Sunday, January 13, 2013

St Bernard puppy

A few months ago my granddaughter Erin asked me to make her a St Bernard puppy for her birthday gift.  She very sweetly and politely told me it should have a whisky keg around its neck.  She was very precise in what she wanted and I dared not tell her I couldn't deliver!   She thought I could do it, and had no worries that I would fail it was off to the drawing board again.  This is my version of a St Bernard pup with his whisky keg. 

St Bernards are large, solid dogs with shaggy fur. Never all white or one coloured ...... but  they always have a white chest, white feet and white tip to their tail.  I chose a soft furry 14mm pile Alpaca in white and a brindly-brown for the contrast colour.

At first I had to needle sculpt the shape of his face to develop his long muzzle and then scissor sculpt slowly and painstakingly to develop his facial features . 

 Eyes are black German glass and his nose has been fashioned from polymer clay; baked hard and then painted and sealed.


 Making such a furry dog in a miniature was a daunting task, and I battled with every limb!  Each time I tried to turn the fabric the right way round the stitches would pop and tear and I would have to start again.  Perseverance paid off and voilà!   He stands just under 7cms tall.

Gaining their name from the dangerous St. Bernard pass in the Alps between Italy and Switzerland, the breed was famous for rescuing people lost in the snow and in avalanches. This was not an easy or safe job for the St. Bernard, and many  perished themselves in the avalanches.

 They are rumoured to have carried a brandy or whisky barrel around their necks but this fact is apparently a fallacy. Even so, mine has  a keg which I sculpted from Apoxy-Sculpt before painting it and adding the colours of the Swiss flag.
Can you imagine being lost in a snow blizzard ......cold and wet,  hungry and thirsty, possibly injured.........and then seeing this face appear through the swirling snow - bringing relief and help - must be such a welcome sight.

The most famous St. Bernard to save people at the St Bernard Pass was Barry (sometimes spelled Berry), who reportedly saved somewhere between 40 and 100 lives. There is a monument to Barry in the Cimetière de Chiens and his body was preserved in the Natural History Museum in Berne.

This little pup has no name yet.  If it were up to me I'd have named him Beethoven after the St Bernard in the movie .......or Barry , after the famous rescue dog............but the choice will be Erin's. I have no doubt she will come up with something original.

  1. What a sweet adorable puppy. Erin will be thrilled. What little or big girl wouldn't just love this tiny handful.

  2. how lovely of you to comment Joan. Thanks so much for that! x


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