A Brief History of the St. Bernard Rescue Dog

The canine's evolution from hospice hound to household companion

Monks and a team of St. Bernards rescue a lost traveler in the Swiss Alps, circa 1955. (George Pickow/Three Lions/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

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Until September 2004, 18 St. Bernard dogs still belonged to the hospice. That year, the Barry Foundation was formed to establish kennels in Martingy, a village down the mountain from the pass. Today, an average of 20 St. Bernard puppies are born every year at the foundation. As for rescue efforts on the pass, monks now rely on helicopters.


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