The Saint Bernard is a breed made famous by tales of rescuing people lost in the Alps or avalanches. They were originally bred for this exact purpose in northern Italy and Switzerland, using their large size to their advantage. Monks (the originators of the breed) never actually trained the puppies how to rescue people. Rather, the larger and more mature adults taught the pups themselves.
The breed was originally recognized by the AKC in 1885, and with their calm, patient demeanor have made their way into American households as a great family pet. Though with a minimum height of 27 inches for males and an average weight of 150 lbs, this is definitely the type of dog that needs early socialization and manners training to behave properly and gently with children.
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