More than one traveler stranded in the snowy Swiss Alps owes the ponderous Saint Bernard his life. Monks in the Alps actually developed this enormous dog to be used as a rescue dog. This breed is quite an old one, going back as far as the 1700s.
The American Kennel Club places the dog in the Working Group. These big dogs weigh from one hundred twenty to two hundred pounds and stand twenty six to twenty eight inches tall. This breed can be short haired or it can have a long haired coat.
Originally, all Saint Bernards had a short haired coat, since snow did not stick to the short hair easily. However, when these dogs became popular as pets in Victorian England, They were bred to have longer hair. They also worked to make them bigger and bigger.
Unfortunately, some breeders today still are more concerned with appearance than they are with personality. Before buying a Saint Bernard puppy, make sure that your prospective Saint Bernard's parents are outgoing and sweet tempered dogs.
Otherwise, you may end up with a fearful or aggressive dog. Please don't underestimate the value of choosing a puppy with a good temperament.
The Saint Bernard is generally a gentle giant and plays well with children and other dogs. Nevertheless, a young dog and small children is usually a bad combination, since these dogs make ungainly, clumsy puppies.
More than one toddler has been accidentally knocked down and injured when trying to play with a Saint Bernard puppy. Older dogs are usually more graceful and are careful not to knock children down.
This breed does not do well in apartments or town homes. These dogs need a lot of room and are not happy without a home that has a fenced yard. If they do not have enough exercise, Saint Bernards tend to get into a lot of trouble. A bored puppy of this size can sure make a lot of damage.
Saint Bernards are loyal, loving dogs with a strong desire to please. However, their enormous size means that they can be hard to control. You may want to consider enrolling your puppy in obedience classes while you still outweigh him.
These classes will help you train him, but they also play another significant role, socializing your puppy. He will meet plenty of strangers and their dogs in the classes.
They will eat a sizable amount of food, so it is no surprise that feeding a Saint Bernard increases the grocery bill. Since this breed suffers from hip dysplasia, you may want to use a food that is formulated to help large breed puppies grow healthy and strong. They are also prone to heart disease and tumors.
Short haired Saint Bernards need very little grooming. Even long haired dogs don't require too much work, since they are not heavy matters. Just be sure you brush through your dog's hair once a week.
The Saint Bernard is a wonderful companion dog. As long as you don't mind having a dog who is bigger than most people, a Saint Bernard may be the right choice for you.