Many families live dogs described as gentle giants and St. Bernard Mastiff Mixes live up to that reputation.
Also known as St. Bermastiffs, these dogs are among some of the most affectionate mixes that you could hope to have. Although an excellent choice for many, you will want to know as much as possible before bringing one home.
Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Get a Mastiff St. Bernard Mix
- These dogs alternate between being laid-back and trying to get into everything
- Could accidentally injure or kill a cat or small dog during play
- Feeding costs are often prohibitive in comparison to most breeds
Reasons Why You Should Get a Mastiff St. Bernard Mix
- A gentle designer cross free from aggressive tendencies
- Well-suited to colder climates, making fun winter activity companions
- These dogs learn new commands quite quickly
- Gentle temperaments and strong bonds with the entire family
Appearance, Personality, Coat and Colors, Lifespan, and Traits of a Mastiff St. Bernard Mix
Guardian, protector, both of these terms describe the St. Bermastiff very well.
These dogs can look imposing, standing 27-30 inches tall and weighing 150-200 pounds. However, although somewhat imposing, their appearance is far from scary.
When most people see one of these dogs, their initial reaction is that they are there to defend their families. They are also a perfect size for major cuddling. If your response to these dogs is that they are ideal companions, your assessment is correct.
Large, square heads with broad faces are typical of these dogs. These dogs will also have short muzzles and large drop ears. Most would describe the dog’s expression as understanding and kind.
Mastiff St. Bernard Mixes have loving, easygoing temperaments. Loyalty to the entire family is a common trait. One of the ways that this loyalty manifests is in protectiveness.
Early socialization is essential because of the wariness that these dogs may have toward strangers. Although aggression is uncommon, owners should expect these dogs to have a degree of vigilance toward strangers.
These designer dogs may have short or medium coats depending on which of the breeds is dominant. Fluffy and soft are words that readily describe the coat’s appearance. Feathering on the legs, as well as the tail, help add to the fluffy appearance.
Brindle or fawn with white is the most typical coat color. Although this designer breed could have any color appearing in either breed, the brindle and fawn variations are the most likely.
One of the things that are somewhat of a downside to this crossbreed is that their lifespan is relatively short. Most of these dogs will not live longer than 8-12 years. However, diet, exercise, and access to vet care make a difference.
Additional traits that these dogs have to include being robust outdoor companions, possessing an exceptional sense of smell, and outstanding tracking skills. These traits come from both parent breeds and have made these dogs special companions.
Mastiff St. Bernard Mix Puppies for Sale
Because these dogs are a popular designer breed, several breeders have puppies of this mix available.
St. Bermastiff puppies will have varying prices ranging from $100 up to $2,500. Some of these dogs come about from accidental breedings. In such cases, the price is about ensuring that the puppies go to responsible homes instead of giving the puppies away.
However, some who breed these dogs intentionally price their puppies based on the bloodlines of the respective parent breeds. Owners who opt to purchase a puppy based on these bloodlines are often looking for a good working or sporting dog.
Some of the costs that may also come with getting a puppy from a breeder include:
- The cost of initial puppy shots and an exam
- A supply of the food that the puppy has been eating
- Transportation costs if the new owner is not picking the puppy up themselves
- Although not a typical expense, some breeders provide their puppies with basic obedience training
A sad consequence of these dogs’ size is that many owners are unprepared to deal with a puppy that will grow very quickly and have high feeding costs. Some owners get puppies on a whim because they’re cute without thinking of their eventual size.
One of the consequences of people buying puppies in haste is their surrender to a shelter when the owners are no longer interested. In some parts of the country, giving up a dog may mean surrendering to a “kill shelter,” also known as a pound.
Dogs that come from shelters or rescues are often perfect for families in search of a new pet. Municipal pounds usually charge relatively low fees for the dogs in their care. Pets from non-profit shelters or rescues cost more but are often already vetted.
Grooming Your Mastiff St. Bernard Mix
A St. Bermastiff is a dog that often drools a lot. Purebred St. Bernards are notorious for drooling, and slobbering is also an issue associated with Mastiffs.
When these dogs drool, one of the areas that will see most of the effects is the facial area. However, it’s pretty easy to keep your dog’s face clean using gentle wipes for dogs. Wiping the drool will also help prevent matting.
Some good news for owners is that these dogs won’t usually require professional grooming. If you get your dog accustomed to brushing from an early age, it will be easy to groom. Except for a jump in a mud puddle, these dogs are easy to groom.
The coat is usually medium-length, and these dogs often have double coats. Using a brush that can get through both layers of the coat will help remove loose hair. Brushing weekly will keep the coat looking perfect.
During early spring and early fall, your dog’s coat will require twice-weekly brushing to manage extra shedding. When your dog is shedding heavily, a grooming comb will be the best tool to manage your dog’s hair.
How often you bathe one of these dogs may depend on how active the dog is with outdoor activity. If necessary, you can bathe one of these weekly without drying out the coat. At the most, these mixes should never go more than eight weeks without a bath.
A task that you will want to consider is checking the ears for signs of infection and cleaning them monthly. Dogs with floppy ears are more likely to get ear infections because the ears trap more moisture.
These dogs also benefit from tooth-brushing a few times a week. When you brush your dog’s teeth, he will be less likely to develop tartar and cavities. Dental problems in dogs are expensive to treat, usually requiring multiple vet visits.
Mastiff St. Bernard Mix Health Problems
A St. Bernard Mastiff can develop several health conditions that range from minor to serious. The breeder that you get your dog from may make a difference.
Some dogs that are part Mastiff have exaggerated facial features, such as excessively wrinkly skin. One of the effects of such features is that the skin wrinkles can retain excess moisture. Keeping these areas dry will help prevent infection.
Elbow and hip dysplasia, common large-breed health concerns, may also affect these mixes. When dogs develop problems with these conditions, they will have a lot of pain and mobility issues. Costly surgery is often necessary.
Large dogs are likely to develop many types of cancer, and this mix is no exception. One of the most common types of cancer is osteosarcoma, a bone cancer. This type of cancer may spread rapidly to other areas.
Heart problems may affect these dogs. Dilated cardiomyopathy, which involves a thinning heart muscle, is one of the most common conditions. Subaortic stenosis, a narrowing of the aorta, is another condition these dogs sometimes develop.
Neurological conditions may also affect these dogs. Polyneuropathy, which involves the nerves close to the spinal cord degenerating, is one such disorder. These dogs also have a risk of developing epilepsy, which leads to seizures.
Hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid, may develop in some of these dogs. An underactive thyroid will negatively affect thyroid hormone production. Dogs with an underactive thyroid may experience weight gain and other health issues.
Mastiff St. Bernard Mix Food Requirements
Mastiff St. Bernard Mixes have big appetites to go with their size. In comparison to most other large breeds, these dogs will often eat more.
When fed a diet consisting mostly of kibble, these dogs will easily go through six cups a day. Puppies or nursing mothers will usually consume more.
Despite the amount of food these dogs eat, there are several food options worthy of consideration:
- Large-breed kibble designed for the needs of giant breeds
- Grain-free kibble to eat with wet food or toppers
- Raw food prepared for large dogs’ needs
- A custom diet designed for your dog’s needs, including health conditions
Unless the food that you use contains chondroitin and glucosamine, you’ll want to consider supplementing both these nutrients. When a dog has these nutrients in his diet, he will be less likely to have joint problems in old age.
Another nutrient that you may want to consider supplementing is a source of omega-3 fatty acids. The best source for these types of nutrients is fish oil, which is easy to mix into a dog’s food. Omega-3 fatty acids help promote bone, skin, and heart health.
Mastiff St. Bernard Mix Exercise Requirements
St. Bermastiffs have similar exercise requirements to purebred St. Bernards or Mastiffs. This dog’s exercise needs are moderate, considering the large size.
Daily walks are always a good idea to ensure these dogs get the required exercise. An hour a day, either at one time or split into two half-hour walks, will fulfill this requirement. Short jogs are also a good idea for dogs willing to run.
One thing to keep in mind is that these dogs should not do activities that involve running until they are two years old, at least. Before they turn two, these dogs are still growing and may end up with ligament or bone damage.
When these dogs are fully-grown, they will be able to take part in more strenuous exercise. Besides running or jogging, hiking with dog weights or agility courses are excellent ways to keep these dogs occupied.
Mastiff St. Bernard Mix Training
Mastiff St. Bernard Mixes are easy dogs to train. In most cases, 15-minute training sessions will help these dogs learn the commands that they need to know.
The most important part of training for these dogs is leash training. When you can control one of these dogs on a leash, the range of activities he can take part in easily is much higher.
Mastiff St. Bernard Mix and Families
St. Bermastiffs have excellent protective instincts that make them ideal for families.
Despite being strong protectors, these dogs will also accept regular friends and visitors. As long as they are well-socialized, these dogs are trustworthy around household visitors.
These dogs are an excellent choice for households with children, although caution is necessary around younger children because of the chance of getting knocked over. Older children are a perfect match for these dogs.
Mastiff St. Bernard Mix and Other Pets
Mastiff St. Bernard Mixes can be great with other pets, as long as you’ve trained and socialized your designer mix well. Both parent breeds are mellow toward other dogs, and blends of the two are also likely to be good with other dogs.
Dominance issues are seldom a problem with this designer mix. Precautions are necessary with smaller dogs in the household mainly because these mixes could accidentally hurt a small dog.
In most cases, these dogs are unlikely to bother cats. As with smaller dogs, these mixes need to understand appropriate boundaries during play. Good socialization and supervision make all the difference with any dog in a multi-pet home.