History of the St. Bernard began centuries ago when ancient Romans brought to the Alps a special breed of mastiffs used for battle. In harsh conditions of cold and dangerous avalanches, these huge dogs with a great sense of smell were very helpful. The St. Bernard reached its apogee in the XVII century, when it became clear what its qualities are. The Swiss Saint Bernard Monastery today is known as a place where they have demonstrated their abilities. The monastery, which was built in 926, has been elevated to 2473 meters altitude. Near the monastery locates a kennel where you can find puppies for sale with a venerable pedigree.
Monks from the Augustinian Order, helped passengers who passed through area and were overtaken by icy winds. For centuries monks with their dogs were looking for lost people in mountains. Using the St. Bernard was irreplaceable because they could smell a person under the snow. When the dog found someone buried by an avalanche, it returned to the monastery with a towel that was tied to its collar to bring help.
In 1966, in the area a tunnel was dug that turned region into a summer tourist center. Monks and their dogs stopped their rescue activities.
The St. Bernard has a strong body and a large, well shaped muscles. Its coat is thick and waterproof. Coloration is a combination of red and white or Brindle. Height of these dogs ranges from 61 to 70 cm and their weight from 50 to 91 kg. Head is large, square and wrinkles on forehead. Muzzle is short, nose and eyes are dark in color. Neck is thick, chest is wide and tail is long.
Character and behavior
Despite its impressive size, the St. Bernard is a kind and gentle soul. These are are very friendly and loyal dogs that love to please their master. They are strongly attached to a whole family. This breed was created to rescue people from avalanches. They have an excellent sense of smell and are known not only as dogs that rescue people buried under avalanches, but as excellent guards as well. They are devoted to their owners and are willing to sacrifice for them.
Training and education
The St. Bernard is a very clever animal and easily understands what is required of it. Unlike other dogs, it is not stubborn and gladly performs commands. It is not recommended to be punished, as this good natured dog will offend and even get depressed.
Life expectancy is about 10 years. They are prone to hip dysplasia, heart and eye problems, obesity and are sensitive to heat.
Grooming and care
Fur of the St. Bernard requires little care as it never mat. Coat of the St. Bernard is waterproof, so do not bathe your dog more than twice a year. The St. Bernard will feel perfectly in a house with a yard. But if you live in an apartment, it should be brought for a long walk a few hours a day. In summer it is better to bring it out in the early morning and late evening.
Children and other pets
St. Bernard does not like puppies and cats in home, as it considers them competitors. However this is definitely type of dog that adores children in family and gets along perfectly with them. It likes spending time with the toddlers and feels a strong need to protect and watch over them.
In the XIX century there were attempts for crossing the St. Bernard with Newfoundland, to improve qualities of breed. However dogs with too long hair appeared that were not suitable for saving people in the snow, was a result of this selection.
Among the most famous St. Bernard dogs is Barry, who was one of smartest dogs of the monastery. Barry saved 40 people from death. Today, it is a famous memory in the Saint Bernard Museum.
It is estimated that these dogs saved lives of over 2,000 people during the last 200 years. Unfortunately, nowadays they are no longer used to rescue people buried under avalanches.