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The word “noble” might have been created purely as an adjective to describe the Saint Bernard, the nirvanic warrior monk of the dog world. With a keen sense of direction, a thick fur coat, and a lifelong dedication to helping humanity, the Smithsonian reports that Saint Bernards were once the superheroes of the Swiss Alps, saving over 2,000 human lives, including both children and soldiers, from numerous wintry catastrophes. For centuries, Saint Bernards were used to track stranded people from miles away, uncover them if they were buried in the snow, and then use their heavy, furry bodies to provide warmth to the frostbitten. 

One particular Saint Bernard, named Barry, is recorded as saving at least 40 lives over the course of 12 years, all by himself. Could a dog possibly be more cool? Today, of course, the first Saint Bernard that a lot of people think of is a goofy old guy named Beethoven, but just think of Beethoven as the Clark Kent to Barry’s Superman. As far as size goes, Saint Bernards are just huge, with AKC charting them at 30 inches tall and weighing up to 180 pounds.

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