The St. Bernard was known as a rescue dog of the Alps. Kept by monks at a Swiss hospice situated at the Great St. Bernard Pass, the breed is thought to be a mix of molossoid and mastiff bloodlines, and helped to find people buried in avalanches with their keen sense of smell. A common depiction of St. Bernards is with a small barrel of brandy around their neck, supposedly to help warm the victims while waiting for help, but this has never been confirmed as accurate.
The Labernard can be tan, red, yellow or brown on white, with the St. Bernard markings of black around the eyes and muzzle. Or, if only the Labrador breed shows, solid black, brown, yellow or white.
The coat can either be coarse or smooth, with short or long fur. Longer fur becomes almost wavy, and is usually tufted at the chest, rump and haunches. Otherwise, short fur is dense and almost sleek, close to the skin.
The two parent breeds have noted appetites, so several small meals in a day are ideal rather than one or two large meals.
Brushing is needed daily, or once every other day, depending on how heavy shedding is. Bathing is recommended only when needed. A small indoor living space will not be a problem, as long they get taken out for play and exercise daily.
The Labernard must be handled with a firm hand as early as possible, as they will become more difficult to discipline as large adults. They should be used to leashed walks right away, and housebroken as puppies. They can display stubbornness; affection and constant attention, not to mention treats, will facilitate effective training.
The Labernard must be taken out for daily exercise, as they are big eaters and grow rapidly. Their bones need to be strengthened against the rapid weight gain, otherwise, they develop bone density problems. Also, they tend to gain excess weight as they grow older. They enjoy play and will run and fetch, or chase, in a wide backyard; long walks are good, but not really necessary.