Dogs like St. Bernards

Newfoundlands have webbed

paws

!

©iStock.com/volofin

Originating from Newfoundland in Canada, the Newfoundland is a big dog with an even bigger heart, much like a Saint Bernard. Affectionately known as “Newfies”, these gentle giants are famous for their sweet and calm demeanor. They are incredibly patient and despite their large size (they can weigh up to 150 pounds!), they are tolerant, calm, and sweet with children. These peaceful creatures rarely bark, although they are naturally protective. 

2. Bernese Mountain Dog

Bernese mountain dog cuddling. Dogs like St. Bernards

Bernese mountain dogs are protective but not aggressive.

©iStock.com/Murchundra

Like the St. Bernard, the Bernese mountain dog also hails from the Swiss Alps and thrives in cold weather. Big, beautiful, and bred to work, Bernese mountain dogs have large and powerful bodies. However, they are supremely gentle giants with sweet and tender souls. They are also loyal and develop strong bonds with their humans. Bernese mountain dogs are exceptional family pets known for their kind and gentle nature towards children. 

3. Golden Retriever

A Golden Retriever sits on his hind legs and holds his paws up in a poppy field at sunset

Golden retrievers are intelligent and easy to train.

©Olha Didenko/Shutterstock.com

Golden retrievers are extremely affectionate and loving and are good with young children and even other dogs. They consistently rank among the most popular dog breeds in the world due to their intelligence, calm demeanor, and friendly attitudes. Golden retrievers seem to love everyone they meet and make friends easily. Unlike St. Bernards, however, golden retrievers have more playful energy and need a bit more activity to keep them happy and healthy. 

4. Labrador Retriever

Yellow Labrador Retriever

Labs are intelligent, easy to train, and love to play with their human companions.

©sanjagrujic/Shutterstock.com

Commonly known as “Labs”, Labrador retrievers are immensely popular due to their friendly demeanor, sweet personalities, and ever-present smiles. Much like St. Bernards, Labrador retrievers are fantastic family dogs and get along with both children and other animals. However, Labs have a lot more energy than St. Bernards and need regular exercise to stay happy and healthy. 

5. Leonberger

Leonberger standing in field. Dogs like St. Bernards

While they are protective, Leonbergers are typically not aggressive.

©AnetaZabranska/Shutterstock.com

Originating from Germany, the Leonberger is an aristocratic dog, resulting from a cross of the Great Pyrenees, the Newfoundland, and the Saint Bernard. These majestic dogs may appear intimidating with their giant bodies and lion-like manes, but they are nothing short of gentle giants. Leonbergers are fiercely loyal and devoted companions, making them excellent additions to any family. With their affectionate and patient nature, Leonbergers effortlessly bond with children.

6. Great Pyrenees

Dogs like St. Bernards - Great Pyrenees laying in front of tree with white buds.

Great Pyrenees are intelligent and often serve as search and rescue dogs and therapy dogs.

©iStock.com/JZHunt

Hailing from the majestic Pyrenees Mountains in France, the Great Pyrenees or Pyrenean Mountain dog shares many traits with the beloved Saint Bernard. These large but gentle giants were originally bred as livestock guardians and have evolved into devoted protectors and cherished companions. Great Pyrenees dogs are independent, calm, and don’t require constant attention, although they do enjoy going for walks and playing with their humans. 

7. Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

Greater Swiss Mountain Dog on grass

Greater Swiss mountain dogs are versatile companions who are intelligent and trainable.

©Nick Chase 68/Shutterstock.com

Another gentle giant, the greater Swiss mountain dog stands tall with a heart of gold. These large dogs are calm and patient, making them excellent family dogs. They love children and are very affectionate, forming strong bonds with their families. Greater Swiss mountain dogs are also loyal and often get along with other dogs and even cats.

8. Irish Wolfhound

Dogs similar to St Bernards - Two gray and white Irish wolfhounds standing in the middle of an autumn field

Irish wolfhounds are good with children and require moderate exercise. 

©Natallia Yaumenenka/Shutterstock.com

Gentle, patient, and thoughtful, the Irish wolfhound shares many characteristics with the St. Bernard. One of the tallest dog breeds out there, Irish wolfhounds have lean bodies and a regal presence. They are intelligent and can be independent, so they need experienced owners to guide them. However, Irish wolfhounds are gentle, tender souls with a calm and patient nature. They thrive on human companionship and love spending time with their families.

9. Estrela Mountain Dog

Dogs similar to St Bernards - Estrela mountain dog lies down exhausted after a day at work

Estrela mountain dogs are fiercely loyal and protective, so early socialization is important.

©Oliver OB/Shutterstock.com

Also known as the Cão da Serra da Estrela, the Estrela mountain dog originated from the Serra da Estrela Mountains in Portugal. For centuries these majestic canines have served as fierce protectors and loyal companions, with tall and athletic bodies. However, the Estrela mountain dog is another gentle giant in the dog world, known for being exceptionally calm and patient. They make wonderful family companions and are gentle with children. 

10. Entlebucher Mountain Dog

Entlebucher mountain dog standing in field

The Entlebucher mountain dog is a herding dog from the Swiss Alps.

©Sandro Pavlov/Shutterstock.com

A medium-sized dog, the Entlebucher mountain dog is a little charmer with a friendly face. These dogs are loyal and devoted companions but can be cautious around strangers. Although these dogs are a lot like St. Bernards, they are also much more energetic and tend to be rather vocal. 

11. Tornjak

Tornjak

Tornjaks can make great family dogs, although they are not well-suited for small children.

©Vesna Kriznar/Shutterstock.com

Strong, courageous, and fiercely protective, the Tornijak is a tough dog with a gentle heart. These large mountain dogs are well-known for their work ethic as well as their friendly nature. Tornjaks are affectionate and loyal dogs who form strong bonds with their human families. However, they are independent watchdogs and are often wary of strangers.

12. Old English Sheepdog

Old English Sheepdog Puppy

Old English sheepdogs are intelligent, natural watchdogs always on alert for potential threats. 

©Crystal Alba/Shutterstock.com

Bred to herd sheep in the English countryside, Old English sheepdogs look like giant, shaggy teddy bears. They are well-known for their incredibly gentle nature and infinite affection, adoring their human families and sharing their charming personalities with their families. They are playful, cuddly, and patient, and make great playmates for children as well as other pets.

13. English Mastiff

English Mastiff

English mastiffs are excellent watchdogs and love to play with their families. 

©Waldemar Dabrowski/Shutterstock.com

The ancestors of the English mastiff go back to ancient civilizations and have led to the massive and dignified dog that we see today. One of the largest and heaviest dogs out there, the mastiff has an imposing appearance, but beneath its muscled and wrinkly exterior lies a pure heart of gold. Gentle and loving, mastiffs adore their families and are astoundingly patient with children and even other pets.

14. Pyrenean Mastiff

Pyrenean Mastiff

Pyrenean mastiffs will ensure the safety of their charges above all else.

©AnjavdR/Shutterstock.com

One of the rarer dog breeds, the Pyrenean mastiff (or Mastín del Pirineo) is calm, gentle, and incredibly loyal. These large dogs are patient, gentle, and protective of all creatures, including children and other animals. They are extremely devoted to their families and can make wonderful family dogs. Pyrenean mastiffs are also fiercely protective (although not aggressive) and make excellent watchdogs.

15. English Springer Spaniel

two pretty liver and white working type english springer spaniel pet gundogs

English springer spaniels are much more energetic than St. Bernards.

©chrisgandy/Shutterstock.com

A medium-sized dog with a soft, feathery coat, the English springer spaniel is a playful and energetic pup who is always up for an adventure. These dogs are much more energetic and enthusiastic than St. Bernards but are also very patient with children. Many English spring spaniels serve as devoted playmates for small children. They make excellent family dogs, but their strong prey drive can be a challenge at times.

Summary of the 15 Dog Breeds Most Similar to St. Bernards

Newfoundland
Bernese Mountain Dog
Golden Retriever
Labrador Retriever
Leonberger
Great Pyrenees
Greater Swiss Mountain Dog
Irish Wolfhound
Estrela Mountain Dog
Entlebucher Mountain Dog
Tornjak
Old English Sheepdog
English Mastiff
Pyrenean Mastiff
English Springer Spaniel

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About the Author

Kellianne Matthews is a writer at A-Z Animals where her primary focus is on anthrozoology, conservation, human-animal relationships, and animal behavior. Kellianne has been writing and researching animals for over ten years and has decades of hands-on experience working with a variety of different animals. She holds a Master’s Degree from Brigham Young University, which she earned in 2017. A resident of Utah, Kellianne enjoys creating, exploring and learning new things, analyzing movies, caring for animals, and playing with her cats.

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