Are Saint Bernards Smart? 3 Reasons Why They Are Intelligent

Saint Bernards are known for their gentle nature and impressive size, but have you ever wondered about their intelligence? In this article, I will explore the cognitive abilities and cleverness of these magnificent dogs to determine just how smart they really are.

When it comes to intelligence, Saint Bernards possess remarkable mental capacity and problem-solving skills. Their aptitude for learning and understanding commands is truly impressive. But just how does their intellect compare to other breeds?

  • Saint Bernards exhibit high adaptive intelligence, allowing them to quickly adapt to new situations and learn new commands.
  • Their working/obedience intelligence is exceptional, making them highly trainable dogs.
  • Their cleverness and problem-solving abilities set them apart.
  • While they may not be the top-ranked breed in terms of intelligence, they certainly hold their own among the smartest dogs.
  • Their emotional intelligence is also noteworthy, as they form strong bonds with their owners and possess a deep understanding of human emotions.

So, are Saint Bernards smart? Absolutely! These dogs possess a unique blend of cognitive abilities, trainability, and emotional intelligence that sets them apart. Whether as loyal companions or working dogs, Saint Bernards showcase their brainpower in various aspects of their lives.

Are Saint Bernards Smart?

  • Saint Bernards have impressive problem-solving skills and adapt quickly to new situations.
  • Their working/obedience intelligence makes them highly trainable.
  • While not at the top of the intelligence scale, Saint Bernards hold their own among other smart breeds.
  • They form strong bonds with their owners and possess emotional intelligence.
  • Saint Bernards demonstrate their intelligence in various aspects of their lives as therapy and rescue dogs.

Understanding Canine Intelligence

Before delving into the intelligence of Saint Bernards, it’s important to understand how canine intelligence is measured. There are various tests and assessments that researchers use to evaluate a dog’s intelligence.

One widely used approach is the measurement of adaptive intelligence, which assesses a dog’s ability to learn and adapt to new situations or commands. This test helps determine how quickly a dog can grasp new concepts and solve problems.

Another aspect of canine intelligence is instinctive intelligence, which focuses on a dog’s innate abilities and behaviors. It evaluates a dog’s natural instincts and how well they can utilize them in certain situations.

Working/obedience intelligence is another significant measure of canine intelligence. This test evaluates a dog’s ability to follow commands and perform tasks related to specific roles or jobs, such as search and rescue or herding.

By conducting these intelligence tests, researchers can gain valuable insights into a dog’s cognitive abilities, problem-solving skills, and overall intelligence. This knowledge allows us to understand and appreciate the unique intelligence of dogs, including the remarkable abilities of Saint Bernards.

intelligence tests for dogs

The Importance of Measuring Canine Intelligence

Measuring a dog’s intelligence provides valuable information that can help owners understand their pet’s needs better. It allows us to tailor training methods and activities to cater to their cognitive abilities, making learning more effective and enjoyable for both dogs and owners.

Additionally, understanding canine intelligence aids breeders and trainers in selecting dogs for specific tasks or roles. By identifying dogs with higher intelligence and problem-solving skills, they can improve the overall capabilities and performance of working and service dog breeds.

Moreover, measuring canine intelligence contributes to scientific research in animal cognition and behavior. It helps scientists understand the cognitive processes and capacities of dogs, shedding light on the evolution of intelligence in animals and providing insights into the similarities and differences between human and canine intelligence.

The Intelligence of Saint Bernards

Saint Bernards are known for their incredible problem-solving skills and trainability. They possess a high level of adaptive intelligence, allowing them to quickly learn new commands and solve tasks independently. Additionally, their working/obedience intelligence is quite remarkable, as they exhibit exceptional trainability and have the ability to comprehend and obey commands with ease.

When it comes to problem-solving, Saint Bernards demonstrate a keen intellect. They have the capacity to analyze situations, assess different solutions, and choose the most appropriate course of action. This problem-solving ability is evident in various tasks such as finding objects, navigating obstacles, and even performing tricks.

Their trainability is another testament to their intelligence. Saint Bernards are highly receptive to training and have a strong desire to please their owners. They quickly grasp new commands and eagerly participate in obedience training sessions. Their trainability makes them well-suited for various roles, including search and rescue operations and therapy work.

Their intelligence and problem-solving skills are further enhanced by their remarkable memory. Saint Bernards have the ability to retain and recall information, which contributes to their overall intelligence and trainability. This allows them to learn complex commands and perform tasks with precision.

Overall, the intelligence and cognitive abilities of Saint Bernards make them highly adaptable and capable dogs. They excel in problem-solving tasks and shine in obedience training due to their trainability. Their intelligence, combined with their gentle and affable nature, makes them wonderful companions and working dogs.

AspectIntelligence Level
Problem-Solving SkillsHigh
Adaptive IntelligenceHigh
Working/Obedience IntelligenceNoteworthy
Memory RetentionExcellent

Comparing Saint Bernards to Other Breeds

When it comes to intelligence, Saint Bernards hold their own among other dog breeds. Although they may not claim the top spot on the intelligence scale, they are undoubtedly considered smart. While Border Collies, Poodles, and German Shepherds are often regarded as some of the smartest breeds, Saint Bernards showcase their problem-solving abilities and trainability.

Let’s take a closer look at how Saint Bernards compare to these top-ranking breeds:

BreedProblem-Solving AbilitiesTrainability
Saint BernardsHighHigh
Border ColliesExceptionalExceptional
German ShepherdsHighHigh

As the table shows, Saint Bernards exhibit commendable problem-solving abilities and trainability, making them on par with these highly intelligent breeds. While their rankings may differ, Saint Bernards possess the cognitive skills necessary for various tasks and learning commands.

Saint Bernards intelligence

The Bond Between Saint Bernards and Their Owners

One aspect of intelligence that is often overlooked is the bond between a dog and its owner. As a proud Saint Bernard owner, I can confidently say that these gentle giants have an incredible capacity for emotional connection. Their loyalty and affectionate nature contribute to a deep bond that goes beyond mere companionship.

Saint Bernards are known for their empathetic nature, and their emotional intelligence is truly remarkable. They have an innate ability to sense their owner’s emotions, offering comfort and support when it is most needed. Whether it’s a rough day at work or a personal struggle, these dogs have an uncanny way of understanding their owner’s feelings.

This empathy is not limited to their owners alone. Saint Bernards are also known for their role as therapy and rescue dogs, where their ability to connect with people in need shines through. Their gentle nature and intuitive sense of empathy make them ideal companions for those experiencing emotional or physical distress.

The bond between Saint Bernards and their owners is not one-sided. These devoted dogs thrive on the love and attention they receive from their human companions. They are happiest when they can be by their owner’s side, whether it’s going for walks, cuddling on the couch, or just being present.

So, while intelligence is often measured in terms of cognitive abilities, it is important to recognize the emotional intelligence of dogs like Saint Bernards. Their unique bond with their owners enhances their overall intelligence, making them not only smart but also incredibly loving and compassionate creatures.

The Empathetic Nature of Saint Bernards

One remarkable aspect of the bond between Saint Bernards and their owners is the empathetic nature that these dogs possess. Their ability to sense and understand their owner’s emotions is truly exceptional. This empathetic nature is deeply ingrained in the breed’s temperament and contributes to their role as therapy and rescue dogs.

Studies have shown that dogs, including Saint Bernards, can read human emotions based on facial expressions, vocal cues, and body language. They can discern when their owner is sad, happy, or stressed, and they respond accordingly. It is this empathetic nature that allows Saint Bernards to provide comfort and companionship to those in need, making them invaluable emotional support animals.


It is clear that Saint Bernards are intelligent dogs. Their problem-solving abilities, trainability, and emotional intelligence set them apart from other breeds. While they may not be the top-ranked breed in terms of intelligence, they display remarkable cognitive skills in their own unique ways.

Saint Bernards excel in their problem-solving capabilities and adapt quickly to new commands and tasks. Their trainability is remarkable, making them highly responsive to obedience training. These qualities make them an ideal choice for various working roles and activities.

Furthermore, Saint Bernards possess strong emotional intelligence, enabling them to form deep bonds with their owners. Their empathetic nature allows them to sense and respond to their owner’s emotions, providing comfort and support when needed. This emotional connection enhances their overall intelligence and makes them exceptional therapy and rescue dogs.

Overall, Saint Bernards may not be at the top of the intelligence scale, but their combination of problem-solving abilities, trainability, and emotional intelligence make them smart and capable companions. Whether as a loving family pet or a working partner, Saint Bernards demonstrate their intelligence in various aspects of their lives.


How smart are Saint Bernards?

Saint Bernards are known for their intelligence and problem-solving abilities. They are considered smart and have a high adaptive and working intelligence.

How is canine intelligence measured?

Canine intelligence is measured through tests and assessments, including adaptive intelligence, instinctive intelligence, and working/obedience intelligence.

How do Saint Bernards compare to other dog breeds in terms of intelligence?

While Saint Bernards may not be the top-ranked breed in terms of intelligence, they are still regarded as smart. Border Collies, Poodles, and German Shepherds are considered some of the smartest breeds.

What is the bond like between Saint Bernards and their owners?

Saint Bernards are known for their loyal and affectionate nature. They have a strong emotional intelligence, which enables them to sense their owner’s emotions and provide comfort and support.

Are Saint Bernards good working dogs?

Yes, Saint Bernards are highly trainable and often excel in working roles such as therapy and rescue dogs.