History & Overview
The Saint Bernard’s origin can be traced from the early Roman dogs called Molossian dogs (large Mastiff-type dogs). The theory claims that they were brought to the Alpine Mountains that divide Switzerland and Italy by Roman soldiers during the first two centuries AD. Monks founded a hospice in the 11th century as a refuge for travelers and pilgrims across a low point, an 8,200 foot-high pass known as the Saint-Bernard Pass.
Large mountain dogs have been bred there for watch and protection since the 17th century. These dogs were used as rescue dogs for travellers lost in snow and fog. The legend tells us about one of the most famous Saint Bernards called Barry who saved 41 people from the “White Death” and was shot by the forty-first who mistook him for a wolf. Today the Saint Bernard is the national dog of Switzerland.
There are two varieties of the Saint Bernard: short-haired and long-haired variety. Both varieties are of impressive size and total appearance. The short-haired variety has a dense, smooth topcoat and a thick undercoat. The long-haired variety’s coat is of medium length with plenty of undercoat.
At A Glance
St.Bernhardshund, Bernhardiner, Saint Bernard Dog
Country of Origin:
Companion, watchdog and farmdog
FCI Classification: Group 2: Pinschers, Schnauzers & Molossian Types, Swiss Mountain-and Cattledogs and other breeds. Section 2.2 – Molossian type, Mountain type. Without working trial
AKC Classification: Working Group
Giant (25.5 – 35 inches at shoulders)
White with reddish-brown, brindle or brownish-yellow patches or a reddish-brown mantle with dark shadings on head. Required white markings : The chest, feet, tip of tail, muzzle band, blaze and neck should have white markings. A symmetrical dark mask on the face.
10 – 12 years
Thorough weekly brushing and regular eye cleaning.
The St. Bernard is calm, always alert, balanced and self-confident dog. Friendly by nature, he never makes a real guard dog.
Early socialization is required.
Suitability for Children:
The Saint loves children, but because of his great size, he should be closely supervised around small children to avoid accidents.
The breed needs a lot of space and daily exercise and does best in the country.
Easy to train.
Health & Behavioral Issues:
Most common health disorder include: