The Saint Bernard was founded in 980 AD by St. Bernard de Menthon and bred by monks, most likely by crossing the ancient Tibetan Mastiff with the Great Dane, Greater Swiss Mountain Dog and the Great Pyrenees. The first Saint Bernards were of the shorthaired variety, as the longhaired variety’s coat tended to collect icicles. They were used by the Hospice, a refuge for travelers through the dangerous Alpine pass between Switzerland and Italy. In the middle of the seventeenth century, the Saint Bernard became popular as a rescue dog working to save people from avalanches in the snowy passes near the Hospice. The dogs are able to smell a person under many feet of snow. They have saved thousands of people searching out and finding lost or injured travelers.
The dogs would work in packs looking for the victims. When found they would lick and lie down with them in order to keep them warm. While a dog or more would lie with the body(s), another dog would head back to the Hospice to alert them that they found the humans. A full rescue team would then be sent out. The Saint Bernard has also been known to be able to predict storms and avalanches. This may be possible because of the dog’s ability to hear very low-frequency sounds which humans cannot. The Saint Bernard was recognized by the AKC in 1885. Some of the Saint Bernard’s talents are search and rescue, guard dog, watchdog and carting.
The imposing Saint Bernard is powerful and proportionately tall. It is strong and well-muscled necessary qualities in a dog that must trek through deep snow for miles. Its coat comes in two types: smooth, in which the short hair is very dense and tough, and long, in which the medium-length hair is straight to slightly wavy. Its expression should appear intelligent. The calm, easygoing Saint Bernard is gentle and patient around children, although it is not particularly playful. It is devoted to its family and is willing to please, although at its own pace. It can be stubborn.
Features of St Bernard Puppy
A Saint Bernard is a giant-size breed and although they are generally quiet inside, they are not best suited to apartments. They need space to move or just to stretch out in.
If you consider yourself a neat freak, then the Saint Bernard is not the breed for you. They drool and their paws track in their fair share of mud. They are heavy shedders and shed, or blow, their coat twice a year.
Saint Bernards generally take longer to mature mentally. This leaves you with a very big puppy for several years.
Although Saint Bernards make wonderful family pets, they are not recommended for homes with young children, as they can unintentionally knock over and hurt small children.
Originally bred to withstand the cold temperatures of the Alps, the Saint Bernard does not do well in heat.
Saint Bernards are not known for barking without cause.
Saint Bernards are a short-lived breed, usually only 8 to 10 years.
The Saint Bernard should not live outdoors away from his family. All dogs do better when they are in the house with the family they love, and the Saint Bernard is no exception. Although their coats and build make them an obvious choice for outdoor living, their temperament and inability to cope with heat makes it a poor decision.
Thanks to the popularity of movies such as Beethoven, which features a large Saint Bernard, many irresponsible breeders and puppy mills produce these gentle giants. To make sure you get a healthy dog, never buy a puppy from an irresponsible breeder, puppy mill, or pet store. Look for a reputable breeder who tests her breeding dogs to make sure they’re free of genetic diseases that they might pass onto the puppies, and that they have sound temperaments.