SAINT BERNARD! 5 Incredible Facts About The SAINT BERNARD
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They are known for being gentle giants due to their easy-going temperament and patient nature specifically with children, which makes them an amazing pet for the family. Although Saints are incredibly good with children, large dogs can sometimes be unaware of their size and how big they actually are. So training at a young age, when they are easier to control and a lot smaller, is extremely essential to prevent them from accidentally knocking over any children or guests you may have in your home.
You may have seen the children’s movies ‘Beethoven’ and ‘Beethoven 2’ which features a Saint Bernard and it’s life with its family; the movies focus on the dog’s love and devotion to their human companion – specifically the children – as this is such a distinct quality that Saints have.
Our second fact today, as I mentioned about the size of a Saint Bernard already, is that they grow up really fast!
Saint Bernard puppies weigh only a tiny 1 and a half pounds at birth, but adult Saints can weigh up to 180 pounds. This means there is a lot of growing to be done!
Growth time for these dogs can be up to three years, with the majority happening in their first year. By three months old these tiny 1 and a half pound puppies can grow to weigh as much as 40 pounds. From that point on they will gain at least three to five pounds each week – so they are not small for long!
On the set of the movie ‘Beethoven 2’ - which involved the story of four puppies - it took over 100 canine actors to portray the pups because they grew up so fast during filming.
Fact number three – which may not be what you would expect – A Saint Bernard needs less food than other large dog breeds.
The Saint Bernard’s food requirement isn’t actually as high as you would assume considering their weight and height. It is usually lower in comparison to a breed of a similar size due to their temperament being much more placid and the fact that they don’t need as much exercise as many other large breeds. This is something significant to be aware of as an owner of a Saint Bernard pup as overfeeding your dog can lead to excess weight which strains on their joints or worsens any problems in their hips or elbows.
The fourth fact about this incredible breed is that the breed itself is surrounded by myth and legend.
Traditionally Saint Bernards were thought to have originated in a monastery-hospice in the Swiss Alps in the 11th Century, but the breed’s first verifiable appearance at the monastery (or anywhere else, for that matter) was about 600 years later, so there’s a lot of uncertainty surrounding this which has given space for myths and legends to be created about the dogs.
Many researchers and experts believe that they were first intended as watchdogs at the monastery, but as they started to show their incredible rescue abilities they were then used as mountain search and rescue dogs.
A little bonus fact for you on this subject is that, to this day, monks will have a Saint Bernard as a companion in the monastery simply out of tradition.
Leading on from our fourth fact, fact number five is that over a span of nearly 200 years, about 2,000 people, which included lost children and even Napoleon's soldiers, were rescued by these remarkable dogs.
Saints have an impressive sense of direction and resistance to the cold due to their dense coat which allowed them to rescue people in the Alps from dangerous scenarios. They would clear paths in the mountains and search for those who were missing. They were able to detect a body buried beneath 20 feet of snow of someone who had fallen victim to an avalanche. Saints would then use their huge paws to dig them out. These dogs are very muscular and this strength plays a big part in their ability to rescue people. It was even said that the Saint Bernards at the hospice were able to predict incoming avalanches.
One particularly famous Saint was named Barry.
Barry is said to be the most famous Saint Bernard after having been a search and rescue dog at the monastery-hospice in the Alps. His most famous story was about a young boy that Barry found in a cavern of ice who he managed to rescue and get back to the hospice. Over his lifetime he has been said to have saved the lives of over 40 people.
An animal psychologist said heart-warming words about Barry stating that Barry resurrected people and that his tenderness was so easy to communicate, that the boy he dug out had no fear to let Barry bring him, holding onto his back, to the hospice.
This really does sum up the Saint Bernard as a breed – their loyal and devoted companionship to humans making them a perfect pup for the family.