The St Bernard Labrador Mix, also known as the St. Labernard, is a friendly blend of St Bernard and Labrador Retriever characteristics- two popular dogs. They are energetic, cheerful, bouncy, and happy-go-lucky bundles of fun and make great companions for children and adults. Versatility is the breed’s middle name, and it shows in their daily activities.
As pups, they are round, clumsy, and have floppy ears and a kindly expression, making them hard to resist. However, they grow into big dogs weighing up to 80 lbs perhaps even more.
Despite their clownish nature and mournful looks, the Labernard is intelligent and quick to learn, but can also be independent, making training a mix of ease and challenge. They need a great deal of daily exercise and mental stimulation to stay healthy, happy, and avoid trouble.
While being a companion and household pet, this is a giant teddy bear well-suited for a variety of tasks. For the most part, this mix has working capabilities and can serve as a hunting, herding, farm, or even rescue dog.
However, they are not for everyone and need an owner who can provide leadership, companionship, and a job to do, not leaving them alone for hours. The St. Labernard is a gentle, protective, and fun-loving addition to any family. One should own one because he is gentle, a guardian and protector of the weak, picturesque, and fun-loving.
This comprehensive guide details information on choosing a St. Bernard Labrador Mix puppy with a focus on care (diet, exercise, etc.), which is crucial for rearing a fast-growing, large-sized breed. This guide is perfect for dog enthusiasts and those looking for a new companion, who need to understand their needs.
St Bernard Lab mix: Breed Overview
|Height||22 to 26 inches|
|Weight||70 to 180 pounds|
|Lifespan||11 to 13 years|
|Temperament||Calm, Affectionate, Playful, Friendly, Intelligent, Courageous, Watchful, & benevolent|
|Colors||Black, Brown & White, Red & White, Orange & white|
While this crossbreed might have been around for a long time, not much is known about St. Bernard Labrador’s origin. But with the advent of the internet, the St Bernard Labrador crossbreed has seen significant growth in popularity in recent decades. Some crosses also happen by accident on farms or deliberately by owners looking to create a litter of puppies similar to their beloved canine friend.
But to get a better sense of this hybrid dog, designer, or “mutt” as some might call them, let’s compare the parent breeds briefly.
Labrador Retriever Vs Saint Bernard
- Labrador Retriever: The Labrador Retriever has its origins as a working dog for fishermen in Newfoundland, Northeastern Canada, where they were utilized to carry ropes between boats, tow dories, and gather fishnets. They are believed to be descendants of the St. John’s Water Dog and the Newfoundland breed. In the United States, the breed gained popularity as a hunting dog for waterfowl, and over time established a reputation as a service and rescue dog. They are known for their calm, friendly, and loving dispositions. The American Kennel Club recognizes the Labrador Retriever as the most popular breed in the US- a position he has held for quite a while. They range from 50 to 80 pounds.
- Saint Bernard: St Bernard is a legendary breed of dog known for its history of rescue work in the Swiss Alps. This gentle giant is highly prized for its loyalty, courage, and gentleness and is a popular pet for its wonderful, benevolent expression. They can range from 140 to 260 pounds and have a dense, weather-resistant coat. The breed was created by crossing Mastiff-type dogs with other Alpine dogs, centuries after the Augustinian monk Bernard de Menthon provided shelter in the mountains- some 800 feet (2500 meters) up. Its image, equipped with a brandy keg around its neck, lives on even though St Bernards never carried brandy barrels but instead had leather saddles that held medicine and possibly blankets.
The Labrador Rhodesian Ridgeback mix is not recognized by the major kennel clubs (AKC, UKC, or FCI) but can be registered by designer dog registries such as;
- American Canine Hybrid Club (ACHC)
- Dog Registry of America, Inc (DRA)
- Designer Kennel Club (DKC)
- Designer Breed Registry (DBR)
- International Designer Canine Registry (IDCR)
The AKC Canine Partners™ Program allows mixed-breed registration with AKC. These registries grant owners and breeders privileges such as obedience and agility competitions.
Registration provides documentation of type, parentage, whelping date, sex, and ancestry (for a fee), adding value to the dog. Note that registration is separate from licensing, which may be required by local regulations and applies to both purebred and mixed-breed dogs.
Appearance & Behavioral traits
Because this is a mix of two vastly genetically diverse dogs, there is no telling how the pup will turn out but both parents’ characteristics will play a part in the offspring. Each pup, even in the same litter, will vary in type (physical appearance and structure) and type to the next
Remember that this crossbreed does not have a governing standard and variations can be wide and apart. But below are general characteristics and observations that hold for most Labernards.
Height & Weight
The St. Bernard Lab mix is a large and heavy dog many weighing over 80 pounds, perhaps as much as 180 pounds, when fully grown. Some can stand as tall as 26 inches at the withers stretching out across the floor. Males tend to be larger than their female counterparts.
It is hard for a dog this big to go unnoticed. Despite his size; he appears ready for action at any time.
With size comes strength. The Labernard has a powerful, imposing, muscular but balanced build with a large head, lightly-feathered floppy ears, short to medium-sized muzzle, and square nose with large well-developed nostrils. Their squinted and almond-shaped eyes give them a friendly expression. The stop tends to be somewhat abrupt. The neck is thick and muscular with well-developed dewlaps.
Due to the shape of their mouth and their moderately pendulous flews, some Labernards may drool from time to time. The drooling tends to get worse if the dog is hungry or exhausted.
Their legs are straight, of good length, and heavy-boned, with a broad, straight back, wide chest, and well-rounded ribs. The tail is set high and carried low when at rest (repose), but is animated and carried higher when happy and at a trot. Their feet tend to be large, cat-like, and compact with well-arched toes. Most of their feet are webbed useful for swimming or as snowshoes.
At 8 weeks, a promising puppy should have solid bones, a smooth coat, and, bright eyes with a soft benevolent expression. Male puppies’ testicles should have descended by 3 months of age.
Of importance to a large dog like this, is a good structure and bone and having good, strong, and spongy pads to act as shock absorbers as they cover difficult terrain. Strong jaws with a scissor bite (upper incisors overlapping but only just touching the lower incisors) are preferred on most dogs, male or female.
Coat type & Shedding
Most Saint Bernard Lab crosses have shaggy but dense double coats that are often shorter than that of its St Bernard. These coats are usually oily and weather resistant with a thick undercoat and a coarser outer coat. The undercoat is short and dense while the outer coat consists of harsher hairs. The combined effect is a weatherproof coat that protects the dog from rain and cold water. This coat is relatively short. Some of their ears, the back of their legs, and tails tend to have light to moderate feathering. However, not all coats are of the same density of texture.
Dogs shed and the Labernard is no exception. They are moderate to heavy shedders with shedding occurring all year round. Shedding may increase in spring and fall in male dogs or when a female is in season.
- Brown and white
- Red and white
- Orange and white
Labernard Temperament & Personality
Both Saint Bernard and Labrador Retriever are known for their golden hearts and sweet temperaments but the temperament of the Saint Bernard Lab Mix can vary. But in general, this is an energetic, and affectionate dog that loves to play. He is cuddly, affectionate, and tends to be unaware of his size; he wants nothing but to be on your lap, curling next to you and sharing your side in your activities.
At one time this dog may be full of energy, rowdy, and rambunctious followed by periods of lethargy, torpor, and a lazy streak.
Most Labernards form close attachments with their owners (the one that feeds them). They are also intelligent and sensitive and can sense their owner’s emotions, making them great therapy and emotional support dogs. They can get quite destructive and vocal when left alone for extended periods, are not exercised, or are bored. As such, teaching this dog to tolerate being alone (for at least one or two hours) from an early age will be paramount to your co-existence.
They are not known barkers but will bark to alert you of any “intruder” including the mailman, a squirrel frolicking in the yard, or your visitor. A well-socialized and trained dog should be calm around strangers and should not be overly protective, territorial, or aggressive.
Many of these crosses, to varying degrees, retain some of their working instincts and are happiest when given a job to do. They need an experienced owner who is used to handling large dogs, is firm but fair, and has time to dedicate to training and exercise. A large, fenced-in backyard is ideal for this dog to get quality playtime. They are not suitable for small spaces or apartment living and are not recommended for first-time owners.
As a family dog:
The Saint Bernard Lab Mix is a fabulous and devoted family dog as they are loving and affectionate. They are excellent pets for families as they love all members equally and will greet you with a wagging tail and a smiling face when you come home- even if you have been away for a few minutes. They need daily attention and love to be part of the family’s daily activities.
Children and Labernards are a lovely and winning combination provided the children are encouraged to handle and play with the dog appropriately. The dog also needs to be gentle and understanding with children. Children should never be left unsupervised with any dog, one especially large as this Lab mix.
With other pets
Most accept other family pets if introduced early, but due to their high prey drive, some may chase smaller pets such as cats or rabbits. You may have to protect your rabbit, ferret, or gerbil from a rambunctious puppy.
Finding a Saint Bernard Labrador
If you are interested in getting a Saint Bernard Lab mix, you can use the following channels;
- Contact reputable Saint Bernard or Labrador breeders and ask for recommendations of possible leads to a crossbreed breeder. Use websites and forums such as Puppyfind.com, Adopt-a-Pet, NextDayPets.com, and Facebook groups dedicated to either Saint Bernard or Labrador Retriever. Instagram and other social media pages like this or this one can give recommendations on where to find a knowledgeable breeder or an owner with the occasional litter. Many times, the dogs being bred are simply treasured family pets and the owner breeds the dogs in the hopes of creating another dog just like their pet.
- Word of Mouth: Asking other dog owners for recommendations from owners such as this one or this one is another way. Local pet stores, veterinarians, dog trainers, and other Labernard owners can offer referrals to reputable breeders. The best way to find a St Bernard Labrador mix is through a reputable breeder who has been involved with the breed for several years and knows the breed well.
- You can also find a St Bernard Labrador mix from a rescue group or local shelter if you are lucky enough.
When buying a puppy, research the breed and choose a reputable breeder. Ask about the health and temperament of the parents, ensure genetic health testing is done, and look for a written health guarantee. Avoid pet stores or puppy mills. Consider the age, sex, color, and coat type of the dog you want.
Before getting a Labrador St Bernard mix, consider the cost involved. Getting one from a reputable breeder can cost between $1000 to $1800, but the price may vary based on the breeder and location. Adopting a dog is a cheaper option, with a cost range of $150 to $250. It is important to make sure you have the resources to care for a dog, including money for vaccinations, spaying or neutering, emergency vet care, and other supplies such as food, toys, leash, and collar.
Selecting a Pup
Before buying a St Bernard Lab mix puppy, do your research to increase the chances of finding the puppy for you. See the whole litter so that you can compare your puppy against the others. Observe the puppies interacting with each other, and make sure the litter appears healthy. The dam of the litter should also be shown to give an idea of her temperament and to observe her with the litter.
When choosing a puppy, look for a cheerful one with good, solid, sound bone formation, straight and sturdy legs, and a healthy appearance. Check for bright and clear eyes, a moist nose, clean and healthy ears, and elastic skin with no signs of bare patches, rawness, scabs, or skin disease. The puppy should walk freely with no stiffness in the joints.
The one who fleas in terror, or who cowers at the extension of your hand may turn out to be a good dog but you are far safer if you choose one who touches his damp nose to your fingers, stretches his neck, and wriggles his body in welcome. Choose the pup that outrightly chooses you.
Male Vs Female
The choice between a male or female dog is subjective and depends on individual preferences. Male dogs tend to be more aggressive and better suited as guard dogs, while female dogs are usually easier to housebreak, gentler with children, and more responsive to training but go into season twice a year- theirs is a sex problem. Ultimately, both male and female dogs can make great pets and the choice between them is a personal one.
St Bernard Lab mix Puppy Essentials
Before bringing a puppy home, make sure you are in a suitable environment and have the resources and agreement from everyone in the household to care for a dog. Before leaving the seller, make a daily routine schedule for the puppy and get a list of what they have been eating, continue their diet for a few days before gradually making changes.
To prevent destruction and keep the puppy safe, inspect your home and yard from the dog’s point of view, secure or remove any potentially dangerous items, and store hazardous substances out of reach.
- Check for loose electrical wires, cords dangling from blinds or chewable items on the floor.
- In the kitchen, put away all knives and utensils, get a tight-fitting lid trash can, and store household cleaners in cupboards with child-proof latches.
- In the bathroom, store all household cleaners, medicines, vitamins, and personal products in secure cupboards.
- In the bedroom, securely put away potentially dangerous items, jewelry, and chewable items.
- In the rest of the house, tape up electrical cords, secure potentially dangerous items, put houseplants out of reach, move breakables, and pick up chewable.
- In the garage, store gardening supplies, car fluids, and dangerous substances out of reach, clean up spills and put away tools.
- In the yard, put away gardening tools, and toys, secure cords, and fences, and inspect for toxic plants. It’s also important to have a pool cover or fence off swimming areas
- Basic supplies: a food dish, water dish, dog food, leash, collar, crate, nail clippers, grooming tools, chew toys, toys, and ID tag.
- Look for wide and low bowls that weighted in the bottom to prevent tipping.
- Get a 6-foot leash that is easy on your hand but strong. The most common leash material are leather, woven nylon, chain, or cotton rope.
- Start with a fitting nylon buckle collar, and adjust the size as the dog grows. You will have to replace that collar a couple of times as he grows.
- Choose a sturdy, easy-to-clean crate that is large enough for the dog to stand, turn around, and lie down.
- Get chew toys that won’t break or crumble and are large enough that the dog cannot swallow them. Replace toys as needed when they get destroyed.
- Invest in quality products such as high-quality pet food and a cozy dog bed for large breeds.
Welcoming a puppy
For your journey home, put the puppy in a sturdy carrier. Alternatively, you can have someone help you hold the pup or use a secure doggie seatbelt. Have some newspapers handy in case the pup gets sick during the journey
It’s important to ensure the safety and well-being of your new puppy as soon as you bring him home. Here are some steps to help with this transition:
- Put a tag on the collar with your phone number on your puppy right away. You can add his name later once you pick one for him.
- Allow the pup to explore a designated toilet area in the yard, but don’t pick him up if he cries.
- Make sure you have a safe and comfortable place for the pup to sleep.
- Be patient if the pup is homesick and crying, but don’t over-comfort him. Let him settle down on his own. and do not pick him up. Follow the breeder’s diet and feeding schedule for a while before gradually changing it.
- Establish clear house rules and discourage the pup from going into restricted areas or climbing on the furniture.
When a new puppy arrives, there will likely be a lot of excitement and attention. While the puppy will enjoy some petting, it’s important to also give him time to explore on his own. Avoid chasing after the puppy, and let him approach you or follow you. Handle small pups gently. The puppy may be homesick and cry, but it’s best not to over-comfort him. Wait for a period of silence and then praise the puppy for being quiet. At night, the puppy may whimper, but avoid making a big fuss as this will reinforce the behavior. Instead, ignore the puppy’s cries and he will eventually settle down.
Accommodation & Crate training
A designated area for the dog, either indoors or outdoors, should be provided, and it should be draft-free and protected from the weather. The dog’s bed should be raised and well-protected. Indoors, the crate should be introduced gradually, and the dog should not be left in the crate for more than 2 hours.
Puppies should be introduced to their outdoor kennels as soon as they arrive. A secure, shaded, and sheltered area with access to fresh water should be provided for dogs kept outdoors. A stone kennel is recommended for outdoor housing to protect the dog from the elements, with a clean, strong surface such as paving slabs for the ground and sturdy, escape-proof fencing. The kennel should be cleaned regularly and the fences should be well-built.
Labernard Care Guide
On average, the dog lives 11 to 14 years and requires attention and care from its owner to live a long and healthy life. The dog will be happy and bring joy to its owner if it is given love, good food, adequate company, play, and training.
Grooming is important for the well-being of a Labernard and involves caring for the dog’s appearance and hygiene. It can be done for about 10 minutes a day and should be a pleasant experience for the dog. Grooming helps keep the coat healthy and tangle-free and strengthens the bond between owner and dog. The recommended tools for grooming are a fine-toothed comb, wire brush, rubber grooming pad, and a velvet cloth or chamois leather.
- Brushing: Brush the dog 2-3 times a week. Start from the head and work down the body, brushing through the coat to the skin. Pay special attention to under the ears and shoulder to croup, flanks, and under the tail. Use a stiff brush or hound glove for short-haired dogs.
- Bathing: Bathe the dog no more than once a month using safe shampoo. Apply shampoo and rinse thoroughly, protecting eyes and ears. Dry with towels and a hairdryer, avoiding hot air.
- Dental Care: Maintain oral hygiene by brushing regularly and using baking soda, salt, and pumice mixture. Chewing bones, toys, and hard biscuits also help. Professional teeth cleaning may be necessary in some cases.
- Ear Care: Check ears for excess wax and dirt, wiping ear flap with cotton wool and ear cleaner. Avoid probing ear canals and use separate cotton wool for each ear. If the dog’s ears are dirty, smelly, or show discomfort, contact a vet.
- Eye Care: Clean eyes with cotton wool dampened in cold tea or tear stain remover. Rinse haws under the eyes with warm water. If eyes have discharge, redness, or irritation, call a vet.
- Paw Care: Trim and round paws regularly. Trim nails every 2 weeks. Gradually trim dark nails. Trim dewclaws or remove if overgrown. Trim hair on paws with scissors. Keep paws clean.
Diet & Nutrition
The importance of a balanced diet for the dog’s bone and skeletal development cannot be overemphasized. Malnourishment can manifest itself as skin issues, coat problems, behavior problems, and immune system problems. The dog should not be fed from the table or with scraps as this can lead to begging. Saint Bernard Labrador crosses can be tall enough to reach countertops and dining tables and have a good appetite, eating almost anything. Do
The cost and type of food will depend on the owner’s choice. It’s also important to feed the dog at a scheduled time to maintain regular bowel movements.
Feeding a Saint Bernard Labrador mix is not an exact science. However, you need to manage your dog’s food intake.
Choosing a Diet
Choosing a diet for your Saint Bernard Lab mix is an important aspect of maintaining its health. A balanced diet consists of essential ingredients including protein, fat, carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins, and water. Most nutritionists recommend a diet consisting of 20-40% protein, 10-20% fat, and 20-40% carbohydrates.
Commercial dog food can be supplemented with small amounts of human food such as meat, dairy, bread, and fruits/vegetables as treats. Avoid feeding your dog spicy, fried, or sugary foods, as well as bones and scraps from the table.
Offer fresh, cool water to your dog multiple times a day, and avoid giving water before or after eating or exercising. A continual supply of water is important for the dog’s health.
The nutritional needs of a dog change as it grows and a puppy’s food needs to have more protein and fat than adult food. It’s important to consult the breeder for proper feeding guidelines and to feed in small amounts at regular intervals for growth and development.
A 2–3-month-old puppy should be fed 4 times a day with a mix of kibble and meat-based or raw meat. From 3-6 months, the portion size can be increased to 3 meals a day with one serving of milk and two portions of meat. From 6-12 months, the number of meals can be reduced to 2 per day and from 1 year a single meal can be provided with dry biscuits/kibble in the morning and evening. When the dog is 18 months you can switch him to an adult diet. For dogs 7 years and older, it’s recommended to shift to a senior diet with lower levels of protein, fat, and calories.
- Commercial pet food: Convenient, intelligent, and economical way to feed pets with commercially prepared food. Look for high-quality food with recommended levels of protein, carbs, and fats. Avoid foods with by-products and soy products. AAFCO guidelines should be followed with a minimum of 18% crude protein and 5% crude fat. Choose food with animal protein listed first and other ingredients including digestible carbohydrates, fat, vitamins, minerals, preservatives, fiber, and additives. Avoid artificial fillers, colors, and sugars.
- Homemade diet: A carefully balanced diet with all necessary nutrients can be made but requires research and consultation with a vet. Make sure the diet is complete and contains all the necessary nutrients for the dog. Tripe is a favorite food for the dog, but chopped beef or chicken can be used as an alternative. Proprietary dry food with lamb and rice is a good option.
Food storage is important. A fridge and freezer are necessary for canned, semi-moist, and raw foods. Good sturdy bins are also useful for storing dry food to prevent vermin from getting into the food bins
To feed a Labrador Saint Bernard mix, determine the dog’s caloric needs based on its body weight, metabolism, activity rate, and lifestyle. Puppies require more food than adult dogs. You should monitor the dog’s weight and adjust the food amount accordingly, avoiding overfeeding or underfeeding.
The manufacturer’s guidelines on food amounts are only suggestions and should be adjusted based on the dog’s individual needs.
It is recommended to feed a dog 30 calories per pound of body weight. The amount can be adjusted accordingly using the factors in the table below.
|Life Stage||Weeks||Energy needs a factor of adult maintenance|
|Growth||Birth to half mature weight. half mature weight to maturity||X 2.2|
|Gestation||1 to 6|
6 to 9
Peaks 3 to 4 weeks after whelping
|Work||~||X 1.5 to 2.5|
Exercise & Activity level
Exercise is essential for a healthy Labrador. For puppies, short walks and free play in a safe area (such as a forest or park) 2-3 times a day for no more than 10-15 minutes is enough.
Adult Labradors need at least 45 minutes of daily exercise, including a 30-minute brisk walk and free play in a secure yard. Underexercised dogs can become destructive and obese.
Training & Socialization
Train Labernards with patience and persistence. They’re intelligent and eager but may be stubborn, so use high-value treats and minimize distractions. Make training positive and fun, with short but frequent sessions, establish yourself as pack leader, and start early. Use proper equipment, such as a buckle collar and training leash, and understand your dog’s behavior for successful training. Training leads to a happier and longer life for your dog.
- Housetraining: Potty train a puppy by designating an outdoor area, taking them out frequently, and praising them for using it. Paper train indoors with newspapers. Avoid punishment, and use positive reinforcement. Most dogs are not fully housebroken until they are 4 months old.
- Positive Reinforcement: Reward desired behavior with treats or praise. Use praise to mark moments, focus on preventing problems, limit sessions to 5-10 min, 3-5 times a day, and always keep positive. Avoid punishment, and step away if angry.
- Behavior Problems: Correct behavior problems by supervising, establishing routines, and correcting with surprise, mild, and impersonal sounds or actions. Provide chew toys and address jumping begging at the dinner table and resource guarding.
- Obedience & Basic commands: Train with consistent, one-syllable call names and commands, teach basic obedience commands, and reward for compliance. Start training early, reinforce, and add distractions. Train them using basic commands like sit, stay, come, heel, and down. Give clear and concise commands only once, and use a firm correction if needed.
- Socialization: Expose dogs to different people, dogs, environments, sights, sounds, and smells to prevent fear-based behaviors. Socialize starting at 4-6 weeks, expose to noises, and make it ongoing with positive experiences.
- Advanced Training: Hire a positive reinforcement trainer, and attend every session consistently. Observe classes before enrolling.
- Selecting a Vet: Consider them as a partner in your dog’s health. A good vet will be familiar with your dog and track their weight and health through regular check-ups.
- Vaccination: Vaccinate puppies to protect against diseases. Work with a breeder and vet to create a vaccine plan, including core vaccines and non-core vaccines based on risk. First vaccines at 6-14 weeks and boosters every 3 years.
- Parasite Control: Monitor and prevent parasite infestations, which can be fatal. Common internal parasites include roundworms, hookworms, and heartworms. Fleas must be treated on the dog and in its environment.
- Spaying and Neutering: Spaying or neutering is recommended for dogs not intended for breeding. It helps control roaming and aggression, reduces the risk of certain cancers, and decreases unwanted behavior.
- Health monitoring: Regularly monitor your dog’s physical appearance and behavior, and observe any changes that may indicate a problem. Keep a first aid kit and know how to use it.
- Health conditions: Labernard dogs are prone to health issues like bloat, hip dysplasia, and eyelid abnormalities. They have an average lifespan of 8-13 years.
- Labernard life expectancy: Average lifespan of 8-13 years. Aging in dogs brings changes like dimmed vision, fading hearing, and stiff joints. Exercise is still important but should be tailored to their abilities. An older dog that has lived with you will remain happy as long as they are close to you.
To Wrap up
In conclusion, the St Bernard Lab mix is a giant breed that is often affectionate and loves to cuddle like a lapdog. However, dog ownership is not just about love and affection, it also involves commitment, management, and responsibility.
Caring for a dog can be messy and challenging, so it is important to consider whether you are the right person for the job before deciding to add this crossbreed to your household. It is a big responsibility that requires a well-thought-out decision, as a dog is for life. If you are prepared to handle the challenges and love your dog unconditionally, then the St Bernard Lab mix may be the perfect addition to your family.
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