Saint Bernard is a large breed of working dogs from the Western Alps in Switzerland and Italy. They were originally bred as working rescue dogs by the Great Saint Bernard Pass hospice in the Swiss Alps in the 17th century. They can stand at 30 inches tall, grow up to 180 pounds, and have either a short haired or longhaired coat. These giant dogs are also very gentle, loving, and loyal to their owners. They are incredibly kind, affectionate, and patient with small children, making great family dogs. Saint Bernard’s gentle and loving nature has made the breed popular today, especially for families who want large loving dogs that don’t need much exercise.
So are there any dog breeds that are similar to Saint Bernard? Yes. Dogs like the Greater Swiss Mountain dog, the Bernese Mountain Dog, Leonberger dog, The Spanish and English Mastiff dogs, and the Great Pyrenees, to mention a few. They look like Saint Bernard and have similar characteristics and temperaments. We have ten dog breeds similar to Saint Bernard listed below that dog lovers can consider.
10. Entlebucher Mountain Dog
The Entlebucher Mountain dog is a medium dog bred for herding. It is part of the Sennenhund family of four hunting dogs from the Swiss Alps, including the Bernese Mountain Dog, the Appenzeller Sennenhund, and the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog. Although it was initially bred for herding and guarding, because of its liveliness and enthusiasm, the breed is now a popular option for companionship. Entlebuchers grow up to 21 inches, weigh from 40 to 65 pounds depending on the sex and have a lifespan of about 11 to 13 years.
Entlebucher dogs are strong, energetic, and active despite their smaller size. True to their nature as herding dogs, they are also very protective of their families. They are very affectionate and loyal dogs to their owners but are wary of strangers, so it is wise to start socializing and training them while still being puppies. These brilliant dogs get along well with kids and other pets. Because they are an energetic breed, they will do well in active families as they need a lot of physical and mental exercise. They can become mischievous and destructive when bored.
9. The Great Pyrenees
The Great Pyrenees dog is a large breed of guarding dogs from France. According to Daily Paws, they originate from the Pyrenees Mountains. In the U.K and most of Europe, they are called Pyrenean Mountain Dogs but are known as Great Pyrenees in the U.S and Canada. Initially, these beautiful big dogs were used as livestock guardians in the French Alps and the Pyrenees Mountains, herding and protecting the flocks from bears and wolves. The Great Pyrenees have thick, beautiful, fluffy white coats, making them look like giant teddy bears. They weigh between 85 to 160 pounds and are 25 to 32 inches tall; they can live for up to 12 years.
Because these dogs were bred to watch over livestock for a long time, they are calm, patient, and composed, but they are not afraid to bark at people they see as threats. Since they can be aloof to strangers and are large, they must be trained and socialized early. They need daily exercise and will thrive in a home with a large fenced-in yard or a ranch so they can roam freely. Despite their aloofness with strangers, Great Pyrenees are gentle, kind, loyal to their owners, and great with children and other pets. All these make them great protective family dogs.
8. Estrela Mountain Dog
The Estrella Mountain Dog is a large breed of guarding dogs from the Estrela Mountains in Portugal. Although their exact origin is unknown, Estrela Mountain Dogs are one of the oldest breeds in the region. They were initially bred in Portugal for guarding livestock and homesteads. The Estrela Mountain dog became very popular among farmers in the 1900s because of its large size and ability to identify and scare off large predators like wolves. Their bravery and courage made them fantastic guard dogs. Estrelas can stand between 24 to 30 inches and weigh between 75 to 130 pounds, depending on the sex. They also have a life expectancy of between 11 to 15 years. They have double coats that are either short or long.
Estrela Mountain dogs are very family-oriented dogs. They are loyal and protective and are happy being with their people to protect them from intruders. These fluffy dogs are happy to curl up next to their owners all day or follow them as they run errands. They are excellent with children and other pet animals. Due to their nature and size, they must be socialized and trained from when they are puppies. They are also relatively active and agile dogs that must exercise daily. They thrive in homes with large fenced-in yards or ranches.
7. Appenzeller Sennenhund
The Appenzeller Sennenhund is a medium-sized working dog from North Eastern Switzerland. It is one of the four hunting dogs in the Sennenhund family from the Swiss Alps. The Appenzeller dog was bred as an all-around working dog, from herding livestock and guarding farms and homesteads to pulling carts. These dogs can weigh up to 48 to 55 pounds, stand at 19 to 22 inches tall, and live up to 9 to 12 years.
Even though they are a little rare to find, Appenzellers are very versatile working dogs that have become great family dogs. They are intelligent, cheerful, brave, and loving dogs that are great companions, especially for small children, as they have a playful nature. They can be aloof with strangers, so they need early socialization and training. Appenzeller Sennenhounds are solid and active dogs, and they need owners or families with an active lifestyle; otherwise, they can become destructive when bored.
6. Spanish Mastiff
The Spanish Mastiff is a large dog breed from Spain originally bred as a livestock guardian dog. It is a huge dog that is powerful, strong, and agile, with a large head that holds serious facial expressions. As stated by Wikipedia, Initially, Spanish Mastiffs would accompany sheep and cattle as they grazed and defended them against wolf attacks. These massive dogs weigh between 140 to 200 pounds, stand at 28 to 35 inches tall, and live for up to 12 years. Their enormous size is imposing, and although they can be protective, they are loving, affectionate, and calm. They have become very popular family pets and guard dogs in recent times.
Sometimes, Spanish Mastiffs are pretty okay with cuddling up with their owners the whole day, but they are also agile and athletic and must be exercised daily. Due to their size, they are not suited to living in small apartments. They love running around in homes with large fenced-in yards or homes with plenty of space like ranches. They are happy with taking long walks, hiking, and playing fetch. Spanish Mastiffs can be wary of strangers, so it is advisable to start training and socialization early. They drool a lot, so owners must keep a drool cloth nearby.
5. The Newfoundland Dog
The Newfoundland is a large-sized working dog breed from the Newfoundland province in Canada. They were originally bred as working dogs for fishermen in Newfoundland. As one of the largest dog breeds in the world, Newfoundlands are big-boned, muscular, and strong, with thick double coats of fur made for the cold weather. They are also naturally great swimmers, made easier by their pronounced webbed feet. As stated by Daily Paws, Newfoundlands are laid-back dogs with a sweet, loving, and calm disposition.
Despite their giant sizes, Newfoundlands are sweet, affectionate family dogs that especially love children. They are gentle and friendly dogs who also have a protective nature. They adapt well to family life with kids and other pet animals. Most times, Newfoundlands are okay with sleeping or cuddling with their humans. But people should not mistake their mellow vibes for laziness. They are natural working dogs that thrive in active households and love being given tasks and kept busy. Because they grow to become very intimidating in size, they need to be trained and socialized when they are puppies to avoid undesirable behaviors. Their large size makes them more suited to living in homes with large fenced-in yards instead of apartments.
4. English Mastiff
The English Mastiff is a very large-sized dog breed. When you first see this dog, you will be intimidated by its size. They are tall dogs with massive bodies and broad skulls. Mastiffs can pack on between 120 to 250 pounds and get as tall as 30 inches. They are somewhat heavier than Saint Bernards. These “gentle giants” are good-natured, docile, but protective dogs. But don’t judge this breed by its size; despite their intimidating looks, English Mastiffs are among the most affectionate, sweetest, and loving dog breeds worldwide.
Like any other dogs, they need to be trained and socialized early to help them grow into all-rounded, well-behaved dogs. They are politely aloof with strangers but are active and loving around family members. They are also great with children and love to play with them. They dislike conflict and will stand between people arguing or parents punishing kids. These dogs are massive but do not require excessive exercise. They only need about 30-minute walks daily. They are excellent house dogs that do well in homes with fenced yards but are not great jogging partners. Their size makes them overheat quickly.
3. Leonberger Dog
The Leonbergers are a large-sized working dog breed from Germany. They are crosses between Newfoundlands, Saint Bernards, and the Great Pyrenees dogs. These massive dogs have thick double coats, with the undercoat being dense and the top coat being straight or wavy. Full-grown Leonbergers weigh between 90 to 170 pounds, stand at 25 to 32 inches, and have a shorter lifespan of about seven years. Despite their large size, these dogs are affectionate, loving, and gentle, making fantastic family pets. Leonbergers are intuitive and intelligent, making them good therapy and rescue dogs.
These gentle giants are just big softies with kind hearts and lots of love and cuddles to give to their owners. They are also great with small children but need to be supervised with children under ten because they can easily knock them over. Because Leonbergers are working dogs, they are pretty active animals that will thrive in a home with an active lifestyle. According to The Spruce Pets, they love to jog, swim and hike and need about 1 to 2 hours of exercise daily. Leonbergers respond well to training, and it would be great to start training and socializing them early in their lives.
2. Bernese Mountain Dog
Bernese Mountain dogs are a giant breed of herding dogs from Switzerland. It is one of the four breeds from the Sennenhund family from the Swiss Alps. They were initially bred, kept as farm dogs, and used for herding livestock and pulling carts. They have tricolor coats and have a generally gentle expression. They weigh between 70 to 115 pounds, stand at between 23 to 28 inches, and can live for around ten years.
Bernese dogs are good-natured, loyal, and loving companions like Saint Bernards. They are playful and energetic dogs that are always eager to please. They make great family dogs as they are excellent with kids and other pets and protect their owners but are not aggressive. According to Dog Time, like with all other dog breeds, they need early socialization and training, so they are not highly wary of strangers. Although they are energetic, they do not need intense exercises. An excellent 30-minute daily exercise session of either walks, hikes, or games is enough.
1. Greater Swiss Mountain Dog
It is a huge herding dog breed from Switzerland. Greater Swiss Mountain dogs belong to the Sennenhund dog family. As these dogs were bred for herding and guarding livestock, they are large muscular dogs with a lot of physical strength to perform their original tasks. They have double coats consisting of a thick undercoat and a dense and shiny outer coat. They weigh between 85 to 140 pounds, stand at between 23 to 29 inches, and can live for up to 11 years. Like Saint Bernards, despite their large imposing sizes, they are gentle giants. They are friendly, affectionate, intuitive, and strong dogs that make great family dogs, as well as therapy and search and rescue dogs.
According to Pet Finder, Greater Swiss Mountain dogs are very loyal and sensitive companions that are calm and easygoing. They love being around children and get along well with other pets. They love walking, hiking, and playing fetch. Although they are large, they don’t need a lot of exercise, and they are not great companions for people who want long-distance running dogs. An hour of exercise daily is enough for them. Training and socialization should start from when they are small pups.
Saint Bernards are beautiful, hardworking, but loving dogs and are favorites with many people. But sometimes, you want to welcome a loving dog to your home that is not precisely a Saint Bernard. So if you are looking for a large dog breed that is an absolute gentle giant, then you have a few other options as listed above.