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Mini St. Bernard (Cocker Spaniel & Saint Bernard Mix): Info, Pictures, Facts

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By Nicole Cosgrove

Mini St Bernard

Height: 14 – 19 inches tall
Weight: 15 – 60 pounds
Lifespan: 8 to 11 years
Colors: Cream, Golden, White, Brown, Blue, Silver, Black, Red
Suitable for: Active families; Watchdogs; Active singles
Temperament: Friendly; Social; Stubborn

The Mini Saint Bernard is not just a shrunken version of the original Saint Bernard parent. It is a mix of a Cocker Spaniel crossed with a Saint Bernard. Through this hybridization, two resulting sizes are common to this breed. The Mini Saint Bernard or the Nehi Saint Bernard is the bigger of the two, around 40 to 60 pounds. The Micro Saint Bernard is true to name coming in at 15 to 35 pounds.

Always watchful, the Mini Saint Bernard makes for an excellent watchdog. Dog enthusiasts adore this dog since it gives them the character traits and overall appearance of a Saint Bernard without the massive size that some see as a deterrent.

This breed is relatively new, especially compared to some of the parent’s lineage. The newness of the breed makes it easier to look to the parental lines for indications of the temperament and personality.

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Mini Saint Bernard Puppies – Before You Welcome One Into Your Family..


3 Little-Known Facts About Mini St. Bernard

1.  The Mini Saint Bernard makes a good watchdog.

Although this might not be the most intimidating dog out there, it makes for a pretty good watchdog. The Mini Saint Bernard is always attentive, rarely sleeping for extended amounts of time, and alert at any new sound approaching.

Trained the right way, a Mini Saint Bernard will know when to sound the alarm, and always ready to help inform the household.

2.  Mini Saint Bernards have two possible sizes.

The Nehi Saint Bernard and the Micro Saint Bernard are both classed as Mini Saint Bernards. They are two different sizes, though, giving someone looking for a dog like this even more of an option. They are typically bred from Cocker Spaniels and Saint Bernards, although some breeders will cross them with other things. Usually, they are still at least fifty percent Saint Bernard. However, be sure to check up on this before investing in one you believe to be 50% Cocker Spaniel and 50% Saint Bernard.

3.  The Saint Bernard parent to this breed gets his name from an Alpine pass in the Alps called The Saint Bernard Pass.

The Saint Bernard parent is the most important part of this dog breed since the original desire when breeding these puppies was for a Saint Bernard that was not as large, high maintenance, drooled less and shed less.

Saint Bernards initially received their name due to the location that it was bred in, the Alps. This dog was meant for hauling things and bringing messages across the Alps. One of the areas it would have to pass through was called The Saint Bernard Pass, which presented a challenging and dangerous crossing.

Parent Breeds of the Mini St. Bernard
Image Credit: Jumpstory

Temperament & Intelligence of the Mini St. Bernard 🧠

A Mini Saint Bernard puppy is very intelligent. Typically, too much intelligence in dogs makes them very difficult to train since they develop their independent personalities. As long as a Mini Saint Bernard puppy has a clear leader as his trainer, he wants to please and will quickly submit to make training relatively easy.

These dogs are quite social dogs around their established family unit. They enjoy being in homes with large families or frequent established visitors. They are playful and love their toys, bringing them to other members of the family to show them off.

Due to this pup’s intelligence, they can develop a stubborn streak. The trainer needs to be careful to manage this with consistency throughout the members of the household and frequent training sessions. These Mini dogs are very loyal and loving, but should still be socialized early on. They can exhibit anxiety if put in unfamiliar situations with unfamiliar people.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 🏡

The Mini Saint Bernard is perfect for families. Since they are smaller than their parental counterpart of the Saint Bernard, they don’t have the same tendency to knock kids over from their sheer size. They are very loving and playful, needing almost constant companionship, making them a best friend to any children in the home.

Mini St Bernard puppy on Grass
Image Credit: everydoghasastory, Shutterstock

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets? 🐶 😽

If the Mini Saint Bernard receives socialization training early on, it has no trouble adapting to other people in the house. It may just be jealous of the attention that the other pet receives, although this shouldn’t result in any aggression.

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Things to Know When Owning a Mini St. Bernard

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

Feeding requirements for the Mini Saint Bernard are more high-maintenance than with other dog breeds.

To begin with, they need a nutritious and balanced food source that has a low-fat content. They can be fed with dry food only. Supplement this canned food if your pup is underweight.

Due to their overall structure, it is best if a Mini Saint Bernard doesn’t lean down to eat or drink. To limit this, raise their dishes to an elevated height.

A Mini Saint Bernard cannot be free-fed, and so food should never be left out. Water should always be supplied as this won’t harm him, and he will limit himself to what he needs. Allow your puppy to eat for 10 to 15 minutes at a time. Don’t limit the dog food he eats during this time, but once the time is up, take the bowl away.

Puppies should be fed 7 to 8 times a day, while adult dogs only need to be fed like this five times a day. Don’t force them to do much exercise around the feeding periods to let him properly digest it. Too much activity consistently happening during these times may cause long-term health problems.

Exercise 🐕

The Mini Saint Bernard is much more active than a Saint Bernard purebred. They are small and bred with dogs that often have more energy.

These pups only require an average amount of activity. This constitutes a couple of longer walks a day, a trip to the dog park, or a period of play in a fenced-in backyard. Around 45 minutes of high energy activity a day is enough to satisfy his playtime needs.

Mini St Bernard puppy
Image credit: schubbel, Shutterstock

Training 🦮

Training a Mini Saint Bernard is quite straightforward. They are smart dogs and learn quickly. The development of the training process is supplemented by a firm trainer that praises him and gives plenty of positive reinforcement.

These pups are eager to please. Showing them that you approve and are happy with their conduct encourages them greatly towards repeating the positive behavior. This also helps to train out his stubborn streak, or direct it to the right things.

Grooming ✂️

The coat of a Mini Saint Bernard is mainly dependent on the parents and precisely what the dog is crossed with and which breed he leans towards. The coat of these puppies can be thin, rough, silky, or dense. This variation changes how often and with what you should use to comb them out.

Start the process by using a pin brush and a regular dog comb. These prevent tangles and mats from forming. Even though they are furry, they tend to retain more of their hair than one would expect and don’t shed as much.

They only need infrequent baths, and a mild dog shampoo should be used when they do occur. Their skin is sensitive to dryness and irritation, and mild shampoo helps to avoid problems.

Their ears are quite floppy, inherited from both of the parents. To protect your pup from ear infections, clean their ears out weekly with a soft, slightly damp cloth. Their eyes produce a lot of moisture, and cleaning around them helps to maintain appearances as well as keep them free from harboring future infections.

As with any dog, keep an eye on the growth of their nails and trim them when necessary.

Health and Conditions ❤️

This puppy is not considered to be one of the healthiest breeds due to the genetic traits that pass on from the Saint Bernard parentage. Keeping them exercised and maintaining their strict eating schedule helps them to stay healthy for as long as possible, leading them towards a happier life.

Primarily due to the size of the Saint Bernard, they developed many heart problems, joint dysplasia, and hypothyroidism. Some of these dogs may even struggle with epilepsy. Watch your pup for signs of this and maintain annual trips to the vet to catch anything serious as early as possible.

Minor Conditions
  • Entropion
  • Ectropion
  • Retinal Dysplasia
  • Skin-Fold Dermatitis
Serious Conditions
  • Canine Hip Dysplasia
  • Dilated Cardiomyopathy
  • Boating
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Epilepsy

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Male vs Female

There are no noticeable differences in male and female dogs of this breed, neither in stature nor overall temperament.

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Final Thoughts

If you are looking for another friendly addition to a family, whatever the size, you should seriously consider this dog. The size of the dog makes him a wonderfully medium-sized pup with the desired qualities of a Saint Bernard.

Mini Saint Bernards are smart dogs, quick learners, and easily trained with a firm hand. They are not comfortable with strangers, making them a good watchdog.

A stubborn streak and anxiety mean that this is not a dog for empty homes. This term means that there are very few people in the house, or people are frequently out of the home.

Featured Image Credit: schubbel, Shutterstock

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