saint bernard – st bernard

The st. bernard is a giant dog, with the largest individuals reaching over 140 kg (310 lb). The average weight of the breed is between 65–120 kg (140–260 lb) or more and the approximate height at the withers is 70 to 90 cm (28 to 35 in). The coat can be either smooth or rough, with the smooth coat close and flat. The rough coat is dense but flat, and more profuse around the neck and legs. The coat is typically a red color with white, or sometimes a mahogany brindle with white. Black shading is usually found on the face and ears. The tail is long and heavy, hanging low. Eyes should have naturally tight lids, with “haws only slightly visible”; they are usually brown, but sometimes can be icy blue.

The classic saint bernard looked very different from the St. Bernard of today because of cross-breeding. Severe winters from 1816 to 1818 led to increased numbers of avalanches, killing many of the dogs used for breeding while they were performing rescues. In an attempt to preserve the breed, the remaining St. Bernards were crossed with Newfoundlands brought from the Colony of Newfoundland in the 1850s, and so lost much of their use as rescue dogs in the snowy climate of the alps because the long fur they inherited would freeze and weigh them down.

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