July’s Dog of the Month

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July’s Dog of the Month is the Saint Bernard, and was chosen because a customer requested it.  So if you’re looking for a breed that isn’t yet on my list, then request it! 🙂

The history of the Saint Bernard is surrounded in mystery and legend and makes an excellent read.  Here are some highlights.  Passing Romans brought dogs into Switzerland; dogs mated with local dogs and created the stock from which St. Bernards stem.  Monks used these dogs at their Hospice in the St. Bernard Pass (between Italy and Switzerland) during the 16th and 17th centuries. The breed eventually got its name from the hospice from which it originated (1880 was when it was officially designated as St. Bernard)  however it was referred to as the “Hospice Dog”and “Sacred Dog” prior to that.  Many tales of rescue ensued from the Hospice; fires happened that obscure the record of these dogs at the Hospice.  Severe weather from 1816- 1818 killed many of the Hospice strains.  A similar situation occurred in 1830, and inbreeding and disease exacerbated the weakening of their breed.  Monks outcrossed the Hospice Dogs with Newfoundlands and this revitalized the breed, while keeping the Hospice Dog type and characteristics.  This also produced the first long hair variety, as prior to 1830 they were all short haired.  That’s the breed history in a very hasty nutshell.  There is much more information about the dedicated breeders involved along the way that I don’t have room for here.  It really is amazing how these very old dog breeds come about.

I will be making a couple of coat varieties.  And there is always the option to have the artwork customized to reflect your dog’s markings, if my coat variations aren’t quite right for your dog.  Just select the “custom coat” option on the item page (there is a small art fee for this option).  I will post my finished design soon, do some color testing, and then you’ll be able to purchase Saint Bernard gifts here!

Enjoy the rest of your July!

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