St. Bernards are gentle but powerful dogs who are one of the favorites among giant breeds. However, the St. Bernard lifespan is considerably shorter than other breeds.
They have a calm demeanor with short or long fur and white markings on their brown-colored coats.
Perhaps the most appealing feature of a St. Bernard is their ability to fit in with the family. In fact, St. Bernards are actually great with children and make good nanny dogs because they are patients and watchful.
They can make anyone an excellent companion. You can expect that adult males will stand at 27.5 in at the shoulder, but females come in a slightly smaller package.
Since they have a shorter lifespan than most breeds their owners tend to cherish every moment with them.
St. Bernard Life Expectancy
On average St. Bernards usually live for approximately 8 to 10 years. This is a lifespan that is shorter than many other breeds out there.
Nonetheless, it is not uncommon for dogs who are of a larger size to have a shorter lifespan. Their huge size is responsible for their aging which is considerably faster than other dog breeds.
They also become more susceptible to life-threatening diseases like cancers.
Saint Bernard lifespan is shorter than the average lifespan of dogs which is usually around 10 to 13 years. Medium and small-sized breeds tend to live a bit more than this.
But with larger breeds, you can improve the quality of life and lengthen their time if certain measures are put in place.
Owners can prolong the lives of their St. Bernards if they institute proper nutrition and have set times for their dog and if they engage them in proper exercise.
Visits to the vet are also recommended because you will be able to diagnose any problems at an early-stage
How Can I Extend The Life Of My Saint Bernard
Feed Him Healthy Diet
Because St. Bernards have a shorter life span than many other breeds, you should pay close attention to his nutritional intake. You need to feed your St. Bernard food that is nutritionally dense because his life depends on it.
The dog food that you feed him, should be of a high quality that is commercially manufactured or made at home. Large breed dogs tend to benefit from raw diets that are high in protein and low in fat.
This is because when large breed dogs are overweight they develop a host of diseases earlier in life.
Commercially manufactured kibble can work as well, but they must be free of fillers and other ingredients that make them unhealthy.
They must also be high in protein and contain all the necessary nutrients that your St. Bernard needs. Whatever you decide, make sure that your veterinarian approves the diets just to make sure.
By feeding your dog a diet that is nutritious and healthy, you can add years to his life.
Please keep in mind that there are various stages in your dog’s life, and you would need to feed him food that is reflective of those stages. Also, remember to make available clean fresh water for your dog at all times.
Above all, you should have a strict schedule of what you feed your dog and when you give him the food because obesity should be avoided at all costs. This is the enemy of a large breed dog.
Exercise & Training
Even though St. Bernards are large breeds, they don’t need excessive amounts of exercise to be healthy. St. Bernards should exercise moderately which would be approximately one hour per day.
A light walk would be sufficient, or you can engage them in play activities which they tend to enjoy.
It is okay to take him along on hikes and camping trips, but please be aware that St. Bernards incline to develop hip dysplasia and joint problems.
Activities that involve young children or humans, in general, are particularly enjoyable to St. Bernards. Exercise is good for the heart and keeping the blood pumping is one of the best things that you can do to prolong his life.
When it comes to training please remember that St. Bernards are large dogs, so training is of greater importance because they are capable of much more damage to your property. It is important to invest in a good trainer.
St. Bernard’s are intelligent breeds, and they are highly trainable. Paying someone to train your dog or doing it yourself, so your dog can learn about what kind of behavior you expect is one of the best investments that you can make.
This is because dogs that are trained tend to be happier as they make their owners happy.
Visit The Vet Regularly
Since many times a St. Bernard will not get sick from the aging itself, but the many diseases that come with age, veterinary visits are of utmost importance.
When you visit the vet he or she will be able to diagnose problems and treats them speedily as opposed to waiting until they are unmanageable. This is the importance of the vet.
Veterinarians are also helpful when it comes to advising on nutrition and the general upkeep of your St. Bernard. Your friends will be able to tell from the signs and symptoms that exist, any major issues that need your attention.
To increase your St. Bernards life span, this is one of the best decisions that you can make as the owner of a St. Bernard.
Your vet will also be able to tell you about the latest vaccines that are available, so you can give them to your St. Bernard to protect him from fatal diseases such as adenovirus, canine distemper, or canine hepatitis.
A frequency of every 6 months is a reasonable time to visit your vet unless instructed otherwise.
Breeding & Genetics
A proper diet, exercise, and trips to the vets can only get you so far. Part of prolonging your St. Bernards life span starts with genetics.
Knowing your dog’s family tree and genetic history can help you to prolong his life. Usually, if a dog’s parents can live a bit longer his offspring will follow suit.
Another thing that would be helpful is knowing the size of the parents. This is important because we know from research that animals of larger size tend to have a shorter life span.
So if you realize that your dog’s parents we’re slightly smaller than average this could mean that your dog may live a bit longer.
Another reason this is important is that many of the so-called purebred dogs are actually mixed. Research has also shown that mixed dogs have an edge when it comes to life span.
They tend to live a bit longer so if you find out that your St. Bernard is mixed with a breed of a smaller size then he may live longer.
Also, because dogs of a certain breed tend to suffer from specific illnesses butts by cross-breeding, this likelihood may be mitigated.
Overweight Saint Bernards Live Shorter Lives
Research conducted by researchers at the University of Gottingen in Germany discovered that large breed dogs who gain excessive weight are more likely to have shorter life spans.
This is similar to human adults who are overweight. They are at greater risk for many lifestyle diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes.
It is estimated that a surprising one month is decreased from your dog’s life when he is overweight by a mere 4.4 lb. even with all the extra blades large breed dogs tend to age faster so that they grow rapidly throughout their lifespan.
A St. Bernards 8 – 10-year average can be improved by changing his lifestyle and just giving him the best food.
You should also consider the stage that your dog is currently at then you would need to feed a senior dog differently than you do your puppy.
Do Mixed St. Bernards Live Longer Than Purebred Ones?
Mixed breeds have a slight advantage when it comes to the life span because they live a better longer than purebreds do. Numerous studies give credence to this claim.
We know that smaller breed dogs live the longest butts mixed breed dogs live longer than large breeds.
This is also true of St. Bernards but only in cases when they are mixed with smaller breeds.
If two large breed dogs were to ave have offspring, the lifespan will not be improved for that offspring in any way.
But if a large breed and a medium or small breed were to have offspring then the lifespan would be improved in that offspring because of the benefits of the longevity that the smaller breed brings.
The mix and lineage may also help to reduce the likelihood of some diseases faced by larger breeds here. The size of mixed breeds may also be different from that of purebred dogs, so this is a great way to tell.
St. Bernard Age Groups Explained
Who doesn’t love a cute puppy? St. Bernards make adorable puppies and are very small bugs they do not stay that way because they grow into the giant breed that everyone knows.
They will be sensitive and delicate at this time, and they develop the skills that they will need throughout their lives.
Juvenile & Teenager
During this stage, you can expect your St. Bernard to experience heat cycles as he learns more about his environment. Most of his growth will be accomplished (between 70 to 80%) at this time.
You should start training if you have not already done so. Because an untrained dog this large can cost you a lot of trouble.
In adulthood, your St. Bernard will have achieved full growth but many of them gain weight especially if their diets are unbalanced.
Be very careful of this by being conscious of their weight and age. Adulthood does not mean that they are less playful, although they do tend to outgrow this over time.
At this stage, your St. Bernard may experience mental and physical declines. It is also when they will develop fatal diseases most of the time.
Senior St. Bernards are also less active, so you need to change his diet to accommodate this.
Does Neutering & Spaying Affect St. Bernard Lifespan
When St. Bernards are not spayed they tend to develop certain diseases that may be fatal. Because of this, they usually have shorter life spans so indirectly spaying and neutering may prolong the life of your dog.
St. Bernards that are not spayed or neutered usually develop certain types of cancers that affect their reproductive organs he did.
Your St. Bernard is also less likely to stray and injure himself when he is spayed or neutered.
Remember that you should not spay or neuter your St. Bernard too early as this may hurt his health. Seek the advice of your veterinarian who will be able to let you know when is the best time to conduct this procedure.
Saint Bernard Common Health Issues That Can Affect Their Lifespan
St. Bernards are a giant breed which places them at risk for an array of diseases as well as a reduced lifespan.
As a dog owner, being aware of these diseases can hope you to prolong the life of your dog because early diagnosis and even prevention can make treatments easier. These potential health issues are as follows:
Cataracts occur when the lens of your dog becomes opaque causing his vision to be disrupted. When the cataract is small it does not affect your dog in any meaningful way but as time progresses, it makes it exceedingly hard to function normally.
You will know your dog has cataracts by noticing a cloudy Iris that gives the appearance that there is a layer in front of the eyes. Cataracts can be treated with surgery so consult your veterinarian.
Canine Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM)
This is a heart disorder that affects the heart muscles which become weak and thin, so they have trouble contracting as they normally do.
Some signs and symptoms that your dog has this condition will be depression, weight loss, loss of appetite, hands, and enlarged abdomen.
Your St. Bernard may have sudden seizures because he is at risk for epilepsy. This is a neurological disorder that affects both males and females and there are two main types which are primary and secondary.
This is an eye disorder resulting in the eyelids rolling inward because of rubbing hair with the cornea. It causes irritation, perforation, and pain for your St. Bernard.
Elbow Dysplasia and Hip Dysplasia
These are disorders that affect the joints of your dog. They are believed to be hereditary and may be treated by using anti-inflammatories. They mostly affect larger dogs, but other breeds can have them as well.
St. Bernard Lifespan FAQs
What Is The Longest Living Saint Bernard In The World
St. Bernards usually live for between 8 to 10 years but some of them live past 10 with proper care. The oldest St. Bernard on the record is said to have lived in the UK with a lifespan of 13 years.
Does A St. Bernard Live Longer Than A Newfoundland Dog?
St. Bernards and Newfoundlands are both large dogs who have around the same lifespan of 8 to 10 years. They also suffer from similar diseases such as heart disease and hip dysplasia.
Another way that you can prolong your St. Bernards’s life is by providing him with a clean and safe environment. This simple habit is often overlooked but is very important to your St. Bernard.
Many dogs get into mischief and come into contact with harmful chemicals. As a dog owner, you need to ensure that this does not happen.
Also, make sure that your St. Bernard has a clean and healthy environment. ensure that he has ample exercise and space to run around and play.
Make sure that the water that you place for him is clean and fresh every day. St. Bernards do not like the heat very much. They tend to thrive in cold weather.