Victorians believed some breeds to be more loyal than others. The breed most often lauded in pen and paint (some paintings better than others) was the Saint Bernard. Their selfless courage - saving people in alpine blizzards - was the stuff of legend.
This photo was taken about 1935
Mostly though, they were hard working cart dogs. By 1900 the breed's much embellished heroic work was steeped in so much romantic nonsense that the dog became the poster child for nostalgic sentiment.
A silly French postcard
This Saint contrasts nicely with the stylish William Morris designed wall paper (photo 1902).
By the beginning of the 20th century they were a popular companion dog - some say the hardest job of all.
All the images in this post belong to Doctor Barkman. You may use them if you reference my blog.