Agonistes' Saint Bernards


The origin of the Saint Bernard is subject to many theories. It seems most probable that the Saint Bernard developed from stock that resulted from the breeding of heavy Asian "Molosser" (Canis molossus), brought to Helvetia (Switzerland) by Roman armies during the first two centuries A.D., with native dogs which undoubtedly existed in the region at the time of the Roman invasions.

artist print of a St. Bernard These dogs were widely used in the valley farms and Alpine dairies for a variety of guarding, herding, and drafting duties. Referred to as Talhund (Valley Dog) or Bauernhund (Farm Dog), they were apparently well established by A.D. 1050, when Archdeacon Bernard de Menthon founded the famous Hospice in the Swiss Alps as a refuge for travelers crossing the treacherous passes between Switzerland and Italy.

Saints began to be registered and bred in America as early as the later 1800's. The staggering number of 151 was shown at New York in 1890 and some of the finest dogs were being imported into the United States.

Most of the earliest kennels and breeders are no longer in existence today; Edelweiss Kennels, Powell, Sancturay Woods and Sunny Slopes. All responsible for the breeds development in the America; the Edelweiss Kennel in Springfield Ill. played a great part in the rock bottom foundation of our breed here in America bringing considerable attention to the breed with imported and famous dogs like Franzi v Edelweiss, Ch. Gerd v d Lueg v Edelweiss, a multiple Best in Show winner, along with Ch. Gero Oenz v Edelweiss, another best in show winner.

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CH Beau Chevals Dodi La Mardoug
handler: Doug Rodwell

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Beau Cheval's Honor
A lovely picture study of
a smooth St. Bernard Bitch
bred & owned by Beau Cheval Kennels


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One Eye
A 1974 Fun match win.
Pictured Agonistes One Eye a half masked Saint Bernard bitch puppy at 4 months.
In 1974 it was taboo to show a half mask; the feeling was that they should be destroyed
and never used for breeding. My feelings are/were that markings were only icing on the cake.
Today many half and slipped masked specimens are shown and finished.
I was just one of a few pioneers that considered type more important than color.


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Ch. Figaro Von Haus Steinbach
Pictured here with co-owner Diane Thrasher going B.I.S.S.
with a Best of Breed from the classes over a large Saint Bernard entry
at the St Bernard Club of the Pacific Coast Specialty
under noted breed authority Albert De La Rie.


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CH Atlas' Lady Ginn v Basko
Pictured with her handler the late Doug Rodwell 1972


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1971 Ch. Beau Chevals Dodi La Mardoug w/ judge Vincent Perry

 Ch. Beau Chevals Dodi La Mardoug - 1971
Judge Vincent Perry
Handled by Billy Buell Jr


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artist: John Emms


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Agonistes In The Ring


a halo
St. Bernard

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St. Bernard head portrait, upper right
artist: Arthur Wardle


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