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The Saint Bernard was developed in the Swiss Alps through crosses of heavy Roman dogs, native breeds, the Great Pyrenees and Tibetan Mastiffs. The breed became famous when, in 1707, the monks of the Hospice of St. Bernard de Menthon, who already used them as draft animals and guards, began using them to rescue travelers on the mountain passes between Italy and Switzerland. The dogs were sent out in packs of four following storms and avalanches to locate victims. One dog would lie on each side of the person to bring him warmth, the third would lick his face to revive him, and the fourth would return to the hospice for aid. In 1865, the breed became known by the name of the hospice. Initially, the dogs were smooth coated but with the severity of the weather and weakening of the breed through inbreeding, the Newfoundland was added to the gene pool and the long coated variety was created.
The St. Bernard is a gentle giant. He is intelligent and makes an excellent guard dog for family and children.
The skull of the St. Bernard is massive and wide with high cheekbones. There is a definite drop off (stop) between the skull and muzzle. The muzzle is short and deep. The flews of the upper jaw overlap the lower jaw slightly. A scissors bite is preferred. The nose is broad and black. The ears are of medium size, set high and drop next to the head. The eyes are deep set, of medium size and dark in color. The neck is broad and very muscular. The chest is moderately deep, not reaching the elbow. The back is very broad and perfectly straight to the haunches. The legs are strong, well muscled and powerful. The feet are broad with strong toes. There are two types of coat. The smooth coat is dense and short. The long coat is of medium length and either plain or slightly wavy. In both, the tail is well coated and bushy. Coat color in both types is a combination of white, red and black. Necessary markings of white are on the chest, feet and tip of tail, nose band and collar. A dark mask is desired. Average height is between 25 1/2 inches and 27 1/2 inches. Average weight is between 110 and 200 pounds.
PuffPuppy486@aol.com of Washington writes:
My baby boy.
I love my Saint Bernard. He is by far one of the best breeds that I have ever had. He is affectionate and loving, caring and devoted. Whenever he thinks something is wrong he will run over to me and stand by my side until he knows that everything is perfectly fine.
firstname.lastname@example.org of Ghent, MN writes:
The greatest dogs ever.
I purchased a Saint Bernard about two years ago; he's now almost 200 pounds. He is the best friend I could ever ask for. He loves to watch over my kids when they play outside, barking and growling at anything that he thinks is not right (even if it is just someone riding by on their bike!). But he loves laying on the sofa and watching Animal Planet. I think anyone who is interested in getting a Saint should be very firm, very gentle, and have a lot of time to love them. They can get very emotional and bored, especially when left alone.
email@example.com of Ontario writes:
Best choice I ever made.
I have a male and female Saint Bernard. They are both loving and kind. The male is very protective of my three young children. We live in a rural area and there is a lot of illegal hunting. We were outside with the kids and I turned away for a minute. The male Saint heard gunshots, ran at top speed to my kids and hurdled them to the ground, covering them of any danger. He barked until we came and assured him it was safe. Needless to say, with his very deep bark echoing through the woods we haven't had many hunters around. I wouldn't trade these two for the world. The female is a bit "ditsy". but adorable. They weigh over 300 pounds between the two of them.
firstname.lastname@example.org of Donegal, Ireland writes:
They are loyal and loving but need to be handled firmly in the early stages as they can be quite stubborn, and as they grow so large they need to be well mannered. They are great with children and all other animals. I would not be without ours. He is just a big teddy bear.
email@example.com of New York writes on 4/23/01:
Great dog, but be careful.
Saints are the most loyal breed that I've ever had, but people forget that they can be very territorial. Saints are basically Swiss Mastiffs, and Mastiffs have a great guard instinct. My Saint would go after anyone he thought was a potential threat to me. This came as a great surprise to my 7 year old little brother who just wanted to wrestle with me. My Saint went after him and I'm afraid of what may have happened if I hadn't gotten to him first. These are great dogs, but they can be agressive and because of their size (mine was 160 lbs.) the present a danger. If you are his master or in his "family," a Saint will do anything for you.
firstname.lastname@example.org of Salt Lake City, UT writes on 1/13/00:
They are very loving and great with the kids - and gentle giants.
I have owed saints and they are very good with the children and with all the friends and family that come over. I have had them as house dogs and they were really good indoor dogs.
email@example.com of Littleton, CO writes on 1/10/00:
Take time to love your dog.
The St. Bernard is an outstanding pet for someone who enjoys being with their dog a lot. This is a dog that needs a lot of attention, grooming, training and excersize. I have always owned Miniature Schnauzers so I am very used to being able to pick up and cuddle with my dog. My St. Bernard gives me as much companionship as I ask for. Training a St. Bernard takes a lot of patience and time. They tend to lose interest very quickly and easily. One needs a fairly good sized yard to offer enough running room for their dog. St. Bernards are wonderful with children and other animals. Grooming is a big part of owning a St. Bernard, they shed constantly and excessively. Brushing their coats is something that needs to be done in order to keep the St. Bernard coat looking and feeling its best. There are two different types of coats St. Bernards may have. There are long hair and short haired dogs. I am lucky to own a short hair version. It is very easy to give a St. Bernard the attention she needs, if you don't go to her, she will come to you. There have been numerous occasions I have been sitting watching TV and had she walk up and lay her head in my lap, it doesn't take long to figure out what she wants. I would definatley recommend this breed to anyone who is interested in a loyal companion that wants to go out and play a lot. When looking to buy a St. Bernard keep in mind that this is a big dog so they do not live as long as other breeds, one way to prolong their life if they are a female is to have them spayed early. The best way to purchase a St. Bernard is from a breeder that has both parents on sight so you can see how they behave.
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