Dog show

St. Bernard dog show arrives in Lima

LIMA — About 40 Saint Bernards will compete at the Lima Kennel Club Showgrounds at 1050 Thayer Road over Labor Day weekend.

Nick Little, president of the St. Bernard Club of Greater Detroit, oversees the competition.

“What we did was we brought the three clubs together so we could put on a lot of specialist shows in one venue and we ended up with six shows over three days, which gives everyone a good shot at earn points,” said Little.

The dogs come from all over the region.

“They will be everything from champion dogs to young puppies,” Little said.

Little says judges look for certain traits in every dog.

“The judges here are looking at how well the dogs conform to the standard written for the breed and endorsed by the American Kennel Club and also endorsed by the St. Bernard Club of America. This standard talks about the appearance and structure of the dog, and is he able to do the things that Saint Bernards were originally bred to do, which is not just to carry the barrel around his neck .

They were originally bred to work in the Swiss passes, specifically the St. Bernard Pass, which connects Switzerland to Italy. Monks bred them specifically to help travelers find their way through the mountains in winter and summer,” Little said.

The dogs were able to follow wayward hikers and if they got trapped in the snow “the dogs will be able to locate them with a big head that they could push through the snow to create an air hole so the person trapped in the inside can still breathe,” Little said.

Movies like “Beethoven” helped boost the breed’s popularity.

“When the first two movies came out, there was definitely interest from a lot of people who wanted the dogs, especially the puppies because they looked so cute and fluffy. The downside is that those little puppies become a much larger dog, weighing between 150 and 170 pounds,” Little said.

The Central Indiana St. Bernard Club hosts the event on Saturday, the Heart of Ohio St. Bernard Fancies hosts activities on Sunday while the St. Bernard Club of Greater Detroit hosts the competition on Labor Day.

Parking and admission are free all three days.

About 40 St. Bernards will compete in six different shows over Labor Day weekend at the Lima Kennel Club Showgrounds, 1050 Thayer Road.

Contact Sam Shriver, journalist, at 567-242-0409.