The Bernedoodle is a hybrid breed created by crossing Bernese Mountain Dogs with poodles. Standard poodles are most commonly used. Some breeders use Miniature or toy poodles to create smaller Bernedoodles. Crossing giant breeds with small breeds is risky and must be done carefully to avoid complications in the breeding mother or in the resulting puppies. Depending on their size, Bernedoodles are typically classified as standard, miniature, or tiny.
Some people believe that Bernedoodles are hypoallergenic, but this is not always the case. Some Bernedoodles shed and mat a lot, some shed moderately, and some shed very little or not at all. The higher the percentage of poodle in the mix, the better the likelihood of a low-shedding coat. Depending on the nature of an individual Bernedoodle’s coat, it may be less likely to cause issues in people with dog allergies. Before bringing home a Bernedoodle, allergic people should spend time with the dog in question to be sure the dog doesn’t elicit allergy symptoms.
People who breed Bernedoodles say that you get the best of both worlds: a calm, loyal, intelligent, trainable dog with a non-shedding coat. In reality, Bernedoodles’ temperamental and physical traits are highly variable. Some Bernedoodles are outgoing and some are reserved with strangers. Some Bernedoodles are hyperactive rather than calm. Some are stubborn, which makes training difficult. Every Bernedoodle is an individual with a unique personality.
Weight: Standard: 50 to 90 pounds; miniature: 25 to 49 pounds; tiny: 10 to 24 pounds.
Height: Standard: 23 to 29 inches tall at the shoulder; miniature: 18 to 22 inches; tiny: 12 to 17 inches.
Coat: Variable; usually wavy to curly.
Color: Variable; the most common colors are black, black and white, black and brown, or tri-color.
Life Expectancy: Variable depending on size; generally 12 to 17 years.
|Characteristics of the Bernedoodle|
|Tendency to Bark||Medium|
|Amount of Shedding||Medium|
History of the Bernedoodle
Bernedoodles were first created in the early 2000s, following in the wake of the “doodle” craze that swept the world after the Labradoodle came on the scene in the 1990s. Although it’s possible the first Bernedoodles may have been the result of accidental breeding, a few breeders began intentionally crossing Bernese mountain dogs and poodles.
Purebreds have been bred for generations following a special blueprint—the breed standard, which is the written description of the ideal physical and temperamental traits of the breed. For this reason, purebred dogs are very standardized, with predictable height and weight, body structure, color, coat type, and temperament. Because the Bernedoodle is a hybrid and not a purebred dog, it is not recognized by any of the reputable purebred dog registries such as the American Kennel Club or United Kennel Club. The Bernedoodle also does not have an official breed standard, so there is a lot of variation in how individual Bernedoodles look and act. Different breeders may have different ideas of what makes a Bernedoodle, so it’s hard to know what you might get if you buy a Bernedoodle puppy.
Bernedoodles may be first generation crosses (called F1), second generation (F2), third generation (F3) and so on. An F1 Bernedoodle is a 50-50 cross between a purebred Bernese Mountain Dog and a purebred poodle. The resulting puppies in an F1 litter are quite variable. Some may look more like Bernese Mountain Dogs and some may look more like pooodles. Some puppies might look like a mix between the two parent breeds, and some might look nothing like either parent breed. Coat type and level of shedding can be all over the map in a litter of F1 Bernedoodle puppies.
F2 Bernedoodles result by crossing two F1 Bernedoodles. F2 Bernedoodles also have variable coat types. Some breeders introduce more poodle into the bloodlines to help achieve more consistency in coat type. This is called backcrossing and is indicated by a B (for instance, F2B). Bernedoodles that are 25% Bernese Mountain Dog and 75% poodle are more likely to have a low or nonshedding coat.
Grooming requirements for the Bernedoodle vary depending on the type of coat. Although most Bernedoodles have wavy to curly coats, some have straighter coats. Coats that are more straight than wavy tend to shed more, so need more frequent brushing—daily or every other day—to remove loose hair and prevent matting. Curlier coats shed less, but also need regular brushing to keep the coat untangled. Brush wavy and curly coats a few times a week. Like poodles, wavy-and curly-coated Bernedoodles need trimming from a professional groomer every four to eight weeks. In addition to brushing and grooming, trim your Bernedoodle’s nails every two weeks and look inside you’re the ears weekly, cleaning them with a pet safe ear cleaner if they look dirty. If you see excessive dirt or redness in the ears schedule a veterinary visit.
Bernedoodles are smart, but how trainable they are depends on if they inherited the more agreeable nature of the poodle or the stubborn side of the Bernese Mountain Dog. Either way, positive training methods like clicker training paired with tasty treat rewards will help you get the best results from your Bernedoodle. Bernedoodles need plenty of daily exercise, including one or two walks a day plus off-leash games of fetch in a safely enclosed space like a fenced yard or dog park. Athletic Bernedoodles with biddable temperaments might also enjoy training for fun dog sports like agility, flyball, obedience, rally and dock jumping.
Common Health Problems
Although many hybrid dog breeders claim that crossing two different purebreds results in puppies that are healthier than either parent breed, science tells us that genes don’t necessarily work this way. Most purebred dogs have certain inherited health disorders in their family history. Crossing Bernese Mountain Dogs with poodles means the puppies can potentially inherit any of the genetic diseases common to either breed.
Bernese Mountain Dogs are prone to cancer, hip and elbow dysplasia, eye diseases, cardiac disease, hypothyroidism, autoimmune diseases, von Willebrand’s disease (a blood clotting disorder) and gastric dilatation (bloat). Poodles are affected by certain genetic health conditions, including hip dysplasia eye disease, idiopathic epilepsy, sebaceous adenitis, von Willebrand’s disease, immune-mediated disorders, Legg-Calve-Perthes disease (a hip joint disorder), luxating patellas (slipped kneecaps) bloat and sebaceous adenitis (an inflammatory skin disease).
Responsible breeders start with healthy, well-bred adult purebred dogs and test them for the genetic diseases common to their breed before breeding them together. Reputable breeders should also test their adult Bernedoodle hybrids before breeding them to decrease the probability that the puppies will be affected by genetic issues. Responsible breeders should also offer a health guarantee on their puppies should the puppy develop a genetic disease later in life.
Diet and Nutrition
It’s important to keep your Bernedoodle lean in order to prevent the development or worsening of joint disorders like hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia, as well as other weight-linked health problems like diabetes. Feed measured meals twice a day rather than free feeding (leaving food out all the time). Standard Bernedoodle puppies that may grow to be giant sized by adulthood should eat a food formulated for large-breed puppies to encourage slow and steady growth. Talk to your breeder or veterinarian to get a recommendation for a healthy food for your Bernedoodle, as well as an ideal healthy weight for your adult Bernedoodle.
Pros and Cons
Affectionate with family
Some are low-shedding
May be skittish with strangers
May be stubborn or hard to train
Not always non-shedding or hypoallergenic
Where to Adopt or Buy
If you’re thinking about purchasing a Bernedoodle puppy, you have two options. You can check your local animal shelters and rescue organizations for Bernedoodles looking for new homes. Most Bernedoodles in rescue are adults, but sometimes Bernedoodle puppies might find themselves in need of a new family. If you have your heart set on a Bernedoodle puppy, you will want to look for a responsible breeder who tests their breeding dogs for health issues common to both the Bernese Mountain Dog and poodle. Responsible Bernedoodle breeders paint a realistic picture of Bernedoodle ownership rather than make promises about the “perfect breed” that may not be true for every individual Bernedoodle.
More Dog Breeds and Further Research
If you like the Bernedoodle, you might also like these breeds:
Otherwise, check out all of our other dog breed articles to help you find the perfect dog for you and your family.