What are the reasons to get a Great Dane Saint Bernard Mix?
- This is a wonderful family dog and is tolerant of children (click here for more details)
- A fun-loving and loyal personality (click here for more details)
- Exercise needs are not too demanding (click here for more details)
- They will make excellent companion dogs (click here for more details)
- Minimal grooming requirements (click here for more detail
- Can be trained to a reasonable standard (click here for more details)
- Will suit a quiet household as an infrequent barker (click here for more details)
What are the reasons not to get a Great Dane Saint Bernard Mix?
- A prospective dog owner doesn’t have time to invest in continuous training and socialization
- A challenge for first time owners
- There is no-one home for lengthy periods of the day
- House-proud owners might not enjoy the slobber
- The dog owner is not physically strong or frail
- A prospective owner lives in an apartment or has little outdoor space
- A range of health problems can affect this large breed such as hip dysplasia
- A relatively short lifespan
What is a Great Dane Saint Bernard Mix?
The Great Dane Saint Bernard Mix offers blends together two iconic dogs both with fascinating histories. This huge hybrid hound combines the size and noble elegance of the Great Dane with the stoic, rugged Saint Bernard who was once known as the Alpine Mastiff.
The portmanteau name for this dog is the Saint Dane.
You can expect this mixed breed to be a calm, dependable family dog who will love nothing better than to curl up on the sofa next to their owners (although this will demand a very big sofa!).
As with any hybrid it is always important to research the parent breeds, both their physical attributes and the temperament. This is because there is no exact science to predict which characteristics will predominate in any particular dog.
For more information regarding the parent breeds, the Great Dane and the Saint Bernard, and a whole range of other wonderful types of dogs please feel free to visit our breed guide.
For a charming video of Great Dane Saint Bernard Mix puppies please click here.
What are the history and origins of the Great Dane Saint Bernard Mix?
In order to truly understand the qualities and character of a classic or hybrid breed it is essential to have an idea of their original purpose and development.
So here follows an account of the fascinating history surrounding both the Great Dane and the Saint Bernard.
The Saint Bernard – Origins and History
To understand dogs fully requires an understanding of where they have come from.
It is entirely appropriate that this dog has a saintly name. After all, the Saint Bernard breed of dogs are famous for bringing succour and comfort to those who are lost alone. Both their thick coats and the iconic small barrel of brandy tied around their necks bringing much-needed warmth to the frozen traveller on the mountains of Italy and Switzerland.
This dog is generally accepted as based around the Mastiff breeds typified by the English Mastiff. Originally war dogs, the Saint Bernard turned its size and power rather to rescuing the helpless. This Mastiff heritage is reflected in the fact that these dogs were originally known as the Alpine Mastiff.
Bred to find and rescue people at the hospice of Saint Bernard of Menthon, the first dogs at the hospice are recorded from 1660 onwards on the Swiss-Italian border. These dogs showed not only an ability to seek out the desperately lost and revive them with a slobbery lick and their body heat, but also the co-ordinated independence where some dogs would return to the monastery to alert and then lead the monks towards a rescue.
Their value and fame is reflected in the fact that they feature in two paintings by the Italian artist Salvatore Rosa in 1690.
Unfortunately this was dangerous work amidst the freezing temperatures and avalanches of the Alps, and by the mid-nineteenth century this breed became endangered. Although it is a testament to the breed that it is estimated that they saved thousands of lives from the 17th to the 19th century.
The most famous and successful of all Saint Bernards was a dog called Barry who reportedly saved around
But ironically it was now the Saint Bernard that was in need of rescue to ensure that this wonderful dog did not become extinct. For this purpose the remaining dogs were crossed with the Newfoundland from Canada in the 1850s. Although this was well-intentioned the influence of the Newfoundland led to a longer coat not ideally suited to the Alpine environment as the fur would freeze and weight these dogs down.
The influence of the Newfoundland is still reflected today in the fact that the Saint Bernard can be either long coated or smooth-coated.
The Saint Bernard arrived in the United Kingdom in the early nineteenth century and soon gained popularity across the pond in the United States. In fact by the year 1900 they were recorded as the most popular breed by the AKC. In the modern day they still remain at the respectable position of the 53rd most popular breed in America according to 2021 registration data .
The Great Dane – Origins and History
It is perhaps a reflection of the magisterial nature of this dog that national claims to ownership have been something of a big bone of contention in the history of this huge hound. Most sources agree that this breed was, in fact, originally from Germany, although some accounts claim Scandinavian origins even before this.
There is even some evidence that this type of large dog was extant in Ancient Greece, and there are some depictions of dogs in Ancient Egyptian tombs from 3000BC which bear a resemblance to the magnificent breed that we have today.
From the 13th and 14th centuries there are clearer pictorial and written records of the forebears of this giant breed. In Germany they were known as ‘The English Dogge’ owing to it being founded largely on the English Mastiff, which is in itself descended from the large and ferocious ‘Molussus’ dog.
It is thought that extra size and speed of these dogs was contributed to by interbreeding with the Irish Wolfhound, and possibly other Sight-Hounds such as the Greyhound. This added more of a lean, athletic frame while retaining the strength and power that we still associate with the Great Dane.
Although the role of these huge hounds was not to ‘sight’ the prey, but rather they were ‘catcher-dogs’ which ran alongside the horses. Once the prey had been discovered these dogs were sent in to bring down large powerful prey such as boars, deer and even bears.
In 1876 Germany declared the Great Dane as its national dog and pronounced that it should henceforward be known as the ‘German dogg’, but in Holland they continued to call this breed ‘The Dutch Dog’. Finally due to some anathema towards Germany most English-speaking nations settled on Great Dane.
Originally the companion of nobles and kings even to this day this impressive hound retains a sense of being an aristocrat amongst canines popular not only for its formidable strength and speed but also for its regal appearance. Indeed this has further been elevated to divine heights and this dog is often referred as the ‘Apollo of dogs’ reflection its beauty and athleticism.
Although kennel clubs insist that there is complete equivalence between American and European breed standards for dogs bred to high standards, some breeders claim a noticeable difference in appearance. Whereas European Great Danes have more loose skin and fuller lips, with a square head, the American version of the breed is tighter around the face with a slightly lighter build.
Although the Irish Wolfhound is accepted generally as the tallest breed, the tallest dog ever recorded was a Great Dane called Zeus from Michigan in the United States who measured a staggering 44 inches (around 119 cm) from foot to withers.
One of the most famous of all Great Danes is not so well known for being fearless in pursuit of his quarry. This is, of course, Scooby Doo. Although perhaps his love of food is certainly in keeping with the voracious appetite of this wonderful large breed. The Great Dane is currently ranked as the 15th most popular breed according to the AKC 2020 registration data .
Linked Hybrid Breeds:
Great Dane Dalmatian Mix, Great Dane Pitbull Mix, Great Dane Boxer Mix, Great Dane German Shepherd Mix, Great Dane Cane Corso Mix, Great Dane Rottweiler Mix, Great Dane Bloodhound Mix, Great Dane Bullmastiff Mix, Great Dane Greyhound Mix, Great Dane English Mastiff Mix.
What’s the difference between a Great Dane and a Saint Bernard?
The Great Dane tends to have a more mellow temperament than the Doberman and is also very gregarious with other dogs and are always happy to play, often being described as ‘goofy’ or gentle giants. Click here to see an example of one such giant lapdog.
The Saint Bernard shares the desire of the Great Dane to be a leg-crushing, giant lapdog. But this breed is decidedly more sedate than the Great Dane both less boisterous and not quite so playful.
Despite its origins braving the snowy wastes of the Alps over long distances, the Saint Bernard is now far more sedentary and prefers to be curled up next to the fire than out in the cold. In general, the Saint Bernard can be characterized as a much lower energy dog than the irrepressible Great Dane.
Also the Saint Bernard is more of a strong, silent type and is less liable to bark than the Great Dane.
What is an interesting fact about the Saint Dane?
The Saint Dane is another mixed breed which reunites distant cousin breeds in a new, unique package.
The Saint Bernard, originally known as the Alpine Mastiff, is a descendant of the huge Molosser war dogs developed in Ancient Greece and later in Rome. In modern terms all Mastiffs, typified by the English Mastiff, share this same heritage.
This is also true of the Great Dane which was a product of blending fast sighthounds, such as the Irish Wolfhound, with heavier Mastiffs to give them a bulk to catch and grip very large prey. The English Mastiff was such a big influence on the Great Dane, that at one point they became known as ‘the English dogge’.
The Mastiff influence gave both dogs not only size, but stamina and strength.
So although the Saint Bernard was devoted to hunting bedraggled and frozen humans on the mountainside of the Alps, and the Great Dane large beasts such as boar, both these dogs gained the necessary physique and mentality from the same genetic source.
What will a Great Dane Saint Bernhard Mix look like?
What is the temperament and personality of the Saint Dane?
Although there are some differences in the parent breeds, there are some common characteristics between the Great Dane and the Saint Bernard which may largely be attributed to the Mastiff influence on both these magnificent breeds.
One certainty is that the Great Dane Saint Bernard Mix will prove to be a very ‘clingy’ dog who will want to follow their owners everywhere around the house. This is because Great Danes and Saint Bernards tend only cast a large shadow, but literally become a large shadow as they follow their owners around.
This mixed breed is also going to be sensitive and will be creatures of routine, disliking any form of change. It will be good to establish good habits for this dog, as although always eager to please, they will also display some stubbornness. This means if you allow your dog on to the sofa as a puppy, you can expect that this dog will expect a similarly comfortable arrangement into adulthood.
Despite being a velcro dog in the house, the Great Dane Saint Bernard Mix will be spirited and adventurous out on walks and will enjoy a good romp off the lead.
The Great Dane does have a reputation for being boisterous and very playful. This is likely to be softened by the influence of the calmer Saint Bernard, who will love children but will not be quite so playful and very happy to take a break following stints of running around.
If you choose just one single word to describe this mixed breed, it would be friendliness. This dog will very rarely show any form of aggression and will want to be the best friend of other people, dogs and even smaller animals in the house, including cats.
This also makes this wonderful hybrid eminently suitable for a multi-dog household, although if introducing a puppy to an older dog be sure this is sensitively structured.
Another advantage of this mixed breed is it will generally have good house-manners, although you will have to watch out for copious amounts of slobber being sprayed liberally around.
Also be aware that this large breed may take longer to mature, and you could be waiting until the age of around 3 for this dog to reach full maturity.
For the different stages in a puppy and adult dog’s development please click here.
For a lovely video of a Great Dane Saint Bernard Mix called Otto in training please click here.
What are the exercise requirements for Saint Danes?
A fully grown Great Dane enjoys from around 60-90 minutes of exercise each day including opportunities to stretch their very long, elegant legs.
But the more ponderous Saint Bernard will be happy with a couple of short walks each day of around 20 to 30 minutes.
This means that the Great Dane Saint Bernard Mix is unlikely to want more than around 1 hour of exercise each day.
The Great Dane Saint Bernard mix will tend towards the large and heavy scale of a Great Dane hybrid breed dog. This means that exercise should initially be compartmentalized into little and often rather than one walk in the very early years of the dog.
This is because over-exercise can potentially damage bones, ligament and joints in the Great Dane and potentially a large Doberdane. If you are concerned regarding this then it is advised that you discuss this with a vet.
Additionally be aware that both parent breeds suffer from bloat, so extra caution must be taken to ensure that this mixed breed does not exercise within 1 hour of eating.
Is the Great Dane Saint Bernard Mix a good family dog?
It is truly hard to imagine a dog with a better temperament for family life than this mixed breed, as long as you have space for this enormous canine buddy in your home.
The Great Dane Saint Bernard Mix will be absolutely full of love, devotion and an unswerving desire to please. This dog will be very tolerant of children, and if well-socialized capable of gentle and careful play.
But it is always important to supervise closely the play between children and a dog, particularly one of this gigantic size as it is possible that accidental injury may occur.
This dog will be very tactile and will want to be extremely close to family members at all times. Also they are likely to distribute their affections across the family rather than being a one-person dog.
If you like a quiet life, the Saint Bernard influence may result in dog that only barks when necessary.
But these dogs do not respond to any change. This ,means that the Saint Dane will be sensitive to any change in family circumstances or moving to a new home.
Who is the ideal owner of a Great Dane Saint Bernard Mix?
The ideal owner will be an experienced dog owner. It is even better if a prospective owner has experience with large and powerful breeds.
A strong canine leader is also essential to make sure boundaries are consistently put in place from an early age. If this dog gets into bad habits then it will be very hard to wean them away.
Although a laid back dog, an owner must be able to put in time to offer mental and physical stimulation for their dog to ensure they are fully relaxed at home.
Also this dog will need a home where there is human companionship available most of the time. This dog will really suffer from problems surrounding separation anxiety if left alone routinely for lengthy periods of time.
What are the grooming requirements of a Saint Bernard Great Dane Mix?
The Saint Dane will have minimal grooming requirements. It is possible that the coat may have some length from the Saint Bernard influence. But even if this is the case this mixed breed dog should require no more than a weekly brushing.
But the Great Dane Saint Bernard Mix will not enjoy the heat. This means brushing should be done daily in periods of hot weather to remove dead hair and keep the Saint Dane cool and comfortable. Please click here for other tips on keeping your dog safe in hot weather.
It is possible that there might be some wrinkling to the forehead from the Saint Bernard influence. If so these wrinkles should be kept clean to avoid a build-up of bacteria and a consequent infection.
How much space is required for a Saint Dane?
It is obvious from the size of both parent breeds that the Great Dane Saint Bernard Mix is likely to be at the large end of Great Dane hybrid scale. Not only are Great Danes giant hounds, but the Saint Bernard is a big, heavy Mastiff.
This dog should therefore ideally be housed somewhere with a fair-sized outdoor space and apartment living should be avoided. Additionally this dog will enjoy a romp and a play in a safe, secure outside area.
What is the lifespan of the Saint Dane?
The lifespan of Great Danes is sadly only between 6 to 8 years. While Saint Bernard also has a relatively short lifespan of around 8-10 years.
The likely lifespan for a Saint Bernard Great Dane Mix is likely to be between 7-9 years.
What are the potential health problems for the Great Dane Saint Bernard Mix?
Hybrid breed dogs are potentially healthier than classic breeds of dogs, but it is still important to be aware of some of the health complications that can afflict the parent breeds of the Saint Dane can be inherited.
Potential health problems for the Saint Bernard Great Dane Mix include:
- Coronary Heart Disease and other related heart conditions including Cardiomyopathy
- Gastric Torsion (bloat)
- Hip dysplasia
- Elbow dysplasia
- Possible deafness as it affects some Great Danes.
- Eye problems such as ectropion
What kind of training is required for a Great Dane Saint Bernard Mix?
With a large and powerful dog like the Saint Dane, early socialization and consistent obedience training are an absolute priority. This will mean that this dog will generally be able to cope with a range of situations both inside and outside the home.
The most challenging behavior from this dog is likely to be pulling on the leash, so heel work should be prioritized at an early stage in training
The Great Dane Saint Bernard Mix is not going to excel at obedience trials. But this dog will be very eager to please and is likely to be food-oriented. This means they will be able reach a good standard in fundamental training exercises such as sit, wait and recall.
For this huge would be lap-hound training for separation anxiety should also be foregrounded to avoid destructive behaviors in the house and distress to the dog.
Click here for a a general outline of the benefits of training. Click here for information on socializing a puppy and here for socializing an adult dog.
How big will a Great Dane Saint Bernard Mix get?
The Great Dane male is, according to breed standards, at least 30 inches (82cm) tall from the feet to the withers. While the female stands at 28 inches (72cm) or more.
The Saint Bernard is a muscular, robust Mastiff who will lend bulk to this mixed breed without sacrificing too much on height. The minimum height for the male is 27.5 inches (70cm) with the female a couple of inches shorter at 25.5 inches (65cm).
The size of a Saint Dane is likely to be:
- Male 30-33 inches (76 – 84cm) from feet to withers.
- Female 27-29 inches (69 -74cm) from feet to withers.
How much is a Saint Dane likely to weigh?
The Great Dane male typically weighs between 120 to 170 lb (54-74kgs) with the female at 110 to140 lbs (50-64 kgs). As for the Saint Bernard, this giant breed is very heavy typically weighing between 154-198 lbs (70-95kg)
The Saint Bernard Great Dane Mix is likely to weigh:
- Male: 170-185 lb (77-84 kg)
- Female: 140-165 lb (64kg-75kg)
Where should I get a Saint Bernard Great Dane Mix from?
If you are looking for a Saint Bernard Great Dane Mix puppy then always contact a reputable breeder and look out for the following:
- You should always have the opportunity to see the puppies interacting with the mother.
- If there is little interaction with the ‘mother’ be cautious as occasionally unscrupulous breeders can bring in another female dog for appearances.
- A reputable breeder should also have details of the father available on request.
- In addition you should have access to the medical records of both parents and any kennel club certificates.
- A reputable breeder should be willing to offer you advice when you take your puppy home.
If possible, adoption is a kind and rewarding option. But ensure that you thoughtfully discuss the details of a rescue dog with the charity or rehoming organization.
If you already have a dog , then please feel free to browse these tips on how to introduce a puppy to an older dog.
What are the feeding requirements of a Saint Bernard Great Dane Mix?
It is always a good idea to consult with a vet or animal dietician regarding feeding requirements in the early days of ownership. This will ensure that your Doberdane will receive a balanced diet in the correct portions.
It is also important to balance feeding against exercise to maintain a healthy weight.
Many owners of Saint Bernards and Great Danes are recommended a raw food diet.
Remember that this dog will be prone to bloating. If possible try to feed this giant breed smaller portions more frequently rather than large portions at one sitting.
Should I get a male or female Saint Bernard Great Dane Mix?
Each dog is unique, so the following only offers a general guide rather than a rule but male and female dogs can have different dispositions. In general the female Saint Dane tends to be a little more mature and are slightly more focused and receptive to training.
The Saint Bernard size and weight difference between male and female is quite pronounced. This means that if you want a smaller version of this wonderful mixed breed then the female offers the best option.
Both genders of the Saint Dane will offer a very loving, devoted and slightly slobbery companion for the whole family.
What colors are common for a Saint Dane?
In general the Great Dane Saint Bernard Mix can be a wide variety of colors but the following are likely to be common:
- All of the above colors are likely to be mixed with white
- There is likely to be a dark mask to the face
Do Saint Danes get along with other dogs?
This breed will be friendly and gregarious and will certainly happily cohabit with other dogs. This is also true of both parent breeds but ensure you follow clear steps in introducing established dogs to a puppy or another dog.
This breed is extremely unlikely to be aggressive and will be mild-tempered and playful with unfamiliar dogs.
As noted above it is, however, vital to socialize a Saint Dane puppy consistently to cope with a range of situations.
Do Saint Danes get on with cats and small pets?
If the Great Dane Saint Bernard Mix is introduced to cats as a puppy then it is often the case that that they can successfully live with these smaller pets.
Both the parent breeds, the Great Dane and the Saint Bernard, are celebrated as being particularly well-disposed towards feline family members. This means that if the following steps are followed the fur is very unlikely to fly with this cat-friendly dog in your household.
Training a Saint Bernard Great Dane Mix puppy to get along with a cat
To maximize the chances of a positive relationship between your Saint Dane and a cat ensure that they are introduced in a structured and sensitive way.
This should start with putting down items that belong to the Great Dane Saint Bernard Mix puppy before the arrival to accustom the cats to the scent.
The next step is to confine the puppy to an area. This should certainly include at feeding times and could be a room with a baby-gate. The area of confinement should be circulated around the house as well as a safely enclosed outside area.
When ready allow the puppy out on an appropriate leash or harness and proactively praise positive interactions and correct any chasing. Ensure the cats always have escape areas including high places to promote their sense of confidence and safety.
Do Saint Danes make good guard dogs for the home?
The Great Dane Saint Bernard Mix is not the most natural of guard dogs. This is not helped by the fact that both parent breeds are extremely friendly towards people, event those who are unfamiliar to them.
The strong Mastiff heritage in this breed means that this dog is likely to rise to the occasion if they sense a direct threat to their human family. This mixed breed will not bite unless in extreme circumstances, but are more likely to interpose themselves between their owners and threat and use their body mass to deter intruders.
This dog is unlikely to be a barker although they may bark an alarm if they feel unsettled or sense that something is amiss.
Where can I found out more about the Great Dane Saint Bernard Mix?
If you are considering a hybrid breed such as the Saint Dane always research both founding breeds to ensure that you are fully prepared for the arrival of your Saint Dane puppy and nuance your training and lifestyle provision for your exciting new canine family member accordingly.
The price of a Saint Dane will vary but generally hybrid breed dogs cost less than pure bred dogs such as a Great Dane puppy or a Saint Bernard puppy.
Please feel free to browse our breed guide for more information on the Great Dane, Saint Bernard and other breeds.
Other Great Dane Hybrid Breeds
Please click on the pictures below to find out more about these other fantastic Great Dane hybrid breeds:
Great Dane Pitbull
Great Dane Boxer Mix
Great Dane Dalmatian Mix
Great Dane and Rottweiler
Great Dane Rescue (USA)