Saint Bernard Lifespan: How Long Do Saint Bernards Live?

Written by Ashley Day
Updated: June 26, 2023
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Key Points

  • Saint Bernards live 8 to 10 years on average. Some individuals have lived up to 14 years old or more.
  • Common health concerns that affect the lifespan of the Saint Bernard breed include hip and elbow dysplasia, heart conditions, bloat, and certain types of cancer.
  • Saint Bernards are a loyal and affectionate breed originating from the Swiss Alps.
Saint bernard dog standing on the lawn

Saint Bernards live an average of 8 to 10 years.


How Long Do Saint Bernard Live

Saint Bernards are beloved giant dogs known for their gentle nature, loyalty, and remarkable rescue abilities. One question often asked by potential owners is, “How long do Saint Bernards live?” Understanding the lifespan of this magnificent breed is essential for providing them with the best care throughout their lives.

On average, Saint Bernards have a lifespan of 8 to 10 years. However, individual dogs may vary, with some living shorter or longer lives. Several factors contribute to the lifespan of Saint Bernards, including genetics, diet, exercise, healthcare, and overall living conditions.

Saint Bernard dog outdoor portrait at beach

The Saint Bernard weighs an average of 120 to 180 pounds.


More About the Saint Bernard Breed

The Saint Bernard is an iconic and beloved dog breed known for its massive size, gentle nature, and incredible rescue abilities. With a rich history and endearing temperament, Saint Bernards have captured the hearts of dog enthusiasts worldwide. Let’s dive into the fascinating world of this remarkable breed.


Originating from the Swiss Alps, the Saint Bernard has a history rooted in the hospice of the Great St. Bernard Pass. These dogs were bred by monks in the hospice to serve as rescue dogs, aiding travelers who found themselves trapped or lost in the treacherous mountainous terrain. With their exceptional sense of direction, powerful build, and instinctive rescue abilities, Saint Bernards played a vital role in saving numerous lives.


One of the most distinguishing features of the Saint Bernard is its massive size. These dogs are considered giants. According to the AKC, males typically stand 26 to 30 inches (66 to 76 cm) tall at the shoulder and weigh between 140 to 180 pounds (64 to 82 kg). Females are slightly smaller but still impressively large, standing 24 to 28 inches (61 to 71 cm) tall and weighing between 120 to 140 pounds (54 to 64 kg). Their imposing stature, combined with their friendly and patient nature, make them an unforgettable presence.

The Saint Bernard has a strong and muscular build, well-suited to its historical role as a rescue dog. Their broad chests, deep bodies, and sturdy legs give them the strength and endurance to navigate treacherous mountainous terrain. Their large, expressive eyes are gentle and kind, reflecting their friendly and approachable personality.

This breed’s coat is dense and weather-resistant, designed to protect them in harsh alpine conditions. The Saint Bernard has two coat types: smooth and rough. The smooth-coated variety has a short and sleek coat. In contrast, the rough-coated variety has a dense, long coat with feathering on the legs and tail. Their coats come in various colors, including the classic combination of white with red, red with white, or mahogany brindle markings.


Known for their gentle and friendly nature, Saint Bernards are renowned for being excellent family pets. They are famously patient and tolerant, especially with children, making them ideal companions for families of all sizes. Their calm and easygoing temperament makes them well-suited for living in households with other pets. However, their sheer size and exuberance may require supervision and training to ensure they don’t unintentionally overwhelm smaller animals or individuals.

Saint Bernards are intelligent and eager to please, although they may exhibit a stubborn streak at times. Early socialization and consistent, positive reinforcement-based training methods are key to ensuring they grow up well-behaved and obedient companions. With patience, consistency, and rewards, these dogs can excel in obedience training and even participate in various canine sports and activities.

While Saint Bernards are generally calm and docile, they still require regular exercise to maintain their overall health and well-being. Daily walks, playtime, and mental stimulation are essential to prevent boredom and keep them physically fit. Despite their size, they can adapt well to living in apartments or smaller homes as long as owners meet their exercise needs.

Very large dog sits and looks up on wooden plank in front of wisteria vines. Big beautiful St. Bernard lays on wooden platform looking up with mouth open a bit.

The Saint Bernard breed is incredibly loving and affectionate.

©Marie A. Dolphin/

Saint Bernard Lifespan by Mixed Breed

The lifespan of a Saint Bernard mixed breed can vary depending on several factors. While the average lifespan of a purebred Saint Bernard is around 8 to 10 years, the lifespan of a mixed breed dog is affected by the genetic traits inherited from both parent breeds. Popular mixed breeds may inherit health issues from Saint Bernard or the other parent breed. Proper care, including regular veterinary check-ups, a balanced diet, exercise, and early detection of health issues, can contribute to a longer and healthier life for a Saint Bernard mixed breed.

1. Saint Berdoodle (Saint Bernard and Poodle)

Poodles are known for their intelligence and low-shedding coats, and they have a lifespan ranging from 10 to 18 years. The Saint Berdoodle may inherit these desirable traits when mixed with a Saint Bernard. This mix often results in a large, intelligent, hypoallergenic dog with a wavy or curly coat. Saint Berdoodles are typically friendly, social, and good-natured, making them excellent companions for families or individuals.

2. Saint Shepherd (Saint Bernard and German Shepherd)

German Shepherds are renowned for their loyalty, trainability, and protective instincts, with an average lifespan of 9 to 13 years. When combined with a Saint Bernard, the Saint Shepherd can exhibit a blend of these characteristics. This mix may result in a large, agile, and intelligent dog with a protective nature. Saint Shepherds are often devoted to their families, making them excellent working dogs, companions, or guardians.

3. Saint Pyrenees (Saint Bernard and Great Pyrenees)

The Great Pyrenees is known for its protective nature and has a lifespan of around 10 to 12 years. When mixed with a Saint Bernard, the Saint Pyrenees can inherit both parent breeds’ gentle and loyal traits. This mix may result in a large, majestic dog with a thick, weather-resistant coat. Saint Pyrenees dogs are often devoted to their families, making them excellent family pets or companions.

4. Saint Weiler (Saint Bernard and Rottweiler)

Rottweilers are renowned for their strength and loyalty and typically have a lifespan of 8 to 10 years. When mixed with a Saint Bernard, the Saint Weiler may possess a combination of both parent breeds’ protective instincts and working abilities. This mix may result in a large, powerful, and confident dog that requires consistent training and socialization from an early age.

5. Saint Dane (Saint Bernard and Great Dane)

Great Danes are known for their gentle and friendly nature, with an average lifespan of 8 to 10 years. When combined with a Saint Bernard, the Saint Dane can inherit the impressive size and loving disposition of both parent breeds. This mix may result in a giant dog with a calm and patient temperament. Saint Danes often make affectionate and loyal companions, but their large size requires adequate space and regular exercise.

6. Saint Malinois (Saint Bernard and Belgian Malinois)

Belgian Malinois are intelligent and energetic dogs with a lifespan of around 12 to 14 years. When mixed with a Saint Bernard, the Saint Malinois may inherit the high energy levels and agility of both parent breeds. This mix may result in a large and active dog that thrives on mental and physical stimulation. Saint Malinois dogs often excel in various activities such as obedience, agility, and search and rescue.

7. Saint Bernewfie (Saint Bernard and Newfoundland)

Newfoundlands are known for their gentle and patient nature, with an average lifespan of approximately 9 to 10 years. When combined with a Saint Bernard, the Saint Bernewfie can possess both parent breeds’ sweet and affectionate qualities. This mix may result in a large and friendly dog well-suited for families. Saint Bernewfies often exhibit a calm demeanor and enjoy spending time with their loved ones.

It is important to note that each individual dog within these mixed breeds can vary in appearance, temperament, and health. While these descriptions provide an overview of the potential characteristics, it is essential to research and meet specific mixed-breed dogs to understand their unique traits and needs better.

Two short-haired saint bernard dogs standing on the lawn

The Saint Bernard has two coat types; smooth and rough.


How Old Was The Oldest Saint Bernard

Barry holds the distinction of being one of the oldest Saint Bernards with documented records. One of the most celebrated Saint Bernards in history, he has become a symbol of the breed’s rescue abilities. He was born in 1800. Barry served as a mountain rescue dog at the Great St. Bernard Pass hospice in the Swiss Alps. He gained recognition for his exceptional tracking skills, intelligence, and courage in rescuing stranded travelers in the mountains.

Barry’s impressive rescue career spanned over a decade, during which he saved numerous lives. He became renowned for his heroic efforts and was credited with saving more than 40 people. Barry’s bravery and loyalty captured the imagination of people worldwide. He became a legendary figure in the annals of rescue dogs.

After retiring, Barry lived out the rest of his life at the hospice. Here he became a beloved and cherished companion to the monks and travelers. Barry passed away in 1814 at the age of 14. He left an indelible mark on the history of the Saint Bernard breed.

Although limited official documentation exists on the ages of oldest-living Saint Bernards, anecdotal reports indicate that dogs of this breed have lived well into their teens. These unofficial reports suggest that some Saint Bernards have reached ages such as 14. Some claim of individuals who have lived to be up to 18 years old. These reports highlight the potential for extended lifespans within the breed.

The factors that contribute to the Saint Bernards’ longevity are multifaceted. Genetics, diet, exercise, healthcare, and living conditions all play a role in determining a dog’s lifespan. Responsible breeding can increase the likelihood of producing long-lived dogs, too.

Bernard dog

Saint Bernards are prone to certain health issues. These include hip and elbow dysplasia, heart conditions, bloat, and certain types of cancer.

©Aneta Jungerova/

Factors That Impact Saint Bernard’s Lifespan

Various factors influence the lifespan of a Saint Bernard. These factors range from underlying health issues to the care and environment they receive throughout their lives. Understanding these factors can help owners make informed decisions to promote a long and healthy life for their beloved Saint Bernards. Here are some key factors that impact the lifespan of these gentle giants.

Underlying Health Issues

Like many large dog breeds, Saint Bernards are prone to specific health issues that can impact their lifespan. Common health concerns in Saint Bernards include hip and elbow dysplasia, heart conditions, bloat, and certain types of cancer. These conditions can affect the dog’s quality of life and potentially shorten their lifespan. Responsible breeding practices require following procedures such as health testing and carefully selecting breeding pairs with good genetic health. This effort can help reduce the risk of inheriting these health issues.

Spaying and Neutering

Veterinarians commonly perform these procedures on dogs to prevent specific health issues. As well as unwanted pregnancies. Spaying a female Saint Bernard before her first heat cycle can help reduce the risk of mammary tumors and uterine infections. Neutering a male Saint Bernard can help prevent testicular cancer and reduce the risk of prostate issues. These procedures may contribute to a longer and healthier life for Saint Bernards by mitigating certain health risks associated with reproductive organs.

Veterinary Care

Regular veterinary care is crucial for maintaining the health and well-being of a Saint Bernard. Routine check-ups, vaccinations, parasite control, and dental care are essential components of preventive healthcare. Early detection and treatment of any health issues can help prevent them from progressing and potentially extend the dog’s lifespan. Regular veterinary visits also allow the veterinarian to assess the dog’s overall health and provide guidance on specific care needs.


Regular exercise is vital for the physical and mental well-being of a Saint Bernard. While they have a calm and gentle nature, they still require moderate exercise to maintain a healthy weight and prevent obesity. As well as to keep their muscles and joints in good condition. Adequate exercise can also contribute to cardiovascular health and mental stimulation. However, it is important to avoid excessive exercise. Especially in young Saint Bernards, as their joints are still developing, and excessive strain can lead to long-term joint issues.


A balanced and nutritious diet is essential for a Saint Bernard’s overall health and longevity. High-quality dog food that meets their specific nutritional needs should be provided. The diet should be rich in protein, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. In addition to avoiding excessive calories that can lead to obesity. Avoiding overfeeding to prevent weight gain is important. Excessive weight gain can put extra strain on joints and organs and increase the risk of certain health issues. Consultation with a veterinarian can help determine the appropriate diet for an individual Saint Bernard. Veterinarians can determine a proper diet based on the age, weight, and specific health requirements of a dog.


The living environment of a Saint Bernard can impact their lifespan. Extreme weather conditions, such as extreme heat or cold, can be detrimental to their health and well-being. Owners must provide adequate shelter and climate control to ensure comfort and safety. A safe and secure living environment that minimizes exposure to potential hazards or accidents can also contribute to a longer and healthier life.

Love and Affection

Saint Bernards exhibit a gentle and affectionate nature.. Providing them with love, attention, and social interaction is crucial for their emotional well-being. From an early age, positive socialization experiences with other animals and humans can help shape their behavior and temperament. Spending quality time with them and providing mental stimulation is key. As well as engaging in bonding activities to strengthen the human-canine bond and contribute to their happiness and contentment.

Saint bernard dog with puppies in winter

Saint Bernards are intelligent and eager to please.



In conclusion, various factors affect the lifespan of Saint Bernards. Responsible breeding practices, routine veterinary care, exercise, a balanced diet, a suitable environment, and the love and affection their owners provide all promote a long and healthy life for these magnificent dogs. By understanding and addressing these factors, owners can contribute to the well-being and longevity of their cherished Saint Bernards.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Rita_Kochmarjova/

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About the Author

Ashley is a writer for A-Z Animals, where her primary focus is on wildlife, nature conservation, the environment, and pets. As a writer and wildlife photographer, Ashley has been writing, photographing, and researching about animals and the environment for over eight years. Ashley is a resident of the Pacific Northwest, where she enjoys being out in nature, hiking, and scouring local bookshops. Insatiably curious and drawn to knowledge, she has a passion for sharing the wonder of the natural world with others.

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