Saint Bernard

Fast Facts

Country of Origin:Switzerland
AKC Group:Working Group
UKC Group:Guardian
Use today:Companion
Life Span:8 to 10 years
Color:White with red, brown or brindle.
Coat:Short and close-lying or medium length and wavy.
Grooming:Brushing several times a week to reduce shedding ? and, for the longhaired variety, to keep free of mats.
Size:Large Dog Breed
Height:25.5 to 27.5 inches at the shoulder
Weight:130 to 180 pounds

The breed that has been credited with saving more than 2,500 travelers lost in the snow was named for the Hospice du Grand St. Bernard in Switzerland, where the monks have bred these large dogs since the 17th century. The monks tried to add size and improve the Saint's coat by outcrossing to the Newfoundland, which led to the first longhaired Saint Bernards. The longcoated dogs weren't suitable for rescue work, so the monks gave them away as gifts. Today, both coat types are acceptable. The breed was introduced to Britain in 1810 and first exhibited in 1863. In 1865 the breed was officially named the Saint Bernard and in 1887, at a congress held in Zurich, Switzerland, an international breed standard was adopted. This is a powerful giant breed, measuring a minimum of 27.5 inches at the shoulder (males); females measure 2 inches less. The coat may be short and close-lying or medium length and wavy. Colors are white with red or red with white. White markings on the chest, feet, tip of tail, head and neck are essential. The coat needs thorough brushing three times a week, and eyes should be checked regularly and gently cleaned as needed. The Saint needs lots of room indoors and out for regular daily exercise. This dog is great for children who won't be bowled over by its size, and it's an excellent watchdog.


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