St. Bernard: The Large Rescue Dog Of The Snowy Alps

August 6, 2009

in Cat Health

The St. Bernard is a well-known large dog breed around the world because of its valiant ways and adorably massive frame. This breed has been the search and rescue dog of the Swiss Alps for many centuries and many heroic stories can prove to this dog’s long search and rescue history. Today, however, more than a rescue dog in the Alps, this dog is very popular among families as a dependable and loyal pet.

The St. Bernard is considered as a Molossoid breed and its ancestors were the massive Molossoid breeds of the Roman soldiers and the Sennenhunds, which were the herding and hunting dogs of the Alps then. The current appearance of the St. Bernard is not the original one because there was a time before when the breed endangered because many St. Bernards slowly got killed during avalanches. To continue the breed’s existence, Newfoundlands were used and the results are the present appearance of St. Bernards.

The name St. Bernard came from the hospice at St. Bernard Pass in the Western Alps, a region between Switzerland and Italy. This pass is dangerous and travelers often seek shelter with the monks in this hospice. The dogs of this community, which are used for search and rescue, were named after the pass and this pass was named after Bernard of Menthon, an 11th century monk who founded the place.

Aside from St. Bernard, this breed was also known before as the Saint Dog, Noble Steed, Alpenmastiff and Barry. Barry is also a name of a very famous St. Bernard because of its courageous efforts that saved 40 to 100 people from certain death. Today, the remnant of this dog was preserved at the National History Museum at Berne and a monument was established in his name at the Cimetiere des Chiens.

This massive dog weighs a whooping 160 to 260 pounds and stands at 27 1/2 to 35 1/2 inches in height. The tail of this breed is long, heavy and low and turns up lightly. The eyelids open a little and the face and ears are colored black.

The coat of the St. Bernard can be smooth, close to the body and flat. It can also be rough, flat and dense especially around the neck and legs. Common coat colors for this breed are red with white or mahogany brindle with white.

The St. Bernard is a dependable household companion as it is hardworking, eager to please, and extremely loyal. It is patient and tolerant with little children and with additional good socialization during puppyhood, it can also be as tolerant to smaller animals. This dog is fairly manageable so long as it is trained early on and it should also help that this dog is intelligent and obedient.

The St. Bernard is not rough nor excessively active but actually very gentle and affable. It is not very active indoors and so an urban type of dwelling would suffice him. To keep his mental and physical health fit, daily walks should be done for this dog.

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