The mystical romance of the Saint as a rescue dog to helpless victims in snow disasters is well-founded in his history as the “Hospice Dog” to the monks who founded their hospice for travelers and pilgrims in Switzerland’s St. Bernard Pass. With origins dating back to the second century to Molossus dogs brought by the Roman armies, the breed has evolved through the careful custodianship of the monks and the valley farming communities as a watchdog, guardian, and companion.
His strength and size are of importance to his duties as well as a correct coat to be able to work in icy conditions. The words, powerful, strong, muscular, etc. and an overall request for an impressive appearance are the watchwords for the silhouette this dog is required to make.
Your “Alpen Dog” or “Sacred Dog” as the Saint has been referred to in past lives, requires his coat to have a substantial undercoat and like most Alpine/Arctic breeds, a coat texture that withstands the ice and elements. Tough without feeling rough is the call for this coat. His coat is also either white with red or red with white in all forms of red shades and needs constant care in most warm climates to prevent coat fade and damage. Red hair just seems to burn or dehydrate faster than other colors. Coupled with a request for the coat not to be too wavy and definitely not curly, you don’t need the sun and elements to accelerate the dehydration thus causing flipping ends and the wave to appear more pronounced.
So, a good solid looking dog with strong legs and body and a good somewhat smooth lying coat with good dense undercoat all gleaming with health and vitality! Frankly, this dog needs quite a lot of things to have happen to his coat when working and living in climates outside his native Alpine region. Protection and moisturizing of the hair will ensure the coat routine prior to show day is an easier one. Oil this coat as prevention is better than cure. Use Plush Puppy Seabreeze Oil 1 tablespoon to 1 gal/4 liters water sponged liberally through the coat – leave in and don‘t rinse. Use this instead of a conditioner. Conditioner will flatten and soften and your standard calls for a tough coat. (Use this prior to showing too after the shampoo, in place of conditioner and leave-in – do not rinse.)
When brushing during the week and for a show day grooming spray, use Plush Puppy Reviva Coat a fabulous, non-greasy moisturizer in an aerosol mousse form, best worked for even distribution and speed on a large dog at one-two golf ball amounts to 2 cups water and sprayed through. Use this as often as you need without fear of overdoing it. This will keep the coat hydrated and tangle-free with maximum elasticity to the hair.
The head is a hallmark and care with eyes is so important so use Plush Puppy Let’s Face It – what the dog showing world has needed for way too long. Another one of the famous Plush Puppy products with the latest technology and the highest amounts of naturally sourced ingredients has developed a product that is a must! This is a hypoallergenic sulfate free low foaming shampoo designed for faces. It’s no tear formula with the highest quality Blue Cypress Extracts, Panthenol with Pro-Vitamin B and SugaNate. These special ingredients clean soothe, adds moisture, aids healing and anti-inflammatory benefits. A small golf ball sized amounts directly to the face and eye area allows you to thoroughly clean without causing irritation. Can be used in and around ears also with the same benefits. Its low foaming design allows easy of rinsing yet complete cleaning.
At some stage, you will have pretty much worked your way through all of the shampoos as the Saint coat changes seasonally going through the various phases of just right, old coat, no coat, new coat and often yellowing on the whites. There is no blanket overall approach with any show dog and with double coated breeds you are constantly chasing a coat as it sheds. So, when in correct full coat, use for the body areas, the Plush Puppy All Purpose Shampoo 5:1 (5 parts water to one part shampoo) on the main body of the coat for maximum shine. When the coat is old and dehydrated, use Plush Puppy Natural Conditioning Shampoo with Evening Primrose on the dehydrated areas. Then All Purpose on the rest of the body. Then when out of coat, switch to the Plush Puppy Body Building Shampoo packed with Wheatgerm proteins to enhance what coat there is. Use this shampoo wherever and whenever there is not enough bulk or coat to make the desired silhouette. Follow all with the Seabreeze Oil (1 tablespoon to 1 gal/4 lt. water) and leave in, don’t rinse.
For all-white areas such as legs, bib, and face, use Plush Puppy Herbal Whitening Shampoo diluted 3:1 and leave for a few minutes whilst bathing the rest of the body and then rinse. This is a toning shampoo and will help to reduce unwanted warm tones. Can be used on those faded red areas too to add the cool tones back into the warm colored areas that have lost their cool tones due to sun bleaching. For stained white areas use Plush Puppy Wonder Blok this product is one of our proudest achievements in helping to maintain a white stain free coat. It is not a bleach and contains no harmful chemicals but with the use of modern technology and high amounts of naturally sourced vegetable surfactants and glycerin This product is designed to remove gently unwanted warm/red tones to the coat. Best used on a damp/wet coat. Gently rub into the areas required allowing time (5-10 minutes ) and rinse. For maximum effects repeat or allow a longer time for this amazing product to work. As with all products take care around eyes.
For those really dirty areas, use Plush Puppy Deep Cleansing Shampoo. Can leave this on for 5 minutes or so for maximum cleaning. Use this either diluted at 3:1 or undiluted on a wet coat.
Now for the drying process. I use a turbo dryer that shoots cool air out in gale force! This is a big dog to dry and the drying can help reduce those wavier areas and give more lift to the areas that need more bulk. Apply a liberal mix of 1 tablespoon Plush Puppy Volumising Cream to 1 cup water to the areas requiring more lift. For the legs add Plush Puppy Puffy Dog+ a good strong hold mousse that is totally water-soluble and not sticky. You can add 1 tablespoon Plush Puppy Swishy Coat with 1 dessertspoon Plush Puppy Blow Dry Cream to one cup water and apply liberally over the topline – this when blow-dried with the Plush Puppy Ultimate Pin Brush till 3/4 dry and finished with the Plush Puppy Ultimate Anti Static Porcupine Brush against the growth of the coat, will reduce and practically eliminate any wave or too curly situations.
For drying the saint and wish to save time use Plush Puppy Fast Blow Dry Spray that combines the latest active ingredients together to dramatically reduce drying time, adds moisture and conditions while protecting the coat. It contains a recently discovered ingredient from the Australian Native Flame Tree that makes dry or old coat feel and look perfect. It also protects the coat from damage from sun and heat. It contains a slight hold ingredient for better coat management and a special active ingredient that eliminates static electricity and stops the flyaways. FAST is probably the most technically advanced formula in the Plush Puppy Range to date.
Show day will see your Saint ready for final titivation and tweaking. His coat texture should look perfect and his silhouette fitting into that ideal shape you have in your mind and from the standard. Use Plush Puppy Cover Up Cream applied sparingly with a barely damp sponge to his white areas that need a more pristine look and keep reapplying with light dabs in layers till the required coverage is achieved. Finish with loose chalk to dry and brush prior to ring time.
For disasters, use Plush Puppy Wonder Wash a great self rinse that gives a really clean result or Plush Puppy Powder Puff Regular an innovative powder that cleans and deodorizes – dust on and work in with the brush or hands and brush out or blow out. Voila! Instant clean. Very handy for those wet mouth situations.
Now a dash of Plush Puppy Shine and Comb for that last-minute glamour shine and a spritz of Plush Puppy Odour Muncher so he smells divine, and your Saint is ready to work if not to rescue you but to save the day in the show ring. Long-haired or short-haired, this massive dog has a majestic appearance with his strong-boned and powerful stride. His intelligence, his mystical ability to sense disaster, his legendary role as a savior and companion, deserve all the hard work you will have put into his show form. All the wonderful stories of this dog are entirely true and it is your role to make sure you get to work for him in appreciation.
Article courtesy of Plush Puppy Australia