St Bernard Traits
By Fran Black
The origin of the Saint Bernard Dog is
tied to the mountain pass and the monastery of the same
name. Dogs then were relatively smaller than they are
today, so the Saint Bernards of the past were probably
much smaller. The direct ancestors of the St Bernard
were the large farm dogs common in that region. By 1900,
the Saint Bernard had gained popularity and is still
one of the most popular of the giant breeds.
The first mention of the Saint Bernards
being used rescuing is not mentioned in writing until
1750, although it likely began before then. Since then,
the Saint Bernard has become synonymous with lifesaving,
and is frequently used as an assist dog in snowy colder
The Saint Bernards also have a keen instinct
for predicting bad weather, like snowstorms and avalanches,
which was very useful to the monks. The Saint Bernard
is known to have a strong sense of smell and an intuitive
sense with respect to potential avalanches. The Saint
Bernard's sense of smell is so excellent that he can
find a person even under many feet of snow. In the three
centuries of records available at the hospice, the Saint
Bernards have been responsible for saving well over
2,000 human lives.
Saint Bernards are large, powerful, deep
chested dogs, and can easily be recognized by their
size and by their distinctive red and white coats. The
feet are large with strong well-arched toes, making
the Saint Bernard's sure-footed in the snow and ice.
Saint Bernards may have dark masks and the coat of the
Saint Bernard is typically white with tan, red, mahogany,
black or brindle markings in various combinations. The
Saint Bernard can have short, smooth hair that is dense
and tough or medium-length hair that is straight to
slightly wavy. Both the regular Saint Bernard and the
long-coat version require lots of space and lots of
exercise. Both divisions of Saint Bernards have thick
muscular bodies and are generally sturdy hardy.
The Saint Bernard is prone to such health
issues as wobbler syndrome, heart problems, skin disorders,
and bloating. The very size of St Bernards make them
susceptible to a variety of skeletal and bone-related
problems. The Saint Bernard is prone to elbow and hip
dysplasia as well as heart problems, skin problems,
bloat and eye problems. But the rewards of owning one
of these gentle giants more than compensates. Overall,
the Saint Bernard should appear large and muscular with
a bright and friendly expression.
Saint Bernard puppies are absolutely irresistible,
but without discipline they can soon become unruly.
Every Saint Bernard that is mentally and physically
sound can be taught good manners and simple obedience
by any normal individual. Elementary exercises and obedience
training of heeling, staying, laying down, and sitting
can keep a frisky Saint Bernard out of trouble in most
cases. Being of independent spirit the Saint Bernard
needs consistent obedience training from an early age.
Young Saint Bernards (up to about two years old) romp
and jump with great vigor, and things can go flying,
A well-trained Saint Bernard is a mellow,
affectionate, lazy dog who will protect your home. The
Saint Bernard loves children, but be careful the dogs
great size could lead to an unintentional accident when
playing. With his steady temperament around people and
other animals, the Saint Bernard is an excellent and
Saint Bernards do best in a house with
a fenced yard, since they tend to be inactive indoors.
If you have the space and have the time to exercise
your dog, Saint Bernard's make good house dogs and companions.
Adult Saint Bernards need more exercise to keep them
in shape, but not in hot or humid weather for fear of
overheating. The Saint Bernard requires exercise to
remain in shape, however its needs are better met with
short walks than a long and vigorous playtime.
Remember that the Saint Bernard is a family
dog and does not like to be alone. Because they are
slow thinkers, St Bernards require a lot of understanding
from their owners during training.
Like all other animals, the Saint Bernards
diet should be made up of proteins, carbohydrates, fats,
minerals, vitamins, and of course water. Until the bones
are fully formed in puppies of Saint Bernards it is
best to keep their activity to a minimum. For this reason,
a Saint Bernard should not be asked to jump or pull
heavy loads before two years of age.
The lifespan of the dog, will depend on
its parentage and how well the Saint Bernard is kept.
About the Author
Francesca Black works in marketing for Dog Pound http://www.dog-pound.net
and Horse Stall http://www.horse-stall.net
leading portals for pet management.