Saint Bernard Breed Magazine - Showsight

THE SAINT BERNARD By the Saint Bernard Club of America

T he Saint Bernard has long been a faithful companion of mankind from unique life sav- ing work beginning in 1700s to an outgoing unhurried temperament with great intel- ligence companion dog. Saint Bernards are powerful, proportionately tall, strong and muscular in every way. Th e original Saint Bernard was a shorthaired dog but both short and long hair dogs are readily seen today. Dogs at the shoulder are 27 ½ inches minimum height and bitches are 25 ½ inches according to the Approved AKC Standard. Dogs of today are usu- ally much taller than the minimums. Th e Saint Bernard Club of America (SBCA) maintains that the only stan- dard that correctly describes the original type is the Swiss Standard of 1884. Th us the currently approved American Ken- nel Club standard di ff ers only slightly from the original Swiss Standard. Saint Bernards serve faithfully today in many rewarding, fun and challenging activities in which owner’s participate. Th e Saint Bernard is shown in Conformation, Obedience, Rally Obedience, Tracking,

Weight Pull, Agility, Draft Test, Th erapy Dog and Canine Good Citizen. History of the Breed Although the true origins of the Saint Bernard breed are not well documented, some aspects of this extraordinary breed are known. Authenticated facts combined with reasoned speculation are believed to best describe the development of this magnificent breed. Th e Monastery and Hospice were founded in 980 A.D. by Bernard de Men- thon, an Augustine monk. Th ese edifices were located in the only pass through the Alps between Italy and Switzerland. Being

the site of heroic rescue tales, it was later named the Great Saint Bernard Pass to dif- ferentiate it from the Little Saint Bernard Pass that is between France and Italy. Th e altitude at the Great Saint Bernard Pass is a little more than 8,000 feet above sea level. Nothing was written about the hospice dogs during the first 700 years of their existence. Many stories surround the for- mation of the breed. Th e earliest known depiction of the breed was two paintings done in 1695. Some attribute these to the work of a well-known Italian artist named Salvatore Rosa. Each painting shows a well-built shorthaired dog with a typey head, a long tail and dewclaws.

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