If you’ve ever wondered what would happen if you crossed a Saint Bernard with a Great Dane, prepare to meet your answer. The Saint Dane is a designer crossbreed that combines the best characteristics of a purebred Saint Bernard and a purebred Great Dane. Friendly, even-tempered, and loving, Saint Danes might be huge, but they’re gentle giants at heart. Due to their size, they’re not ideal for everyone (if you live in a tiny studio apartment, they’re a no-no), but if you’ve got the space and can put up with their constant drooling, they make excellent family pets. Read on for 10 things you didn’t know about the Saint Dane.
1. They’re a designer dog breed
The origins of the Saint Dane are a little muddy. There might have been an occasion (or several) when a Great Dane’s eye caught the eye of a Saint Bernard and a couple of little Saint Danes followed shortly after. No one really knows. No one knows for sure when breeders decided the time was ripe to start deliberately engineering litters of Saint Danes either. All we know is that they did and that the result is another designer dog breed to add to the list. Some purists get a little sniffy about the concept of designer dog breeds, claiming they dilute the pedigree potential of each parent breed. Others say that purposely crossbreeding pedigrees helps widen the gene pool and reduces the occurrence of genetic health problems. Whichever side you stand with, there’s no getting around the fact that designer dogs are achieving levels of popularity that even their pedigree parents would struggle to win.
2. They’re part Great Dane
The Saint Dane is one-half Great Dane. These giant dogs tower above other breeds, even managing to eclipse most people when they’re stood on their hind legs. Despite their size, they’re extremely elegant, with balanced proportions, glossy coats, and a graceful gait. A gentle giant with a soft heart, the Great Dane makes an excellent family pet, with a willingness to please and an affectionate nature that stands in stark contrast to their intimidating bulk.
3. And part Saint Bernard
As much as they take after the Great Dane, the Saint Dane is equal parts Saint Bernard. The Saint Bernard, which has its origins in the Mastiff-style hounds of the Romans, grew to prominence in Switzerland, where they gained fame as expert alpine rescuers. Their strong sense of smell is believed to have helped save over 2000 travelers trapped in the snow. Today, they’re as well known for their lovable ways and family-friendly credentials as they are for their rescuing abilities.
4. They’re not for everyone
As wagwalking.com notes, no matter how loveable the Saint Dane is, they’re not a dog for everyone. Like both their parent breeds, they have calm, even tempers, a protective disposition, and a gentleness that belies their huge size. But they also require a vast amount of food, drool constantly, shed incessantly, and require a good amount of space both indoors and out to stay happy. If you don’t have the time, money, and energy to meet their needs, it’s best to look elsewhere. If, on the other hand, you’re willing to invest in a wonderfully affectionate dog that makes a superb family companion, you won’t be disappointed.
5. They’re huge
You wouldn’t expect the offspring of two giant dogs like the Sant Bernard and the Great Dane to be small, and you’d be right. The Saint Dane has monster proportions, weighing up to 200 pounds and standing 32 inches tall at the shoulder. Blessed with the height of the Great Dane and the width of the Saint Bernard, these powerful, impressive-looking dogs have deep chests, booming barks, and the kind of muscles that would put Arnold Schwarzenegger to shame.
6. They shed constantly
The Saint Dane might be easy-going, but it’s not necessarily the lowest maintenance breed in the world. Like the Saint Bernard, it has a long thick coat that sheds almost constantly. To stay on top of their grooming needs, you can expect to brush them at least 2-3 times a week. Bathing isn’t recommended unless they’re particularly dirty, as it can stip their skin and coat of essential oils. To maintain dental hygiene, their teeth will need to be cleaned around 2 to 3 times a week. Nails should be trimmed if they don’t wear down naturally, and ears should be rechecked regularly for signs of wax build-up or infection. As they tend to slobber quite a lot, you’ll also need to get used to carrying around a cloth to mop them up.
7. They’re super sensitive
Don’t let their massive bulk fool you. The Saint Dane might be a heavyweight, but they’re sensitive soldiers at heart. Their affectionate, trustworthy nature makes them a great companion to kids – although it’s a good idea to monitor them around small children in case they accidentally knock them down. Intelligent and eager to please, they’re first-rate students. Their sensitive natures don’t, however, take kindly to shouting or scolding. If you want to get the most out of your training sessions, positive reinforcement works the best.
8. They’ve got high activity needs
If your idea of exercise involves walking from the sofa to the refrigerator and back again, the Saint Dane might not be the dog for you. This is a big breed with big exercise needs. Although they might look content enough lounging on their bed, they’ll never say no to a run at the park. As they’re prone to obesity, getting a good amount of daily exercise is absolutely vital. If there’s a yard for them to gamble around in as well, so much the better.
9. They’re great with other pets
Introducing some breeds of dogs into a multi-pet household can be challenging. Fortunately, you don’t need to worry about the Saint Dane. They love making friends with other dogs, are tolerant of cats, and rarely see the point of chasing after anything smaller than them.
10. They’ve got short life spans
If the Saint Dane has one downside, it’s a short life span. Like both the Great Dane and the Saint Bernard, the Saint Dane is prone to several genetic health problems, including Myotonia (a rare muscular disease), Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (a twisted stomach); Dysplasia (malformed hip and elbow joints); Cardiomyopathy (heart disease), and Entropion (an eye complaint). According to dog-learn.com, even if they manage to avoid these issues, very few Saint Danes will live longer than 10 years.