Dog parents of all breeds can agree that if there’s one thing about our dogs that drives us crazy, it is their shedding.
I know that over the years and numerous dogs I have owned, shedding was the one thing that always drove me crazy!
Hi dog moms & dads! My name is Bri, and my American Bulldog, Bruce, is what I would consider a super shedder. American bullies are notorious for this trait, which I knew when I brought him home.
However, I still do not think I was prepared for just how much dog hair I was bringing into my home! If only someone would have written a shedding guide for my dog… hint hint.
One dog breed that I have never owned myself but have always wanted is a Saint Bernard. I am a huge dog fan, literally… as in I love big dogs. Also a huge fan. You get the point.
My husband and I are on the lookout to adopt a brother or sister for Bruce, and a Saint Bernard is one of the breeds we are considering. Before we make any decisions, we are making sure to do our research!
Part of that research is to see just how much Saint Bernards shed. We already have a heavy shedder in the house, so we want to make sure we are not getting into a situation that will put us over the edge!
I found a ton of information about Saint Bernards and their shedding, along with some really helpful tips on how to manage it.
To help other dog parents learn more about this breed and their shedding, I put this guide together!
First, I’ll get into a little bit about the history of Saint Bernards and what their coats are like. Then we will talk about their shedding and ways to manage it. Any questions? Let’s go!
History of Saint Bernards
Ever seen Beethoven? If not, it is a classic and definitely gives you a glimpse into these beautiful breeds. But obviously that movie was not the first time we have ever seen a Saint Bernard.
Saint Bernards actually date back as far as 1050 (way before Beethoven… the movie and the composer) where a monk named Bernard of Menthon built a small hospital to cater to those traveling to Rome.
This location was mountainous and snow-covered, and Saint Bernards were bred as work dogs to assist the monks.
It was actually their keen sense of smell that made them so famous, because they were able to locate stranded people in the freezing snowstorms.
Saint Bernards were not recognized by the AKC till 1885, and over the years were extremely popular farm dogs.
Their large, intimidating size make for a great guard dog (even though they are super friendly) and also have fantastic herding instincts.
Fast forward to the present, these pups are still used commonly has farm dogs. However, they have taken a huge standing in dog shows too, and are some of the best family dogs out there.
What is a Saint Bernard’s Coat Like?
Picture a giant, brown and white cotton ball. Seriously, these pups are fluffy!
Saint Bernards actually come in two different varieties; long-haired and short-haired. Surprisingly, there are no differences between the shedding traits of either one.
Both have the same requirements as far as grooming goes. Their fur gets tangled easily if they are not brushed regularly, especially long-haired dogs.
Saint Bernards’ coats are soft and warm, which is a trait that was intentionally developed because of their historic origin.
Do Saint Bernards Shed? How Much?
Long story short – yes. But it is not as bad as you might think! Their fur may be more noticeable because of the length, and especially on dark surfaces.
While you might think because of the amount of fluffy fur Saint Bernards have that they would shed a ton, they are actually considered seasonal and moderate shedders.
The only exception to this is the shedding season, which we will talk about next.
When do Saint Bernards Shed the Most?
Time of Year
Two words: 1. Shedding. 2. Season. This is the heavy hitter! Well, hitters, since shedding season happens twice a year.
This happens to all dogs! When the seasons change, dogs shed. Warm weather means shedding that heavy, warm winter coat to keep them cool in the heat.
Likewise for the opposite – when winter creeps in, Saint Bernards shed their summer coats to make room for the warm winter coats.
During this time, Saint Bernards should be brushed on a daily basis. That sounds like a lot, but they have a ton of fur and it is important!
Stage of Life
Did you know puppies shed a lot less than adult dogs? You can almost compare it to having baby teeth.
They pups have their puppy fur for a certain length of time and shed it when they come of age.
The same goes for senior dogs. Once they start to get older, they shed a little more than a normal adult dog.
Diet & Exercise
Diet and exercise makes a huge difference in any dog’s shedding and coat!
With poor nutrition and exercise, most dogs will show signs of excessive hair loss and dry, irritated skin.
Pests and Skin Conditions
Fleas and ticks are annoying for both pets and us parents. They irritate our dogs, causing them to scratch and lick which can definitely cause hair loss.
Some of these pests, like ticks, can also carry diseases that cause excessive hair loss. Mange and other skin conditions are also often responsible for excess shedding!
How to Combat Saint Bernard Shedding
Just to clarify, you should never completely stop a dog from shedding. This is unhealthy for the dog and could cause skin problems for them.
However, controlling and managing the amount of shedding your dog experiences is possible. Saint Bernards are no exception!
Grooming is going to be key for these dogs. Regular brushing will help keep that fur in your garbage can or outside instead of on your furniture or clothing.
I take my dog to the groomer every 6 to 8 weeks to have him professionally bathed and brushed which helps tremendously! I also brush him about once a week in between visits just to maintain the fur.
Saint Bernards also need more baths than your average dog because their long fur gets dirty easily. This will also help with shedding!
We will talk more about what tools you can use in these processes next.
Equipment Help to Combat Saint Bernard Shedding
There are four items every dog owner should invest in. A brush, a lint roller, a good vacuum and a high-quality dog shampoo.
The combination of these tools will make managing any dog, but especially a Saint Bernard’s shedding much easier.
I have used tons of different products over the years, but there are a few that I will always recommend that are my go to!
I have tried many brushes over the years with both long-hair and short-hair dogs. The only brush I will ever use is the Furminator brush.
This brush has lasted through years of multiple dogs, and does an incredible job of removing all the loose hair from my pups.
They make different sizes for different breeds and hair lengths so you can never go wrong!
We try to be eco-friendly in my house, so I try not to use the ones with the sticky peel-away paper.
The one lint roller I love to use is the Magik Brush. It is double sided and works like a charm on clothes and furniture.
Plus, it is reusable so there is less waste and you do not have to keep buying refills!
We absolutely love our Dyson pet hair vacuum because it leaves no hair left behind!
Plus, I always find a ton of dog hair on our steps which can be tricky to get to with a traditional vacuum.
This one comes apart and has different attachments that make getting that hair and the hair off of our furniture in no time.
Are Saint Bernards Considered to be Hypoallergenic?
Saint Bernards are just about as hypoallergenic as a pig is made to fly. You read that right, they are not.
These dogs shed a TON, and even if they did not, they still shed pet dander which is a huge trigger for allergies.
In fact, all dogs shed some sort of fur and pet dander, so having a 100% hypoallergenic dog really is not possible at all.
Although there are some breeds that might trigger allergies less than others, one thing is certain; Saint Bernards are not one of those breeds.
Do Some Saint Bernards Shed More Than Others?
This is always a tricky question because it all depends on the dog. Every dog is different, so the answer could be different in certain circumstances.
However, there could be factors that influences a Saint Bernard’s shedding, such as where they live. For example, a Saint Bernard living in Southern California might shed more than one living in Alaska.
Southern California is warm year-round, so that Saint Bernard will shed its fur more often to stay cool. Alaska has a cooler climate, so that Saint Bernard might not shed as much of their warm coats.
Once again, this is all dependent on the situation. Things like age and diet like we discussed before could also affect this.
More than likely, one Saint Bernard will not shed more than another.
Health Reasons for Increased Shedding in Saint Bernards
There are multiple health conditions that could cause excessive shedding in Saint Bernards. Unfortunately, history tells us that this is not a good thing.
Some examples of things that could make a Saint Bernard shed more than normal could be conditions such as cancer, or skin infections like mange.
Allergies to food or outdoor allergens could also cause a dog to have some shedding issues.
I always try to keep an eye on my dog’s shedding habits so that if something starts to look strange, I am more likely to notice it.
This might seem like a small task, but sometimes it can make a huge difference in your dog’s health!
It is always a good idea to ask your vet if you notice your dog is shedding more than normal. You know your dog better than anyone else, and it is always better to be safe than sorry!
Final Thoughts: Do St Bernards Shed
My love for big dogs might make me biased, but I think having a Saint Bernard at home would be amazing!
Most dog parents have already made a commitment to dog hair, so these dogs will not come as a shock to them.
However, if you are a first time dog parent, it is good to consider all the information I have given you about how much these gentle giants shed.
A new dog can be overwhelming as it is, especially if you are not used to dog hair.
My best advice is to get a solid cleaning routine in place along with a grooming routine for your Saint Bernard. This will be incredibly helpful in maintaining their shedding.
As always, the love of any dog will be well worth the effort of managing the dog hair that comes with it.
Bruce’s hair drives me crazy most of the time, but now I am so used to it that I really do not notice it as much (which could be a good or bad thing).
If you are considering getting a Saint Bernard, make sure you are ready to handle the dog hair! Also contact me and send me pictures because I love these dogs.
Happy Pup Parenting!