The legend or myth regarding Saint Bernards carrying kegs on their collars had its start in the early 1800′s in England. ‘Lion’ a Saint Bernard from the hospice was imported to England in 1815. As young boy of thirteen Sir Edwin Henry Landseer was so impressed with this huge and majestic dog that he drew a picture of the breed. The boy’s famous brother, Charles Landseer made an engraving of the picture and published the work.
In 1820, at eighteen years old, he painted two “Alpine Mastiffs” (AKA Saint Bernards) saving a traveler in the Great St. Bernard Pass. The painting was entitled: ‘Alpine Mastiffs Reanimating a Distressed Traveler’. His father and teacher made a popular engraving of this painting in 1831.
One of the dogs pictured in Landseer’s painting was carrying a wooden keg or cask of wine from it’s collar. Some say this is purely artistic license and that the dogs never carried kegs. Others disagree because of other supporting evidence that the dogs from the Hospice did in fact carry brandy or wine for lost travelers. In any case this is the painting that started the legend or myth of Saint Bernard dogs carrying kegs on their collar.
Myth, Legend or Truth… the world may never know. I think they are pretty cool and love to take the boys out in theirs!
Our barrels are cured and functional from Dan “the Keg Man” Jordon – and no, there’s nothing in them.
I have found Saint Bernard Barrels at these online shops:
- Saint Specialties Walnut Kegs – these are AMAZING handmade barrels $$$
- The Robins Nest – They have some great custom design extras $$$$
- Thousand Oaks Barrel Company – $$ (sells on ebay as well)
- Dan “the Keg Man” Jordan – we like ours $ (sells on ebay as well) **link updated 1/7/2013