Saint Bernard is a long-haired, medium-sized breed of long-haired working dog from the rocky Alps region of Italy and Switzerland. They were originally bred as rescue dogs by the hospice facility of the Grand St Bernard pass on the Swiss-Italian border.
There they learned to herd goats and sheep and enjoy being a part of the family unit. Today they are as popular as ever, used for hunting, as dog companions for senior citizens, and therapy dogs.
Many people confuse Saint Bernard dogs with the Saint Bernard monastery which closed in the 13th century. While the dog can look similar to the latter, the fact is that the former is a much larger breed.
With a medium-length coat and a gentle temperament, Saint Bernard requires almost continual socialization to prevent it from being aggressive or destructive.
The breed enjoys spending time with children but must have some discipline to learn acceptable behavior from other dogs and elderly people.
Because the average lifespan of a Saint Bernard is seven years, they make an excellent pet with people who do not want a large, active dog. However, this dog is rather difficult to train and does require a certain amount of leadership to help it accept basic commands. This is why Saint Bernard makes a great family pet or companion.
As previously mentioned, Saint Bernard is also known by the nickname of “Alpine Bernard” because it is typically bred on Alps (high mountains).
These high altitudes give the dogs their resistance against cold weather. Despite the extreme temperatures at these altitudes, the alps provide plenty of food and water for Bernard’s pups. The dogs spend most of their waking time outside, playing with, cleaning, and eating.
To be considered as a good candidate for breeding, the mother of a Saint Bernard dog breed must not be allowed to go into heat or breed during the months of September to March. Merely using the female in heat will disqualify her from breeding.
Otherwise, breeders must show that the mother of their dog breed has not been in heat once within three months before breeding. Breeders are also required to submit a medical certificate that details the health problems of both mother and puppies.
While Saint Bernard dogs can be very active and lively, they can also be prone to diseases such as distemper, rabies, and leptospirosis.
It is very important that you supervise your puppy when he is outdoors and follow your vet’s instructions when handling your dog. The average lifespan of a Saint Bernard is eight years. There have been some reports of Saint Bernard puppies, having lived for up to fifteen years.
Their friendly and loyal attitude makes them great pets, and most importantly, great companions for the elderly.