There are numerous other dog breeds that are similar to St. Bernards, carrying their aura and allure while offering a bit of their own unique twist. So, let’s explore these canine counterparts that are sure to melt your heart.
The 13 Dog Breeds Similar to St Bernards
1. Greater Swiss Mountain Dog
Known as a muscular version of the St. Bernard, the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is a Swiss breed with a short to medium-length coat. This power-packed pooch can weigh up to 140 pounds and has a knack for pulling weight, making him a sturdy work companion.
Embodying a balance between strength and sweetness, these dogs are protective of their family yet endearing and friendly.
2. Appenzeller Sennenhund
The Appenzeller Sennenhund is a bundle of energy known for its agility and playful nature. Although they maintain the traditional Swiss look, their high intelligence, active nature, and excellent watchdog qualities differentiate them from their more relaxed St. Bernard counterparts.
3. Bernese Mountain Dog
The Bernese Mountain Dog is a Swiss breed that shares similar coloring to the St. Bernard. With a less droopy and more cheerful facial expression, this breed typically weighs up to 115 pounds. Renowned for their good nature and calm demeanor, they closely resemble the St. Bernard in many ways.
4. Caucasian Ovcharka
Also known as the Caucasian Shepherd Dog, this breed is a gentle giant, weighing up to 170 pounds. With arguably the fluffiest coat on this list, they are a treasure for those who don’t mind dog hair and are equally kind-hearted and affectionate towards their loved ones.
5. Entlebucher Mountain Dog
Commonly called the Swiss Alps “laughing dog”, Entlebucher Mountain Dogs are a talkative and energetic breed. Being the smallest and fastest of the Swiss breeds, these dogs love tasks such as herding cattle and are often compared to a St. Bernard crossed with a Beagle due to their appearance.
6. Great Pyrenees Dog
Resembling a cuddly teddy bear, the Great Pyrenees shares many giant breed traits with the St. Bernard. Known for being smart, patient, and calm, these dogs also excel as vigilant guard dogs. Graceful despite their size, they adore spending quality time with their family.
7. Tornjak Dog
A rarity in America, owning a Tornjak could make you quite unique in your neighborhood. This Croatian Shepherd dog is a fierce protector when it comes to family, and his appearance has often been compared to a St. Bernard mixed with a Border Collie.
8. Leonberger Dog
The Leonberger is a gentle giant who is known for his loving nature. With a black face and a bushy lion’s mane, these dogs have been a favorite amongst royalty. Often found enjoying a dip in the local lake, Leonbergers are particularly good with children, adding a touch of softness to their massive stature.
9. Tibetan Mastiff Dog
The Tibetan Mastiff is a reserved yet affectionate dog breed that loves leisurely walks and requires daily grooming due to its dense coat. With darker coat colors and less white than the St. Bernard, they add a unique aesthetic to the family of giant dog breeds.
10. Spanish Mastiff
The Spanish Mastiff is another heavyweight contender, reaching up to 200 pounds. Although relatively unknown in America, this shaggy-coated breed is a fierce protector of homes and families. Some even sport coat colors similar to the St. Bernard.
11. Newfoundland Dog
Newfoundlands, or “Newfies,” are very similar to St. Bernards both in appearance and temperament. Interestingly, these dogs were crossbred with St. Bernards in the Swiss Alps with the aim of enhancing their puppies’ coats. This sweet-natured breed loves to relax with its family.
12. English Mastiff
If you adore the St. Bernard’s large, goofy appearance but prefer a shorter coat, the English Mastiff might be the perfect fit. These gentle giants are somewhat dominant and tend to be shy, gravitating towards the company of their loved ones.
13. Estrela Mountain Dog
Originating from Portugal, the Estrela Mountain Dog serves as a police dog and in marine rescue operations. These dogs are affectionate with their family, often choosing one member as their main companion. Their coats are typically dark with red and brown hues, setting them apart aesthetically.
Caring for Large Breed Dogs
Looking after large breed dogs, like those similar to St. Bernards, can be a rewarding but challenging experience. They require unique care to ensure they stay healthy, happy, and well-adjusted. Here are some tips that can help you along the way.
Diet and Nutrition
Large-breed dogs have specific dietary needs to support their size and energy. Feed them high-quality dog food that’s rich in protein and contains the right balance of carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals. Keep in mind that overfeeding can lead to obesity, a common problem in large breeds.
Exercise and Mental Stimulation
Despite their size, large-breed dogs need regular exercise to maintain a healthy weight and good mental health. Include activities that challenge their mind as well, such as puzzle toys or advanced training commands. Remember, a tired dog is a happy dog!
Regular Health Check-ups
Large-breed dogs can be prone to certain health conditions, such as hip dysplasia and heart diseases. Regular vet check-ups can help detect any potential health issues early. Also, keep their vaccinations and preventive medications (like heartworm and flea/tick treatments) up-to-date.
Proper grooming is essential for large breed dogs, especially those with long or dense coats. Regular brushing helps prevent matting and skin issues, while frequent baths keep their skin clean and healthy. Don’t forget to clean their ears and brush their teeth regularly, too.
Socialization and Training
Training and socialization are crucial for large-breed dogs. Early socialization helps them grow into well-adjusted adults, while training can manage their size and strength effectively. Remember, a well-behaved large-breed dog is much easier and safer to handle.
Large breed dogs need ample space to move around comfortably. A house with a spacious backyard is ideal, but if you live in an apartment, ensure you take your dog out for frequent walks or to a nearby park.
Love and Affection
Last but absolutely not least, love and affection are the most essential elements in caring for your large-breed dog. They crave human companionship and bond deeply with their families. Ensuring your pet feels loved and cared for will foster a strong, healthy, and joyful relationship.
There’s a world of breeds out there offering their unique spins on the St. Bernard’s charm. So whether you’re looking for something slightly different or simply want to explore your options, these dog breeds are worth considering.
Each carries its own charm and character, perfectly suited to different lifestyle preferences while retaining the core charm we associate with St. Bernards.
Featured Image Credit: Artush, Shutterstock