The Saint Bernard was named on St Bernard De Menthon in 980 A.D and is expected to have originated by mating the Tibetan mastiff with the Great Dane, Greater Swiss Mountain Dog and the Great Pyrenees. Their coats can be long or short and are deep brown to brownish yellow in color with white markings. The earlier Saint Bernards used to be short haired, as compared to recent dogs’ long-haired variety which tend to collect icicles. They were used by the Hospice, a refuge for travelers through the risky Alpine pass between Switzerland and Italy. The St. Bernard has come from the Italian and Swiss Alps and they were originally kept for rescue operations. Some experts believe that these dogs are the descendants of molosser type dogs. Many dogs of this breed are naturally affected by hip or elbow dysplasia. Osteosarcoma (bone cancer) is hereditary in the breed. They are also prone to eye disorders called entropion and ectropion, in which the eyelid turns in either direction. The breed is also prone to eczema, a heart disease called dilated cardiomyopathy, and epilepsy and seizures. St. Bernard lives on an average of around 8 years. Twisted stomachs should be looked for in the breed. Heavy large meals should be avoided as these dogs are prone to bloat. The eyes need special attention to keep them clean, otherwise they may be inclined to water. This breed sheds twice a year. Although muscular and powerful in build, they possess a gentle and a calm temperament.