What Kind of Dog is Cujo in the movie and book?

Stephen King’s book Cujo has been a hit, and a classic, in the horror genre since its release in August of 1983. For those who saw the movie but didn’t read the novel, you may have missed, and thus wondered, what kind of dog is Cujo.

What Kind of Dog is Cujo in the movie and book?

Well believe it or not the answer is quite simple. Cujo is, in fact, a St Bernard dog. Now you may not know much about St Bernard as a breed, so allow me to give you some insight into what exactly a St Bernard is.

Characteristics of this breed of dog

The breed of St Bernard originated from the Western Alps in both Italy and Switzerland. They were bred to be very large working dogs that were intended for rescue work by the hospice of the Great St Bernard Pass. This is a pass on the Italian-Swiss border. Said pass was built by, and thusly named after, the Italian monk Bernard of Menthon. Ever since this breed has become rather famous for its massive size and gentle-giant type of personality.

In fact the St Bernard is the perfect example of what a gentle giant truly is. Not only is this breed calm and sweet with fully grown adults, they are also rather loving with children. They have been known to play with children and watch over them while the parents may not be paying attention. There is actually a lot of anecdotal evidence of St Bernards saving the lives of many young children. These, of course, are anecdotal, but they still exist and are worth taking note of when looking into the breed. Overall, the St Bernard is a loyal, gentle, and affectionate breed of dog. They can be aggressive if not socialized, but so can any animal (even reptiles). When socialized they become very loving and kind.

When unsocialized however they may still be affectionate, but they may be too strong for their own good. An unruly St Bernard can be even too much for adults, never mind children and how much of a danger they’d be to them. But once socialized and trained properly, not only can they be very wonderful guard dogs, despite the fact that they will never bite an intruder but only bark and intimidate, they can also just be wonderful companions.

In the end the St Bernard lives to please its owners and is, overall, a hard worker. They are especially good at scent work, a talent that they have retained since their time saving people along the St Bernard Pass. It is even common for them to participate in scent contests, such contests have even been noted to be a good way for dog and owner to bond with each other and to help enrich the dog’s life as a whole.

Is this the right type of dog for Cujo?

Now you may be asking ‘why that doesn’t sound like Cujo from the books. Cujo wasn’t gentle at all.’ But of course the fact of the matter was that in the beginning Cujo was a very sweet and loving dog. It was only when he chased an animal into a burrow, got scratched, and then contracted rabies, that he became aggressive, violent, and nearly killed his owners. Get your dogs checked for rabies and always make sure your pets are vaccinated — we don’t want a real-world equivalent to Cujo after all.