St. Bernard vs American Molossus - Breed Comparison

St. Bernard is originated from Switzerland but American Molossus is originated from United States. Both St. Bernard and American Molossus are having almost same height. St. Bernard may weigh 42 kg / 93 pounds more than American Molossus. St. Bernard may live 4 years less than American Molossus. Both St. Bernard and American Molossus has almost same litter size. St. Bernard requires High maintenance. But American Molossus requires Moderate maintenance

Basic Information

Group:
Working dog
Molosser dogs
Origin:
Switzerland
United States
Height Male:
63 - 71 cm
24 - 28 inches
56 - 66 cm
22 - 26 inches
Height Female:
60 - 69 cm
23 - 28 inches
51 - 60 cm
20 - 24 inches
Weight Male:
54 - 90 kg
119 - 199 pounds
38 - 48 kg
83 - 106 pounds
Weight Female:
52 - 85 kg
114 - 188 pounds
32 - 43 kg
70 - 95 pounds
Life Span:
8 - 10 Years
10 - 14 Years
Litter Size:
4 - 9
6 - 8
Size:
Giant dog
Giant dog
Other Names:
St. Bernhardshund Bernhardiner Alpine Mastiff (archaic)
American Molosser • American Brabanter • American Bullenbeisser
Colors Available:
redish- Brown and white with a black mask to blond and white with black mask
Colors are black, black brindle with some white
Coat:
rough or smooth
coat type coarse, dense, smooth and long
Shedding:
Constant
Minimal
Temperament:
Affectionate, Friendly, Independent, Intelligent, Loving, Loyal, Outgoing, Protective, Social, Stubborn, Sweet
Alert, Courageous, Independent, Intelligent, Loving, Loyal, Protective, Quiet, Territorial
Grooming:
High maintenance
Moderate maintenance
Trainability:
Moderate
Moderate
Hypoallergenic:
No
No
Kids Friendly:
Yes
Yes
New Owners Friendly:
Yes
No

History

st bernardThe St Bernard breed was once called the Alpine Cattle Dogs or the Alpine Mountain Dogs. They have always been farm dogs and mountain dogs in the French and Swiss Alps. They come from the border land of Switzerland and France. They were herding dogs, hunting, search and rescue, watchdogs and draft dogs.

Their ancestors are considered to include the Sennenhunds and molosser breeds that came to the Alps with the ancient Romans. There are four Sennenhund breeds that are believed to have contributed to the original St. Bernard. These included the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog (Grosser Schweizer Sennenhund), the Appenzeller (Appenzeller Sennenhund), the Bernese Mountain Dog (Berner Sennenhund) and the Entlebucher Mountain Dog (Entlebucher Sennenhund) Today the St. Bernard is considered a Molossoid breed.

The first we know of the St. Bernard in any written records was in 1707 at the Great St. Bernard Pass and Great St. Bernard Hospice run by monks. There were found paintings of the dogs dating back into the late 1600’s. It is told that Barry saved upward of 100 people in the St. Bernard pass, and it is from these stories that the dogs gained their snow rescue reputation.

The St. Bernard of that time did not look like the St. Bernard does today as there was much crossbreeding. Many dogs dies during rescues in the avalanches of the mid 1800’s and so they Saint was crossed with the Newfoundland to preserve the breed. You can today see the resemblance in the build and looks of the two breeds. This cross brought about the long haired St. Bernard whose fur was too heavy for rescues.

The St. Bernards of mountain rescue fame were only about the size of a German Shepherd dog and were short haired. After crossing with the Newfoundland and moving into clubs and dogs shows, they have been bred to be much larger. Before the stud book was closed, it is thought that many larger breeds such as the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, the English Mastiff, the Tibetan Mastiff, the Rottweiler, the Great Pyrenees, the English Bulldog, the Great Dane, the Bernese Mountain Dog, the Boxer and the Caucasian Oycharka all contributed to today’s St. Bernard.

In 1884 The Swiss St. Bernard Club was founded and the breed entered the Swiss Stud book as its first entry in 1884. It was 1888 when the standard was approved and the breed became the national dog of Switzerland. Before the name St. Bernard came to be common, these dogs might be called, Barry Dogs, Alepnmastiff, Noble Steeds or Saint Dogs.

The dogs came to England in the early 1800s and to the United States soon after. They were recognized by the European kennel clubs first and by the early 1900’s they were the most popular breed in the AKC.

Based on the massive dog of Mesopotamia in 5000 BC, the American Molossus is the same dog recreated in the United States by and for the lovers of these giant dogs. The ancient Molossus was fierce to look at, massive in size, courageous and loyal. He was undaunted by any animal and stood up to any man attempting to hurt his master. When Rome fell the descendants of today’s Molossus were scattered and attempts to revive the breed have created carious large dogs. The American Molossus is the first true recreation that hits the mark.

The original Molossus was one of the most primitive of dogs, one of the earliest dogs that men domesticated. Their initials duties were the guarding of herds and homes against all enemies. They were incredibly loyal to their one master and stayed with him and protected him. These dogs also ate carrion and served the villages by eliminating animal carcasses. They could handle any other hunting animals such as wolves and large cats. This dog, although extinct was the ancestor of all the Mastiff-type dogs of today. The Molossus is said to be the ancestor of the St. Bernard, English Mastiff, Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, Bernese Mountain Dog, Newfoundland, Great Dane, Great Pyrenees, Rottweiler, Rottweiler and the Neapolitan Mastiff. Now these breeds have become the ancestry of the American Molossus.

According to Marcus Curtis, the founder of the new Molossus, the nearest relative of the American Molossus is the Neapolitan Mastiff. The Hines Bulldog, German Rottweiler, American Bandogge, and South African Boerboel together with the Neapolitan Mastiff were used to form the American Molossus. The goal of the founder was to make a great family pet and protector. It was specifically bred to be courageous, loyal and protective.

Description

st bernard puppyToday’s St. Bernard is not a large dog, he is a giant dog. Weighing in at 140-200 pounds and standing 28 to 35 inches tall, he is a lot of dog. Bred with mastiffs and large mountain dogs, they have proportional and powerful build. They are strong, sturdy and well muscled. They have either a smooth or rough (short or long) coat. Their eyes are brown or occasionally blue. They have tight lids, and square heads and muzzles.

There are two coat types called smooth and rough, or short and long. The smooth shorter coat is tough, flat and close against the body and the long, rough coat is dense, wavy and heavy around the legs, neck and ruff. Both types have long tails that hang low and are heavy. Saints are known to slobber, drool and snore.

This is a giant, massive dog in every way and this recently developed standard makes that very clear. The Molossus should be heavy bones, muscular with a lot of loose skin and wrinkles of all kinds, everywhere. He is an intimidating presence, with a massive square head, broad shoulders, height and mass. No, the American Molossus is not athletic, but he certainly is intimidating.

His head is massive in comparison to his body and it must be square. He has extensive wrinkles and pendulous lips and dewlap. The face is all folds of skin and wrinkles. Deep set eyes, drooping upper lids and lower lids as well as an intimidating expression. His brow is well developed with a marked frontal furrow. The nose is large, and the muzzle is about a third of the length of its head. It is short and broad. Everything about the head must be square. It’s neck and body are powerful and muscular. The chest is deep, wide and barrel like. The back is also powerful and muscular. The front legs are heavy and muscular while the hind legs are broad, strong, powerful and wide-stance. Do not remove the front dew claws. His tail is thick and wide then gradually tapers at the tip.

Health Problems

st bernard dogThe first problem this breed faces is how fast they grow and gain weight. This can lead to serious health issues if not controlled. Their bones can be damaged by this excessively fast rate of growth. Other issues facing the breed include:

  • Hip and elbow dysplasia – can cause arthritis and lameness.
  • Bloat – can be fatal if not treated immediately.
  • Bone Cancer or Osteosarcoma – tends to be fatal.
  • Entropion and Ectropion – eyelids turn in or out and can be corrected.
  • Epilepsy – controlled by medication
  • Dilated Cardiomyopathy – can be fatal.
  • Eczema – skin disease can be treated.
  • Be careful of extreme heat.

Like all Mastiffs the American Molossus faces a variety of potential illnesses, some brought on by its size, some not.

Spondylosis

This could easily be a function of its massive size. It is a degenerative disease and can cause the dog to become lame. In many cases the vertebrae can fuse, or severe pain can result. This is mostly seen in older members of the breed.

Cystinuria

Male Molossus can contract this inherited metabolic disease primarily. It can be life threatening and very serious as it affects the kidney and the bladder.

Wobblers Syndrome

This is essentially Cervical Vertebral Instability (CVI) and is caused by the pressure of the nerves in the neck and cervical spinal cord. This compression can cause deformity, pain and abnormal stance/gait. IT has been attributed to the nutrition needs and rapid growth of the Mastiff breeds.

Like all giant Mastiff breeds the Molossus can have skin issues from the wrinkles, dysplasia in the joints which we will address below.

Caring The Pet

st bernard puppies1.Feeding the puppy – You want to control their growth. Do not overfeed, and make sure they exercise but not too much. Feed a high quality large breed puppy food 3-4 X a day in small amounts.

2.Feeding the adult – The problem you face with he adult St. Bernard is the potential for Bloat. Don’t over feed. Don’t feed before or after strenuous exercise. Feed 2-3 X a day in smaller amounts to prevent Bloat. Feed a high quality breed specific food if possible or an extra large breed formula.

3.Points for Good Health stamina and strength in cooler weather.

4. Games and Exercises They need exercise but not as much as you might think. The St. Bernard is a laid back lumbering character so don’t over exercise her. They enjoy weight and cart pulling but they are not athletes who enjoy frisbee or agility. Search and rescue trials and tracking trials are perfect athletic endeavors for them.

Feeding

Remembering that this is a very, very large dog you need to be careful about nutrition and how fast your puppy will grow. American Molossus puppies need four meals a day until 12 weeks old. Then until they are 6 months old feed then 3 times a day. Finally, from 6-month-old puppy to adult – feed them twice in 24 hours.

At one year either feed them once or two small meals.

Many people feed their Molossus eggs, vegetables, fruit, and cottage cheese as ten 5 of the total for the day but avoid other table foods. The Molossus can become very picky about what he eats if you feed him too many table scraps.

Health issues

In addition to the health problems listed above, the American Molossus is also susceptible to: Ditichiasis – Eyelashes that are in the margin of the eyelids and can cause eye irritation. May require surgery to correct.

Cataract

Could cause blindness if not removed. Ectropian/Entropion: Eversion and inversion of eyelids which cause ocular irritation.

PRA or Progressive Retinal Atrophy

This is a degenerative disease which causes the dog to go blind. It is a disease the affects the retinal visual cells, first causing night blindness then day blindness. A DNA test is available for detecting PRA in all Mastiff breeds.

Dysplasia of the Elbow or/and the Hip

Common in large breeds and especially in giant breeds like the Molossus. Multiple forms and causes but all can cause pain and lameness.

Skin issues

Do to wrinkles and loose skin – check often for moisture and infections.

Panosteitis or Wandering Lameness

The is a problem based on a variety of possible causes. It happens when the puppy is between 6-16 months of age. Lameness occurs over time in one limb or in all. It can be intermittent and might be caused by diet, genetics, stress, autoimmune or metabolic issues or infection.

HOD or Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy

This issue is developmental as the dog’s toes turn either inward or outward, then as the condition advances the dog suffers fever, pain in all joints, lethargy and the inability to stand. This happens when the dog consumes too many calories for his activity level in the development times.

Exercise and games

The American Molossus is not a couch potato. He needs to be walked at least twice a day and loves to play fetch. He will be greatly benefited by obedience training. Do not overdo it with exercise but make sure they don’t just lay around.

Characteristics

1Children friendliness excellent

2.Special talents tracking

st bernard dogs3.Adaptability no - these are giant dogs that need a lot of room. A large fenced yard or farm is best. They won’t do well in an apartment. They need exercise every day and loping around a yard is very good for them. They love to play in the snow, carry a backpack or pull a cart. They love to have a “job”

4.Learning ability – They are smart and highly trainable if motivated. They may appear lazy but they are just laid back and need a motivation.

The American Molossus is an intimidating massive giant bred for protection and guard duty. He is incredibly loyal to his family and courageous in his protection of them. They are guard dogs, not attack dogs. Their simple appearance is usually enough to frighten off anyone intending harm on their families. He is in reality a loving giant. He is intelligent and stable with a strong desire to please his owner. He is a calm yet vigilant presence in the home.

Because the Molossus is so large, it is recommended that the puppy be socialized and trained professionally. It takes a strong owner to handle this breed. They need to know the rules and have the rules consistently applied. The owner must be the pack leader.

Comparison with other breeds

  1. English Mastiff vs American Molossus - Breed Comparison
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