Rescue dog Barry

A mountain rescue dog in Switzerland, saved more than 40 lives of stranded people

A mountain rescue dog Barry der Menschenretter (1800–1814), also known as Barry, was a dog of a breed which was later called the St. Bernard that worked as a mountain rescue dogin Switzerland for the Great St Bernard Hospice.

He predates the modern St. Bernard, and was lighter built than the modern breed. He has been described as the most famous St. Bernard, as he was credited with saving more than 40 lives during his lifetime, hence his byname “Menschenretter” meaning people rescuer in German.

The legend surrounding him was that he was killed while attempting a rescue; however, this is untrue. Barry retired to Bern, Switzerland and after his death his body was passed into the care of the Natural History Museum of Bern.

His skin has been preserved through taxidermy although his skull was modified in 1923 to match the Saint Bernard of that time period. His story and name have been used in literary works, and a monument to him stands in the Cimetière des Chiens near Paris.

At the hospice one dog has always been named Barry in his honor and since 2004 the Foundation Barry du Grand Saint Bernard has been set up to take over the responsibility for breeding dogs from the hospice.

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