FCI-Standard N° 61 / EN 


(St.Bernhardshund, Bernhardiner)

TRANSLATION : Mrs. C.Seidler and Mrs. Pepper. Amendments Christina Bailey. Official language (DE).

ORIGIN : Switzerland.


UTILIZATION : Companion-, watch- and farmdog.



Group 2                         Pinscher and Schnauzer type, Molossians, Swiss Mountain-and Cattledogs and other breeds.
Section 2.2                    Molossian type, Mountain type. Without working trial.


At the height of the Great St. Bernard Pass, 2469 metres above sea level, a hospice was founded by monks in the 11th century as a place of refuge for travellers and pilgrims. There, large mountain dogs have been kept since the middle of the 17th century for guarding and protection. The existence of such dogs has been documented pictorially since 1695 and in a written document at the hospice in the year 1707. The dogs were soon in use as companion dogs and specially as rescue dogs for travellers lost in snow and fog. The chronicles about the numerous human lives saved by these dogs from the « white death », published in many languages, and the verbal reports of the soldiers who crossed the pass with Bonaparte’s army in 1800, spread the fame of the St. Bernard, called Barry-dog at that time, throughout Europe during the 19th century. The legendary dog « Barry » became the epitome of the rescue dog. The direct ancestors of the St. Bernard were the large farm dogs common in that region. Within a few generations and aiming to a defined ideal type, these dogs were developed to the present day type of breed. Heinrich Schumacher from Holligen near Bern was the first who began to issue genealogical documents for his dogs in 1867.

In February 1884 the "Schweizerisches Hundestammbuch"(SHSB), the Swiss Dog Stud Book, was started. The very first entry was the St. Bernard "Leon", and the following 28 registrations also concerned St. Bernards. On March 15th 1884, the Swiss St. Bernards-Club was founded in Basel. On the occasion of an international Canine Congress on June 2nd 1887, the St. Bernard dog was officially recognized as a Swiss breed and the breed standard was declared as binding. Since then, the St. Bernard has been regarded as the Swiss national dog.



There are two varieties of the St.Bernard:

  • Short-haired variety (double coat, “Stockhaar”):
  • Long-haired variety.

Both varieties are of considerable size and of impressive general apperance. They have a balanced, powerful, sturdy, muscular body with impressive head and an alert facial expression.



  • Ideal relation of height at withers to length of body (measured from the point of the shoulder to the point of buttocks) = 9 : 10.
  • Ideal relation of height at withers to depth of chest see sketch below.
  • The total length of the head is slightly more than one third of the height at withers.
  • The relation of depth of muzzle (measured at its root) to length of muzzle is almost 2:1.
  • Length of muzzle slightly longer than one third of the total length of the head.


Friendly by nature. Temperament calm to lively; watchful.

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