This Club was founded by resolution of a large number of fanciers at an Open Meeting held at the Ladies, Kennel Association Show on 3rd May, 1928, in view of the then prevailing dissatisfaction with the conduct of St. Bernard affairs, and to satisfy the demand for an efficient and helpful organisation worthy of the breed.
Its first President was Mr R A Staines and Mr E Chasty was its first Secretary. Gilbert Walker, of the Peldartor St Bernards, was Secretary from 1958 for 17 years. After his retirement, the Club ceased to function, as a result of a dispute among its members. It was re-established in 1980 and held its first Championship Show in 1985. Richard and Rachel Beaver, had been largely instrumental in re-establishing the society, and Rachel was elected Secretary in 1984, a position she held until ill health forced her to resign in 2005. Richard was elected President in 1985 until his death in 1991. Mr Ron Attwood, another long-time stalwart of the breed, succeeded him in this office which he held until ill health caused him to resign in 2005.
Its objects are, briefly, to foster the breeding and keeping of St. Bernards; to secure capable and impartial judging; to assist with practical advice all newcomers to the breed; and to discourage actions likely to bring the name of the breed into disrepute.
It is designed to further the interests of the breed, as distinct from the individual, in all possible ways, and its guiding principle is to obtain integrity, publicity and progress for the St. Bernard breed.
The efforts of the Club towards securing ample classification for St. Bernards at the leading Shows will be maintained, and support will be given to non-championship Shows in all parts of the country where necessary. A Club Show will be held annually.
Since its inception the Club has received very satisfactory support, and its increasing membership enables it to claim priority of representation in St. Bernard affairs.
Because of the growing problem of unwanted St Bernards, in 1988, the Club set up a Trust, with Mrs Hilary Flint as the Club's Rescue Officer, which is registered with the Charity Commission (No. 328193), and has received support from other Clubs. Its work of rehoming unwanted St Bernards is financed entirely by voluntary donation. Fund raising efforts include raffles, stalls at shows, tombolas, street collections and many other enterprises. When films about a St Bernard called Beethoven were screened in this country, Trust supporters even stood outside cinemas and rattled their collecting tins.
The Trust has to find homes for over 100 St Bernards annually. From October 1st 2006 to September 30th 2007, the Trust had dealings with 135 dogs. Some are picked up off the streets, often in bad physical condition, others are passed to the Trust for a variety of genuine reasons, and less genuine excuses. Often the unfortunate animals have been purchased from puppy farms and backyard breeders, who fail to check if their customers are able to cope with giant dogs, and give no guidance whatever about rearing and training. Many of the dogs reaching the Trust have behaviour problems and are therefore difficult to re-home. Reasons for 'the St Bernard must go' syndrome include family break-up, owners out at work all day, unemployment, moving house, new baby, dog aggressive, neighbour problems, dog too lively for children and children allergic to dog hair. In many cases one wonders why the dog was bought in the first place.
All prospective homes are visited by representatives of the Trust to check their suitability. The Trust does not sell dogs, but donations are requested from new owners.