St Bernard Dog Breed
- General Appearance:
- St. Bernards are large breeds of dog originally used for mountain rescue. They have large heads, distinctive markings and two variations of coat type: rough where the coat is dense and flat with feathering, and smooth where the coat is far closer and almost 'hound like'. There is slight feathering on smooth coated St. Bernards too.Both varieties of coat are extremely dense in texture and are water resistant. The coat of the Saint Bernard is typically white with tan, red, mahogany, black or brindle markings in various combinations. They are heavy shedders. St Bernards stand tall with massive frames which make them so remarkable. They are muscular dogs with powerful, imposing heads, and are capable of covering very rough ground with unhurried, smooth movements.
- Other Names:St Bernhardshund
- Country Of Origin:Switzerland
- Dog Group Kennel Club:Working
- Three colours of red-brindle, mahogany-brindle and orange with white markings in specific areas.
- St. Bernards are gentle giants who are usually good with children, kind and intelligent.The Saint Bernard has a somewhat sorrowful expression, but is actually very good-natured. They have a protective instinct for their family and make excellent watchdogs. They are sensible and loving and make a great family pet. They may display stubbornness, so owners must be very patient. They thrive on high amounts of love and attention. The Saint Bernard is prone to anxiety if left alone for extended periods of time and may destroy their owner's home and belongings.
- Smooth, covering ground and capable of difficult terrain.
- Care and training:
- The Saint Bernard's coat is shed twice a year. They require daily brushing with a firm bristle brush to keep hair around the home down to a minimal amount. Bathing should only be done when necessary using a mild shampoo to avoid stripping the coat of its essential oils. Their eyes and ears must be checked and cleaned regularly to keep them free of irritants.
Because they are slow thinkers, St Bernards require a lot of understanding from their owners during training. Young dogs must be taught from an early age not to pull on their leads as this habit will be difficult to break when they are older. They have a strong desire to please their owner and will respond best to gentle, patient, firm, and consistent training.
- Overall Exercise:
- 60 - 80 minutes per day.
Exercising St Bernard puppies must be done very gradually to avoid putting excess strain on their growing bones and tender tissues and, even with the adult dog, care must taken to build up exercise gradually. Having said that, for their size they really do not need copious amounts of exercise.
- Feeding Requirements:
- Feeding St Bernard puppies takes knowledge, time and money. It is imperative they are given the correct feeding when young to ensure correct growth and development of bones. Advice must be taken from the breeder as diet greatly affects this breed's orthopedic well being.
- Personal Protection:Medium
- Suitability As Guard Dog:Medium
- Level of Aggression:Low
- Compatibility With Other Animals:High
- Suitability for Children:High
- Often Docked?No
- Average Litter Size:6-8
- Life Expectancy (yrs):8
- Health issues:
- Hip dysplasia, albinism, bone problems, heart defects, and a short life span. Epilepsy, skin allergies, laryngeal paralysis, temperament problems and osteosarcoma, a bone cancer which has been shown to be hereditary in this breed, are also health concerns. Finally,
bloat is a threat to this breed due to their deep chests. Bloat is a health concern to most dogs, being the second largest killer of dogs. It is also known as gastric torsion or twisted stomach.
- Developed in the High Swiss Alps by the monks who built a monastery Hospice du Grand, the Saint Bernard was used to helped locate lost travelers. In Roman times, the Romans built a temple dedicated to Jupiter on their way to Europe. Between 1660 and 1670 A.D., a monk named Saint Bernard built the Hospice du Grand over this spot in order to forever serve the people who passed through that dangerous mountain pass. After years of trying to save lives on this treacherous pass, the monastery discovered using dogs would be a significant help in their rescues in 1707. They decided to create their very own breeding program. Various theories have been presented to the origin of the breed but most say they are a descendant of the large Mastiff-type dogs that were brought to the area by the Romans. The monastery developed the breed and called them Alpine Mastiffs, initially. Edwin Landseer forever immortalized the Saint Bernard as well as created a false rumor in a single painting he made when he was 17. The painting, titled "Alpine Mastiffs Reanimating a Distressed Traveler" showed two St. Bernards rescuing a man in the snow, one barking out a rescue call and the other licking the man's hand, trying to reanimate him. The dog licking the man's hand had a brandy cask around its neck, giving rise to the rumor that these dogs always carried brandy around their necks to warm their rescued people. This rumor, however, has been denied by the monks for as long as the question has been asked.