In the 11th century, monks founded a hospice as a refuge for travellers and pilgrims on the 2469 metre - high Great Saint Bernard Pass. Large mountain dogs have been kept at the hospice since the mid 17th century to guard and protect those staying there. The first photographic evidence of the presence of mountain dogs dates back to 1695, and the first written document is a hospice memo from the year 1707. The dogs were rapidly adopted as companion dogs and above all as rescue dogs for travellers who lost their way in the snow and mist. The dogs from the Great Saint Bernard Pass saved the lives of a great number of people, averting many deaths in the snow. The reputation of the Saint Bernards (then called "Barry dogs") grew throughout Europe in the 19th century thanks to chronicles published in many languages and to reports passed on by word of mouth by the soldiers who had crossed the pass with Napoleon Bonaparte in 1800. The legendary Barry became the archetype of the rescue dog.
Source: Fondation Barry: http://fondation-barry.ch/sites/default/files/mediennews/Medienmappe_FB_E.pdf?54
The Saint Bernard has two coat types: short coated (on left) and long coated (on right).
Other Names for Breed:
St. Bernhardshund, Bernhardiner
sankt bernhardshund, korthårig
Saint Bernard Dog, short-haired
St. Bernard, Short-haired
Chien du Saint-Bernard, poil court
Perro San Bernardo, pelo corto
Bernhardiner, langhaarig Long haired
sankt bernhardshund, långhårig
Saint Bernard Dog, long-haired
St. Bernard, Long-haired
Chien du Saint-Bernard, poil long
Perro San Bernardo, pelo largo
There are numerous breed standards. The basis of breed/conformation shows is the judging of pedigree dogs against the 'Breed Standard', which is a picture in words that describes the range of features that are deemed appropriate for the breed. Three of the major international standards are:
1. Swedish Insurance Data Breed-specific information on rates of disease and death from Agria Pet Insurance (Agria Djurförsäkring) is available for many breeds. This breed has information on Veterinary Care and Life Insurance.
The Kennel Club list of DNA tests available for each breed along with an indication as to whether the test is part of the Assured Breeder Scheme (recommended or required) and whether it is recorded on the Kennel Club registration database: