Breed group : Working
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GENERALBreed group: Working Type: Hybrid
Talent: Carting, Guarding, Herding, Obedience, Search & rescue, Sledding, Watchdog, Weight pulling
PHYSICALSize: Large Weight: 120 - 200 lbs Fur length: Ears: Flappy Fur type: Straight
Fur Color: 3 Colors, Brown & White
ATTRIBUTESLife Expectancy: 8 - 10 years Rarity: Uncommon Availability: Hard to find
Climate: Not good for warm climate
The Swissy Saint is a cross between the Saint Bernard and the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog. These two big dogs share the altitude of the Swiss Alps, and a probable molosser or mastiff in their bloodlines. The Greater Swiss Dog is one of the four Sennenhund, dog breeds used for farm work, herding, pulling carts, even search & rescue operations. The Saint Bernard, named after a religious hospice that kept this dog and used it to help rescue travelers in the snow-laden Alps passes, is known a a big, gentle, slobbery beast, and often caricatured in media with a barrel of whiskey around their necks, supposedly to keep rescued travelers warm until help arrives. The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is believed the oldest of the Sennenhunds, and comparatively the largest. Despite its size, it is agile enough to perform various work, but it is also valued as a family pet because of its gentleness.
The Swissy Saint is a big-boned, heavily-muscled, yet dignified looking animal. Colors are rarely solid; black, tan, blue, white and red often go together in tri- or bi-color combinations. A black mask is typical of the Saint Bernard, while the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog contributes rust markings on the eyebrows and cheeks.
Harsh weather conditions from its place of origin means the Swissy Saint has a thick double coat that protects it and keeps it warm. The outer layer can be short and coarse, or a bit longer and finer, with a slight wave. It is dense, and is the dog's primary protection against cold and moisture.
The Swissy Saint is a hardworking, powerful breed that is patient and gentle enough to play with children. The greatest risk it poses to families with children is that it might unintentionally knock the younger ones down. Otherwise, this large dog highly prefers living with his owners than staying outside. Its affinity for people and calm temperament make them ideal family pets; its strength, trainability, and willingness to work make it very handy around the house or farm. It can guard or stand watch, draft, herd, pull carts or sleds, help in search & rescues. Around the house, it can have a "downtime" and just loll around or take a nap.
A thick coat means shedding all year round, and heavy shedding once or twice, as the old fur grows out. Daily brushing is recommended with a heavy-duty brush, to help get rid of shed hair. Bathing is recommended if the dog appears overheated; otherwise, in colder climes, once every 6 to 8 weeks will do.
As with all large dogs, the Swissy Saint needs to be obedience-trained and socialized as early as possible. Unruly dogs are hard to handle when grown, so good behavior is best instilled while young. The Swissy Saint will respond to food treats and gentle commands. It needs to round out its personality to suit its size, so exposure to a variety of places and situations will ensure this dog does not grow up timid. It will do well in a household with other pets or dogs, and will benefit from regular training to reinforce good manners, such as not trying to chew and eat everything in sight, or jumping up on people.
The Swissy Saint loves lazing about inside the house, but being a big, heavy animal, it needs a daily quota of exercise. Long walks or runs on a leash will help keep its weight down. These have to be well in between melas, though, as the Swissy Saint is a big eater and can be prone to bloat. An active household will be helpful in keeping the Swissy Saint exercised and stimulated, which is essential to its overall health.