St Bernards might not be one of the most popular dogs to own but they're certainly one of the most well-known breeds in the world.
With huge fluffy coats, starring roles in movies, and adorable eyes, these gentle giants really are well renowned. But did you know these pups are often mixed up with other large dogs? In fact, there are quite a few dogs that look like St Bernards…
The appearance of a Saint Bernard
Before we jump into other pups that look like St Bernards, let's first have a look at these iconic Swiss mountain dogs.
St Bernards are enormous. Males can grow to be 30 inches at the shoulder! Females are a (little) smaller at 28.
There's no exact evidence about how much St Bernards weigh under all that fur, but with it, males can be 180 pounds and females 140! Weighing more than a human is one of the big reasons why these pups aren't suitable for everyone to own.
St Bernards come in many different colors – the American Kennel Club recognizes 9 as standard. These dogs can have either a long or shorter-haired coat, both are double coats and require weekly brushing to keep them clean and free from mats. A Saint Bernard will shed more twice per year when they blow their coat and they'll need daily brushing during this time.
The temperament of a Saint Bernard
St Bernards weren't just cast in Beethoven because of their good looks. These big dogs really are great around children and are often referred to as nanny dogs. They're patient, protective, and very alert. Despite their size (and appearance in the dark), a St Bernard is actually a gentle giant.
These dogs are very intelligent and were first used to rescue travelers and pilgrims who got lost in the snow. They're naturally caring but their size and alert nature make them good guard dogs too.
They are lovable doggos that are happy to please their humans but their size does make them a little difficult. A pup that size needs to be trained especially well and have a confident owner who can rise to the challenge.
Dog breeds that look like St Bernards
So, now we know a little more about the temperament and appearance of these big dogs we can see which other dog breeds are easily confused with them!
Bernese Mountain Dogs
Bernese Mountain dogs (as you might think) can often be found in the Swiss alps guarding livestock or children. They're very gentle canines that are intelligent and care a great deal about their families. As is the case with many mountain pups, they're big dogs – although not quite as big as the enormous St Bernard.
A difference between these two farm dogs is that Bernese Mountain Dogs are not accepted in as many colors as St Bernards. They're always tri-colored dogs that have a base coat of black and white and can either have rust or tan markings.
Similar to a St Bernard, a Bernese Mountain Dog needs a good walk every day and plenty of access to an outdoor area.
Greater Swiss Mountain Dog
Standing at 28.5 inches tall and weighing 140 pounds, there aren't many dogs that this breed isn't greater than. This strong and powerful dog breed was made to have a job to do and work on farms. They're capable of pulling huge weights and have a great work ethic. Just like the St Bernard, the Greater Swiss Mountain dog is also wonderful around children and loves to be part of a family.
These large, strong Alpine dogs look very similar to the Bernese Mountain Dog and therefore to the St Bernard too. They're only accepted in black and white with red markings which makes them more like the Bernese Mountain Dog. Their strong bodies, thick coats, and caring eyes give them a distinctly St Bernard look though!
If you're looking for a dog that's just as fluffy as a St Bernard then a Tibetan Mastiff might be the one. These big dogs (although not quite as big as Beethoven) stand at 26 inches tall and have thick double coats that are medium in length. Unlike other dogs on this list so far, Tibetan Mastiffs come in a range of colors from black to cream (although cream isn't accepted by the AKC).
A key difference with this dog breed, however, is they're not as child orientated as the St Bernard. In fact, they're quite independent and a bit aloof. After all, they were originally bred to guard Tibetan monasteries alone.
These giant dogs need moderate exercise too but it doesn't have to be in the form of an organized walk or activity. They're happy to prowl the parameters of their property and keep fit that way.
This large, powerful working dog is easily recognized by its brilliantly white coat. A male Great Pyrenees can actually stand taller than a Saint Bernard but they weigh between 40 and 80 pounds less – so appear much more athletic.
These snow-white dogs were first bred to protect herds of sheep from wolves and other potential predators. Their white, medium-length coat allowed them to camouflage against the snow and take predators and thieves by surprise!
A St Bernard can be mainly white too, although they will always have patches of black, brown, tan, rust, or another color. A Great Pyrenees would also not be described as a nanny dog. They're guardians of property first and are quite happy to chill in the garden and sound the alarm if an intruder arrives.
Caucasian Shepherds possibly look the most like a St Bernard. They grow to be 30 inches tall and can weigh 170 pounds – which isn't that far behind the other colossal canine. This breed is accepted in 9 coat colors. Whilst the colors aren't exactly the same as those for the St Bernard, white markings are allowed which can help to make them look even more like twins.
The Caucasian is a confident dog that's brave, intelligent, and powerful. Whilst not quite as lovey-dovey as the St Bernard, they do like to be part of a family and be loved in return.
Just like most of the other dog breeds here, this giant dog is a great watchdog and loves to guard property and livestock. They also make good companion dogs and can get on well with other dogs they know – although early socialization is important.
Leonbergers really look like brown, long-haired St Bernards. They grow to a similar height and weight too. Something that makes Leos different from other pups on this list is that they weren't initially bred as working dogs. They were actually bred as companions for kings in Europe. Naturally, however, their size, love of humans, and work ethic meant they were soon employed on farms and as protection dogs.
Leonbergers are very graceful, despite their size, and are wonderful companions for children too. They're patient, protective, and always alert.
They're pretty open to strangers (in fact, most people are their best friends) but they're not necessarily a playful breed. Leonbergers (and Saint Bernards for that matter) are not suitable for apartments or city living. Leos need lots of vigorous exercise and an outdoor space where they can play and wander.
Tornjak Dogs are rare, in fact, it's quite likely you haven't seen one before. If you did, though, you'd notice that these pups are big, hairy, and look a bit like a St Bernard.
Tornjak Dogs, or Croatian Shepherds as they're also called, are thought to be descendants of Tibetan Mastiffs (they also look a little like a big and hairy Border Collie).
These dogs are affectionate around their families and can get on well with children they know. They're not, however, good with other dogs or animals – especially if they don't trust them or if they're threatening their home or humans.
They're loyal pups that are intelligent, confident, and obedient and they make wonderful watchdogs. They like to be around those they love but are also happy spending some time alone.
Newfoundlands are beautiful pups that are great with their family, children, and other dogs. They're actually pretty perfect. They have a sweet nature, are very trusting, and are wonderful nanny dogs (especially when kids are in and around water).
These very big dogs are trainable and respond best to positive reinforcement and gentle guidance. Newfoundlands can grow to be 150 pounds so, as is the case for the Saint Bernard, owners need to think carefully about whether they can manage a dog that size.
Newfies come in a number of different colors and pups with a brown and white coat look very like a St Bernard. They have a shaggy, heavy coat that needs weekly brushing to get rid of fur and mats and this will have to be done more often during shedding season.
You'll find that a spayed or neutered Newfoundland sheds more all year round. They enjoy outdoor activities and need half an hour of moderate exercise a day.
These are also dogs that look like St Bernards. The Spanish Mastiff is a big, confident, and intelligent dog that was bred for protecting cattle and property. They're very noble and are particularly affectionate with their families and the people they love.
Unlike the St Bernard, they're not great with children (although not bad either) and can be suspicious around dogs they don't know.
Just like Saint Bernards, Spanish Mastiffs have a gentle demeanor and very kind eyes. They have a thick coat that can be many different colors and that needs weekly brushing. These large and powerful dogs also need the odd bath to keep them clean and looking their best (which isn't that easy for a dog that size)!
Spanish Mastiffs are wonderful protection dogs but also great family members. They're a favorite amongst pet lovers!
Appenzeller Sennenhunds are medium-sized herding dogs that can grow to be 22 inches tall (so quite a few inches shorter than the beautiful St Bernard). They’re muscular, slightly stocky, and very obedient working dogs that enjoy having lots of space to play and work in.
These dogs are workers first and family pets second – although they do both very well. The first Appenzeller Sennenhund was described in 1853 and was used by Swiss farmers to guard cattle, herd livestock, and protect the family home.
Unlike the St Bernard which can have 9 recognized coat colors, this breed only has one standard which is tricolor (black, brown, and white). They also tend to have shorter coats which are still double so need weekly grooming. Because these dogs love to be out in the field working, you’ll need to bathe them whenever they get muddy (which will be often)!
In terms of temperament, Appenzeller Sennenhunds get on well with other dogs but are not as affectionate with their families. They can get along with young children but they don’t have the nanny instincts that Beethoven does!
Entlebucher Mountain Dog
Nicknamed the ‘laughing dog’ because of its adorable expression, the Entlebucher Mountain Dog is a wonderful family pet and a hard worker. They’re much smaller than Saint Bernards and can grow to be 21 inches. They, like the Appenzeller Sennenhund, bear resemblance to St Bernards because of their coat colors – which can be all black; black, white and tan; or black, white and yellow.
These agile pups are very enthusiastic and put their minds to whatever their owners need. They’re happy working all day on the farm, protecting livestock, or curling up on your feed if that’s what you need too!
Entlebucher Mountain Dogs are very energetic pups and need lots of exercise a day and preferably lots of fields to play in. Although one of the smaller breeds on this list of dogs that look like St Bernards, they won’t do well in an apartment. They also need lots of early socialization and can get on well with older kids in the house.
Estrela Mountain Dog
You will 100% know if you’ve seen an Estrela Mountain Dog. These pups are large (they can be 29 inches) have long shaggy coats, and look like lions! They can have 4 coat colors including brindle and wolf gray which really add to their impressive look.
Although you may not go straight up to one in the dog park, these pups are actually incredibly affectionate and love to be with their humans. They’re great with young children and can get on well with other canines they know, although lots of socialization from puppyhood is a must.
Estrela Mountain Dogs are one of the oldest breeds native to Portugal and it’s thought that they’re descendants of Roman guard dogs. They’re exceptionally loyal to the ones they love and are happy to work hard looking after livestock or guarding too.
These dogs are friendly and playful around those they love but wary and independent around those they don’t. Although loyal and intelligent, such large dogs need experienced owners who can manage their size.
There are many different Mastiff breeds, but the English Mastiff is the one the AKC refers to as simply ‘Mastiff’. These dogs are an ancient breed and it’s said that Julius Caesar was impressed with how they defended England when he invaded.
Despite their enormous size (up to 30 inches), these pups aren’t naturally aggressive. In fact, they’re incredibly affectionate and great with children. They’re protective of the ones they love and make great guard dogs thanks to their size and their loyal nature. Their wrinkly skin and large heads add to their cute (if not slightly daunting) appearance and they can have 3 different coat colors.
Because these dogs are so large, they can suffer from a couple of health conditions. Bloat can be life-threatening so it’s important you don’t let your English Mastiff eat too quickly. It’s also very important that you research a good breeder that carries out thorough medical checks for conditions such as hip dysplasia, epilepsy, and Von Willebrand’s disease.
All of these large, fluffy, and hard-working dogs make great pets for the right owner. Because St Bernards are big (and these are all dogs that look like St Bernards), you need to make sure you can handle a dog of this size and have the space for them to explore and roam. If you do, these hairy pups are sure to keep you well protected and entertained!
I’m Charlotte, a content and copywriter from the North of England and currently living in Berlin. Animals have always been a huge part of my life, so writing about dogs is a total pleasure! I love all kinds of dogs and their cheeky personalities, but I’d have to say Weimaraners are my favourite!