Due to its characteristics and qualities, the St Bernard demonstrated the desired traits of a Watch dog, Search and Rescue dog and is known by its nick name the "Alpine Mastiff". The origin of the St Bernard dog breed was in Switzerland where it was developed in the Middle Ages.
St Bernard Breed Group and Dog Type - Working Dog Group (AKC:1885): The St Bernard is one of the many breeds of dogs that belong to the Working Dog Group (AKC:1885).
Other names for the St Bernard: The St Bernard is known by the nickname of the "Alpine Mastiff". Other names for this breed of dog include the Saint Bernard, Saint Barnhardshund, Alpine Mastiff and Bernhardiner.
Origin of the name St Bernard: This popular dog was named after Saint Bernard of Menthon, archdeacon of Aosta in Switzerland (1020 -1081). Saint Bernard of Menthon founded charitable hostels in two dangerous passes in the Swiss Alps, that were thankfully used by German and French pilgrims on their way to Rome and to join the Crusades (A.D. 1099 to 1254).
The monks trained dogs specifically to rescue travellers who were on the mountains during heavy snow-storms. The St Bernard had a strong sense of smell and were able to locate people hidden under snow and were able to sense impending avalanches. The Saint Bernard often worked in pairs.
One dog would lie by the victim to keep them warm and the other Saint Bernard would return to the monastery to alert the monks. This amazing breed became known as the St. Bernard Dogs.
St Bernard History and Origin: The country of origin of the St Bernard breed was in Switzerland during the early Middle Ages and was descended from the the various mastiff-type dogs that had existed for centuries. (Refer to the History of all the Mastiff breeds). The ancestors of the breed were used as a guard dog or for herding livestock in the Swiss Alps and as a famous rescue dog.
The St Bernard was also used as a cart dog (draught dog) moving both people and products as a convenient and inexpensive alternative to the horse. At one point during the 1830's experiments to cross the Saint Bernard with the Newfoundland dog but the resultant long hair of the hybrid picked up too much ice and snow slowing the dog down and making them unsuitable for mountain rescue work.
One of the earliest descriptions of the St Bernard was in the book "House Dogs and Sporting Dogs", published in 1861 by the Englishman John Meyrick, who stated that the breed "was, until very lately, almost and extinct breed. From bad luck or bad management, the stock in the Convent of St. Bernard was reduced to two or three only, but the numbers are now said to be increased". John Meryk was correct and thankfully the St. Bernard dog survived. The Saint Bernard was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1885.
St Bernard Modern History: The modern history of the St Bernard moved on and a courageous St Bernard military dog called "Bamse" was a symbol of the Free Norwegian Forces during World War II. The breed is now used as a Watchdog, Guard Dog, Farm worker, Search and Rescue Dog and as a family companion.
Famous St Bernard Dogs - "Bolivar" and "Beethoven": A famous St Bernard is the Walt Disney cartoon character "Bolivar" who belongs to Donald Duck! The lovable cartoon character "Bolivar" first appeared in 1936 movie when the St Bernard rescued Donald Duck and Goofy in the Alps. This famous cartoon pet St Bernard has remained a firm favorite with kids ever since. Another famous St Bernard features in the 1992 movie 'Beethoven' starring Tom Hanks.
St Bernard Height: The St Bernard breed is classified as a Giant sized dog. The height to the shoulder of a male dog is 25.5-27.5 inches (61-70 cm). The height to the shoulder of a female dog is 25.5-27.5 inches (61-70 cm).
St Bernard Weight: Not surprisingly for a Giant sized dog, the weight of a St Bernard male dog is 110-200 pounds (50-91 kg). The weight of the smaller female dog is 110-200 pounds (50-91 kg).
St Bernard Coat Type: There are two types of dense coat; smooth-haired and rough-haired. The coat type is described as a short or long, rough or smooth coat.
St Bernard Coat Colors: The colors of the St Bernard dog breed consist of assorted colors consisting of brindle, white, red and white and brown and white. N.B. Brindle is a brownish or tawny color.
St Bernard Grooming - HIGH Grooming Needs: The grooming needs of the St Bernard is categorized as high in order to maintain a healthy coat and reduce the risk of skin infections. The high grooming needs of the St Bernard is considered to be high-maintenance and requires daily brushing and combing. Grooming Requirements should include bathing the St Bernard dog on a monthly basis and making regular inspections of the nails, teeth, eyes and ears.
St Bernard Litter Size: The litter size of this dog breed ranges from 6-8 puppies. St Bernard puppies for sale can be obtained reputable breeders and from rescue centers. The cost of St Bernard puppies varies depending on location, pedigree history and the dog breeder.
St Bernard Temperament and personality: The temperament and personality of this popular dog breed is described as Self-reliant, Independent, Gentle, Out-Going and Sociable.
St Bernard Exercise Requirements - HIGH Exercise Requirements: The exercise requirements of this breed of dog is high. The St Bernard requires regular daily exercise consisting of approximately one to two hours each day. This large, powerful dog has a smooth, firm, strident gait with strides of a moderate length and requires a brisk walking speed or jogging by the owner to meet the dogs exercise requirements.
St Bernard Diet: A fully grown St Bernard should be fed twice a day. A diet consisting of a premium dog food can be balanced with fresh food eaten by the family. The question is What Can Dogs Eat?. Check out our comprehensive list of what dogs can and what dogs cannot eat.
St Bernard Health Problems: Potential health problems of the St Bernard breed include Hip and Elbow Dysplasia, Gastric Torsion, Entropion. Resolving health problems can prove to be expensive and it is always wise to obtain pet insurance or dog health insurance when buying a dog. Is the St Bernard dog breed said to be Hypoallergenic? Answer: No.
St Bernard Lifespan: The life expectancy of dogs vary according to the size, breed of dog and any serious health problems. The typical lifespan of the St Bernard breed is 8-10 years.
St Bernard Male Dog Names: Male Dog names are most often chosen to reflect favorite names of the owner or the strength, size, coloring and country of origin of the St Bernard breed. To give you some inspiration regarding good male St Bernard names our small selection might be of help with naming boy dogs. Out top male dog names are: Dorian *** Boris *** Hakim *** Flash *** Luca *** Gaspar *** Eric *** Bruno *** Lucas *** Kevin *** Dawson.
St Bernard Female Dog Names: Female Dog names tend to be softer, prettier and reflect the temperament of the St Bernard girl dog. Our top choice of good female St Bernard names are Diva *** Lena *** Gaelle *** Nina *** Maeva *** Jade *** Juno *** Fanny *** Jenna *** Evie *** Ellie *** Nana.