Saint Bernard Breed Origins and Caracteristics

The story of the Saint Bernard is closely related to the hospice of the Great Saint Bernard in the Alps. In this institution we undoubtedly find the first representation of the breed (while a little bit different from the one we know now) on a painting of an unknown artist, dated 1695. These powerful hunting dogs lived in the convent and were used to find lost travelers and rescued them from exhaustion and death in blizzards. The most famous of these dogs was Barry, which rescued 40 people during his 12 years of work. Nowadays, the visitors of the Natural History Museum of Berne can see it desiccated. Currently there are dogs in the convent. In 250 years, about 2000 people have been rescued with the help of Saint Bernard dogs. The small barrel that people associate with the Saint Bernard dogs is part of the legend and it is not mentioned in the chronicles.

The Saint Bernard is a very sweet dog that shows affection to its master and family; it loves especially children but it is mistrustful with strangers. Its qualities make him an excellent guardian, a good partner and safe protector of the family. Also it is used as a draught dog. It has a fine sense of smell. It is said that a well-trained Saint Bernard can smell a person in a mountain, in the snow and at a distance of 3 km.

Size: male at least 75 cm; female 70 cm. Weight: male 80-85 kg; female 75-78 kg. The females that are smaller and less heavy have a light appearance. Colors: red and white, the colors must be pure and bright. The nose bridge, the front star, the neck, the front legs, the abdomen, the rear limbs at least until the calf and the tip of the tail must be white, the front mark can have a red star. The red coloration can make a coat (3) that extends on the back up to the flanks and on the sides of the rear limbs, or it can have clearly defined patches on the white background (4).

The Saint Bernard's original hair was smooth and short (double-coat 2). It remained like this until the year 1830 the breed was crossed with the Newfoundland. Nowadays, the long-haired Saint Bernard (1) is the most common and it is more appreciated than the variety with short hair.

Dog Breeds Descriptions by Breed Neapolitan Mastiff Tibetan Mastiff Mastiff German Shepherd Groendaell or Belgian Shepherd Collie Shetland Shepherd, Shetland or Sheltie Bobtail Pembroke Welsh Corgi Briard or Brie shepherd Pumi Affenpinscher or Monkey Pinscher Doberman Miniature Pinscher Schnauzer Boxer Bulldog Bullmastiff German Mastiff or Great Dane Bordeaux Mastiff Mastiff or English Mastiff Neapolitan Mastiff Rottweiler Hovawart Leonberger Pyrenean Mastiff Newfoundland Saint Bernard Great Swiss Mountain Dog Airedale Terrier Bedlington Border Terrier Fox Terrier Irish Terrier Jagdterrier or German Terrier Lakeland Terrier Manchester Terrier Welsh Terrier Dandie Dinmont Terrier Norwich Terrier Scottish Terrier Sealyham Terrier Skye Terrier West Highland White Terrier Boston Terrier Bull Terrier Yorkshire Terrier Kerry Blue Terrier Teckel Siberian Husky Alaskan Malamute Spitz Chow-Chow Basenji St. Hubert Hound or Bloodhound Foxhound Beagle Basset Hound Bavarian Red Dog German Short-Haired Pointer Stichelhaar, Pudelpointer and Spinone Weimar Pointer Hungarian Pointer or Viszla Large Munsterlander Brittany Spaniel Pointer English Setter Gordon Setter Labrador Retriever Golden Retriever Wachtelhund American Cocker Rhodesian Ridgeback Cocker Clumber Spaniel Springer Spaniel Irish Water Spaniel Maltese Caniche or Poodle Belgian Griffon Hairless Dogs Lhassa Apso Shih Tsu Chihuahua Dalmatian King Charles Knight King Charles Spaniel Chin or Japanese Spaniel The Pekinese Spaniel French Bulldog Pug Barzoï Whippet