What is a Saint Berdoodle?
The Saint Bernard and Poodle mix is known as a Saint Berdoodle (or St Berdoodle). These giant dogs have a charming and cheerful personality. They are affectionate, loving, and highly intelligent.
They can be non-shedding and even approach hypoallergenic. This breed really combines some of the most excellent features of the noble (and cheeky) Saint Bernard and the low-shedding and wickedly smart Poodle.
Like all Poodle mix cross-breeds, the St Berdoodle is not considered to be a purebred. As such, it does not have recognition from the AKC (American Kennel Club), but this is not unique. AKC doesn’t recognize even the insanely popular Labradoodle!
Saint Berdoodles are highly trainable and can be used as service dogs.
A Saint Berdoodle is NOT related to a Bernedoodle! Learn about the very different (but still giant) Bernedoodle here.
What does a Saint Bernard Poodle Mix Look Like?
Picture a gentle Giant teddy bear with dark eyes and an enormous head. The coat can hide a surprisingly slender Poodle like muzzle! The musculature tends to be well built and sturdy.
Rippling muscle is common, but the Poodle parent breed’s lean frame can show through with tall legs and high set hindquarters (beneath all the fur).
They come in black and multi-colored options. Mostly the coats are white with either tan, brown, or black.
The variation comes from both the Poodle and Saint Bernard side. Multi-colored just means there is brown or tan incorporated into the coat.
There are also blonde/light tan colored Saint Berdoodles (amazing!)
How big do Saint Berdoodles get?
Do not underestimate the possible giant size of a Saint Berdoodle.
They regularly grow in weight to 100-200 pounds (45-90 kilograms).
St Berdoodles also frequently stand up to 30 inches (75 centimeters) at the shoulder.
These are often LARGE dogs. As a result, expect a high intake of food. Expect 4-8 cups of kibble per day, depending on the final weight of the St Berdoodle. Even as a puppy, they can consume a relatively extraordinary volume of food!
Are there Mini St Berdoodles?
At the end of the day, a Saint Bernard is a giant dog. Purebred Saint Bernards are just… large. It is, therefore, difficult to get a genuinely miniature Saint Berdoodle.
Two approaches may result in a smaller sized St Bernard Poodle Mix.
To get a smaller sized St Berdoodle that is F1 (50% of each parent breed) the Poodle parent can be a Toy sized Poodle. This can result in a smaller overall size of the Saint Berdoodle litter.
More commonly, there are additional breeds incorporated either intentionally or by luck that result in smaller Saint Berdoodles. A great example can be seen in the photo of Nibbler below. Nibbler is genuinely a tiny Saint Berdoodle. But he comes with a twist…
He is a Mini-Saint Berdoodle…A Mini-Saint Bernard and a Shih Tzu- Poodle mix
Like how some of the smallest teacup Goldendoodles have a third breed – crossing an extra set of genes into the mix can result in super small Saint Berdoodles (though you cannot consider them to be F1, F1b OR F2 – they are their own unique mix).
What is the Saint Berdoodle Lifespan?
The lifespan of a Saint Berdoodle is halfway between that of its parent breeds. Expect 8-12 years.
The smaller the Saint Bernard Poodle mix, the longer the lifespan. Miniature St Berdoodles would expect to trend toward a longer lifespan.
An F1B St Berdoodle (75% Poodle) would experience a longer average lifespan than an F1 (50% St Bernard and 50% Poodle). This is because the smaller breed lives longer.
Saint Bernard Poodle Mix Temperament
Charming, cheerful personality. Affectionate, loving, and highly intelligent. Intelligent dogs can be easily and quickly trained. They are capable of advanced tricks and behaviors. They are astute and can be positively reinforced (bribed with treats and verbal cues) to learn appropriate responses *very* quickly.
Potty training for such a smart breed can begin early, and the right approach should not take long.
Neither parent breed is nippy or super prone to biting. They can be extremely patient with new situations and children. No dog follows these general trends entirely, though – so be cautious and mindful. Watch for problem biting or heavy mouthing early and positively redirect behaviors consistently from puppyhood.
Saint Bernards are not considered to be aggressive or destructive. Individual dogs may have some issues, but there is no bred predisposition inherited from either parent breed.
Are Saint Berdoodles good with kids?
Saint Berdoodles are known to be child friendly. Like any more giant breed, be mindful of the size discrepancy, especially when they are puppies. A large excited dog can scare or accidentally hurt a younger child.
You should never leave a small child unattended with a dog or puppy – even if they are trusted.
Are St Berdoodles okay with other animals?
Most owners report that their St Berdoodles are friendly and affectionate to other dogs. Many are adopted into homes that have several dogs already. If you introduce them slowly and look for any possible negative issues early – integrating a Saint Berdoodle with existing dogs is possible.
I asked St Berdoodle owners about tolerating cats and got a slightly less warm response. Each circumstance will be different, so there is no strict rule for doing Berdoodles like cats. The two answers I got with cat comments were
- “Xena (female 2-year-old St Berdoodle) and my 7-year-old cat have a relationship of tolerance. They mostly ignore each other. The cat stays up high, and Xena is too busy having fun to bother chasing.”
- Steph reports that her 3-year-old St Berdoodle Koffee “hates hates hates cats” and “chases them whenever he sees cats or rabbits.”
How Much Exercise do Saint Berdoodles need?
St Berdoodles are gentle giants, but they do have daily exercise needs. Most require at least 20 minutes of light-moderate exercise per day. They can also get this from 30-45 minutes of self-directed play.
Some Saint Berdoodles will have a much higher requirement. In general, though, be cautious with the extra-large (giant) breeds as their greater mass requires a lot more effort to do physical activity. Particularly in the warmer months, ensure lots of breaks for your Saint Berdoodle.
Saint Berdoodles do not make good running partners. As a general rule, the body weight and wear and tear on joints make giant breeds or hybrids unsuitable for endurance exercise. So running a half marathon with your Saint Berdoodle is unlikely. The same is true for Bernedoodles, who LOVE to run but are not suitable for long term training.
I asked owners if their Saint Berdoodles like to swim, and all owners bar one reported their dog loves to swim! Some said it took a little time for them to warm up to the water. There are no guarantees – but slowly introducing your St Berdoodle to water should result in a dog that will join you at the lake or beach.
Be mindful of sand and dirt from swimming, getting caught in the deepest part of a low-shedding Poodle mix coat. The hairs can trap the grit. If this gets found beneath a harness, then it can result in friction or rubbing. This can easily damage the skin and cause discomfort. Be mindful when swimming with your Saint Berdoodle!
Do Saint Berdoodles shed?
A Saint Bernard Poodle cross can inherit traits from both parent breeds. For many, the ideal situation is that the non-shedding and allergy-friendly coat of the Poodle is inherited. This can mean a more perfect outcome for those with asthma or who just don’t like cleaning up hair.
At the end of the day, though, cross-breeding is a genetic lottery – and some St Berdoodles will shed – and some will not.
A general indicator of whether your St Berdoodle will shed is the type of coat they have. Just like a Goldendoodle, there can be three coat types.
- A straight coat is a hair coat that typically resembles a Saint Bernard. Expect hair to be dropped by this type of St Berdoodle cat.
- A wavy coat is the halfway point between the two parent breed coats. Wavy coats do not typically shed. They are teddy-bear like and majestic. Wavy and curly-coated St Berdoodles will usually have furnishings (facial hair), which gives them a distinct teddy look.
- A curly coat (essentially a Poodle coat) is the least likely to shed. The densely wound curls are typically not dropped.
The best indicator for the type of coat a Saint Berdoodle will have is first looking at the parents or previous litters. Secondly, check with the breeder for the genetic tests and markers as if they tested, they can identify the likelihood of a non-shedding coat.
When this is not possible, you can look at the developmental markers to make an educated guess. The same principles apply as detailed in our article about how to predict the coat type of a Goldendoodle.
Separation Anxiety in Saint Berdoodles
Like many Poodle mixes, we need to be mindful of the strong attachment that forms between Saint Berdoodle and your family. Breeds like the Bernedoodle and Labradoodle are known for experiencing separation anxiety. The same is true for the giant Saint Berdoodle.
This is indeed a problem as there are many instances where a dog needs to be able to cope with being alone. The cause, however, is actually from a beautiful place. The reason Saint Berdoodles can develop separation anxiety is due to their caring and loving nature. Both parent breeds have a strong desire to integrate into your family pack. They want to be part of the family!
Dogs don’t truly understand the passage of time.
They can come to understand the routine if we guide them. Younger dogs often don’t truly understand that when their owner leaves – that you will return! So it is fairly scary for some dogs when you leave the house.
They feel abandoned.
Separation anxiety for St Berdoodles can vary from a mild case of whining right through to severe anxiety and destructive behaviors. Luckily there are guidelines for animal behavior experts to help manage and minimize the impact of separation anxiety.
Like most social Poodle mix breeds – Saint Berdoodles will do well in a family situation where they can be around their owners as much as possible. They are sturdy and hardy – but prefer to live indoors close to their owners. Physically they are capable of living outside for long periods – but their social demands mean they will often be (huge) indoor dogs.
Health Issues for St Berdoodles
Poodle mix breeds can inherit health problems from either parent breed. In general, though, both the Poodle and Saint Bernard are relatively healthy dogs.
Be mindful of skin conditions (both breeds) and stick with a simple natural diet to avoid food allergies.
Larger dog breeds can have problems with knees (especially patellar laxation) and limbs – so consult a Veterinarian early and consistently to monitor for issues.
Did you know that dogs have two knees AND two elbows!? Crazy right?
In general, you would be hopeful for a healthy, happy dog without too many complications. Health is a game of chance, though, so regular checks are vital.
Saint Bernard Poodle Mix Conclusions
A Saint Berdoodle is an amazingly friendly and cheerful breed. It is stunningly pretty Poodle Mix with the possibility of a non-shedding coat.
While chatting with St Berdoodle owners, my love for this type of dog has deepened. When we get a larger dog, the cross will definitely make the list of possibilities.
Every owner I spoke to cherished the positive attitude and affection their Saint Berdoodle provided. With an active mind, they are trainable (if a little cheeky sometimes). Are sure to keep them busy with puzzles and indoor games to prevent boredom.
Final note: Owners say that people often get their dog confused with a Bernedoodle (a very different but also lovely breed).