"You can find a lemon in any breed," one dog woman said after the Long Island tragedy. "When you get one in the big breeds you have real trouble. And for some reason, many big-breed dogs, while placid as youngsters, get crosser as they age. An irritable dog of, say, 150 pounds can do lots more damage than a piqued Chihuahua."
The case of the slain child is not an isolated one. Despite the Saint Bernard's background as cask-carrying rescuer (although there have been times when the dogs were saved by human beings in heavy snowstorms), over the years members of the breed have killed adults as well as children. Even the celebrated dogs of the Great Saint Bernard Hospice in Switzerland have had killers among them.
Happily, such Saint Bernards are rare, but prospective buyers of a cuddly puppy of any large breed should bear in mind cave canem.