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Male vs Female St. Bernard: Differences Explained (With Pictures)

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By Misty Layne

Male vs Female Saint Bernard Dog

Getting a new dog is always a good time, but along with determining which breed is right for you, you also need to decide which gender is best for you. There aren’t always major differences, but occasionally, males and females of a breed can be vastly different. But what about with the St. Bernard?

When it comes to the St. Bernard, you’ll find only minor differences between the genders. Both male and female St. Bernards are going to be loving, gentle giants. However, there will be a slight difference between the two genders’ sizes, along with a couple of other small but potentially important variances.

Here’s what to know when choosing which gender is right for you!

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Visual Differences

Image Credit: Left – Rita_Kochmarjova, Shutterstock | Right – Artush, Shutterstock

At a Glance

Male St. Bernard
  • Average height (adult): 28–30 inches
  • Average weight (adult): 140–180 pounds
Female St. Bernard
  • Average height (adult): 26–28 inches
  • Average weight (adult): 120–140 pounds

St. Bernard 101

When you think of the St. Bernard, you likely imagine a large dog hanging out in the Alps. This is because the breed originated there! In 1050, a monk set up a hospice in the Alps, but the pass where it was located was dangerous 1. So, over the following centuries, the monks of the hospice bred the powerful St. Bernard to aid in rescuing travelers who’d been stranded.

That technically makes the St. Bernard a working dog, but over the years, it has also become an excellent companion dog. One reason is the breed’s gentle nature, which makes them wonderful for families with children (no matter the children’s size, as the St. Bernard is very aware of its own size and strength, so accidents rarely occur). And the St. Bernard is incredibly friendly, not only with people but other animals.

Of course, St. Bernards aren’t for everyone, given their size, but if you adopt one, you’ll enjoy an affectionate companionship.

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Male St. Bernard Overview

Saint Bernard dog outdoor
Image Credit: 4598242, Pixabay

Personality / Character

Both male and female St. Bernards will be loving, but the males, in particular, are supposed to have incredibly big hearts! However, males are more likely than females to experience wanderlust, which means they are more at risk of disappearing (though a good fence in the backyard and a careful eye can prevent this). And though the St. Bernard breed is rarely aggressive, if one of these dogs is going to be aggressive, it will most likely be a male rather than a female.

Training

If you have a male St. Bernard, you might have a bit more of a challenge when it comes to training it. Males tend to need more time to learn new commands, for one. And when it comes time to potty train, they can be much messier than females, so be prepared to do some clean-up during this time! Overall, it shouldn’t be too difficult to train a male St. Bernard; it just might take longer than training a female.

Saint Bernard sitting in meadow
Image Credit: rokopix, Shutterstock

Health & Care

Male and female St. Bernards have about the same chances of becoming ill or developing health conditions. And in either case, those conditions will likely be the same. A few of the health conditions St. Bernard’s can face include:

Breeding

If you’re looking to breed St. Bernards, you should know you’ll need patience, as obtaining a litter can take up to a year. It’s also advisable to do a Degenerative Myelopathy DNA Test on males and females of the breed to ensure excellent health.

Pros
  • May be a bit more loving
Cons
  • Training is a tad more challenging
  • Can experience wanderlust and wander off

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Female St. Bernard Overview

st bernard
Image Credit: Grigorita Ko, Shutterstock

Personality / Character

Thankfully, female St. Bernards are less prone to wandering off, so you shouldn’t have to worry about that (though a fence is still a good idea!). And though the male St. Bernard might have a bigger heart, the female St. Bernard will be more affectionate than the male with any puppies it may have. Female St. Bernards also have a tendency to be more nurturing to both children and their own pups.

Training

Also, a plus for female St. Bernards is the ease of training them. They will learn new commands much quicker than male St. Bernards, so training them should take less time than training males. And females are less likely to have accidents or cause messes during potty training!

St. Bernard lying on grass
Image Credit: Ilona Krijgsman, Pixabay

Health & Care

The female St. Bernard will have the potential to develop the same health problems as the male St. Bernard. This means you need to keep a close eye out for disorders of the eye, bloat (which is life-threatening), and hip dysplasia. Overall, the breed is fairly healthy, though.

Breeding

The female St. Bernard is often bred from six to nine months; however, many believe this is too early. To be safe, you likely want to wait until a female has fully matured, which will be between 18 and 24 months of age. As with the male St. Bernard, you’ll want to run a Degenerative Myelopathy DNA Test on any females to be sure your pup is healthy.

Pros
Cons
  • Can be less affectionate with people than a male

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Which Gender Is Right for You?

Because there aren’t huge differences between male and female St. Bernards, choosing the gender right for you will come down to personal preference. Do you want your dog to be larger, like a male? Do you want a more nurturing canine or one with a bigger heart that offers more affection? How much time will you be able to dedicate to training and cleaning up during potty training? These are excellent questions to ask yourself when deciding.

Both male and female St. Bernards will be a welcome addition to any home, though!

See also: 


Featured Image Credit: (L) Vlad Rudkov, Unsplash | (R) Siddharth shah, Unsplash

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