Saturday, January 06, 2007

Another mouth to feed!!!

Like I really needed another large dog. But Commodore is not exactly the dog he used to be. He won't be with us but for a few more years and he is really showing signs of his age now. When we had people over for new years eve the other night he didn't even realize there were other people in the house until he heard them talk. That means he never heard the cars pull up and never heard the front door open.
Believe it or not this adorable black butter ball is a Saint Bernard. I've never heard of one being black like this before, but I got on the Internet and did some research and found out that yes this is indeed very possible. Its just extremely rare. Its also not something the breeders like to see. A solid colored dog like this can't be shown in dog shows. Maybe that's why he was free.
Our friend Squirrel had a get together that we were invited to so we brought the puppy to show everyone and as it turns out there was a man there who has been looking for a black Saint Bernard for years. He said you will only get a dark solid colored puppy like this in every 50 or so litters. When we got home I did some more research on the Internet and really didn't find any information on the solid colored dogs, except that there not desired by breeders. I did learn that back in the 1830's the breed was cross bred with Great Danes and Newfoundlands (both of which have the same white chest marking this little guy has) which is where the dogs with the solid colors are coming from. There is a lot of debate as to why this was done. I read a story that said a lot of the original Saint Bernard's were killed in an avalanche and the monks that created the breed cross bread them with the Danes and Newfoundlands keep the breed alive. I read that it was done to give the breed strength and endurance and the a lot of the original dogs were killed off by disease and severe injuries. I also read it was done to give the dogs longer hair which later proved to be a problem because the snow and ice stuck to the hair.

Another interesting fact I learned is that the Saint Bernard still has a very strong "rescue" instinct and that a good way to play with your dog is to hide from it and let it find you. I thought that was pretty cool.

I am a littler upset with Bear for bringing it home without asking me first. We had already discussed getting two dogs when Commodore passed on but I had planned on being moved into the domes before this happened. We do have plenty of room in the mobile home so that's not really an issue either. Its the carpet that's an issue and potty training the darn thing. Saint Bernard's like Pyrenees are stubborn. It was a bitch potty training Commodore and I am not really looking forward to doing it again. From what I have read they are not as smart as Pyrenees though and that means I won't have to worry about him doing things Commodore has figured out how to do, like opening locked sliding glass doors or opening a car door to get the groceries in the back seat. You would be amazed at how fast something a Pyr is not supposed to have will disappear down his throat.

There are some advantages to having a Saint Bernard over a Pyrenees that was making me consider them in the first place. The barking! Pyrenees bark like you would not believe. They will bark at cars, animals they "think" they see, shifting air currents, low flying satellites, butterflies at 10,000 feet. Actually it was bred into Pyrenees back when they were used as herd dogs to bark when they are on guard so the owners would know there flocks were safe. Unfortunately they never learned to "not" do that.
Saint Bernard's do not have as much hair as a Pyrenees either. I have to vacuum every single day. I have one of those vacuum cleaners with the bucket on it that you just pop off and empty and it has to be emptied every single time because its full of dog hair! Six inch long dog hair.

There are a few disadvantages though. He won't eat anymore than Commodore does (not after the first year anyway) and that says a lot because Commodore goes through a 50 pound bag of dog food in about 6 months. Its actually very surprising how little they eat. But the first year he will eat 6 to 12 cups of high protein food a day because they grow very fast there first year. He will be bigger than Commodore (which will be a surprise for Commodore because he is used to being bigger than the other dogs) and when full grown will weigh in around 170 to 220 pounds. His instincts are not those of a herd dog but of a dog intended to rescue people. I can't really expect him to offer much protection to any livestock. He won't hurt them but he won't guard them like a Pyrenees either. They are not good guard dogs. A Saint Bernard wants to be every ones friend so if an intruder actually finds my new house and is not deterred by the animals size and bark the dog might just lead him straight to the family valuables.

Well, maybe instead of having two Saint Bernard's I will have a Pyrenees and a Saint Bernard. That might not be a bad combination. 1 dog to protect the livestock and one dog to protect the people (a Pyrenees will protect livestock before it protects its people.)
I don't know. I have a few years to think about it. Although Commodore is getting old he is still far from having to worry about putting him to sleep. He hasn't had trouble with his hips since last spring. The hip displasia will return, but for the moment he's fine.

Its a good thing I like the giant breeds.
By the way the new babies name is Odin. Odin is one of my deities. I don't think he would be upset to have the dog named after him.


Blogger Peterson Toscano said...

precious, just precious.

3:04 PM  
Blogger dragonfly183 said...

yes he is adorable. he gets upset and barks when the cats refuse to play with him and our precious Commodore hasn't been in the house since we brought him home yesterday. he refuses to come inside and won't let me pet him.

4:19 PM  
Blogger Serenity, The City Witch said...

Congrats on the new addition! He is just beautiful.

I just wanted to say I am very impressed with the amount of research you do into dog breeds. Some people know very little about the nature of their dogs and do no research, then sit and wonder "Why did he/she do that?"

We just adopted a dog that is half Basenji/half Chihuahua. I have been doing plenty of research on both brreds, especially Basenji because i was totally unfamiliar with the breed.

I didn't mean for this to get lengthy. I enjoy your blog very much -- it on my blogroll and I try to get to your site as often as work (and life) will let me.

Again, congrats on the wonderful new addition to your family -- and Odin is a wonderful name!

8:08 PM  
Blogger Danke Shane said...

Okay, now I am wanting a dog more than ever!

8:32 PM  
Blogger Danke Shane said...

BTW, Odin is perfect! Now you just need a Thor or a Loki :)

8:35 PM  
Blogger dragonfly183 said...

Danke Shane. You know that's not a bad idea Shane. I was thinking about that yesterday. Not right now, but after we move. Having two indoor/outdoor giant breeds right now is really more than enough.

Serenity. You can make as many long comments as you want. As long as there nice. I had a lady come on here once and start criticizing me and my husband and telling me I needed to grow up and, well, everyone got to see what happens when i loose my temper.

Your sweet though, you would never do that.

You know what interesting about research the breeds is the woman we got the puppy from is a breeder and she had no idea why the dog this particular puppy was black. I spent a few hours on the Internet and found out why it was black. I guess that just shows how much people actually know about the dogs there breeding.

10:03 AM  

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