If you are considering a St. Bernard as a pet you should know a few things about the large dog breed.

Weight: St. Bernard weight is usually between 140 and 264 pounds (64-120 kg), but there are many that fall outside that range on the high and the low side.

Where From: Originated in Italy and Switzerland

Colors: The most common colour combination is red with white and black is common on ears and face.

Height: Height is typically between 27½ inches to 35½ inches (70 to 90 cm) as measure at the withers.

Length: Reportedly (read unsubstantiated) the longest St. Bernard was 8 feet and 5 inches

Other Names: St. Bernhardshund and Bernhardiner as well as Alpine Mastiff

Records: In the middle of the 19th century a famous St. Bernard named Plinlimmon was reportedly measured at a whopping 210 pounds (95 kg) and 341/2 inches (87.5 cm). An American purchased Plinlimmon for $7,000.

The famous newspaper New York Times reported in 1895 that Major F, a St. Bernard, was measured and the staggering results were a length of 8 feet and 6 inches (2.59 m). If this claim is correct and the measurement properly conducted Major F. would still hold the World’s Longest Dog Ever record, even over Zorba who is currently in the Guinness Book of World Records as the heaviest dog ever at 343 pounds and measured 8 feet and 3 inches (251cm) from nose to tip of the tail.

Benedictine V Schwarzwald Hof (whew, image calling for him to come in!), a massive St. Bernard was officially weighed at 315 pounds (143 kg) and was entered into the Guinness Book of World Records in 1981.

Related Breeds: Newfoundland and English Mastiff

Temperament: Special care is required with any large dog breed so they are well socialized, both with other dogs and people other than their owners and especially children that are almost always much smaller. The St. Bernard breed is very loyal and friendly.

Unfortunately, the St. Bernard is prone to have some health issues. One common problem is an autoimmune disease; which may cause large amounts of mortality and debilitating disease in dogs. Within the autoimmune disease, there are three diseases that should be watched for. Those are canine diabetes, immune-mediated thyroiditis and immune-mediated hemolytic anemia.

Canine diabetes is when a dog has a deficiency of hormone insulin or insensitivity to it. Diabetes in an animal is not life threatening, however, untreated it can be. When a dog has canine diabetes, they are given a shot of insulin that is a hormone.

When a dog has an immune-mediated thyroiditis it is when the cells in the dogs body starts to attack the cells of the thyroid. In most cases, the dog is given a daily dose of thyroxin; which will make the levels of thyroxin go back to normal.

Lastly, when a dog has hemolytic anemia it is when the immune system destroys red blood cells prematurely, faster than the rate at which new ones can be produced. In most cases when a St. Bernard has hemolytic anemia, provided they don’t die (it is a very life threatening diseases), they are given corticosteroids or other types of medication and in worse cases they are given blood transfusions.