cut 62 to 90cm
hair long or short
dress White and russet/brown with a dark mask
eyes Medium, brown or hazelnut
ear Drooping, triangular and relatively large
tail Long and very plumed in the coat variety
behaviour Sweet, kind and devoted to his master, but stubborn.
federation Nomenclature FCI group 2 section 2 no 61
The Saint Bernard dog is a breed of large mountain dogs, often trained as avalanche search dogs. The popular imagination decks them out with a keg of eau-de-vie hung around their necks which would be intended to invigorate victims of the cold. This practice was used especially at the end of the 19th century in the search for people lost in the mountains or victims of an avalanche. The motto of the Saint Bernard Dog is: "Nobility, devotion and sacrifice" Health Since the rate of growth is rapid and the weight gain also of a Saint Bernard, these can lead to a very serious degradation of the bones if the dog does not receive proper food and physical exercise. Many dogs are genetically affected by hip dysplasia or elbow dysplasia. Osteosarcoma (bone cancer) has been shown to be hereditary in this breed. They are susceptible to visual disturbances such as entropion and ectropion, in which the eyelid rolls forward or backward. The breed standard indicates that this is a major fault. The breed is also susceptible to seizures, a heart condition called dilated cardiomyopathy, and eczema. Due to the likelihood of health issues during the Saint Bernard dog's years, the average life expectancy for a Saint Bernard is around 8 years. A Saint Bernard can live beyond 10 years, but this is quite unusual. Rescue The Saint Bernard dog can detect a presence up to six meters under the snow thanks to its wet nose6. Indeed, he has, unlike most dogs, an extremely developed sense of direction, could predict avalanches and snowstorms, and would be able to perceive whether a person is alive or dead under the snow4. Hospice The Grand-Saint-Bernard hospice kept a breeding of Saint-Bernard dogs until 2004, to maintain the tradition and increase the tourist interest of the site. Since 2005, in January, the Congrégation des Chanoines du Grand-Saint-Bernard has nevertheless handed over responsibility for the kennel and the breeding of Saint-Bernard dogs to the Barry Foundation based in Martigny, on the Swiss side of the Col du Saint Bernard. Cinema In comparison with the Dalmatian popularized and propagated by the cartoon, The 101 Dalmatians, this breed of dog has known the support of the public thanks to the cinema: the short film by Mickey Mouse, The Mountaineers (1936) the film by Richard Pottier , Barry (1948) with Pierre Fresnay and Pauline Cardboard. the blockbuster Quebec film, La Guerre des tuques (1984). the film Beethoven and its sequels released in the cinema in the 1990s. the film Cujo released in 1983 adapted from the novel by Stephen King.
Appellation Their name comes from the Grand-Saint-Bernard hospice, located at the homonymous pass in the Swiss Alps, on the border with Italy, where they were used by the monks first for guarding and defense then for seeking travelers in winter. It is a coincidence for the etymology Bernard and Barry. However, it seems that the dogs initially used by the monks belonged to a breed that has now disappeared and which they tried to recreate by removing its ferocity. A stuffed specimen of the initial race (without jowls and without drooping ears) is visible at the hospice. The dog would come from Upper Assyria. Bas-reliefs have been found in the Middle East dating back more than thirty centuries, bearing a great resemblance to the short-haired Saint Bernard. He would descend from the legendary Tibetan Mastiff, and therefore originated in Asia. Some specimens were imported to Greece, then to Rome and then would have dispersed in Western Europe by means of the Roman armies probably4 in the 1st century. Some coats of arms, in 1350, of noble families represent the Saint-Bernard. Around 1660-1670, dogs were offered to Grand-Saint-Bernard by families from Vaud and Valais. This dog was described for the first time at the Saint-Bernard hospice in 1709 by Prior Ballalu: "In 1700, Canon Camos, bursar of the House, had a wheel made in which a dog was placed to turn spindle...". In 1735, the Prior noted the repair of a dog's collar in the Prior's accounts. According to legend, cognac was used to warm the bodies of people caught in avalanches or snow before help arrived. The chronicles which will be published in Europe on the exploits of these dogs, saving lost travelers in the snow as well as accounts of soldiers of Bonaparte when the army of this one crosses the collar in 1800, made its fame. Through systematic breeding, the current breed was created. In 1867, Heinrich Schumacher, living in Holligen near Bern, established genealogical documents for his dogs. The Swiss Stud Book was opened in February 1884 and the first to be entered was a Saint Bernard named Léon. The Swiss Saint-Bernard club was created on March 15, 1884 in Basel and the Saint-Bernard dog was recognized as a breed of Swiss origin and its standard adopted at an international congress of cynology in June 1887. It then became the Swiss national dog. Short-haired Saint-Bernard x Newfoundland Because of inbreeding, a crossing took place between the Newfoundland and the short-haired Saint-Bernard dog. As a result, the corpulence and qualities of the Newfoundland were added to the cross. A bigger, taller, long-haired St. Bernard appeared. Henry Schumacher (1831-1903) exhibited these sensational dogs in Paris, and in 1884, founded the Saint-Bernard club. A Swiss club. The hospice was surprised by this variety of dog at the end of the 19th century. There are two varieties of Saint-Bernard: a short, double-haired variety and a long-haired variety (a trait that would have reappeared at the end of the 19th century). The short-haired variety is also a less common breed among Saint Bernard dogs. But expensive to train and maintain, St. Bernard dogs are increasingly being replaced by other more common breeds like the versatile German Shepherd as a mountain rescue dog.
The Saint Bernard dog is gentle, comedian and quite stubborn. A strict education is obligatory so that later, this dog is pleasant to live with on a daily basis. The Saint Bernard is absolutely not a dog for novices. By his rescue dog instinct, he will help his master or a person in danger without hesitation. It is very suitable as a guard dog (which was its first function at the hospice, see above) since it is attached to its territory. He is not aggressive at all, except towards people who endanger his master. This dog is strictly not a city dweller, so he needs a lot of space.