"We don't call them Saints for nothing."
ABOUT 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.
The Monastery and hospice were founded by Bernard de Menthon, an Augustine monk, in the middle of the eleventh century (no exact date can be found). These 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 differentiate it from the Little Saint Bernard Pass that is between France and Italy. The altitude at the Great Saint Bernard Pass is a little more than 8,000 feet above sea level. As it was snow free only a few months during the warmest part of the summer, it was very dangerous for foot travelers journeying to or past the hospice. Being caught on foot in that difficult terrain during unexpected inclement weather was often fatal, but those who braved that treacherous territory were comforted to know that the hospice was staffed with dedicated monks and their special dogs. Read more…
Powerful, proportionately tall figure, strong and muscular in every part, with powerful head and most intelligent expression. In dogs with a dark mask the expression appears more stern, but never ill-natured.
The longhaired type completely resembles the shorthaired type except for the coat which is not shorthaired (stockhaarig) but of medium length plain to slightly wavy, never rolled or curly and not shaggy either. Usually, on the back, especially from the region of the haunches to the rump, the hair is more wavy, a condition, by the way, that is slightly indicated in the shorthaired dogs. The tail is bushy with dense hair of moderate length. Rolled or curly hair, or a flag tail, is faulty. Face and ears are covered with short and soft hair; longer hair at the base of the ear is permissible. Forelegs only slightly feathered; thighs very bushy. Read more…
The Saint Bernard Club of America Education Committee
In the beginning our committee was chartered to produce an illustrated standard, and the first thing we did was to ask the question, “What is an illustrated standard?” We immediately discovered that the answer was complex and depended not only on the intended audience but also upon whom you asked. For example, a breeder might answer that it is simply the written standard in picture format and that its purpose is to reduce some of the liberal interpretations that some breeders display. A new student of the breed would tell you that an illustrated standard is a learning tool whose purpose is to clarify the obscure terms used in the written version. A judge would answer that it is the parent club’s official discerning definition of what is important as well as what is correct and that its purpose is to provide judges with a more explicit ideal against which to judge our breed.
So you’re thinking about adding a Saint Bernard to your home–or maybe you’ve just gotten your first Saint.
Congratulations! Those of us who own Saint Bernards know what wonderful companions they can be. These gentle giants really become part of the family. But, as much as we love and enjoy our Saints, we have to admit they are not the dog for everyone. We don’t want to discourage you from considering a Saint Bernard as your family pet, but we do want you to know a little about what’s involved.
First, THEY ARE BIG DOGS. Sure, you know that, but do you know how big they really are? The most common reason the Saint Bernard Club hears from people who want to find a new home for their Saint is “I DIDN’T KNOW IT WOULD GET SO BIG”. It’s one thing to pick up a cuddly twenty-five pound ball of fur, but you’re really buying a dog that will be as big as you are. When you go to look at a Saint puppy, be sure to take a close look at the parents. Ask the breeder to put them on a leash for you, and take them for a short walk. Try putting a grown one in the back seat of a car. And, if you can arrange it, spend some time helping to groom a Saint.
Next, they do shed. And because they’re so big, they shed a lot! Although regular grooming will help minimize the problem, if some dog hair around the house bothers you a Saint is probably not the breed for you.
And, they DO drool. There is no such thing as a “dry mouth” Saint Bernard. While some may drool less than others, all Saints produce saliva in varying amounts. Once again, if you’re turned off by the drool, you may want to consider another breed.
Here are some basic facts you should know:
- THERE ARE BOTH LONGHAIRED AND SHORTHAIRED SAINTS. Both coat types are of equal value. While most newcomers are familiar with the longhaired versions, many experienced owners and breeders prefer the shorthaired version, simply because the grooming is a little easier. However, both shed and need regular grooming.
- THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A “PURE, MASSIVE SWISS STRAIN SAINT”, not even in Switzerland. The Saint Bernard originated in Switzerland, so if you trace back pedigrees for several generations you’re sure to find Swiss ancestors. Today, with the relative ease of air transportation and the increased use of frozen and chilled semen, Saint breeders seek the best stud dogs to breed to the best bitches, no matter where the studs reside.
- THE VALUE OF YOUR SAINT SHOULD REFLECT HIS POTENTIAL QUALITY- how closely he comes to the written description of the perfect Saint Bernard (THE STANDARD). The fact that his ancestors were in movies or owned by famous people is of absolutely no value.
- AN AKC LIMITED REGISTRATION AND/OR A SPAY/NEUTER CONTRACT are documents which indicate that your puppy can’t be used for breeding, and can’t be shown in Conformation classes at Dog Shows. However, your puppy (at the proper age) can be shown in Obedience and other Performance Events (weight pulls, drafting, agility). Many owners have trained and certified their Saints as Therapy Dogs or Service Dogs. Actually, neutered animals usually make better pets, since you don’t have to put up with the nuisance of bitches in season or male leg lifting.
- YOU SHOULD NEVER HAVE TO PAY EXTRA FOR “PAPERS”. When you pick up your puppy, you should receive a bill of sale, a 3 generation pedigree AND the AKC registrations papers. Read all agreements carefully before signing. A Saint is an investment for his lifetime.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE SAINT BERNARD
What is a Saint Bernard?
THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A “PURE, MASSIVE SWISS STRAIN SAINT”, not even in Switzerland. The Saint Bernard originated in Switzerland, so if you trace back pedigrees for several generations you’re sure to find Swiss ancestors. Today, with the relative ease of air transportation and the increased use of frozen and chilled semen, Saint breeders seek the best stud dogs to breed to the best bitches, no matter where the studs reside.
Are all Saint Bernards the Same?
THERE ARE BOTH LONGHAIRED AND SHORTHAIRED SAINTS. Both coat types are of equal value. While most newcomers are familiar with the longhaired versions, many experienced owners and breeders prefer the shorthaired version, simply because the grooming is a little easier. However, both shed and need regular grooming.
How Much Do Saint Bernards Weigh?
Saint puppies weigh about one and one-half pounds at birth and grow rapidly during the first year, although it may take as long as three years before they reach full maturity. Adult males may reach a height of 28-30 inches at the shoulder and will normally weigh between 140 and 180 pounds. Females are somewhat smaller at about 26-28 inches at the shoulder and typically range from 120 to 140 pounds.
The Saint Bernard Club of America
welcomes you to the wonderful world of Saints, and hopes to help you enjoy your new pet by providing basic information about Saint Bernard dogs. Read on and feel free to contact us for more information and to join our club. Read more…
Download pamphlets related to the Saint Bernard. Physical copies of these pamphlets may be purchased through the store. Select the icon to download.
THEIR FUTURE IS BRIGHT
The SBCA is a non-profit organization. Membership is open to all persons who are in good standing with the
American Kennel Club and who subscribe to the purposes of this Club.