When most people think of Saint Bernards, they think about their size and thick coats of fur. For others, it could even be of them just lying and sleeping around. Their facial expression does not help either. But is this reputation warranted? Does this breed of dog have a tendency to be quite lethargic and what are they like regarding exercise? With these questions in mind, I decided to spend some time researching into the breed. Here is what I was able to find.
So, are Saint Bernards Lazy? Saint Bernards are naturally a lazy breed of dog, with a preference to sleep and lie about the house. They also do not have the same exercise requirements as most other breeds of dog do. However, just because they can be lazy, this does not mean that they should be left to lie around all day long. They still require a certain amount of exercise – with 30 minutes a day on average being advised. They are generally keen to go outside and are often playful when you do so; this is particularly true in puppies who have a higher energy level.
Saint Bernards are known as a lazy breed of dog and this is in many ways reflective of their general demeanor and personality type.
While this is somewhat warranted, we must be respectful of their sheer size and thick coat; especially if you live in a warm climate or your home is particularly warm.
They can get hot easily and need to cool down; giving the illusion of laziness whereas they are just trying to cool down.
Either way, you should expect a relatively docile, laid back and calm dog if you were to opt for a Saint Bernard. They are instinctively friendly, gentle and tolerant.
Interestingly, Saint Bernard puppies have a lot more energy. In fact, you’ll spend most of your time during this stage of life trying to calm them so that they do not hurt themselves or get overworked!
There is definitely a fine balance of activity in this breed. An overworked, or over-exercised puppy can cause adult Saint Bernards problems later in life, such as joint issues.
Let us now take a closer look at the exercise requirements of the breed before tackling those common questions and misconceptions about sleep and movement.
Plus, we will also be looking at ways to prevent laziness so be sure to keep on reading!
How Much Exercise Does A Saint Bernard Need?
Saint Bernards do not need a lot of exercise, but are always keen for more if their owners want to do so. They usually greet a hike, walk or period of play with great enthusiasm.
Generally, thirty minutes of play or walk a day is enough for this giant dog to get their daily requirements.
For Saint Bernard puppies, you may want to split that thirty minutes up into two or three sessions throughout the day, rather than risk them getting too much at once.
An adult Saint Bernard can have thirty minutes of continuous exercise and should even be okay having slightly more than this.
If you find that your adult Saint Bernard is putting on too much weight, which this breed has a propensity to do, you may want to increase their activity levels and maybe do thirty minutes twice a day.
Saint Bernards love being with their owners and always want to please them. They love to go on hikes and long walks with their people, and having a job to do, such as carrying treats in a pouch, will have them tickled pink.
So getting your Saint Bernard to be active is not usually a problem.
One thing to keep in mind with Saint Bernards is that they take longer than most breeds to reach full maturity, so they are puppies for a long time.
Take care not to go on too long of a walk or hike with a puppy Saint Bernard as it could cause problems with their joints.
Do Saint Bernards Sleep a Lot?
One thing that Saint Bernards love as much as their owners is their sleep. Do not be surprised if it seems that you are always finding your Saint Bernard asleep!
Saint Bernards have a knack of knowing what their energy levels are currently at, based on their environment.
When they are inside, Saint Bernards are very mellow and like to sleep or cuddle up on the couch and not move a lot.
When you get a Saint Bernard outside, it’s like they wake up and have energy – wanting to play and explore.
So, the amount of sleep they get will depend upon the lifestyle they lead. If they are inside for most of the day, they will sleep it away.
Just because they come alive when they are outside does not mean that they are outside dogs.
They don’t do well when left outside, especially on their own. As they overheat easily and don’t do good in hot weather, it’s also not advised to leave them unattended when it is warmer out.
Because they like to sleep a lot, obesity can become a real problem with Saint Bernards, so ensure you keep a close eye on the amount of food they are eating and have them get at least thirty minutes of exercise a day.
Because of the activity levels of the Saint Bernard, they will do good in an apartment setting, much better than most large dogs will.
So, if you love large dogs and live in an apartment, a Saint Bernard might be for you.
How To Stop Your Saint Bernard from Becoming Lazy
The easiest way to stop your Saint Bernard from becoming lazy is to get outside more. This breed loves to be with its people and will want to go outside with you.
When outside, Saint Bernards become extremely playful.
Take them outside if you go for a walk, or want to work in your garden, or even if you want to sit outside and enjoy the weather. Just keep an eye on them to ensure that they are not overheating.
Another way to stop your Saint Bernard from becoming lazy is to get them to help you with things.
Even if it’s just putting a harness with pouches on them and then filling them up for your dog to carry.
Saint Bernards love to be of help, and if they think they are carrying something that you need, they will be excited and want to continue.
If it’s too hot outside, or the weather is not cooperating, you can still help your Saint Bernard from becoming lazy by stimulating their minds and providing them with toys that they can entertain themselves with.
Some tricks to keep them active are to roll treats or part of their meal in a towel. They will then need to dig the food out.
Along the same lines, you can hide food throughout a room or house and search for it.
Saint Bernards don’t have to run marathons to be active, or to prevent them from being lazy.
There are plenty of things that you can do with a Saint Bernard, even within a small space, to get them up and active.
Doing something with them will surely get them moving and have them on top of the world as they love their people and want to make them happy.
Are Saint Bernards High Maintenance?
Saint Bernards are a high maintenance breed and may not be for everyone. While they may not need a lot of exercise, they need care and attention in other areas.
Saint Bernards are very sensitive to temperatures. They do well in colder climates and do not do well in hot environments at all.
Keeping them cool on warm days or living in a warm climate, will be something you will need to be diligent about.
Believe it or not, grooming and maintenance for a Saint Bernard are not all that difficult. You will need to brush them about three times a week and may need to increase that during the shedding season.
A slicker brush works particularly well for their coat, and this one from Amazon is a prime example of the type you will need to get.
You don’t need to bathe Saint Bernards very often, but when you do, use luke-warm water and ensure you have plenty of space. Be sure to only use shampoos and products designed for dogs.
When you bathe them, you might want to do outside if you don’t have large walk-in showers.
Other areas of grooming you’ll need to do are the same as with most other breeds.
Brush their teeth two to three times a week, clip their nails every few weeks as needed, and check their ears weekly to make sure they are clear.
Due to the shape of their jaws, and the amount of skin, plus how it droops down, Saint Bernards drool more than most other breeds of dogs. T
hey drool a lot. Having a drool towel nearby is a good recommendation.
You will notice that Saint Bernards drool more often when they are hungry, active, or hot. So, be prepared, and don’t be surprised if you come across wet puddles on your floor.
You will want to ensure that you get your Saint Bernard puppy into training at an early age. Their activity levels can cause problems, and they can wreak havoc at home and on walks.
Untrained puppies can wreak havoc, and they will run around the house, destroying everything in their way. While out on walks, there is a good chance that they will be leash pullers, especially if they see other people.
Saint Bernards love people and always want to rush towards them to greet them and make new friends.
Saint Bernards tend to be lazy dogs; they sleep a lot and don’t require the same amount of exercise as other dog breeds do. However, Saint Bernard puppies are enthusiastic and full of energy, enough that you may have to work at reigning it in.
If you live in a smaller space and love big dogs, a Saint Bernard may be a great breed choice.
They tend to be more mellow inside than they are outside, so as long as you have a space, you can bring them when outside, they should do just fine.
They require a little more maintenance than some other dog breeds, especially when it comes to drooling and keeping them at a good temperature. There’s not much you can do about the drooling other than be prepared for it and have a rag handy.
Saint Bernards might be giant dogs, but don’t let that scare you. This breed is a people pleaser, always wanting to help and be with those they love.
Also, they are very social and get along great with other people and animals. They are extremely tolerant and careful around children.
So if you don’t mind a little extra maintenance, Saint Bernards make a great family pet.
Want to learn more about the Saint Bernard breed? Check out my other guides below:
- How Much Exercise Does A Saint Bernard Need?
- How Big Do Saint Bernards Get?
- Are Saint Bernards Aggressive?
- Can Saint Bernards Swim?
I am an experienced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets, from traditional pets like dogs and cats, to the more exotic like reptiles and rodents. I currently own a Cockapoo (pictured) called Bailey. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site dedicated to sharing evidence-based insights and guidance, based on my vast pet ownership knowledge, experience, and extensive research.