St Berdoodle

Linda Simon
Dr Linda Simon (MVB MRCVS, University College Dublin)
Photo of adult St Berdoodle
usestangerines /

A large breed with a dense, wavy coat, the Saint Berdoodle is a cross between the calm and docile Saint Bernard and the intelligent, hypoallergenic Poodle. These guys will most often inherit the impressive stature of the Saint Bernard with the attractive, wavy coat of the Poodle. With some individuals reaching weights of 80kg, there’s nothing small about the St Berdoodle.

Affectionate and loving, this breed makes a welcome addition to any family and does very well with both children and other pets. Some can be wary of strangers and may attempt to guard their home, so thorough socialisation is recommended from a young age.

About & History

While Poodles have been used for upwards of fifty years in the creation of hybrid dogs, St Bernards are relatively new to the game. Poodles are such a popular breed within the designer dog world thanks to their low maintenance coat and because they come in three sizes (Toy, Miniature and Standard). When exactly the St Berdoodle was created is uncertain, but it's possible that it was at the start of the 21st century.

The Poodle

The Poodle is thought to be a German breed that was popularised in France in the 17th century. The Poodle has enjoyed a colourful and varied past, having been employed as a successful duck hunter, circus performer and truffle sniffer. In recent times, the Poodle has earned a reputation as a loyal family pet and may sometimes be seen in the show ring.

The Saint Bernard

The Saint Bernard is a Swiss dog that was developed by monks in the 1600s. It is likely that they were bred from Swiss Mountain Dogs, Newfoundlands and Bloodhounds.

These breeds contributed vital genetics that allowed the St Bernard to become the fantastic mountain rescue dog that we have all know and love. As well as having a superior sense of smell, which allows the Saint Bernard to locate lost travelers, they are also resistant to poor weather conditions and have a wonderfully gently and patient nature. While the St Bernard is still highly regarded and is even the national dog of Switzerland, most are now kept as pets rather than working dogs.


St Berdoodle Large Photo
usestangerines /

It is difficult with any crossbreed to predict what they will look like when fully-grown, but this is especially true of designer dogs that have been created from two breeds that look very different to each other. While most St Berdoodles will look a certain way, some may look much more like one of their parents than the other.

Most dogs will inherit the large head of the St Bernard with brown or amber eyes that may be hidden behind their facial fur. Their ears are pendulous and relatively big. Just like the St Bernard, many will have darker fur on their ears and around their eyes.

While fur colour and texture is quite variable, most will have a Red & White or a Brown & White coat that is wavy and soft to the touch. An undoubtedly large dog breed, the average St Berdoodle will weigh between 40kg and 80kg, but bigger weights have been recorded. Height-wise, they tend to stand between 60cm to 76cm.

Character & Temperament

A people-oriented breed, the St Berdoodle enjoys being with company and will not be happy to be left alone for prolonged periods of time. A real charmer, the St Berdoodle gets on with just about everyone and will soon have them won over with its generous and affectionate nature. A number of individuals can become clingy and needy, even to the point of separation anxiety.

A tolerant breed, the St Berdoodle generally does very well with children of all ages and all types of pets. To ensure that their tolerance is high, socialise them from a very early age. Though incredibly gentle, due to their sheer size, any young child or small pet should always be closely supervised when in their company.

Some St Berdoodles are quite protective and may show their devotion to their family through acting territorial. While this may be beneficial for those looking for a guard dog, it would otherwise be seen as an undesirable trait that needs to be trained out of them.


A dog that likes to learn new things and please their master, the St Berdoodle has good levels of enthusiasm and patience for their training. Their intelligence means that they are usually quick on the uptake and do not require too much repetition.

Whilst very large dogs, the St Berdoodle is described as a ‘gentle giant’ and can be sensitive. Punishments or criticisms are not well received and should be avoided; instead opting for a reward-focused training programme.


Health issues can be present in just about any dog and crossbreeds are no exception. While the genetic diversity within a cross-breed can make it less likely for them to inherit certain conditions, they are certainly not immune to them.

Gastric Torsion

Gastric Torsion is a condition of many names, including ‘GDV’, Gastric-Dilatation Volvulus and Bloat. Large and giant breeds, especially those with deep chests, are the ones who suffer from this issue the most. An episode of gastric torsion can come on out of the blue and dogs will become rapidly unwell. An affected dog will have an abdomen that is visibly bloated and they will find it difficult to settle. Some dogs will retch and some may paw at their bellies.

Most are very distressed and it is clear that there is something wrong. The sooner the dog is brought to the vet, the better the prognosis. If left too long, the blood supply may be cut off to internal organs and the dog can go into shock and pass away. Dogs are stabilised with intravenous fluids and will have their stomach decompressed before the abdominal surgery is performed to correct the stomach’s rotation.

Elbow Dysplasia

Large breeds are over-represented when it comes to elbow dysplasia. Most dogs will start to show signs from 6 months of age, which may include limping, head bobbing and a reluctance to exercise. CT scans are a good way to diagnose the condition and sometimes arthroscopy (placing a small camera within the joint) will be done as well. Some dogs will need a surgery, whilst others will be managed with medication and lifestyle changes.

Hip Dysplasia

An abnormal hip socket can have devastating consequences with affected dogs developing chronic osteoarthritis that limits their mobility and leads to long-term pain. Dogs may initially be stiff, slow and have a funny gait. Hips can be assessed by taken several X-rays of the hip joints under an anaesthetic or heavy sedation. Severe cases may require surgical intervention while more mild cases can be treated conservatively.

Ear Infections

Those adorable ears come at a price! Ears that hang down do not receive good air flow and often have ear canals that are moist and warm. If an infection develops, dogs will be uncomfortable and may shake their head vigorously or scratch at their ears. Treatment will usually consist of medicated ear drops. Sometimes, antibiotic tablets and pain relief medication are also needed. Keeping ears clean and dry can help to prevent infections.

Exercise and Activity Levels

While one might assume that the St Berdoodle requires a huge amount of exercise and outdoor space, this is not necessarily true. They benefit from regular walks and hikes and should have a consistent routine (rather than taking it easy during the week and going hell for leather on the weekend). Those that take more after their St Bernard parent may be somewhat lazy, requiring frequent breaks while on a long walk.

As this breed is so heavy and strong, owners need to introduce lead-training from an early age and ensure that their dog responds well to commands including ‘stop’ and ‘heel’. Even a bigger person would find it impossible to cope with an unruly St Berdoodle that has decided they wish to go and chase something!


Most breed members will not shed much, though they are not technically classed as hypoallergenic. With such a variable coat type, it can be difficult to generalise the grooming needs of the St Berdoodle, as those who have taken after their St Bernard parent will need frequent brushing, while those with Poodle-type fur, would need brushing less often but would benefit from professional grooming a few times a year.

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