St. Bernard dog in the snow
A very large breed of dog, originally from the Swiss Alps and bred for rescue. Saint Bernards are legendary both for their enormous size and stories of daring rescues (one named Barry saved at least 40 people’s lives). Typically 160 to 260 pounds in weight, the largest and heaviest dog ever was a Saint Bernard named Benedictine, who weighed 357 pounds.
The earliest records of the breed date from the monks at Great St. Bernard Pass in 1707. The breed is no longer used for rescues because so many were killed in alpine avalanches that they were cross-bred with Newfoundlands in the 1850s and the long fur they inherited would freeze and weigh them down.