St Bernard dogs
The Augustinian monks on the Great Saint Bernard have been breeding St. Bernard dogs since the late seventeenth century. This tradition continues today in the Hospice and at the Fondation Barry in Martigny. The dogs can be viewed throughout the summer on the Great Saint Bernhard. Hiking with a St. Bernard dog is an unforgettable experience. The dogs became famous for their skills as avalanche rescue dogs. The most famous of them, the legendary Barry, is said to have rescued over 40 people.
Great St. Bernard Pass
Great St. Bernard Hospice, 2,469 metres above sea level, was built in the 11th century in order to provide sanctuary for travellers and pilgrims. Starting in the mid-17th century, the monks there would keep large dogs as guards and escorts. The presence of these dogs in the Hospice is attested by documents from the year 1695, as well as by a memo in the Hospice's records from the year 1707. Before long, the dogs were also being used to escort travellers and to find and rescue people who were lost in the snow and fog. Today, the Barry Foundation's principal breeding station is located in Martigny. In the summer, however, some of the dogs spend time at their original home in the Great St. Bernard Pass.