Hiking With a Saint Bernard (Everything You Should Know)

Hiking With a Saint Bernard

The great outdoors is where I learned to love hiking trips with family and friends. With my newfound enjoyment in hiking, I embarked on numerous solo trips that were lengthy and also trips that were overnight.

While hiking alone in the woods one day, I found myself thinking about my trusted and loved companion back at home. His name was Bruno. He was an 18 month old, 210 pound Saint Bernard. Bruno could usually be found at my side; but I had never once considered taking him on a hiking trip before.

I wondered if the Saint Bernard breed does well hiking?

Out of all the dog breeds in the world, Saint Bernards are known for many amazing characteristics.

According to PETMDOpens in a new tab., “They should be known as the “dog rescuer.” Gaining their name from the dangerous St. Bernard pass in the Alps between Italy and Switzerland, the breed was famous for rescuing people lost in the snow and in avalanches.”

This breed proved time and time again that they had the strength needed to endure treacherous terrain and length trips to help individuals struggling in some of the roughest parts of the world.

Does that make them a good hiking partner? I would say so. Let’s learn more.

Best Temperatures For A Saint Bernard

Saint Bernard in Grass on a Sunny Day
The upper temperature that can handle of Saint Bernard is 85 to 86 degrees fahrenheit.

Saint Bernards can be found living all over the world. They can live in the northern climates or in high elevation mountain regions where the temperatures are cold. Or, they can be found in the heat of the hot summer weather where the temperatures are much hotter.

Saint Bernards do best in temperatures that are 85 degrees Fahrenheit or lower.

The Saint Bernard Club of AmericaOpens in a new tab. writes, “In a hot dry climate cool plentiful water is a MUST. In the hottest times you may need to refresh the dog water several times a day. Newly refreshed water is often a plaything that can be spread over a large area.

As the mouth area of a Saint is one of the largest areas for cooling their whole body, they will swish water around their mouths to cool down even if they are not actually drinking a lot.”

With temperatures that rise over a comfortable level a Saint Bernard can tolerate, it is best to provide shade and water. With shade and a supply of fresh water, a Saint Bernard will struggle and it can be very dangerous. Extra caution needs to be taken to ensure the safety of your beloved pet if hiking in areas that are going to be over 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

Knowing the history of Saint Bernard proves that the Saint Bernard does extremely well in freezing cold temperatures. They can travel miles and miles in snowy environments to locate missing children and adults.

An article published by Kids Love Pets statesOpens in a new tab., “Generally, adult Saint Bernards do well being outdoors when the air is at or just below the freezing point. Regular walks when it is as cold as 0°F/ -18C° are alright but avoid staying outdoors longer than an hour.”

As with people, dogs get cold and can can get sick when proper safety measures are not reviewed.

How Many Miles Can a Saint Bernard Hike In One Day?

Close Up Shot of a Saint Bernard
Saint Bernard can hike approximately 3 to 5 miles with a break.

When people go on hiking trips, they tend to go for many miles.

Saint Bernards are built to endure traveling for miles when they were originally as rescue dogs. But, Saint Bernards are not built to be running partners. They will not be successful as companions for runners that want to run 5, 10 or even 15+ miles on a given trip.

However, hiking is much different than running. Distances are also very different.

Saint Bernards can hike for 3-5 miles at a slower pace and when they are offered breaks and water. Causing a Saint Bernard to run or even walk at a distance they are not prepared to do can cause them to overheat and be put in an emergency situation.

Will Saint Bernards Chase Other Animals?

Saint Bernards are very loyal dogs that will stay with their companion when home or away from home. They are friendly and do not show a lot of aggression when around new animals and people.

According to Daily PawsOpens in a new tab., “Most Saints have a low prey drive and do well with all other animals.” Therefore, they tend to not chase after other animals unless nervous or scared.

Are Saint Bernard dogs protective towards other animals and people?

Saint Bernards are very loyal, kind pets. They have huge hearts and are always eager to please! These dogs are easy to train from a young age and show great intelligence. This breed makes a wonderful family pet that is not only mellow; but can be very playful.

Final Thoughts

The Smithsonian MagazinesOpens in a new tab. states that, “Over a span of nearly 200 years, about 2,000 people, from lost children to Napoleon’s soldiers, were rescued because of the heroic dogs’ uncanny sense of direction and resistance to cold.”

Saint Bernards have been traced back to the 1600s. For over 400 years, the breed has continued to grow with more and more breeders following standards of strength, appearance, temperament and pedigree.

As one can see, the Saint Bernard is an amazing breed that can be a great companion when taking a hiking trip.

It is a MUST that certain steps are taken to ensure the wellbeing of the dog before they embark on these adventures. Temperatures need to be evaluated. Water must be supplied. The length of the hiking trip needs to be built around taking the individual Saint Bernard’s endurance into account.

Many factors will impact how well a Saint Bernard will do on a hiking trip. One must evaluate the Saint Bernard’s age, health and stamina.

Overall, a Saint Bernard can make a wonderful companion on hiking trips!

If you found this guide helpful and you have other dogs in addition to your Saint Bernard, we may have a guide for them too! We have dozens of hiking guides for all kinds of breeds like Australian Shepherd and Golden Retrievers just to name a couple.

Ryan H

I love hiking and being outdoors with Jen and our two rescue dogs, Chompers and Mia. I also enjoy a good weekend trail run. I'm also really enjoying sharing some of the knowledge we've learned along the way here on Zenful Hiking!

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