Even though there is not a lot of information on where Saint Bernards come from, the history/ information that we do know is fascinating. Around 1965 was the first time that Saint Bernards were seen. But they weren’t seen in person; they were seen through a painting. Salvatore Rosa was the one who included 2 Saint Bernards, in his painting. They looked different from what we know now as Saint Bernards. The two Saint Bernards were portrayed as short haired, with a long tail and dew claws. From this painting, people assumed that Saint Bernards have been around for 25 years. They were pictured in the Swiss Valleys. So for a time, they were known as valley dogs.
Valley dogs have been around for centuries, but they were never given a specific name. These dogs were known to be watchdogs that would keep monks companion, during the winter. But in 1700s, they started to be known for saving lives. It is not known why or how this started. But it is thought that the monks brought the dogs with them, after snow storms, to help find troubled travelers. The dogs’ amazing sense of smell helped them find the lost travelers. After a while, Saint Bernards started to pick up the rescue techniques, that the monks were using. The monks started to send out the Saint Bernards by themselves to do the rescue. They would go out in twos and threes. It is said that the dogs would go through the snow, dig to the traveler, and lay on top of the traveler. One of the dogs would lay on top of the traveler to keep them warm. While the other dogs would go back to the monk and alert him, that they found a lost traveler. They saved around 2,000 people.
Around 1830, the monks started to breed Saint Bernards with Newfoundlands. This was because the monks thought that the long hair would help Saint Bernards in the cold. But this didn’t go as they thought it would go. The snow would get stuck to their fur and icicles would start to form. The monks decided to give away the dogs, to people around the Swiss valley. But in 1855, Heinrich Schumacher started to breed and send these dogs to England, Russia, and the United States.
Saint Bernards shouldn’t only be known for their role in Beethoven, but for their bravery in the valleys. Saint Bernards have stopped rescuing travelers. The monks have started to rely on helicopters to help them. But Saint Bernards loyal personality has stuck with them. Their tame personality makes them a great best friend for life.