Above is a photo of my Ch. Siegfried's Silver Skate, breeder Col. Wm. Hagel, handled by Jim Healy! Judge Mr. Peter Knoop, Ch. Skate was a dog way before his time, he took Best of Breed over two champions from open class this day. But as this History page of mine will explain the correct Head and Over All Type had already been locked in many years ago as this photo was taken back in 1978. There is nothing Over Done about this dog's almost Perfect shaped head and this is a good Head for anyone to study. Also, the over all Type and Balance of this tall smooth dog was outstanding. If others could have only seen this dog in person, today then they would understand how too much of a good thing can become a bad thing on this or any other breed.
Back in 1971 I got my very first St. Bernard Dog, her name was Princess Jessica Arlettie, I fell in Love with this breed because of her. She was a linebred Zwinghof female, and had some champions in her pedigree. Princess lived to be over 11 yrs. of age, but the last two years of her life she had to be helped outside to potty, so with living with her and her numerous genetic problems, and of course I probably didn't help her hips a bit either, because I loved her so much she was strictly a house pet from the time I got her. I have learned a lot since my beloved Princess, and I know now the importance of allowing these giant size dogs to get plenty of exercise through out their critical growth stress stages.
But, I Love this Breed so much that I chose to become a Breeder, and my only goal ever was to Improve it as much as I possibly could. I just had to learn enough to create one of these large dogs that could be a functional Working dog, and yet a good family companion There were many times I questioned in my mind whether or not I could continue to do this, because of course it was hard work and lots of studying, and even when obtaining the very best bloodlines possible from all over the World, bringing together two St. Bernards is much more complicated, than what one would think. Naturally, I wanted to own and have the very Best quality dog's and of course reproduce the very best quality puppies. I read and studied the Breed Standard, and visited many different breeders back then, and I learned, how important it was to follow that Breed Standard ,as close as I possibly could when considering the right male or female to breed to one another. I would study every single dog in each pedigree, and I'd look at many photo's of all the relatives knowing and learning how each one could contribute some really bad traits or problems and some that would be strong in some of those things that should be the most important to consider in any breeding program.
Now, not everyone could ever be a breeder as it takes only the very strong willed, and there are many times you will live through much heartache, when even though you have thought you have done your very best and yet something still will go wrong.
Also, finding people who will listen even to this day to you trying to tell them how to correctly raise one of these dogs is very difficult, because everyone of course thinks just like I did back when I first owned a St. Bernard, that they know what's best for their dog. Before I had bought my second St. Bernard I had already learned the difference in the looks of my first Saint and the big difference in my second dog which was Show Quality. Naturally I paid more for the second dog so I learned there really is a Cadillac model to everything including The Great St. Bernard Dog!
After I had bought my 2nd Saint a man on the phone called me one day offering a lot more money for this 2nd St. Bernard I had just bought two months before. I thought this man must be crazy to offer me so much money for a dog he knew I had just bought for less than half the amount he was offering. So I called a friend of my in the local kennel club, because of course at that time I didn't know any better, and my friend brought up a good point to me, if this is the original breeder of the new dog you just bought from these other people and he's called them to ask if they have this dog still then he must really need this dog to call and offer you so much more money than he knows you have paid for this dog. So I decided not to sell my new Saint and 2 nd Saint I had ever owned. He ended up being undefeated until he died.
I then looked at this breeders dogs and continued to study to see the difference in his dogs and everyone else in the USA and the World, and there was a big difference in the Head shapes and the over all balance that this Breed Standard does describe. So I continued to buy breeding stock from this breeder his name was Col. Wm. Hagel of the famous Siegfried's St. Bernards. I finished many Siegfried dogs to their championships, and put champion points on most of those I showed. I was taught to go to the shows to have my dogs evaluated up against everyone else's and that was the whole point in going to a Dog Show, not to boost my EGO. Because the man I bought my dogs from was not a Show person, nor had he ever been, he was a Professional Breeder, and in my opinion the Greatest Outcross breeder in the World ever. Of course he could have never ever done that without the guidance from the Swiss Judge Specialist and author of the Best Book on St. Bernard "The St. Bernard Classic" Mr. Albert del la Rie, who selected all the European female for Col. Wm Hagel and Albert gave Col. Hagel his kennel name of Siegfried's. Also, Albert told Col. Wm Hagel to go and buy a dog they called Ch. Hunk Von Mardonof.
So Col. Hagel did go buy Ch. Hunk Von Mardonof from Mr. Gerald Cavner, and Albert had told Col. Hagel to breed this American bred dog which was from Ch. Sanc. Woods Prefix V. Banz and out of Phoebe Von Mallen to all these European Imported females. Col. Hagel did exactly that and ended up reproducing many champions from each one of those Imported females and many other pointed Top Show Quality Saints. Col. Hagel like the fact I would linebreed on Ch. Hunk, bringing out the best of those lines and also being the perfectionist, he called me, The One who would ask Why when there was no Why, as he used to put it. Also, Col. Hagel was so impressed with my great memory, of pedigrees and the way I would picture each and every dog in a pedigree in my mind, and could tell him exactly every short-coming of each one of them. So he would never argue with me about some dog in another ones pedigree, because he knew I wouldn't say a thing, unless I knew exactly what I was talking about.
Col. Wm. Hagel brought me his last 13 dogs back in 1989, because he trusted me with those last dogs, and he passed away about two years later, so my dogs today have evolved from Col Hagel's last of the Siegfried Dogs. I have purified these Old European Bloodlines today with 7-8 generations of my own combinations, bringing together only the best traits, bloodlines and individuals possible, and I think both Mr. Del la Rie and Col. Hagel along with Mr. Zwerts from Holland and Mr. Bachmann from Switz. and even Dr. Morsianni from Italy would be proud of what I have done today to maintain the correct over all Head ,and structure of a real St. Bernard as our Breed Standard reads in each and every paragraph of it.
Through the years my 37 yrs. this year in this breed, I developed the Healy's Noble Friend Kennel name, with many champions of record and I developed the Dixieland kennel name with many champions of record, and I own half of the Siegfried's St. Bernard kennel name, Thanks to Mr. Gus Stefanou, and have finished more Siegfried champions than anyone else, including that kennel name's, previous owners.
Mr. Stefanou bought the Kennel name of Siegfried's back in the 80's and he finished some Siegfried champions as well. I will have a page here on my Web Page dedicated to some of the Siegfried St. Bernards and some of the Dixieland kennel named dog which were those dogs that came from the last 13 dogs Col. Wm Hagel brought to me back in 1989.
Through the years I have owned a St. Bernard from most any Bloodline you could stop and think of and have used many of them in my breeding program at different times, but I learned very early on what a real St. Bernard should look like and you have to have seen a Real one to of course know it. And not some cheap copy of what some people think is a St. Bernard. This breed was not supposed to Evolve into anything other than what it's Standard says, the Breed Type and Characteristics were already lock in, Head and Over All Type was already there, we were suppose to Maintain the correct Head and Over all Type as per the St. Bernard Breed Standard, any deviation from any part of that Standard and it's NOT CORRECT.
To save the true St. Bernard today breeders need to pay attention to the Standard more, and not just what they like to see, because this is exactly what has caused so many new health issues and problems the Saints of today keep having is the fact the dogs are still OVER DONE to a ridiculous degree. Mr. Albert del la Rie warned against people doing this way back many years ago.
This is my History with this Great Breed, lets work together to Maintain this wonderful breed, not destroy it forever, with over looked serious faults and short-comings which no longer make it a quality Saint Bernard.
Hope my History with this Breed will help others understand this is not a breed you will learn overnight, like so many tend to think they have. Learn this breed before you listen to what someone else thinks is correct, they could cost you a lot of time, effort, and money, if you really plan on being a breeder of St. Bernards. Learn the Standard first, look at a lot of photo's, and ask why, to everything , then compare, Heads, and everything about the different Head types then compare the bodies and the structure.
Thank You for taking the time to read about my History, and Experience with The Great St. Bernard Dog. Also remember always they are part of the Working Group so they must also be able to be Functional Working Dogs. It's high time some people opened their eyes, to look at their own dogs, study their own History in this Breed, and then ask themselves Where they are at now in thier Own Breeding Programs? So you have somewhere else to go or have you ran out of places? Our Breed is in Trouble today in the USA as well as other countries, in my opinion, I feel like my Article on "Changes" written 13 yrs. ago can still apply to this day. Please go to my Article's page and read what I wrote, that was published all over the World back 13 yrs. ago. The only thing different today, is there are so many more Health issues, and many more Doggy looking femlaes, which are not able to reproduce, without some human help. These things are a direct result from the American Bred St. Bernard being made Over Done. Too many long-haired to long-haired dogs bred together for too many years, and most American pedigrees going back to the 7-9 generations and the dogs coming from the same bunch of dogs with new kennel names in the front of the pedigrees. Too many generations of no new European Bloodlines brought into this country and then those European Breeders, Importing what American Dogs they Imported. I'd personally Love to see a pedigree today of a dog that just had a European Bloodline in it. Naturally with the first Saints being only short-haired, and the Newfoundland added later on, the recessive genes would of course have to be those of the long-haired to long-haired breedings for too many generations. Balance for this particular breed must be maintained as per the Breed Standard for a real St. Bernard, and not just bits and pieces of a St. Bernard with everything so out of balance it's ptiful.