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Breed of rescue dog that saved about 2,500 people over 300 years of service at a hospice in Great St. Bernard pass in the Pennine Alps. Probably descended from mastiff-like dogs, it was brought to the hospice in the late 17th century. A powerful dog with a massive head and drooping ears, it stands at least 25 in. (65 cm) and weighs 110–200 lbs (50–90 kg). Its dense coat is red-brown and white or brindle and white and may be short or medium-long. The long-haired variety was produced by crosses with the Newfoundland in the early 19th century.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Saint Bernard, visit Britannica.com.