Saint Bernard Portrait
Watercolor on cold press paper
When many people hear the name "Saint Bernard", they imagine a powerful dog, a cask of liquor slung around its neck, bounding through snowy mountains.
Saint Bernards were rescue dogs in the Alps, but they didn't carry brandy (which would be dangerous for someone suffering from hypothermia). The dogs were originally bred as guard dogs for the Great Saint Bernard Hospice, which St. Bernard had founded to help protect travelers through the Alps. Saint Bernards were later used as rescue dogs. The great dogs could even sniff out victims of avalanches and would go for help (if there were more than one dog, one would stay with the victim to keep him warm).
Icicles form and snow gets trapped in long hair, adding extra weight for a dog already struggling through the elements. So Saint Bernards were specifically bred to have short hair. But after a cycle of particularly severe winters, many of the dogs died during rescues. The remaining Saint Bernards were crossbred with Newfoundlands. The resulting longer hair limited the dogs capabilities for snow rescues.
We saw this Saint Bernard resting in the shade with some of his other service dog friends, at the annual Whiskers Walk.
You can see this painting on a mug, shirt, or other item by clicking Saint Bernard - Dog mugs, cards, shirts, gifts...
Please note that all copyright and reproduction rights remain with the artist.