CHAPTER IV. THE ST. BERNARD

Later on, at a dog show at Cremorne held in 1863, two St. Bernards were exhibited, each of whom rejoiced in the name of Monk, and were, respectively, the property of the Rev. A. N. Bate and Mr. W. H. Stone. These dogs were exhibited without pedigrees, but were said to have been bred at the Hospice of St. Bernard. Three years later, at the National Show at Birmingham, a separate class was provided for the saintly breed, and Mr. Cumming Macdona was first and second with Tell and Bernard. This led to an immediate popularity of the St. Bernard. But Tell was the hero of the shows at which he appeared, and his owner was recognised as being the introducer into this country of the magnificent variety of the canine race that now holds such a prominent position as a show dog.

The names of Tell and Bernard have been handed down to fame, the former as the progenitor of a long line of rough-coated offspring; the latter as one of the founders of the famous Shefford Kennel, kept by Mr. Fred Gresham, who probably contributed more to the perfecting of the St. Bernard than any other breeder. His Birnie, Monk, Abbess, Grosvenor Hector, and Shah are names which appear in the pedigrees of most of the best dogs of more recent times. When Mr. Gresham drew his long record of success to a close there came a lull in the popularity of the breed until Dr. Inman, in partnership with Mr. B. Walmsley, established a kennel first at Barford, near Bath, and then at The Priory, at Bowden, in Cheshire, where they succeeded in breeding the finest kennel of St. Bernards that has ever been seen in the world. Dr. Inman had for several years owned good dogs, and set about the work on scientific principles. He, in conjunction with Mr. Walmsley, purchased the smooth-coated Kenilworth from Mr. Loft, bred that dog's produce with a brindle Mastiff of high repute, and then crossed back to his St. Bernards with the most successful results. Dr. Inman was instrumental in forming the National St. Bernard Club, which was soon well supported with members, and now has at its disposal a good collection of valuable challenge cups. The dogs bred at Bowden carried all before them in the show ring, and were continually in request for stud purposes, improving the breed to a remarkable extent.

At the disposal of Messrs. Inman and Walmsley's kennel, there were such admirable dogs as the rough-coated Wolfram—from whom were bred Tannhauser, Narcissus, Leontes and Klingsor—the smooth-coated dogs, the King's Son and The Viking; the rough-coated bitch, Judith Inman, and the smooth Viola, the last-named the finest specimen of her sex that has probably ever been seen. These dogs and bitches, with several others, were dispersed all over England, with the exception of Klingsor, who went to South Africa.

Almost all the best St. Bernards in Great Britain at the present time have been bred or are descended from the Bowden dogs.

The following is the description of the St. Bernard as drawn up by the members of the St. Bernard Club:

       * * * * *

HEAD—The head should be large and massive, the circumference of the skull being more than double the length of the head from nose to occiput. From stop to tip of nose should be moderately short; full below the eye and square at the muzzle; there should be great depth from the eye to the lower jaw, and the lips should be deep throughout, but not too pendulous. From the nose to the stop should be straight, and the stop abrupt and well defined. The skull should be broad and rounded at the top, but not domed, with somewhat prominent brow. EARS—The ears should be of medium size, lying close to the cheek, but strong at the base and not heavily feathered. EYES—The eyes should be rather small and deep set, dark in colour and not too close together; the lower eyelid should droop, so as to show a fair amount of haw. NOSE—The nose should be large and black, with well developed nostrils. The teeth should be level. EXPRESSION—The expression should betoken benevolence, dignity, and intelligence. NECK—The neck should be lengthy, muscular, and slightly arched, with dewlap developed, and the shoulders broad and sloping, well up at the withers. GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF BODY—The chest should be wide and deep, and the back level as far as the haunches, slightly arched over the loins; the ribs should be well rounded and carried well back; the loin wide and very muscular. TAIL—The tail should be set on rather high, long, and in the long-coated variety bushy; carried low when in repose, and when excited or in motion slightly above the line of the back. LEGS—The fore-legs should be perfectly straight, strong in bone, and of good length; and the hind-legs very muscular. The feet large, compact, with well-arched toes. SIZE—A dog should be at least 30 inches in height at the shoulder, and a bitch 27 inches (the taller the better, provided the symmetry is maintained); thoroughly well proportioned, and of great substance. The general outline should suggest great power and capability of endurance. COAT—In the long-coated variety the coat should be dense and flat; rather fuller round the neck; the thighs feathered but not too heavily. In the short-coated variety, the coat should be dense, hard, flat, and short, slightly feathered on thighs and tail. COLOUR AND MARKINGS—The colour should be red, orange, various shades of brindle (the richer colour the better), or white with patches on body of one of the above named colours. The markings should be as follows; white muzzle, white blaze up face, white collar round neck; white chest, forelegs, feet, and end of tail; black shadings on face and ears. If the blaze be wide and runs through to the collar, a spot of the body colour on the top of the head is desirable.

The weight of a dog should be from 170 lbs. to 210 lbs.; of a bitch 160 lbs. to 190 lbs.

       * * * * *