Not ranked particularly high in AKC registrations, this genial giant is nonetheless among the world’s most famous and beloved breeds. The Saint Bernard's written standard abounds with phrases like “very powerful,” “extraordinarily muscular,” “imposing,” and “massive.” A male stands a minimum 27.5 inches at the shoulder; females will be smaller and more delicately built. The huge head features a wrinkled brow, a short muzzle, and dark eyes, combining to give Saints the intelligent, friendly expression that was such a welcome sight to stranded Alpine travelers.
These days the monks of St. Bernard use helicopters to rescue stranded travelers, and their dogs have eased into the roles of family companion, childhood playmate and guardian, and show dog. Saints drool, shed, and can easily outweigh you. Acquiring such a dog should be done in close consultation with a responsible breeder. On the plus side, Saints are lovable, trainable, trustworthy, and true-blue loyal. Not a dog for everyone, but if you believe “bigger is better” you can’t go wrong with a well-bred Saint. This breed makes wonderful family companions with obedience training and daily exercise, but due to their larger size, may do better living in the country or suburbs. Basic obedience training is a must for the Saint Bernard. They grow to be a very large dog and must learn not to jump on people, knock into small children, steal food from the table, and otherwise take advantage of their size. This training is best started when your Saint Bernard is a puppy, and many local dog clubs offer puppy kindergarten classes. Young puppies should not be allowed to get too fat and should not have forced exercise until they reach adult size. Saint Bernards are very intelligent and can be trained for competition as well as general good behavior. Some of the competitive activities you and your Saint might enjoy are: dog shows, obedience trials, cart pulling, and weight pulling.
Did You Know?
It seems most possible that the Saint developed from stock that resulted from the breeding of heavy Asian "Molosser" (Canis Molossus), brought to Helvetia (Switzerland) by Roman armies during the first two centuries AD, with native dogs which undoubtedly existed in the region at the time of the Roman invasions.
The dogs served as guard dogs of the hospice located in the Pass (founded by Archdeacon Bernard de Menthon), and the lonely monks, who took the dogs along on their trips of mercy, soon discovered the excellent pathfinding and scent abilities of the dogs. The dogs' highly developed sense of smell enabled the breed to locate the freezing and helpless during snowstorms. The monks and Saints were immortalized in many of the world's most romantic pages of canine history; it is estimated...
It is estimated that during the three centuries of rescue work, the Saints have saved over 2000 lives.
During the following centuries, these Saint predecessors were widely used in the valley farms and Alpine dairies for a variety of guarding, herding, and drafting duties. They were referred to as Talhunds (Valley dogs) or Bauernhunds (Farm dogs).
Prior to 1830, all Saint Bernards were shorthaired; it took 2 years of uncommonly severe weather and a dwindling of the Saint breed to convince the monks to outcross the breed with longer-haired dogs, resulting in a long-haired variety.
The first notation concerning Saints was not until 1707, although it was written casually so as to imply that the breeds' work at the Saint Bernard Pass in between Switzerland and Italy was well known.
The Saint Bernard Club of America was formed in 1888 as one of the oldest specialty clubs in the United States.
colors & Markings
Below is a list of the colors and markings available for this breed. Please refer to the breed standard for descriptions and the difference in types.
|Description||Desc.||Standard Colors||Std. Colors||Registration Code||Reg. Code|
|Brown & White||063|
|Mahogany & White||130|
|Orange & White||134|
|Red & White||146|
|Rust & White||162|
|White & Brown||204|
|White & Orange||213|
|White & Red||214|
|Description||Desc.||Standard Markings||Std. Markings||Registration Code||Reg. Code|