Saint Bernards from around the world compete at Lima AKC show

LIMA — A total of 50 Saint Bernards are competing in Lima over Labor Day weekend in a breed-specific dog show.

To bring them all together, three Saint Bernard clubs joined forces for the third annual “cluster” dog show at the Lima Kennel Club, located at 1050 Thayer Road.

Exhibitors can enter each of their dogs in six confirmation shows over three days, earning AKC points toward becoming a champion or grand champion. (Confirmation checks how well each dog meets the standard for the breed). Each of the clubs have two shows. Saturday was the Saint Bernard Club of Greater Detroit, Sunday is the Central Indiana Saint Bernard Club and Monday will be the Heart of Ohio St. Bernard Fanciers.

“Saint Bernards were originally used as mountain guide dogs by monks in the Swiss mountains and then they rescued people after avalanches. Therefore, they should be sound and also powerful,” explained Nick Little, of Bloomingdale, Michigan, who is president of the Saint Bernard Club of Greater Detroit.

He also runs a Saint Bernard rescue and his wife is affiliated with the national rescue organization (saintrescue.org).

Too many people who watched the movie “Beethoven” saw the cute puppies in the film and decided to purchase a Saint Bernard without thoroughly investigating the breed and the requirements to raise one over its lifetime, explained Little.

“At maturity, males will weigh approximately 175 pounds and females will weigh roughly 150 pounds,” he said.

Little has eight rescues and said it costs roughly $450 a month to feed all of them. (That’s $56.25 each per month or $603 per year).

Grooming can also be difficult. There are two types of Saint Bernards, smooth and long-haired, and both have thick undercoats to help them stay warm in cold temperatures. Little said he spends about three hours grooming a dog before a show.

If they are bred properly for temperment, Little explained, kids attending the dog shows love running their hands through a Saint Bernard’s thick fur, noting how heavy its ears are, and noticing in amazement the size of its paws.

Joe Wolf is president of Heart of Ohio St. Bernard Club Fanciers. He and his wife own Slayton’s Saints (slatonsaints.com) and have produced over 100 champions. They have competed at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show, yet, to date, no Saint Bernard has ever won “Best of Show” at Westminster.

Reach Shannon Bohle at 567-242-0399, by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @Bohle_LimaNews.

Shannon Bohle covers entertainment at The Lima News. After growing up in Shawnee Township, she earned her BA at Miami University, MLIS from Kent State University, MA from Johns Hopkins University-Baltimore and pursued a Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge. Bohle assisted with the publication of nine books and has written for National Geographic, Nature, NASA, Astronomy & Geophysics and Bloomsbury Press. Her public speaking venues included the University of Cambridge, the University of Oxford, the Smithsonian and UC-Berkeley, and her awards include The National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest and a DoD competition in artificial intelligence. Reach her at [email protected] or 567-242-0399.