The origins of this Swiss Dog Breed can be traced to the Hospice du Grand St Bernard, at St Gotthard’s Pass, located high in the Alps close to the Italian border. Strong and courageous by nature (though, sadly, rather short-lived), these large dogs were used to rescue stranded travellers. Around their necks, attached to the collar, hung a small keg of medicinal brandy that was used to revive people dug out of the snow. An individual St Bernard was said to have saved the lives of 40 people during the first 10 years of the nineteenth century.
Coat Type/Colour: Shaggy; Black, Cream and Wheaten
Height: 27 ½ Inch (70 cm)
Weight: 110 – 121 lb (50 – 54.9 kg)
Nature: Friendly, affable; require considerable household space
The breed declined badly soon afterwards, and crosses with Newfoundlands were used in an attempt to revive it. The St Bernard was finally shown for the first time in Britain in 1866, and these dogs were taken to the United States four years later. Their large size gives them correspondingly healthy appetites, and they can cause problems for house-proud owners by drooling around the home. The St Bernard remains one of the most intelligent and affectionate breeds, but it can suffer badly from hind-libm weaknesses.