The Belgian Malinois St Bernard mix is a hybrid dog with one purebred Belgian Malinois dog parent and one purebred St Bernard dog parent.
While hybrid or “designer” dog breeding has taken a beating from the popular press, in truth this is the standard way that nearly all of today’s modern purebred dog breeds have been developed.
Strategic crossbreeding is done for a variety of reasons. One of the most urgent reasons today is to shore up the health of purebred dog breeds by introducing more genetic variety.
But another common reason breeders launch hybrid breeding programs is to develop new dog breeds with the complementary and desirable appearance and personality traits.
In this article, meet the Belgian Malinois St Bernard mix, a protection dog with both heart and courage in spades.
See a Belgian Malinois and a St Bernard Dog Playing Together
In this adorable YouTube video, you can watch an adult Belgian Malinois tussling and play with a St Bernard puppy.
What is immediately apparent is that the St. Bernard puppy is already almost as big as the adult Malinois! So this gives you an indication of the size range you can expect when you choose this hybrid pup.
Belgian Malinois St Bernard Mix: Dog Breeds History
One of the best ways to get to know a hybrid dog breed with less formal breed history is to learn as much as possible about each parent dog breed.
Belgian Malinois history
According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), the Belgian Malinois is currently the 43rd most popular purebred dog breed out of 196 registered USA dog breeds.
However, this statistic reflects only breed choice in mainstream culture. If you polled government, police, and private security industries, you would discover the Belgian Malinois is the top breed choice all around the world for these types of jobs.
The Belgian Malinois takes its breed name from the city of Malines in Belgium. There, Malinois shares a genetic heritage with three other herding and sheepdogs, the Tervuren, Laekenois, and Shepherd dogs.
These dogs have always been bred to work in guarding, herding, and protection roles.
St Bernard history
According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), St Bernard is currently the 48th most popular purebred dog breed out of 196 registered USA dog breeds.
The St. Bernard breed got its start in the snowy Alps mountain range. A monk named Bernard of Menthon developed the breed to help with search and rescue efforts when pilgrims trying to travel to Rome would get buried in snowdrifts.
Popular lore states that these dogs saved more than 2,000 people from being buried alive in snowstorms.
Later, St Bernards were highly prized for drafting, herding, and guarding work as well.
Belgian Malinois St Bernard mix history
You can see that any Belgian Malinois St Bernard mix dog is going to inherit an incredibly strong work ethic from each parent dog.
Belgian Malinois St Bernard Mix: Size, Height, and Weight
One of the areas where the Belgian Malinois and St Bernard dog breeds differ most noticeably is when it comes to size, height, and weight.
Belgian Malinois size, height, and weight
The Belgian Malinois dog typically weighs between 40 and 80 pounds in adulthood and stands between 22 and 26 inches tall (measured from paw pads to shoulders).
What is somewhat unique about the Malinois breed is that adult males often outweigh adult females by up to twenty pounds and stand a full two inches taller.
St Bernard size, height, and weight
The St. Bernard dog typically weighs between 120 to 180 pounds in adulthood and stands between 26 to 30 inches tall (measured from paw pads to shoulders).
Here again, the adult male St. Bernard can easily outweigh the adult female by up to 20 pounds and stand up to two inches taller.
Belgian Malinois St Bernard size, height, and weight
With such an enormous potential variance in adult weight and height, it can be hard to know how to plan ahead as your Belgian Malinois St Bernard mix puppy grows up.
If the size is a big concern to you because of where you live or the amount of space you have, you may want to work with a hybrid dog breeder who specializes in breeding F2 or later generation puppies.
Belgian Malinois St Bernard Mix: Training and Exercise Needs
Another key difference to watch for when choosing a Belgian Malinois St Bernard mix puppy is the potential for a puppy with very different exercise and activity needs.
Belgian Malinois training and exercise needs
The Belgian Malinois is an intensely active dog bred to work tirelessly for long hours in highly athletic roles.
As be Chewy points out, the Belgian Malinois is one of the top ten dog breeds guaranteed to get you in shape.
These dogs need early and ongoing training and socialization to adapt to the life of a companion canine.
St Bernard training and exercise needs
In contrast, as Vetstreet points out, even though St Bernards have been bred to serve as working dogs, they have a much lower natural energy level than do many working dog breeds.
In fact, these dogs are actually considered to be quite apartment-friendly as long as they get a couple of good walks daily.
St. Bernards do need steady, firm, positive training to manage their guarding and protective instincts.
Belgian Malinois St Bernard training and exercise needs
It is important to match the dog you choose to your time availability, energy level, and lifestyle preferences.
Since it can be hard to know how active your Belgian Malinois St Bernard puppy may be, working with a later stage (F2 or later) hybrid dog breeder can help you select a puppy that is a closer match with what you have to offer a dog.
Belgian Malinois St Bernard Mix: Coat Care, Shedding & Grooming
Most working dog breeds have a double layer protective coat, which means more shedding and, often, more grooming.
Belgian Malinois coat care, shedding, and grooming
The Belgian Malinois has a short, neat double layer coat that is fairly self-maintaining overall.
But the Malinois does shed lightly year-round and heavily when the seasons change twice per year.
St Bernard coat care, shedding, and grooming
St Bernard has the long, thick, shaggy double layer coat of a cold-weather working dog breed. In fact, during the seasonal “coat blows” you might think it is snowing dog hair!
The St. Bernard dog also needs a lot of brushing and grooming to keep tangles and mats from forming.
Belgian Malinois St Bernard mix coat care, shedding, and grooming
Your dog may inherit a very different coat type depending on which parent dog your puppy most takes after. A puppy that inherits more of the St. Bernard coat will need a lot more maintenance!
Belgian Malinois St Bernard Mix: Longevity & Health Issues
Many purebred dog breeds today are beginning to develop genetic health issues. Both the Belgian Malinois and the St. Bernard are known to be affected by this.
Crossbreeding can help strengthen the health of future generations of puppies. However, it is vital to research known genetic health issues and check to be sure the breeder you buy your puppy from has pre-screened breeding pairs.
Belgian Malinois longevity and health issues
According to the Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) database, the Belgian Malinois breed has the following known possible genetic health issues you need to be aware of:
- Hip dysplasia.
- Elbow dysplasia.
- Eye health issues.
The Belgian Malinois has a typical life expectancy of 14 to 16 years.
St Bernard longevity and health issues
According to the Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) database, the St Bernard breed has the following known possible genetic health issues you need to be aware of:
- Hip dysplasia.
- Elbow dysplasia.
- Eye health issues.
- Cardiac issues.
- Degenerative myelopathy.
- Autoimmune thyroiditis.
St Bernard has a typical life span of eight to 10 years.
Belgian Malinois St Bernard mix: longevity and health issues
You can see how both parent dog breeds share a genetic predisposition for hip and elbow joint malformation (dysplasia) and eye health issues.
This means it will be especially vital to carefully select the breeder you work with to ensure parent dogs have been tested and cleared of all known genetic joint issues.
Belgian Malinois St Bernard Mix: Is This the Right Dog For You?
As you now know, the Belgian Malinois St. Bernard mix dog is a truly unique hybrid dog breed. This won’t be the right pup for every home. But if you have the time and interest to provide a dog with an active lifestyle, this might be a wonderful dog for you!
Related reading: St Bernard German Shepherd Mix (Saint Shepherd)