Meet the sweet and curious Saint Bernard
Today’s star puppy in the “Breeds 101” series is the Saint Bernard. These beloved giants are known for their curious and gentle nature, but are valued for their lifesaving abilities.
Although correct origins are difficult to pin down for these working dogs, although it is believed that they originated in the late 1600s in the Alps between Italy and Switzerland. Bred by monks living in the hospice and monastery founded by Bernard de Menthon, the breed began as a companion and watchdog during the frigid winter months. In the 1700s, dogs moved to rescue work. The Saint Bernard’s appeared to have an innate sense of locating and retrieving stranded travelers, this can still be seen in the breed today.
According to the American Kennel Club breed standard, the Saint Bernard is “a powerful figure, proportionately tall, strong and muscular in all its parts, with a powerful head and a most intelligent expression. In dogs with a dark mask, the expression seems more severe, but never in a bad mood.
These task force members are 28 to 30 inches (men) or 26 to 28 inches (women) and weigh between 140 and 180 pounds (men) or 120 to 140 pounds (women). The average lifespan is 8 to 10 years.
The Saint Bernard is a powerful but caring breed that has been used for treacherous mountain rescues; today they are often found as guardians and companions in many family homes.
Saints can be seen in a variety of color combinations including: brindle, brown and white, mahogany and white, orange and white, red and white, rust and white, white and brown, white and orange, and white and red. They are also commonly seen with black mask markings.
In the 2020 list of the most popular breeds released by the American Kennel Club, the Saint Bernard ranks 52nd out of 195 breeds.
Today there is both a long-haired and a short-haired variety of the breed. Before 1830, however, there was only a short-haired variety. The long-haired version came after two years of incredibly harsh weather conditions and a declining number of Saint Bernards. Crossing other longhair dog breeds with the Saint Bernard ultimately resulted in the longhair variety we have today.
Each type of coat will benefit from regular brushing, but especially during the bi-annual moulting seasons. Brushing plays an important role in reducing the risk of matting in the longhaired variety. As with all breeds, nail trimming is also an important part of grooming maintenance.
Saints are a very versatile breed in the pursuits they enjoy. They are very family oriented so whatever they choose they would love to do it with their owners. A long walk, a play session, a hike, or a cart pull are all great options, these puppies don’t thrive if they’re just tossed in the backyard on their own.
Starting training at a younger age can be beneficial for a number of reasons. Early socialization and training is always helpful in getting a well-behaved dog, but with a dog as large as a Saint Bernard who starts out when he’s smaller, he can certainly prove to be easier to handle than an adult. . In general, this breed is very eager to please, but if left alone for too long, unwanted behavior can occur.
As with most large breeds, bloating can be a health concern to watch out for. Other health problems that require screening include: hip and / or elbow dysplasia, eye disease, cardiac examination, and degenerative myelopathy. Saints should also be watched during the transition from extremely hot to cold weather, as this can cause distress, although the Saint Bernard can endure the heat as long as there is shade and the water is free.
A common image in pop culture presents the Saint Bernard with a barrel of cognac around its neck. It was believed that this brandy was given to stranded travelers to help them stay warm. According to the monks of the hospice, this is only a myth. This famous The painting was created in an Edwin Landseer painting in 1820 which was later made into an engraving in 1831 by Charles Landseer.
Easily recognizable in pop culture, the Saint Bernard can be found in several films. A popular franchise is the Beethoven movies. In a very different role, in a Steven King novel turned film, the Saint Bernard is presented as Cujo.