St Bernard dogs


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.

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