Avalanche dogs are the unsung heroes of the backcountry, the frontcountry, the sidecountry, anywhere that humans are buried in avalanches. Since the last week of September each year is designated as National Dog Week, it’s got us thinking about them. Next time you’re on the mountain, make sure to thank a patroller/avalanche dog for helping to keep you safe.
The Swiss St. Bernard is the original avalanche rescue dog. They are also referred to as the Alpine Mountain Dog. They were originally bred for rescue on the Great St. Bernard Pass on the border between Italy and Switzerland. The earliest written records of these dogs being used for avalanche rescues was in 1707.