|25 – 230 inches
|85 – 140 pounds
|12 – 15 years
|Mix of black, brown, or sable
|Friendly, intelligent, loyal
|Families with children; being a watchdog
If you’re looking for a dog that’s large and in charge but is also a big sweetheart, then the Saint Bernard German Shepherd mix might just be the dog for you!
The Saint Bernard German Shepherd mix or Saint Shepherd is the result of two purebred dogs that have very different personalities. This unusual mix of traits only makes the Saint Shepherd more unique.
In this guide, I will go over the Saint Shepherd’s history, appearance, temperament, maintenance, and more!
Keep on reading if you are interested in learning about the Saint Shepherd and what it means to own this massive dog.
What Is a Saint Shepherd?
The Saint Bernard German Shepherd mix, also known as Saint Shepherd, is a cross between the Saint Bernard and the German Shepherd. This combination produces an impressive-looking dog with a gentle yet protective personality. Saint Shepherds also make excellent family dogs.
The Saint Shepherd combines the sweet and gentle nature of the St. Bernard and the intelligence and protective instincts of the German Shepherd Dog.
This results in a gentle giant that can be trusted around children while also being intimidating enough to keep intruders at bay.
The Saint Shepherd is not a recognized dog breed by the American Kennel Club (AKC), as is the case with most hybrids. Interestingly, it is also not found in the American Canine Hybrid Club’s list of breeds.
Saint Shepherd Origin and History
Like other hybrid dogs, the Saint Shepherd’s exact origins have not been well-documented. One way to get more insight about a hybrid is to look into the history of their parent breeds.
The Saint Bernard originated from the Swiss Alps and was developed to be a pathfinder and rescue dog in the harsh blizzard climate. This working breed is known for its affectionate and helpful personality, especially towards children.
The German Shepherd Dog was originally bred to be an all-around working dog that herds and protects livestock while also having the endurance to trot long distances.
This courageous dog breed was also popular during World War I for being a messenger dog, rescue dog, and guard dog.
The general idea of crossbreeding the Saint Bernard with a German Shepherd is to produce a large dog that is sweet and affectionate but also possesses the added edge of being a guard dog.
Saint Shepherd Appearance
They have a dense double coat that is designed to withstand the cold, and the texture can be harsh or smooth to the touch. They can be short-haired or even long-haired with straight or slightly wavy hair.
The Saint Shepherd has a massive head like the St. Bernard. However, it has a more refined shape, a short to medium muzzle, and a black nose. They also have less defined jowls and, thus, drool less than their St. Bernard parent.
They usually have floppy ears that hang forward but can occasionally have erect or semi-erect ears. They have dark brown oval eyes that give a sweet and alert expression.
Their body is long and muscular, with a straight or slightly arched back. Their tail is also slightly curved and long.
Saint Shepherd Size and Weight
Even though the Saint Shepherd is a mix, you can be sure that they are giant dogs thanks to their parent breeds.
Both the Saint Bernard and German Shepherd are classified as large dog breeds by the American Kennel Club (AKC).
An adult female Saint Shepherd can stand between 25 and 28 inches tall with a weight of 90 to 140 pounds. Meanwhile, an adult male Saint Shepherd can stand from 28 to 31 inches tall and can weigh from 95 to 150 pounds.
German Shepherds stop growing at nine months, whereas the Saint Bernard can take around 2 to 3 whole years to stop growing.
Therefore, you can expect Saint Shepherds to be fully grown anywhere between these ages.
To see how big Saint Shepherds puppies can be, take a look at this video:
Saint Shepherd Temperament and Personality
The Saint Shepherd’s blend of the big lovable Saint Bernard and the cool, alert German Shepherd makes them great family dogs.
Saint Shepherds are loyal, affectionate, intelligent, and highly protective of family members. These dogs tend to take after their Saint Bernard parent’s well-behaved manners towards young kids and other animals.
At the same time, their German Shepherd DNA also makes them perfect guard dogs.
Saint Bernards are generally calm dogs that are friendly with people and other pets. Meanwhile, German Shepherds can be aggressive towards other dogs.
Although most Saint Shepherds typically take after their Saint Bernard side, their size can make them difficult to handle unless properly trained and socialized.
As gentle giants, their sweet temperament makes them great with kids. But again, training should be done so that your Saint Shepherd knows how to be gentle with small children during playtime.
With their sweet and protective nature, any family would feel safe with a Saint Shepherd around.
Saint Shepherd Lifespan and Health Issues
Saint Shepherds are relatively healthy dogs. When given the proper care, they can live for as long as 12 to 15 years.
Being a mixed breed actually makes the Saint Shepherd less susceptible to illnesses that purebred dogs are prone to.
According to scientists, this is because of hybrid vigor, which generally improves the qualities and health of mixed breeds. However, that doesn’t mean that the Saint Shepherd can never get sick.
Here are some of the common health problems of the St. Bernard German Shepherd mix:
- Hip Dysplasia: Hip dysplasia is a hereditary disease that is caused by the deformity of the hip joint. During growth, a puppy can develop hip dysplasia when the ball (head of the femur) does not grow at the same rate as the pelvis (the socket). Some of the factors that can cause hip dysplasia are diet, exercise, environment, and weight.
- Canine Elbow Dysplasia (ED): This is an inherited condition that is common in large dogs like the Saint Shepherd. Canine ED is caused by growth abnormalities in the elbow joint, resulting in an imbalance of weight distribution. The symptoms to look out for are signs of pain, limb lameness, an uneven gait, and unwillingness to walk or move.
- Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM): DCM is a progressive heart muscle dysfunction wherein the walls of the left ventricle of the heart start to thin out. The blood pressure in the heart causes these thin walls to stretch, resulting in an enlarged heart.
- Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (GDV): Also known as bloat, GDV happens when a dog’s stomach expands due to food, fluid, or gas. This expansion of the stomach can cause pressure on other organs and may cause decreased blood flow to the heart as well as tears in the stomach.
Being familiar with these common health problems is a must for any Saint Shepherd owner.
Familiarization and early recognition, along with regular vet visits, will help lower the risks of your dog developing these conditions.
How to Take Care of Your Saint Bernard German Shepherd Mix
As with any other dog breed, Saint Shepherds have maintenance requirements. This big dog needs lots of affection, a good amount of exercise, a balanced diet, and proper grooming to keep it one happy pooch.
To help you out, we have gathered some helpful tips that ensure the best care for your Saint Shepherd.
Food and Diet
Like other large dogs, a Saint Shepherd requires huge servings of balanced nutrients to keep its body healthy. And since they have big appetites, expect to spend a lot on dog food.
They require at least 4 to 5 cups of dry dog food a day. However, you can also make homemade dog food for your Saint Shepherd in addition to high-quality kibble.
A mix of high-protein meats and moderate fats will help keep a well-balanced diet.
Take note that Saint Shepherds are prone to becoming overweight, so you shouldn’t overfeed your dog even if it’s a larger breed. This also means that treats should be given in moderation.
You can check out our guide for top picks for dog treats that you can feed your pooch.
Cleaning and Grooming
The Saint Shepherd has a thick double coat that protects them from cold weather. As with other breeds, it requires daily brushing.
It’s best to invest in a pin brush, metal comb, or hard bristle brush that helps prevent the matting and tangling of their furs. Frequent brushing also keeps fur away from furniture when they shed.
Baths should be done only once a month to prevent dry skin and irritation. It’s best to avoid harsh shampoos and soaps when bathing.
Since most Saint Shepherds inherit floppy ears that can be prone to ear infection, cleaning should be done every 2 to 3 weeks.
Your Saint Shepherd’s nails should also be clipped every 4 to 6 weeks. Their teeth should also be brushed three times a week to prevent tartar buildup.
Saint Shepherds may drool a lot due to their jowls which they inherit from their St. Bernard parent, so it’s best to keep a washcloth handy to clean up the slobber.
Training and Exercise
A Saint Shepherd is moderately active and requires physical exercise for at least 60 minutes a day. If they take more after their German Shepherd parent, then they can require upwards of 75 minutes a day.
Since they are prone to obesity and joint problems, this amount of exercise will keep their big body in shape.
Some of the activities that German Shepherd Saint Bernard mix dogs love include playing fetch, hiking, swimming, and agility training. Being active also gives them their needed mental stimulation.
However, a Saint Shepherd shouldn’t be given too much exercise. Over-exertion can harm their large bones and joints, so moderate physical activity should be enough to keep your Saint Shepherd happy and healthy.
Proper socialization is important for any dog, even with a naturally sociable one like the Saint Shepherd.
A walk to the dog park to meet up with other owners and dogs of different breeds and sizes, as well as children of all ages, can help make your Saint Shepherd a well-mannered pooch.
It’s also best to use positive reinforcement during obedience training to make the experience enjoyable for your dog.
How Much Does a Saint Shepherd Cost? Puppy Prices and Expenses
The general price range for a St. Bernard German Shepherd mix can go for around $800 to $1,000 when bought from reputable breeders.
Depending on the St. Bernard and German Shepherd parents, a puppy might even cost you as much as $2,000.
The pricing of these dogs is also affected by the parent breed’s bloodline, coat colors, special markings, and the breeder’s reputation.
You can also find Saint Shepherds in rescue shelters. The adoption fees are around $50 to $350.
To help you plan your budget, I have provided a list of estimated initial expenses for a St. Bernard German Shepherd mix:
|Type of Expense
|Food and Treats
|$100 – $120
|Food and Water Bowls
|$15 – $35
|$50 – $200
|$60 – $500
|Leashes and Collars
|$15 – $50
|$30 – $50
|$40 – $180
|Deworming, Flea, and Tick Medications
|$50 – $200
|Initial Vet Visits
|$100 – $300
|Initial Vaccine Shots
|$75 – $200
|Neutering or Spaying
|$50 – $500
|$10 – $20
|$40 – $60
|$15 – $30
|Total Initial Cost
|$650 – $2,445
Since these costs are estimates, your total expenditure may vary. You should also consider the monthly, yearly, and lifetime expenses of caring for this dog.
For an idea of how much you need to prepare for your Saint Bernard German Shepherd mix, read our article on Saint Bernard costs and expenses.
This will give you a pretty accurate ballpark regarding the cost of owning a Saint Shepherd.
Places to Find Saint Shepherd Mix Puppies for Sale and Adoption
Since Saint Shepherds are a fairly new hybrid, there aren’t any known breeders that specialize in producing them. That’s why looking for a Saint Shepherd puppy can take more effort.
To help you out with your search for this hybrid pooch, we have gathered the best resources to find breeders and rescues in the United States.
Here are some of the places where you can find a Saint Shepherd puppy available for sale:
- Greenfield Puppies – This is a website that can help you look for a Saint Shepherd puppy within your area. There are search filters for the dog’s breed, traits, as well as registration, bloodline, and even extended health guarantee.
- Lancaster Puppies – This is another pet advertising website that offers mixes such as the Saint Bernard German Shepherd mix for sale. All puppies sold within Pennsylvania are entitled to a 30-day health guarantee covered by the Dog Purchaser Protection Act.
- Keystone Puppies – Another trusted source of mixed puppies is Keystone Puppies. They work with reputable breeders who prioritize the health and temperament of their pups. When you buy a Saint Shepherd from this platform, you can enjoy the benefits of a health and socialization guarantee.
If you’re on a budget, you can also choose to adopt a German Shepherd Saint Bernard mix from any rescue shelter.
Rescued dogs go through vet examinations before being available for adoption, so you can be sure that you can find a healthy pup.
Here are some of the rescues and places where you can adopt a Saint Shepherd:
- German Shepherd Rescue of Orange County (GSROC) – GSROC is an organization dedicated to rescuing and rehoming German Shepherd Dogs in the greater Southern California area. After their careful screening process is done, dogs are matched with the families that best suit them. They have a list of available dogs that you can check out to see if they have any Saint Shepherd mixes.
- Sunny Saints St. Bernard Rescue – This is a rescue based in Southern California that provides the needed medical care and affection to abandoned and neglected Saint Bernards and its mixes. All of their adoptable dogs are placed in foster homes.
- Adopt-a-Pet – There are thousands of dogs waiting for a forever home in this online pet database. You can use the website’s search filters for your preference of age, sex, size, and color of the dog. With this, you can easily find a Saint Shepherd to take home.
To help you out in choosing a puppy safely, feel free to check out our ultimate dog adoption guide.
This will help you learn the common guidelines and requirements of rescue shelters. There are also some tips to pass the adoption application.
Pros and Cons of Owning a Saint Shepherd Mix
Proper thought and preparation should be done before taking home a Saint Shepherd. That’s why it’s important to know about the pros and cons of owning this hybrid.
Here are the pros of owning a Saint Bernard German Shepherd mix:
- Excellent family companions: The Saint Shepherd’s affection and loyalty make them great family pets. They are especially gentle with children and are also known to be tolerant of other pets.
- Great guard dogs: Thanks to its German Shepherd genes, the St. Bernard German Shepherd mix possesses the protective instincts that make it suitable as a guard dog. As a giant breed, this designer dog can easily intimidate intruders.
- Highly intelligent: The Saint Shepherd’s intelligence makes it easy to train and quick to learn new commands. They work especially well with training that uses positive reinforcement.
Here are the cons of owning a Saint Bernard German Shepherd mix:
- Can be stubborn: Though the Saint Shepherd is very smart, they can also be stubborn. This is a trait that they can inherit from their St. Bernard parent. Therefore, early training and socialization should be prioritized.
- Shedding problems: Since Saint Bernard German Shepherds shed throughout the whole year, this can be a problem for people who can’t tolerate fur being everywhere in the house. Shedding is especially a difficult problem for people with dog allergies.
- Unmanageable size: Due to its large size, owning a Saint Shepherd will cost you more compared to owning a small or medium-sized dog. Not everyone has the budget to cover the annual costs of a St. Bernard German Shepherd mix. Also, its size can be a problem for owners who aren’t equipped to train a large dog. This might lead to behavioral issues and can also make the dog physically difficult to handle.
With this list, you can weigh the pros and cons of owning a St. Bernard German Shepherd mix and decide if it is the right dog for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Saint Shepherds Hypoallergenic?
The Saint Shepherd is not considered hypoallergenic. Their thick double coats and constant shedding can trigger dog allergies in sufferers.
Although some measures can be taken to minimize the effect of dander, this mix is not generally recommended for those with allergies.
Do Saint Shepherds Shed a Lot?
Similar to its Saint Bernard parent, the Saint Shepherd tends to shed a lot. They can leave excess fur around the house unless groomed properly, which can be troublesome for some owners in the long run.
However, shedding can be reduced by regular brushing and using vet-recommended shampoos when bathing your Saint Shepherd.
Are Saint Shepherds Aggressive?
In general, Saint Shepherds are not aggressive dogs. They are known for their gentle temperament towards people and other pets.
However, a non-aggressive temperament is never a guarantee. That is why training this mixed breed is important in making sure that it shows proper behavior when interacting with different people and animals.
Final Thoughts: Is a Saint Shepherd the Right Dog for You?
Hopefully, this guide taught you a thing or two about the Saint Bernard German Shepherd mix. This hybrid’s sweet personality and protective instincts make it an overall great family pet and canine companion.
If you live in a small home or if you have severe dog allergies, then this probably isn’t the dog for you.
However, If you don’t mind a lot of fur and drool as well as large expenses for food, then there’s no reason to hesitate any longer.
As long as it gets enough exercise, a St. Bernard German Shepherd mix can be a perfect addition to your family, whether you like to lounge at home or go on outdoor adventures.
Let us know in the comments below what you think about the Saint Shepherd mix!