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Historical Events  General
St. Bernard dog

What was round the St Bernard rescue dogs neck?

MMDE: The St Bernard rescue dog carried a brandy barrel round its neck

Current: The St Bernard rescue dog never carried a brandy barrel round its neck

Sometimes, the truth behind popular misconceptions can shatter life-long held warm, comforting beliefs.

If you were in need of assistance, alone on a snowy alpine mountain, and saw a St Bernard dog bounding twards you, what would you expect to see round its neck? Most people's answer is a small barrell of brandy, and the image of a large, friendly and very furry dog is hard to shake off. Unfortunately that's not the case and never has been, no matter how comforting or cute we find the story.

It turns out the origin of this picture is quite literally a picture - it's from an artist's studio in England in 1820. Once the painting gained popularity, so did the idea of the barrel of brandy. However, it's never been used once as depicted this way.

St Bernard

St Bernard dogs have been used by the Tibetans since at least the year 1000.