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Victorian Heroes: The popularisation of the Newfoundland and St Bernard in Victorian England

37 pages25 minutes


Illustrated with a selection of historical photos and engravings.

“The Saint Bernard shares with the Newfoundland the honor of being the only two breeds of dogs whose special mission and characteristics are the saving of life, in contradiction to all other breeds which more or less, lie in the direction of destruction.” (Show Dogs)

Monumental developments like dog shows and purebred registries often overshadow the fact that Victorian values shaped perceptions about many breeds that endure today. Ideological, economic and philosophical trends were all reflected in the growing appreciation for purebred dogs.

Sentimental attitudes about pets taken for granted today are traceable to the influence of romanticism in art and literature, which emerged around 1780. Thanks to romanticism the admiration for nature and exotic lands became major themes of popular culture.

Against this social background there were two breeds that fired the Victorian imagination because of what was seen as their noble and selfless service to man. They were the St Bernard and the Newfoundland.

This short e-book looks at how this Victorian passion came about and how these dogs became well established breeds.

Author, Amy Fernandez, is a multi award winning dog writer, author, and journalist.

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