The Loveable Lifesavers OFA 2015 May 12, 2015 | The Old Farmer's Almanac

The Loveable Lifesavers

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Looking for a new puppy who will come to your rescue? Have you considered a Saint Bernard?

The Loveable Lifesavers

The Saint Bernard Dog is believed to be a descendent of mastiff-type dogs brought to Switzerland by the Romans between 1200 and 800 B.C. Swiss farmers called them talhunde (“valley dogs”) or bauernhunde (“farm dogs”). With its natural ability for scent work, drafting, and pulling, the breed eventually became a loyal helper guarding property, herding sheep and cattle, and pulling wagons.

This giant breed has SUPER POWER:

  • It’s broad chest measures 26 to 30 inches at the shoulder.
  • It weighs between 120 to 200 pounds at maturity.
  • It has one and a half the average strength of an average dog.

The Saint Bernard is a NATURAL RESCUER:

  • It can make its way through snow as deep as 15 feet.
  • Its nose contains 220 million smell receptors. (A human nose has 5 million.)
  • It can hear high-pitched noises up to 47,000 hertz (cycles per second). (The human ear is most sensitive to frequencies around 1,000 hertz.)
  • It can dig out a person buried as much as 7 feet lower than itself.
  • It will often lie down beside a rescued victim to share its body heat. If the victim is unconscious, the dog will attempt revival by licking the person’s face.

Not only are Saint Bernards natural superheroes, they are as sweet as can be. They’re not the only ones who were born to rescue; here are a few other breeds with a similar natural instinct:

  • Belgian Shepherd
  • German Shepherd
  • Newfoundlands
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Golden Retriever
  • Bernese Mountain dog

If you’re interested in more animal advice, tips and training tools see The Old Farmer’s Almanac for Kids: Volume 4 or look online under Pets & Farm Animals.


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The Editors

Under the guiding hand of its first editor, Robert B. Thomas, the premiere issue of The Old Farmer’s Almanac was published in 1792. Read More from The Editors

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