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Dog Breeds - Alaskan Malamute

 

 

 

 

 

St Bernard

 

 

                

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Description

This very ancient breed was believed to be founded in AD 980 by Saint Bernard de Menthon and is a descendant of the Tibetan Mastiff.  It was used as a rescue dog in the snowy passes by the monks at the Hospice of St Bernard, saving people lost in the St Gothard Pass. These dogs would search out and find the lost or injured traveler, and then lie next to them to give them warmth. With its excellent sense of smell this dog can find a person even under many feet of snow.

 

Temperament

The very loyal St Bernard is extremely gentle and friendly, tolerant of children and basically just wants to please.  Patient, obedient and slow moving this dog is such a giant it will be very important to socialise it from a very young age while it is still a manageable size with other people. Luckily it is quite intelligent and easy to train and it should be remembered that an unruly dog of this size will present a problem for even a strong adult if it is to be exercised in public areas on the leash, so ensure to take control from the onset.  Just the sheer size of the St Bernard is enough of a deterrent to make it a great watchdog.   Beware they do tend to drool after they drink or eat.

 

Appearance

Height:    61-70cm (25-27in)

Weight:    50-91kg  (110-200lb)

Group: Working Dog

This very big, strong, muscular dog has a very powerful head and a highly developed sense of smell together with a sixth sense about impending danger from storms and avalanches.  There are two types of coat: rough and smooth and both are very dense.  With colourings of white with markings in tan, red, mahogany, brindle, and black, in various combinations. Their expression is of intelligence and gentleness and the face and ears are usually shaded with black.  With the rough-coated dogs, the hair is slightly longer and there is feathering on the thighs and legs. The feet are large with strong well-arched toes, making the St Bernard's sure-footed in the snow and ice.

 

Grooming

The St Bernard sheds twice a year but their coats are easy to groom using a comb and a brush with firm bristles.  They need to be bathed only when necessary as the shampoo can strip the coat of its oily, water-resistant properties, so the use of a mild soap instead is recommended. As their eyes may be inclined to water, special attention is needed to keep them clean and free of irritants. If you don't have the time to bath or groom your dog, your local  dog grooming parlour provides these services.

 

Life Expectancy

8-10 Years

 

Health Concerns

The St Bernard enjoys quite good health, however some are prone to "wobbler" syndrome,  heart problems, skin problems, hip dysplasia, and extropion - folding outward of the eyelid rim, usually on the lower lid. As these dogs are prone to bloat, twisted stomachs should be watched for, so it would be advisable to feed them two or three small meals a day instead of one large meal. Always try to feed quality dog food to ensure a healthy happy dog. 

 

Suitability

If sufficiently exercised the St Bernard will do okay with a small yard. Even though they do have a low tolerance for hot weather, warm rooms and cars, they would much rather be with their family rather than live outdoors.  Puppies should not have too much exercise at one time until their bones are well formed and strong until they are about two years old and then a long walk each day would be required to keep this dog in good mental and physical condition.

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The St Bernard has a placid, affectionate nature but will require training due to its size and strength

 

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