The history of the St. Bernard dog would not be complete without reference being made to the noble work that he has done in Switzerland, his native land. How the Hospice St. Bernard kept a considerable number of dogs which were trained to go over the mountains with small barrels round their necks, containing restoratives, in the event of their coming across any poor travellers who had either lost their way, or had been overcome by the cold. We have been told that the intelligent animals saved many lives in this
way, the subjects of their deliverance often being found entirely buried in the snow.
Breed History of the St Bernard
Handsome as the St. Bernard is, with his attractive colour andmarkings, he is a cross-bred dog. From the records of old writers it is to be gathered that to refill the kennels at the Hospice which had been rendered vacant from the combined catastrophes of distemperand the fall of an avalanche which had swept away nearly all their hounds, the monks were compelled to have recourse to a cross with the Newfoundland and the Pyrenean sheepdog, the latter not unlike the St. Bernard in size and appearance. Then, again, there is no doubt whatever that at some time the Bloodhound has been introduced, and it is known for a certainty that almost all the most celebrated St. Bernards in England at the present time are closely allied to the Mastiff.
Historical Character of the St. Bernard
The result of all this intermixture of different breeds has been the production of an exceedingly fine race of dogs, which form one of the most attractive features at our dog shows, and are individually excellent guards and companions. As a companion, the St. Bernard cannot be surpassed, when a large dog is required for the purpose. Most docile in temperament and disposition, he is admirably suited as the associate of a lady or a child.
The St. Bernard is sensitive to a degree, and seldom forgets an insult, which he resents with dignity. Specimens of the breed have occasionally been seen that are savage, but when this is the case ill-treatment of some sort has assuredly been the provoking cause.
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