St Bernard Pitbull mix – Everything You Need to Know!

By Kevin Myers | 2020 Update

St. Bernards are one of the most liked and popular breeds in the US. Most families love them for their calm, affectionate, and cuddly nature.

However, Pitbulls have an equally poor reputation. They’re considered aggressive, violent, and dangerous but also have an energetic and tender side that doesn’t get much exposure.

So what happens when you combine these two breeds? What would be the resulting mix breed be like? Would they be calm or aggressive?

While access to designer breeds has become more readily available than ever, a new St. Bernard Pitbull mixed breed is making way to the public.

So if you’re looking to bring one home too, keep reading ahead to find out more about this unique crossbreed!

History and Origins

Although there are no accurate records of when the first St. Bernard Pitbull mix came into existence, the breed is still relatively new and rare. And because both breeds are relatively popular, there is a good chance that the breed had been crossed before it begun appearing in public.

So how did this breed come into existence? And why did breeders choose these two specific breeds for crossbreeding? To answer these questions, let’s take a deeper look in the history of both St. Bernard and Pitbull breeds:

History of St. Bernards

St. Bernards are one of the oldest and purest breeds in the world to date and have a long history of being excellent rescue dogs. They have saved countless lives over the past centuries and are currently one of the most popular dogs in the world.

The St. Bernard breed originates from the Swiss Alps and is a close descendant of the native mountain dogs that have lived there for millenniums. In fact, reports suggest that the origination of the St. Bernard breed begun around 962 AD! 

Since the establishment of the hospice near the St. Bernard bridge, the local monks widely used these mountain dogs to find lost travelers and protection of the hospice grounds. The first physical proof of the breed’s existence came in 1695 in a painting that shows a dog whose features are strikingly similar to the St. Bernard’s breed.

By living in the mountainous areas, the breed developed features that helped them survive the harsh winter cold, such as a tough, long coat and muscular bodies, which allowed them to travel for miles doing search and rescue missions.

Skip a few centuries, and we arrive in 1888 when the Saint Bernard’s Club of America was established. Today, these dogs stand on #39 in the popularity ranking by the American Kennel Club. They’re also currently one of the purest breeds in the world, thanks to the breed standards established by the International Congress of Zurich.

History of Pitbulls

Pitbulls are perhaps the most infamous and misunderstood breed in the world today, and their origins play a massive role in that. 

The history of this breed can be traced to the 1800s when both bulldogs and terriers were widely being used in bull-baiting. Because the sport required aggression and agility, crossbreeding between bulldogs and terriers started becoming common. 

After bull-baiting became illegal in 1835, the sport got replaced by dog-fighting, which started breaking out in small arenas and illegal bars. For this purpose, the bull terrier mix was recalled and made even more aggressive through selective breeding.

Soon after, the bull terrier breed started getting exported to countries where blood sports were on the rise. However, what most people don’t know is that these dogs were simultaneously being bred to be docile towards humans, so they don’t attack their owners.

When the UKC recognized the breed, they were inducted as the ‘American Pitbull Terrier’. However, the AKC recognized a slightly different variation of that breed, the ‘American Staffordshire Terriers’. Although both differ very slightly, the primary purpose was to differentiate them from Pitbull Terriers, who had a reputation and history in vicious blood sports.

Since then, the breed has grown significantly in the US, but unfortunately have retained their poor reputation for being dangerous dogs and are monitored under strict legislative laws and boundaries.

Types of St. Bernard Pitbull Mixes

When mixing different dog breeds, there’s some uncertainty as to which parent the puppies will go after. Everything from appearance, color, height, weight, diseases, and even temperament can be taken from either parent and will show more dominantly in the puppies.

With St. Bernard Pitbull Mixes, this uncertainty becomes even more complicated. This is because there are almost four types of different Pitbulls. Although all Pitbulls have almost similar temperaments, their sizes do vary vastly.

So, before you purchase a St. Bernard Pitbull mix, be aware of what type of Pitbull parent they were conceived from. If you know the exact attributes of each parent, it will be easier to estimate the appearance of your St. Bernard Pitbull mix.

Further into the article, we’ll discuss what this mix breed usually turns out like, and which parents’ features are more prominent. But till then, here’s a size chart for all four types of Pitbulls:

Type of PitbullHeightWeight
American Staffordshire Terrier17 – 18 inches (F)
18 – 19 inches  (M)
40 – 55 pounds (F)
55 – 70 pounds (M) 
American Pitbull Terrier17-20 inches (F)18-21 inches (M) 30-50 pounds (F)35-65 pounds (M)
American BullyS: 13 – 17 inches (F&M)
M: 16 – 20 inches (F&M) 
L: 19 – 23 inches (F&M) 
Varies on Weight
Staffordshire Bull Terrier14 – 16 inches (F&M) 24 – 34 pounds (F)
28 – 38 pounds (M)

Appearance

In terms of appearance, the St. Bernard Pitbull mix takes attributes from both parents. While the mix resembles both parents in general physique, some differences do set them apart.

Physique

Both St. Bernards and Pitbulls have a relatively similar physique, except for height. Being work dogs, both breeds share a muscular and well-built frame with a short and broad muzzle. This provided these dogs agility to go on long search and rescue missions or fight bulls and dogs for hours.

The general physique of a St. Bernard Pitbull mix is similar to both its parents. They also have a slender and muscular body, with a deep chest and strong legs. But in terms of height, they purely take after St. Bernards and are almost always as tall as them. Do note that the taller their Pitbull parent, the taller the mix breed puppies will be.

As for their ears, these dogs have floppy ears of their St. Bernard parent instead of the revered perked ear shape of Pitbulls. 

Weight

This breed is generally on the heavier side, especially if they are tall. Because they take after their St. Bernard parent’s height, they tend to be quite large dogs that are capable of knocking down children in a blink, so be always be careful.

If they’re on the smaller end of the spectrum, they’ll still be taller and heavier than most Pitbulls. Most St. Bernard Pitbull mixes will stand between 20 to 27 inches tall at shoulder length and will weigh anywhere between 50 to 120 pounds. 

Coat and Color

One thing that both parents do differ vastly in is coat. St. Bernards have a long and fluffy coat that helped them stay warm in the snowy swiss alps. In comparison, Pitbulls are known for their short or medium length coat which is easier to groom and care for.

Luckily, most St. Bernard Pitbull mixes take after their Pitbull parent in terms of the coat. Most of them have a medium-length coat, though in some cases, it can be longer if the St. Bernard parent’s genes are more potent. 

As for their coat color, the overall pattern usually resembles St. Bernards, with a white patch on the chest. But since Pitbulls have such diversity in coat colors, your St. Bernard Pitbull mix could turn out to be any color like fawn, brindle, brown, tan, blue, and more!

Saint Bernard - Top 10 Facts

Temperament and Behavior

One of the main reasons for crossbreeding St. Bernards and Pitbulls is to create a dog that shares the personality traits of both its parents. And while most do, it comes down to which parent has the stronger genes. Here’s how the St. Bernard Pitbull’s parents compare in terms of personality:

Personality of St. Bernards

St. Bernards are famous for being gentle and peaceful dogs. They are super-friendly, affectionate towards their owners, and very good-tempered, which makes them perfect for families with children. They love laying on the couch as much as they enjoy playing with their owners.

These dogs are also quite intelligent and possess an outstanding sense of smell due to their generations of service as search and rescue dogs. These dogs are never aggressive unless it’s for the protection of their family.

Personality of Pitbulls

Pitbulls are much more active and energetic than St. Bernards. They’re also extremely friendly and love to meet new people, which makes them incapable guard dogs. However, they’re always aware of their surroundings and are strong-willed. If threatened, these dogs won’t hesitate to protect their family with their life.

Regardless of public opinion, Pitbulls are not aggressive towards humans. While they’ve been used for blood sports for centuries, Pitbulls have also been bred to be docile towards humans. The majority of bite incidents involving Pitbulls are caused by poor or abusive ownership and lack of proper training.

What kind of personality do St. Bernard Pitbull Mix have?

As you’d expect, the personality of St. Bernard Pitbull mixes is a combination of the personality traits of both its parents. These dogs will be extremely friendly and welcoming like a St. Bernard, but will also be super-active and alert like a Pitbull.

They’ll love to spend time with their family and will most definitely be very affectionate and watchful over their owners. Because of their lively personality, they will love playing with children and adults alike.

As for other traits, the prominence depends on which parent has the stronger gene. Although these mixes are not particularly aggressive, they can inherit the personality of Pitbulls. If they do, these dogs will become very watchful protectors, but they still need to be supervised while playing with children because their size is enough to knock down small children easily.

Health

With crossbreeding canines, there’s a certain level of risk that the resulting breed might either inherit lots of diseases or very few at all. The more significant the difference between both parents and their history, the lesser the risk of passing on hereditary diseases.

Luckily, both Pitbulls and St. Bernards are vastly different breeds. While Pitbulls originate from Bulldogs and Terriers in England, the St. Bernard breed descended from the mountain dogs of the Swiss Alps. 

That’s why the St. Bernard Pitbull mix is considered as an overall healthy dog. They’re prone to very few health complications that are common in most species of canines. 

If you’re purchasing from a reliable breeder, ask for the pedigrees of their parents. This helps identify the diseases that are present in the lineage and those that your puppy could inherit.

Here’s a list of hereditary diseases that St. Bernard Pitbulls could suffer from and how they could affect your dog:

Hip Dysplasia

A particularly common bone disorder in the canine world, hip dysplasia, occurs when a malformation of the hip joint prevents the thigh bone from fitting inside it perfectly. Hip dysplasia can occur at any age but usually appears as the dog grows older.

It is a particularly painful position and can inhibit movement as it progresses. As the bone grinds with the joint, hip dysplasia can develop into arthritis as adult dogs become seniors. Currently, there’s no cure for it, and veterinarians usually prescribe painkillers for more severe cases.

Elbow Dysplasia

This is another type of joint complication, but instead of the hip, it affects the elbow joint. With this particular disorder, uneven growth of the bones that form the elbow joint causes lameness in the forelimbs.  

In serious cases, doctors recommend corrective surgery. However, painkillers and weight management can also help in preventing progression.

Allergies

Most breeds suffer from some sort of allergies, including both parents of this breed, but they’re particularly common in Pitbulls. This includes skin allergies caused by fleas, shampoos, or bedding, which can cause itching.

This breed can also suffer from food allergies caused by ingredients like wheat or corn, which again cause itching and discomfort. In fact, both parents of this breed can be allergic to airborne allergens as well, such as pollen and dust!

Thus, it’s best to get your puppy checked by a veterinarian for allergies right after you bring them home to prevent any major inconvenience and discomfort to your pup.

Heart Diseases

Heart diseases are present in both parent breeds but don’t necessarily affect the crossbreed. Pitbulls are known to suffer from aortic stenosis, a hereditary defect that causes the narrowing of the valves in the heart. It usually doesn’t show any symptoms, but might result in less energy and even sudden death in rare cases.

As for St. Bernards, some of these dogs suffer from dilated cardiomyopathy, which causes a narrowing of the heart’s muscles. Dogs with the defect show symptoms like irregular heartbeat, loss of appetite, difficulty breathing, weakness, and an enlarged abdomen.

Epilepsy

Epilepsy more commonly affects the St. Bernard breed and causes mild seizures that may last a couple of minutes. These seizures are usually triggered by head trauma, poison intake, tumors, or even due to some metabolic disorders.

Although it’s frightening to see a dog go through a seizure, it can be controlled through medication. Because the illness is usually present in St. Bernards and not Pitbulls, the chances of the crossbreed inheriting Epilepsy is relatively low but not zero.

Cataracts

Cataracts aren’t precisely a disorder but a defect in the lens of the cornea, which causes it to develop a milky appearance. This might impair the vision of your dog, but can be corrected through surgery if it becomes too severe. Cataracts usually appear with age and are not hereditary.

Pit Bull VS ST. Bernard

Grooming and Care

Ensuring proper grooming is essential for your dog’s well-being and yours as well. Luckily, St. Bernard Pitbull mixes are easy to groom thanks to their medium-length coat. But if they inherit the long coat of their St. Bernard parent, things can get a bit messy.

For medium-length coat St. Bernard Pitbull mixes, brushing just once a week is enough to keep shedding to a minimum. But if they do have a long fluffy coat, brush them at least twice or thrice a week to prevent hair from sticking all-around your house.

With a longer coat, you also need to bathe your pup more often, which isn’t the most straightforward job in the world considering their size. Due to this reason, long-coat St. Bernard Pitbull mixes aren’t the best option for people who are allergic.

Apart from that, you just need to take care of the basics. This includes trimming their nails every once or twice a month, cleaning their ears, removing debris from their eyes with a towel every now and then, etc. If you can take care of that, you’re good to go!

Training and Exercise

In terms of energy and activeness, a St. Bernard Pitbull mix can go either way, depending on which parent has the stronger genes. Generally, Pitbulls are super-active dogs that require loads of exercise to maintain their muscular physique and stay healthy. However, St. Bernards lean towards the lazier side and only need low to moderate activity to keep fit.

Exercise Requirements

The true nature of your St. Bernard Pitbull mix will only be revealed as they grow up. They’ll either be crazy-hyper or very laid back. The personality of their parents can reflect how active they’ll turn out, but won’t provide you with an accurate estimate.

If your pup does take after their Pitbull parent, you’ll need to provide them with at least an hour of exercise daily. This can be in the form of jogging, walking, indoor activities, or playing in the park.

But if they’re more like a St. Bernard, they’ll only need exercise a few days a week. Because this crossbreed is prone to obesity, exercise is only required for weight management. But when they do, keep a close eye on symptoms of heat exhaustion, especially if they have a long coat.

Training Needs

A St. Bernard Pitbull mix needs proper training since puppyhood to grow up into a good-tempered adult. You need to help them socialize with other humans and dogs from a young age so they can learn how to interact with others. When they grow into adults, they’ll be much calmer and friendlier towards new people and animals.

These dogs do best with positive reinforcement training methods. They are very fond of receiving affection and love from their owners and will do anything to please them. So, appreciating them with pats and kisses as well as treats will go a long way in successfully training them.

FAQ’s

Are St. Bernard Pitbull mixes dangerous?

No, St. Bernard Pitbull mixes have a calm temperament and aren’t aggressive. In fact, most Pitbulls aren’t even dangerous, and with adequate training, both of these breeds will grow up to be loving and non-violent dogs.

Do St. Bernard Pitbull mix have locking jaws?

Pitbulls do not have locking jaws and have the same skull structure as any other dog. Therefore, it’s impossible for the crossbreed to have locking jaws either.

Are St. Bernard Pitbulls good with kids?

Yes! These dogs are a combination of the peaceful nature of a St. Bernard and the protective and playful personality of a Pitbull. However, they are big enough to knock over a small child with their size, so always supervise them with children.

Do St. Bernard Pitbulls make good guard dogs?

Although these dogs can make good guard dogs due to their alert nature and size, they usually won’t do much else than aware you of an intruder because they love meeting new people.

Do St. Bernard Pitbulls bark a lot?

Barking is a trait that these dogs can inherit from either parent. Pitbulls tend to be quite vocal and bark a lot, but St. Bernards are a lot quieter in comparison.

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