The Saint Bernard was named after the hospice located in the treacherous pass of the western Alps between Switzerland and Italy. It is generally believed that today’s St. Bernard was bred from previously existing dogs in the Swiss countryside. This large dog is as strong as they are loyal, and while there is no proof they ever carried barrels of brandy under their chins, they were used to rescue people from avalanche covered trails and villages. This breed comes in long haired (rough coat) and short haired (smooth coat) and they do shed regularly so they will require brushing to keep this to a minimum. The coloring ranges from deep brown to brownish yellow, but white markings are required. The name Saint Bernard was not a widespread name for this breed until the middle of the 19th century. Before that they had been called Saint Dogs, Noble Steeds, Alpenmastiff or Barry Dogs. Stephen King wrote about a Saint Bernard with rabies named Cujo, and of course there is the popular Beethoven movies featuring a loveable Saint Bernard and his family to enjoy. The AKC recognized the Saint Bernard in the Working Group in 1885. These gentle giants range in size from 25 – 27 inches tall at the withers with a weight anywhere from 130 to 264 pounds.
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