Are you ready to choose between a Sheepadoodle vs Bernedoodle? This article will help you compare all the most important differences between them, and choose the dog that’s best suited to your home and lifestyle.
Sheepadoodles and Bernedoodles are two somewhat less well known Poodle mixes being bred today. They are both exceptionally large dogs, who form devoted bonds to their human family. However there are also some significant differences between them, and choosing the right dog for you depends upon your home and lifestyle, and wheat you hope to get out of owning a dog.
So, let’s start looking at both mixes in closer detail!
Choosing between these dogs is easier if you consider each aspect of life with them in turn:
- Sheepadoodle and Bernedoodle history
- Bernedoodle vs Sheepadoodle appearance
- Sheepadoodle vs Bernedoodle temperament
- Training a Sheepadoodle vs Bernedoodle
- Bernedoodle vs Sheepadoodle health issues
- Sheepadoodle vs Bernedoodle puppies
- Which breed makes a better pet?
Sheepadoodle vs Bernedoodle History
Sheepadoodles and Bernedoodles are both part of a much wider trend for creating designer dogs. Designer dogs have parents from two different pedigrees, which means they are no longer purebred themselves, and they can inherit surprising combinations of qualities from each of their parents.
Sheepadoodles and Bernedoodles both have one Poodle parent. Despite their long association with France, Poodles are originally German dogs. The breed was founded as a duck retriever – they are strong swimmers, and they would spend long days working alongside a human hunter, collecting waterfowl after it had been shot.
What is a Sheepadoodle?
A Sheepadoodle is a Poodle crossed with an Old English Sheepdog. Old English Sheepdogs aren’t technically sheepdogs at all – they were developed in south east England in the 18th century as droving dogs. Droving dogs helped to usher sheep and cattle from the farm to market. The first Sheepadoodles were produced by crossing an Old English Sheepdog with a Standard Poodle. But more recently, demand has increased for a smaller Sheepadoodle size, produced by crossing an Old English Sheepdog with a Miniature Poodle. These are known as Mini Sheepadoodles.
What’s a Bernedoodle?
A Bernedoodle crosses the Poodle with another old droving breed, the Bernese Mountain Dog. Berners started out in Switzerland, droving valuable cattle herds from place to place. They also used to guard the farmyard against intruders and predators. They were so big and strong they could even help pull carts! Like Sheepadoodles, Bernedoodles started out as a cross with a Standard Poodle. But a mini Bernedoodle size using a Miniature Poodle parent has also started to gain interest from dog lovers in recent years.
In a minute, we’ll see how the origin stories of Poodle, Old English Sheepdogs and Berners have shaped Sheepadoodle and Bernedoodle temperament. But first, let’s see if you could tell them apart in the dog park!
Sheepadoodle Vs Bernedoodle Appearance
The physical appearance of both Sheepadoodles and Bernedoodles can be a mixed bag of features from either the Poodle, or their other parent. Let’s start with size.
How big do Bernedoodles get?
Bernedoodles are usually the larger mix, although the size ranges of Bernedoodles and Sheepadoodles overlap. Female Berners weigh 70 to 95 pounds, and males weigh 80 to 115 pounds. And female Standard Poodles weigh 40 to 50 pounds, whilst males weigh 60 to 70 pounds. So standard Bernedoodle size usually falls between 40 pounds and 95 pounds for females, and 60 to 115 pounds for males.
Mini Bernedoodle size is even more variable. Miniature Poodles weigh just 10 to 15 pounds, so most Mini Bernedoodles weigh between 30 and 70 pounds. But some outliers can be even smaller, or bigger.
The size of Old English Sheepdogs isn’t as clearly divided along sex lines as the Poodle and Berner. Males may be an inch or so taller at the shoulder, but males and females can both weigh 60 to 100 pounds. So standard Sheepadoodles weigh between 40 and 100 pounds. Mini Sheepadoodles using a Miniature Poodle parent are likely to be towards the bottom of that range, if not a little below it. Mini Bernedoodle vs Mini Sheepadoodle size overlaps a lot – so much that you can hardly use it to choose between them.
The Old English Sheepdog’s coat is iconic. It is so long and thick that it completely obscures their eyes if their owner doesn’t intervene with clippers or hair band. It has two layers for warmth and waterproofing, and it sheds prolifically. Berner’s coats are slightly shorter, but also dense and double-layered to protect them from the elements.
Meanwhile, the Poodle has a tightly curled, non-shedding coat. Thanks to their Poodle ancestry, both Sheepadoodles and Bernadoodles are likely to have thick, wavy coats. But, not all of them will be non-shedding like a Poodle. Some of them might shed moderately, and some of them can even shed a lot!
The Old English Sheepdog is accepted for show in more colors than the Berner, and this is reflected in the number of possible Sheepadoodle colors. For example you can get a merle Sheepadoodle, but not a merle Bernedoodle.
Is A Bernedoodle or Sheepadoodle hypoallergenic?
Poodle crossbreeds tend to be popular because people hope they will inherit a non-shedding coat, that doesn’t trigger allergies. As we’ve already seen, both Sheepadoodles and Bernedoodles can inherit heavy-shedding coats. Unfortunately neither of them are hypoallergenic either. This isn’t related to the type of coat they have. All dogs – regardless of coat type – actually produce allergens in their saliva, not their fur.
Sheepadoodle Vs Bernedoodle Temperament
Poodles are smart, energetic, and lively dogs. They were bred to work as hunting partners, so they are very people-focussed, easy to engage in training, and motivated to keep working for hours at a time. Sheepadoodles and Bernedoodles can both inherit some or all of these traits.
Old English Shepherds and Bernese Mountain Dogs are both a bit more calm and stately than the Poodle. The Bernese in particular is known for being a gentle giant – as part time guardian dogs, their job involved long periods of sitting patiently and just watching over the farmyard. Old English Sheepdogs were slightly more versatile workers, and of the two breeds they are the more energetic.
So Sheepadoodles and Bernedoodles can be energetic like a Poodle, or somewhat more laidback, like a Sheepdog or Berner. Of the two, the Bernedoodle has slightly higher odds of being placid and docile, and Sheepadoodle temperament is more likely to be playful and constantly on the go.
Life with a Sheepadoodle or Bernedoodle
Poodles are very quick to learn and accurately remember new commands. But the trade off of owning such a clever dog, is that you’ll need to keep finding new sources of mental stimulation for them – for example advanced obedience training, agility work, or gundog training. Without sufficient mental stimulation, they are likely to get bored and frustrated, and express that through digging, chewing, and barking. Old English Sheepdogs and Berners may take longer to pick up new cues, but they also demand less mental stimulation generally. Sheepadoodles and Bernedoodles can end up anywhere on this spectrum, but it won’t be clear where an individual lies until they’re reasonably grown up. So Sheepadoodle and Bernedoodle owners need to be ready to be adaptable!
Of the two breeds, Sheepadoodles are more likely to inherit a herding instinct. They might try to round up smaller animals, children and even grown ups in their social groups. They might even struggle to settle at home if the other members of the family are scattered around the house. Bernedoodle are more likely to bark at strangers who approach their home, and guard ‘their’ human family. Both dogs are widely described as being good with kids, but a Sheepadoodle with a strong herding instinct is more likely to get caught in a frustrating behavior dynamic with kids who won’t be rounded up. Both dogs are big enough to accidentally hurt a small child by knocking them over, so obviously they should always be supervised together.
Sheepadoodle vs Bernedoodle Training
Sheepadoodle or Bernedoodle training can be a very variable experience. Although the Poodle is super intelligent and quick to learn, this won’t necessarily translate into a Sheepadoodle or Bernedoodle. Old English Sheepdogs and Berners are regarded as moderately easy to train, but not the quickest.
Potty training is the top priority for most puppy parents. Followed by teaching their dog to wait patiently at home for short periods while they go out. Crate training can help with both of these, and for large dogs like Sheepadoodles and Bernedoodles it limits their ability to cause damage, for example by chewing.
Socializing all dogs is important, and this is especially true of Poodle mixes, because Poodles are somewhat likely to be reserved and lack confidence around unfamiliar people and situations. It’s also true of Berner mixes, because their guarding instinct tells them to be vigilant for potential threats to their home and family. Finally, like all large dogs, and adult Bernedoodle or Sheepadoodle can easily topple someone over by jumping up to say hello. So it’s a good idea to teach them from a young age to greet people calmly, and with all four paws on the floor!
Sheepadoodle and Bernedoodle Health
Bernedoodles and Sheepadoodles can both inherit some of the health problems that commonly affect Poodles, including:
- Dental problems
- Elbow dysplasia
- Hip dysplasia
- Sebaceous adenitis
- Thyroid disease
Old English Sheepdogs are more than averagely prone to:
- Dental problems
- Elbow dysplasia
- Hip dysplasia
- Sebaceous adenitis
- Thyroid disease
Approximately 1 in 10 Poodles are thought to carry a genetic fault which causes the autoimmune condition sebaceous adenitis. Sebaceous adenitis is characterized by bald patches and scaly, flaky skin. Since Old English Sheep dogs are also affected by this condition, it’s important to choose a Sheepadoodle with no history of the disease in either side of their family tree. Sheepadoodle puppies should also come from parents who have tested clear of hip and elbow dysplasia, and thyroid disease.
The Bernese Mountain Dog breed has a high frequency of:
- Degenerative myelopathy
- Elbow dysplasia
- Hip dysplasia
- Problems with the shoulder joints
- Thyroid disease
Bernadoodle puppies should come from parents who have tested clear of hip and elbow dysplasia, and thyroid disease.
Which mix lives longer?
The average Standard Poodle lifespan is 12 years. Miniature Poodles live even longer – 14 years on average. The average Old English Sheepdog life expectancy is 10 years 9 months. This is only just shy of the all-dog average, of 11 years and 3 months. A Standard Sheepadoodle will live for 11 to 12 years on average, and the average Miniature Sheepadoodle is likely to live even longer. Unfortunately, the Bernese lifespan falls far short of the average dog – just 8 years. So the Bernedoodle also has a shorter average lifespan than a Sheepadoodle.
Sheepadoodles vs Bernedoodle Puppies
Healthy puppies with great temperaments come from responsible breeders. Unfortunately, because designer dogs including Sheepadoodles and Bernedoodles are highly sought after, they are also frequently exploited by puppy farmers. Puppies from puppy farms are more likely to have chronic health problems that require expensive veterinary care. They are also more likely to have long term behavioral problems that take the joy out of owning them.
Our Puppy Search guide will help you navigate the puppy buying process, and recognize the good breeders amongst the bad. Well-bred puppies should not be overly cheap, or overly expensive. Health testing for parent dogs, and veterinary care for mom during her pregnancy plus the puppies for their first 8 weeks is an expensive business, and most breeders need to pass that cost on to their puppies’ new parents. However, responsible breeders are also usually reluctant to charge over-inflated prices either, because they know that this increases the breed or mix’s appeal to puppy farmers. At the time of writing, Sheepadoodles and Bernedoodles both cost in the region of $2,000 – $3,000.
Which Is Better, Sheepadoodle Vs Bernedoodle
We hope you’ve enjoyed our Sheepadoodle Bernedoodle comparison! These are both large dogs, which need large homes and lots of company in order to thrive. Here’s a summary of their differences, to help you make you final choice:
|Standard Size||40 - 100lbs||Females 40 - 95lbs
Males 60 - 115lbs
|Miniature Size||25 - 65lbs||30 - 70lbs|
|Temperament||Highly variable, but more likely to remain busy and active throughout their lives.||Highly variable, but more likely to settle into a sedate adulthood.|
|Life expectancy||10 - 12 years||8 - 12 years|
|Ideal for||Families with lots of space, someone around most of the time, an outdoorsy lifestyle, and an interest in advanced dog training.||Families with even more space, and someone around most of the time.|
Do you have a Sheepadoodle or Bernedoodle? Tell us about your reasons for choosing them in the comments!
If you’re still not sure what the right dog for you is, then perhaps one of these articles will reveal your perfect pet:
- Old English Sheepdog – Breed Information Guide
- Bernese Mountain Dog – The Gentle Giant of the Canine World
- Bernedoodle vs Goldendoodle
- Aussiedoodle vs Bernedoodle
- Newfypoo Vs Bernedoodle
- Frenchton vs French Bulldog
References and Further Reading
Adams. Methods and mortality results of a health survey of purebred dogs in the UK. Journal of Small Animal Veterinary Practice. 2010.
Cavanagh & Bell. Veterinary Medical Guide to Dog and Cat Breeds. CRC Press. 2012.
Pedersen. The effect of genetic bottlenecks and inbreeding on the incidence of two major autoimmune diseases in standard poodles, sebaceous adenitis and Addison’s disease. Canine Medicine and Genetics. 2015.
Wauthier. Using the mini C-BARQ to investigate the effects of puppy farming on dog behaviour. Applied Animal Behavior Science. 2018.