(Translation: Mrs.C.Seidler, Mr.Michael J.Wingeier)


ORIGIN : Switzerland
UTILIZATION : Companion-, watch and farm dog
CLASSIFICATION F.C.I. : Group 2: Pinscher and Schnauzer type, Molossian type and Swiss Cattledogs

Section 2.2: Molossian type, Mountain type

Without working trial


At the height of the Great St.Bernard Pass, 2469m (8100ft.) above sea level, a hospice was founded by monks in the 11th century as a refuge for travellers and pilgrims, and large mountain dogs have been kept there for watch and protection since the middle of the 17th century. The existence of such dogs has been documented in paintings and drawings dating back to 1695 and in written official documents of the hospice since 1707.

These dogs were soon in service as companion dogs for the monks, being especially deployed as rescue dogs for travellers lost in snow and fog. Numerous chronicles, published in many languages, as well as verbal reports by the soldiers of Napoleon who transitted the Great Pass with him in 1800, tell of many lives saved by these dogs in the face of "the White Death". The fame of the St.Bernard, then known as the "Barry-dog", spread throughout Europe in the 19th century, and the legendary dog "Barry" became the epitome of the rescue dog.

The direct ancestors of the St.Bernard were the large farm dogs which were widely spread across the region, and within a few generations after the establishment of the ideal type, they were bred into the present day breed. Heinrich Schumacher, from Holligen near Berne/ Switzerland, was the first to document and provide pedigrees for his dogs. In february 1884 the "Schweizerische Hundestammbuch"(SHSB), the Swiss Dog Stud Book, was opened. The very first entry was the St.Bernard "L�on", and the following 28 entries were also all St.Bernards. The Swiss St.Bernard Club was founded in Basle on March 15th 1884. During the International Canine Congress of June 2nd 1887, the St.Bernard was officially recognized as a Swiss breed and the breed standard has declared as binding. Since that time the St.Bernard has been a Swiss national dog.



There are two varieties of the St.Bernard:

  • Short-hair variety (Stockhaar, smooth coat)
  • Long-hair variety (rough coat)

Both varieties are of notable size and have a balanced, sturdy, muscular body with imposing head and alert facial expression.



Friendly by nature. Temperament calm to lively, watchful.



Ideal proportion for height at withers to body length (measured from the point of the shoulder to the point of the ischium) = 5:6.

For the ideal relationship of height at withers to depth of chest see the following sketch.












General : Massive and imposing










Skull strong, broad, seen in profile and from the front slightly rounded; sideways it merges gently rounded into the strongly developed high cheek bones, falling away steeply towards the muzzle. Occipital bone only moderately pronounced. Supraorbital ridges strongly developed. The frontal furrow, which starts as the root of the muzzle and runs over the whole skull, disappears towards the base of the occiput. The skin of the forehead forms wrinkles over the eyes which converge towards the frontal furrow. When the dog is attentive, the wrinkles become more pronounced. When alert, the set-on of the ear and the topline of the skull appear in a straight line.

 Stop : Markedly pronounced.


Muzzle :

Short, does not taper. Nasal bridge straight, with a shallow furrow running its length. length of muzzle shorter than its depth, measured at the root of the muzzle.


Black, broad and square. Nostrils well opened.


Edge of lips black. Flews of upper jaw strongly developed, pendulous, forming a wide curve towards the nose. Corner of mouth remains visible.

Teeth :

Strong, regular and complete scissor or even bite. Reverse scissor bite acceptable. Missing PM 1 (premolar 1) tolerated.

Eyes :

Medium size. Colour dark brown to lighter nut-brown. Not too deeply set, with a friendly expression. Eyelids as close fitting as possible. Complete pigmentation on eye rims. Natural tightness of lids desired. A small angular wrinkle of the lower eyelid with inconspicuous showing of the conjuntiva, as well as a small angular wrinkle of the upper eye lid are allowed.

Ears :

Medium size, set on high and wide. Strongly developed burr at the base. Ear flaps pliable, triangular with the tip rounded off. The back edge stands off slightly, the front edge lies close fitting to the cheeks.

NECK : Strong, dewlap not too exaggerated.


General General appearance imposing and balanced.

Topline Withers well defined. Straight from withers to loin. Rump falls away gently and merges with root of tail.

Back : Broad, strong and firm. .

Chest : Brisket moderately deep with well sprung ribs, but not reaching beyond the elbows.

Belly and lower line : Slight tuck-up towards rear.


Set on broad and strong. Tall long and heavy, Its last vertebra reaching at least to the hocks. When in repose, the tall hangs straight down or may turn gently upward in the lower third. When animated, it is carried higher.



General :

Stance rather broad, straight and parallel when seen from front.


Muscular, shoulder-blade oblique, well attached to the chest wall.

Upper arm

The same length or only slightly shorter than the shoulder-blade. Angle between shoulder blade and upper arm not too straight.

Elbow :

Laying well onto the body.

Forearm :

Straight, heavy boned, tautly muscled.

Pasterns :

Vertically straight when seen from front and at a light angle when seen from the side.

Forefeet :

Broad, compact, with strong, well arched toes.



General :

Hindquarters muscular with moderate angulation. Seen from rear, the hind legs are parallel and not too close together.

Upper thigh :

Strong, muscular with broad buttocks.

Stifle :

Well angulated, turning neither in nor out.

Lower thigh :

Slanting and rather long.

Hock joints :

Slightly angulated and firm.

Hock :

Straight and parallel when seen from behind.

Hind feet :

Broad, compact, with strong well arched toes. Dewclaws tolerated as long as they do not hinder movement.


Coordinated, smooth reaching strides with good drive from the hindquarters. Hindquarters track in line with the forequarters.









a wonderful German shorthair bitch



Short-hair variety (Stockhaar, smooth coat) :

Top coat dense, smooth, close lying and coarse, with rich undercoat. Buttocks lightly breeched. Tail covered with dense fur.

Long-hair variety (rough coat) :

Top coat plain, of medium length with a rich undercoat. Over the haunches and rump usually somewhat wavy. Front legs feathered. Buttocks well breeched. Short hair on face and ears. Bushy tall.


Basic colour white with either small or large reddish-brown splashes ("splash coat") or a continuous reddish-brown blanket covering back and flanks ("mantle coat"). A torn reddish-brown mantle (broken up by white) is of equal value. Reddish-brown brindle permissible. Brownish-yellow tolerated. Dark brown shadings on head desirable. Slight black shadings on body tolerated.

Markings :

Chest, feet, tip of tail, muzzle band, blaze and patch on neck must be white.

Desirable : White collar. Symmetrical dark mask.



Minimal height : dogs 70 cm (27.56 in) bitches 65 cm (25.59 in)
Maximum height : dogs 90 cm (35.43 in) bitches 80 cm (31.5 in)

Dogs which exceed the maximum height will not be penalized, provided their general appearance is balanced and their movement correct.


Everey departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault which will be assessed according to the degree of departure from the standard.

  • Lack of correct gender characteristics
  • Unbalanced general appearance
  • Strong wrinkles on head, excessive dewlap
  • Muzzle too short or too long.
  • Flews of the lower jaw turning outward
  • Under- or overshot bite
  • Missing teeth other than PM 1 (premolar 1)
  • Low set on ears
  • Light eyes
  • Entropion, ectropion
  • Eyelids too loose
  • Sway back or roach back
  • Rump higher than withers or falling away steeply
  • Tall carried curled over back
  • Crooked or severely turned out front legs.
  • Poorly angulated, bowed or cow-hocked hindquarters
  • Faulty movement
  • Curly coat
  • Incomplete or totally absent pigment on nose, around the nose, on lips and eyelids
  • Faulty markings, e.g. white with reddish-brown ticks
  • Faults of temperament : aggressiveness, shyness



  • Coat totaly white or totally reddish-brown
  • Coat of a different colour
  • Wall eye, blue eye.


N.B. : Male animals should have two apparently normally developed testicles fully descended into the scrotum.




Powerful, proportionately tall figure, strong and muscular in every part, with powerful head and most intelligent expression. In dogs with a dark mask the expression appears more stern, but never ill-natured.

Like the whole body, very powerful and imposing. The massive skull is wide, slightly arched and the sides slope in a gentle curve into the very strongly developed, high cheek bones. Occiput only moderately developed. The supra-orbital ridge is very strongly developed and forms nearly a right angle with the long axis of the head. Deeply imbedded between the eyes and starting at the root of the muzzle, a furrow runs over the whole skull. It is strongly marked in the first half, gradually disappearing toward the base of the occiput. The lines at the sides of the head diverge considerably from the outer corner of the eyes toward the back of the head. The skin of the forehead, above the eyes, forms rather noticeable wrinkles, more or less pronounced, which converge toward the furrow. Especially when the dog is alert or at attention the wrinkles are more visible without in the least giving the impression of morosity. Too strongly developed wrinkles are not desired. The slope from the skull to the muzzle is sudden and rather steep.

The muzzle is short, does not taper, and the vertical depth at the root of the muzzle must be greater than the length of the muzzle. The bridge of the muzzle is not arched, but straight; in some dogs, occasionally, slightly broken. A rather wide, well-marked, shallow furrow runs from the root of the muzzle over the entire bridge of the muzzle to the nose. The flews of the upper jaw are strongly developed, not sharply cut, but turning in a beautiful curve into the lower edge, and slightly overhanging. The flews of the lower jaw must not be deeply pendant. The teeth should be sound and strong and should meet in either a scissors or an even bite; the scissors bite being preferable. The undershot bite, although sometimes found with good specimens, is not desirable. The overshot bite is a fault. A black roof to the mouth is desirable.

Nose (Schwamm) - Very substantial, broad, with wide open nostrils, and, like the lips, always black.

Ears - Of medium size, rather high set, with very strongly developed burr (Muschel) at the base. They stand slightly away from the head at the base, then drop with a sharp bend to the side and cling to the head without a turn. The flap is tender and forms a rounded triangle, slightly elongated toward the point, the front edge lying firmly to the head, whereas the back edge may stand somewhat away from the head, especially when the dog is at attention. Lightly set ears, which at the base immediately cling to the head, give it an oval and too little marked exterior, whereas a strongly developed base gives the skull a squarer, broader and much more expressive appearance.

Eyes - Set more to the front than the sides, are of medium size, dark brown, with intelligent, friendly expression, set moderately deep. The lower eyelids, as a rule, do not close completely and, if that is the case, form an angular wrinkle toward the inner corner of the eye. Eyelids which are too deeply pendant and show conspicuously the lachrymal glands, or a very red, thick haw, and eyes that are too light, are objectionable.

Set high, very strong and when alert or at attention is carried erect. Otherwise horizontally or slightly downward. The junction of head and neck is distinctly marked by an indentation. The nape of the neck is very muscular and rounded at the sides which makes the neck appear rather short. The dewlap of throat and neck is well pronounced: too strong development, however, is not desirable.

Sloping and broad, very muscular and powerful. The withers are strongly pronounced.

Very well arched, moderately deep, not reaching below the elbows.

Very broad, perfectly straight as far as the haunches, from there gently sloping to the rump, and merging imperceptibly into the root of the tail.

Well-developed. Legs very muscular.

Distinctly set off from the very powerful loin section, only little drawn up.

Starting broad and powerful directly from the rump is long, very heavy, ending in a powerful tip. In repose it hangs straight down, turning gently upward in the lower third only, which is not considered a fault. In a great many specimens the tail is carried with the end slightly bent and therefore hangs down in the shape of an "f". In action all dogs carry the tail more or less turned upward. However it may not be carried too erect or by any means rolled over the back. A slight curling of the tip is sooner admissible.

Upper Arms
Very powerful and extraordinarily muscular.

Lower Leg
Straight, strong.

Hind legs
Hocks of moderate angulation. Dewclaws are not desired; if present, they must not obstruct gait.

Broad, with strong toes, moderately closed, and with rather high knuckles. The so-called dewclaws which sometimes occur on the inside of the hind legs are imperfectly developed toes. They are of no use to the dog and are not taken into consideration in judging. They may be removed by surgery.

Very dense, short-haired (stockhaarig), lying smooth, tough, without however feeling rough to the touch. The thighs are slightly bushy. The tail at the root has longer and denser hair which gradually becomes shorter toward the tip. The tail appears bushy, not forming a flag.

White with red or red with white, the red in its various shades; brindle patches with white markings. The colors red and brown-yellow are of entirely equal value. Necessary markings are: white chest, feet and tip of tail, noseband, collar or spot on the nape; the latter and blaze are very desirable. Never of one color or without white. Faulty are all other colors, except the favorite dark shadings on the head (mask) and ears. One distinguishes between mantle dogs and splash-coated dogs.

Height at Shoulder
Of the dog should be 27½ inches minimum, of the bitch 25½ inches. Female animals are of finer and more delicate build.

Considered as Faults
Are all deviations from the Standard, as for instance a swayback and a disproportionately long back, hocks too much bent, straight hindquarters, upward growing hair in spaces between the toes, out at elbows, cowhocks and weak pasterns.


The longhaired type completely resembles the shorthaired type except for the coat which is not shorthaired (stockhaarig) but of medium length plain to slightly wavy, never rolled or curly and not shaggy either. Usually, on the back, especially from the region of the haunches to the rump, the hair is more wavy, a condition, by the way, that is slightly indicated in the shorthaired dogs. The tail is bushy with dense hair of moderate length. Rolled or curly hair, or a flag tail, is faulty. Face and ears are covered with short and soft hair; longer hair at the base of the ear is permissible. Forelegs only slightly feathered; thighs very bushy.

Approved April 13, 1998
Effective May 31, 1998