The St. Bernard originated in Switzerland, where monks are said to have bred these large dogs since the 17th century. It is probable that the St. Bernard developed from the heavy mastiffs brought to Switzerland by the Roman armies during the first two centuries AD, which bred with local dogs.
St. Bernards are loveable, gentle and gregarious dogs originally renowned for rescuing helpless travellers stranded along the mountain ranges of the Swiss and Italian Alps. Today, while the breed is still employed for a variety of roles, including rescue, St. Bernards are valued for competitions that include cart and weight pulling strength. These gentle giants can have short or long coats, often tan or red with white, and make great family pets. Due to their large imposing frame, supervision is important around small children.
These giant dogs also tend to produce pools of drool, so pet parents who are precious with furnishings might want to consider a breed that keeps its saliva to itself!