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Saint Bernard dogs overrun Swiss capital

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Saint Bernard dogs overrun Swiss capital
One of the sculptures between two of the real thing. Photo: Bernartiner.ch/Von Gunten Andreas

Switzerland’s top dog, the Saint Bernard, is being given recognition by the city of Bern, which is staging an exhibition of colourful doggie sculptures from Saturday.

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The BernARTiner exhibition runs from July 1st to September 30th and features more than 100 artworks each individually decorated by different artists.

The large but gentle brown and white dog has a long and close connection with Switzerland and was historically valued for its role in avalanche rescues.

Barry, the country’s most famous avalanche rescue dog, is said to have saved over 40 people in his 12 years working on the Great Saint Bernard Pass.

READ ALSO: Dog day afternoon: Swiss saint meets Pope in Rome

All the sculptures were unveiled earlier this month at a vernissage on the square in front of the Swiss parliament.

Now the handmade larger-than-life-sized sculptures are going on display at different locations across the city. An app is available from the BernARTiner website to help people track down the dogs.

A variety of Swiss artists, including Ted Scapa and Walter Wegmüller, gave their unique touch to the unfinished works, which will be auctioned for charities at the end of the exhibition.

One of the charities chosen is the Barry Foundation, which ensures the survival of the breed with its kennels in Switzerland.

Meanwhile, an online poll by tabloid Blick has voted the Saint Bernard Switzerland’s national animal.

Thirty-two percent of the paper’s readers chose the breed as best representing Switzerland. Runner up was the ibex with 30.5 percent, followed by the cow with 28 percent.

 

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