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A mix of tricks: Learn more about the highly intelligent Saint Bernese dog

Keira is a mix between a Saint Bernard and a Saint Bernese
Keira is a mix between a Saint Bernard and a Saint Bernese
Photo by Stacey Gonzalez

Information available about training pure bred dogs is vast and never-ending. Which dog is the best, most intelligent and most trainable seem to be common questions. Why not mix it up and spend some time looking at a highly trainable mix breed that dog lovers may be overlooking- the Saint Bernese.

Most responsible pet owners do some breed research before they adopt and rightfully so- different lifestyles cater to different breed characteristics. The American Kennel Club (AKC) released its list of the top 10 dog breeds of 2013 and the top three dogs were repeats from the previous year- Labrador retriever, German shepherd and the golden retriever.

In the book The Intelligence of Dogs: Canine Consciousness and Capabilities author Stanley Coren came to the conclusion that the best breeds for training are the Border collie, Poodle and German shepherd. The Border collie is thought to be the most intelligent of all dog breeds according to canine dog experts worldwide.

What doesn't exist is well documented information about hybrid breeds. Some popular hybrids include the Puggle (Pug mixed with Beagle) and Labradoodle (Lab mixed with Poodle.) I own a Saint Bernese- three year old Keira.

The Saint Bernese hybrid is a mix of two mountain dogs: the Saint Bernard and the Bernese mountain dog. Both breeds have things in common and things that set them apart. According to Marc Dubé- a breeder of the Saint Bernese cross- these dogs are not only intelligent but they are extremely loyal.

Marc and his wife Sylvie own Valley Ranch Kennel, a family run dog breeding kennel specializing in giant breeds. Located in Boulter, Ontario this family has been breeding big dogs since 2002 and have a great reputation due to their high standards. He breeds pure bred Saint Bernard’s and Saint Pyrenees (Saint Bernard mixed with Great Pyrenees) and is in his third year of breeding the Saint Bernese cross.

Marc does not believe in inbreeding the dogs and guarantees a healthy environment so that they can socialize and have room to grow before they move on to their forever homes. He keeps in contact with his customers and enjoys hearing about the pup’s progress – you can tell just by looking at the Valley Kennel Ranch Facebook page.

Read Part 2: Experiences with a Saint Bernese.