The Gigantic Noble Rescuer Of The Alps, St. Bernard

August 2, 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.

Before being called St. Bernard, this dog was known as Saint Dog, Noble Steed, Alpenmastiff and Barry dog. Additionally, a St. Bernard named Barry became very famous when he rescued 40 to 100 people from certain death. Because of this, he was founded a monument at the Cimetiere des Chiens and his body was preserved and displayed at the National History Museum at Berne.

The St. Bernard is a heavy and gigantic breed of dog that weighs as much as 160 to 260 pounds and stands 27 1/2 to 35 1/2 inches at the withers. The tail of this dog is usually long, heavy and low set but turns up slightly. The eyes are innately tight lid and the face and ears are usually shaded in black.

The St. Bernard’s coat can be smooth or rough. The smooth one is flat and fits fairly to the body while the rough one is flat and dense especially around the neck and legs. The common colors of the coat are red with white and mahogany brindle with white.

As a house pet, the St. Bernard is reliable, hardworking and eager to please. It is also understanding and patient with children and if it is properly socialized when small, it can be tolerant with smaller animals too during adulthood. This breed is also not so hard to train because it 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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