Different breeds of dogs.

ST. BERNARD.

 

by Dennis Fisher.

This article is one of a great many articles written by Dennis Fisher about a very wide variety of subjects concerning different  dogs, such as obedience training, breeding, showing, health matters, training problems and other subjects.  All these articles appear on Dennis Fisher's websites.   Visit  http://www.allaboutgermanshepherddogs.com the site that has been set up specifically for German Shepherd Dog enthusiasts, or http://www.freedogadvice.com  if you interested in a breed   other than German Shepherd Dogs.

 

This is a really huge breed  Ė  up to 185 lbs in weight and at least 28 inches at shoulder height.

 

In spite of its tremendous size, it is an animal that can fit in quite comfortably in a home.

 

Given itís history as a working dog and made famous by stories of its achievements as an animal that rescued stranded mountain climbers trapped in Alpine snow,  it is rather surprising that it does  need as much exercise  as one would expect in order to maintain good health.

 

Provided the St. Bernard can have access to a fairly large garden and regular long walks on leash, itís needs can be very well cared for.

 

It is a very intelligent animal and responds very well to training. 

I can remember that in one of my training classes there was only one St. Bernard.  But it was the most obedient and responsive dog in a class that included many breeds far  better known for excelling in Obedience competitions.

 

The owner was a young man, very keen to do well in Obedience Competitions, who devoted a great deal of time training this huge, very responsive dog. 

 

 What was of particular interest to me personally Ė and in fact was something of a disappointment to me -  was that this young man afterwards told me that his first choice of a breed  had been a German Shepherd Dog.

 

He reminded me that he  had approached me some time back in order to get  a German Shepherd pup from me.   At the time however, I had no pups available.  Because he was anxious to get a dog immediately and did not want to wait, he had settled for his next choice, the St. Bernard.

 

When one sells a pup, particularly one  that comes from training stock,  one always hopes that the buyer will be someone who is prepared to devote the time necessary to train the pup. This does not always happen.

 

In this particular instance I was  very sorry indeed that, due to the fact that unfortunately I had no pups available at the time, I had  lost the opportunity for one of my German Shepherd Dog pups to go to a keen young owner who would take advantage of the animalís training potential

 

With the St. Bernard  are two distinct types of coats, the smooth and the rough.   The smooth coat variety still has a very heavy coat with slight feathering on the tail and things.  The rough coated variety shows a coat that far fuller around the neck.   The coat in both varieties is not curly or shaggy.

 

The color can be a very attractive shade of orange, or a deeper shade of mahogany with various shades of white. 

 

Because of the heavy coat a fair amount of  regular grooming is necessary with particular attention being paid to area behind the ears and the neck region.

 

The dog also has tendency to slobber  a great deal and this  can be a decided disadvantage if  good tailoring and neat clothes are important  factors in  your life.

 

The St. Bernard is a good natured animal that is excellent with the family and with children but because of itís size and strength training  is definitely necessary.  

 

Although somewhat cumbersome in movement, a good St. Bernard can also be a fearsome guard and protector.

 

The St. Bernard has a huge head, but it is proportion to itís massive body.   The head, is usually very attractively marked with orange or brown ears, white markings on the face and a dark black  nose.

 

The eyes,  somewhat small in relation to the huge head,  are dark.  There is often a tendency for the lower eyelid to droop  showing a a certain amount of haw.

 

The body, as one would expect with an animal that has been trained to rescue people from the snow, is deep and very strong.

 

The feet are, of course, very large and the hindquarters well developed.

 

As mentioned previously, in spite of its huge size the St. Bernard does not to have very large grounds in which to exercise. It will enjoy long, regular walks in a park and when it is well trained will walk as easily on leash Ė and if necessary off leash -  as any small breed.