Love The Look Of An Old English Sheepdog And The Personality of A Poodle? Or Vice Versa? Then You’re Probably Considering A Sheepadoodle!
The Sheepdog Poodle mix will vary from pup to pup. Largely depending upon which of their quite different parents they take after.
So what you can expect from a Sheepadoodle?
Do they make healthy, happy family pets?
If you’re at all familiar with today’s designer dog landscape, you know that there are oodles of four-legged doodles.
That’s because the Poodle is a popular dog for cross breeding purposes.
“Doodle” is used to denote the Poodle parent in mixed breeds. The Labradoodle and Goldendoodle being well known examples.
But what about the Sheepadoodle?
Is this cute cross the next big thing in your life?
What is a Sheepadoodle?
The Sheepadoodle is a Sheepdog and poodle mix.
A canine cross-breed intended to acquire in one dog the most sought-after traits from each parent.
But unfortunately genetics aren’t quite that simple.
In the case of the Sheepadoodle (aka Sheep-a-Poo!) breeders hope to replicate the best qualities of the Old English Sheepdog and a Standard Poodle.
But have their efforts been successful?
Old English Sheepdog Poodle mix
It’s not difficult to see why breeders would want to combine these two breeds.
The Old English Sheepdog is a sweet-tempered, fluffy and playful dog. While the poodle brings a high canine IQ and hypoallergenic, low-shed coat to the party.
The Sheepadoodle was developed to be a family companion animal with a loving and playful friend, while serving as a hypoallergenic alternative for dog lovers.
Owners report that the Old English sheepdog poodle mix has moderate exercise needs, moderate grooming requirements, and a beautiful, long, low shed coat.
We’ll review these and other Sheepadoodle characteristics in more detail later, but for now it’s important to note that a cross breed’s potential is completely unpredictable.
In reality every cross breed inherits the traits and qualities of each parent in varying degrees.
It is impossible to predict how these characteristics will be expressed.
The best way to determine the potential of any cross breed canine is by taking a look at the behavior, personality and temperament of its parent breeds.
Are you considering bringing a Sheepadoodle into your home?
Most sources think this new mix started to appear in the 1990’s in the US.
In 2009 the International Designer Canine Association began recording Sheepadoodle registrations.
So this is early days for the Sheepadoodle.
However, it’s origins go way back with the parent breeds.
The Old English Sheepdog’s origins
Like many of today’s popular canines, the origins of the Old English Sheepdog are somewhat obscure. Although the American Kennel Club believes the herding dog to have originated in the west of England.
At the same time, others think it possible that the large, shaggy breed may have its roots in the Russian Owtchar, or the Scottish Bearded Collie.
Interestingly enough the first documentation of the dog comes not from the written record, but from the art world.
Many believe that an 18th century painting by Thomas Gainsborough features a dog resembling the Old English Sheepdog.
What we do know for certain is that Birmingham, England lays claim to the first official showing of an Old English Sheepdog.
That competition was held in 1873, and from that point forward the breed was destined to go on to enjoy worldwide fame as a show dog.
The Poodle’s origins
Like the Old English Sheepdog, the Poodle’s origins are also up for debate. Some believe it be descended from French ancestors while others think that its ancestral roots lay in Germany.
At any rate German artist Albrecht Dürer is given credit for revealing the first images of the breed, depicting the dog in his work as far back as the 1400’s.
The poodle comes in three sizes: Standard, Miniature, and Toy.
The Standard, used in the Sheepadoodle cross breed, is the largest of the three and was originally coveted for its hunting instinct.
What will a Sheepadoodle full grown look like?
Again, let’s take a look at his parent’s dimensions. This will give us an idea of Sheepadoodle proportions.
Standard poodles max out at around 65 pounds and 21 inches in height. Their life expectancy on average is 12 years.
Old English Sheepdogs stand on average around two feet in height.
Males reach approximately 22 inches-plus, while females stand around 21 inches and over.
These large dogs carry a good amount of weight on their frame, with anything between 60 and 100 pounds the norm.
Their life expectancy falls in and around the 10-12 year range.
A standard Sheepadoodle could be anywhere within these limits. They are likely to live around the same amount of time too, so you could predict between ten and twelve years.
There’s no denying why the Sheepadoodle is described as the panda bear of the canine world.
These easy-going fur balls are black and white in appearance, often having one or both eyes ringed by a large patch of black fur.
Topping off their cuddly look is an adorable, dark, prominent nose.
And it doesn’t hurt the comparison in the least that these medium sized dogs are just as playful and clownish as the cute panda bear!
Sheepadoodle coats are often mainly white in front and black on the tail end.
Some pups are nearly all white or all black Often with random splotches of the opposite color.
Then again, there are some adorable Sheepadoodle full grown who resemble a giant tub of yummy chocolate chip ice cream!
As with the Old English Sheepdog, don’t be surprised if your Sheepadoodle’s black fur eventually fades off into a lovely gray-ish hue after a year or more.
Old English sheepdog poodle mix grooming
A poodle mix often has a curly coat. How curly will depend on how much the puppy takes after the poodle parent.
Old English Sheepdogs have a lovely long shaggy coat that can rightfully be described as high maintenance.
It’s possible that this coat is partly the reason for the declining interest in this dog breed.
Busy modern owners often lack the time or money needed to maintain a healthy, robust coat. A poodle coat is a little different. But still requires quite a bit of care
A Poodle’s coat has some key features.
- It sheds less fur than a looser coat
- It need regular clipping (unless you are a very keen groomer)
Poodles are a popular pet choice for people sensitive to dog hair. This is due to their reputation for a hypoallergenic coat.
However, they are not completely allergen free.
And part of the reason for that reputation is the way that the poodle fur grows.
Problems with curly hair
Curly dog hair tends to stay trapped in the coat as it sheds. And Poodles do not have a high-maintenance undercoat.
This leaves less hair on your carpet.
But there can be problems.
The shed hair is still there on the dog. It just didn’t fall out.
And that trapped hair can result in matting. Unless brushed daily – and thoroughly!
Non-shedding hair can also be problematic in the ears. If the fur is allowed to grow into the ear canal, infection can result.
Likewise for the Old English Sheepdog, their ears need to be spot-checked regularly for dirt and wax buildup that could lead to infection.
No guarantees for allergy sufferers
So, there is no guarantee your Poodle mix will have a hypoallergenic coat. Your puppy will probably have looser curls than a Poodle. These are easier to groom.
But they may have tighter curls like a Poodle
Either way, the chances are they will need clipping professionally.
A trip to the groomer every few weeks will usually include a bath.
Which is good as Sheepadoodles may drool!
A Sheepadoodle will benefit from brushing several times a week using a slicker brush and rake.
You won’t know what kind of coat your pup will have until they are a few months old.
Assume it is going to be high maintenance and get into practice.
A grooming routine
Puppies groomed from an early age are much happier and easy to manage.
so be sure to get them used to being groomed from an early age regardless.
The Sheepadoodle personality will be influenced by the genetic makeup of the Poodle and the Old English Sheepdog.
In an ideal world, every cross breed would express only the very best qualities of each parent. But in reality (as we know from our own lives!) that never happens.
Nonetheless let’s take look at the temperaments of both the Sheepdog and the Poodle in order to get an insight into the potential Sheepadoodle temperament.
The Old English Sheepdog is praised for its gentle nature and adaptability. The large breed can be a mellow housedog, but he is a big boy who enjoys exploring and regular walks.
Sheepdogs greatly enjoy being included in family time and along with the Poodle can do well with children provided that they are socialized and trained early.
Old English Sheepdogs do not relish being separated from their humans and they may become destructive if left by themselves for extended periods of time.
Like the Poodle, the Old English Sheepdog is a fast learner and he is an obedient dog.
Poodles rank near the top in canine intelligence and are highly trainable. They enjoy pleasing their owners and retain an alert sensitivity which means they will tell you when strangers approach.
Poodles have a reputation for being high strung but in fact they have naturally low levels of aggression.
Punishment based training is not recommended and can be dangerous since it can actually mask signs of troubling behavior.
Most Sheepadoodle owners describe their pups as sociable, playful, people-oriented, and displaying a sweet disposition.
It is important to remember your Sheepadoodle’s temperament could be on either end of the spectrum, or a mixture of both.
If you want a dog who’s content to be a couch potato or a purse dog, then skip over the Sheepadoodle because these pooches inherit a lively set of genes!
Large, rambling Sheepdogs need an outlet for their physical nature. They are big, enthusiastic dogs and require proper training to curb what could easily turn into rowdy, unwanted behavior. For example, some may try to herd smaller animals or children!
Poodles maintain moderate levels of energy and like to keep busy, especially mentally.
Your Sheepadoodle will inherit his parent’s proclivity for activity, and if they are like the Poodle parent will be need a lot of mental and physical stimulation.
Your Sheepadoodle can be expected to be at risk from some of the same health issues as his parents.
Both breeds are well structured. Their legs are not too short. And their muzzles are a good length.
These are important features in any puppy. But there are diseases associated with each breed.
Old English Sheepdogs health
Hip dysplasia, eye disease, and hypothyroidism are all issues to be aware of with Old English Sheepdogs.
Hip dysplasia is not uncommon in large breeds. It can affect one or both hips, and cause pain and stiffness.
Surgery may be needed if the condition becomes severe enough. Treatments options include a total hip replacement. And the cost can run into thousands.
Progressive retinal atrophy is an inherited eye condition in which the retina deteriorates leading to vision loss.
A dog with PRA may eventually lose both day and nighttime vision. Blind dogs are capable of adapting, but this is a disease that can and should be avoided.
Check those test certificates to make sure your puppy cannot get PRA.
In hypothyroidism there is a lack of hormone made in the thyroid gland. Symptoms include obesity, lethargy, loss of mental acuity, irregular heat cycles and possibly infertility.
The condition can be treated with thyroid replacements. The dog will usually need lifelong treatment.
What health issues do Poodles face? Cushing’s disease, bladder stones, and skin tumors are among the problems encountered by Poodles.
Cushing’s disease occurs when a dog’s body makes too much of the hormone cortisol or when corticosteroid medications are prescribed at a high dosage and/or for an extended period of time. Treatment of the condition can range from medication management to removal of the adrenal gland.
Unfortunately Poodles are prone to dermatological issues including sebaceous adenitis, a condition affecting the glands that lubricate the hair follicles and skin. The condition is frequently misdiagnosed as hypothyroidism, complicating treatment.
Your Sheepadoodle will inherit his parents’ health profiles, but how these issues are expressed is impossible to predict in your mixed breed pooch.
It’s worth noting again that the offspring of any cross breed are at risk for the same health issues and concerns as their parents.
In the case of the Sheepadoodle, potentially serious and costly issues include problems with the joints and skin.
Health testing for these and other issues discussed above are an ideal way to anticipate any problems your pooch may face.
So, where can you find a Sheepadoodle puppy?
Mix breed dogs are not recognized by the American Kennel Club. However there are responsible breeders to be found especially if you live in an urban or metropolitan area.
Be very picky about the person raising your future companion. And stay well away from puppy mills and pet stores.
Conduct a home visit prior to purchasing a pup. By doing so you will see first-hand the conditions that your pup was raised in. You must meet the puppies with their mother.
Meeting Dad is a great idea if he isn’t too far away.
You should inquire about the health of your pup and his parents’.
Make sure the breeder has a clear bond with the mother, and that she has a purpose beyond producing puppies. Either as a treasured family pet, working or agility dog.
All responsible breeders will readily show you health certificates of the dogs that you are interested in.
How much do Sheepadoodles cost?
Sheepadoodles are on the pricey end of the designer dog spectrum.
Asking prices ranging from $1,900 to $3,000.
And some breeders advertise pups with blue eyes at a higher cost.
If the high purchase prices have you rethinking your decision to own a Sheepadoodle, there is another alternative.
You can find Sheepadoodle rescue organizations and groups online
There are pros and cons to rescuing but many people find it to be a good experience.
Make sure you get plenty of information from the rescue center. It’s best not to take on a dog with problems if you are new to dog ownership.
A good rescue center will have temperament tested your dog. And you’ll be supported through the rescue process.
Is a Sheepadoodle the right dog for me?
The Sheepadoodle cross-breed was created with three goals in mind
- Intelligence and trainability
- Sweet and gentle nature
- Hypoallergenic fur.
Many Sheepadoodles will meet those first two goals.
But only if they are chosen from friendly parents and well socialized as puppies.
Remember, they are not all hypoallergenic.
So don’t depend on being able to live with that fur if you have an allergy to dogs.
Keep in mind that with any cross breed, results can be unpredictable.
Future temperament, medical issues and appearance may be like one parent. Or they may take after the other.
No one can say which.
A cross breed dog such as the Sheepadoodle will share some traits of both parents. But it cannot be predicted in which ratios or combinations.
Don’t forget those tests! Even if a pup is a mix breed, each purebred parent should still be health tested.
Do you have a Sheepadoodle? Why not tell us a bit about her in the comments section below!
- Dobson, J.M., Breed-Predispositions to Cancer in Pedigree Dogs, ISRN Veterinary Science, 2013
- Famula, T.R., Heritability and complex segregation analysis of hypoadrenocorticism in the standard poodle, Journal of Small Animal Practice, 2003
- Nachreiner, R. F., Prevalence of serum thyroid hormone autoantibodies in dogs with clinical signs of hypothyroidism, Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 2002
- Nelson, L.L., et al, Risk Factors for Ventral Luxation in Canine Total Hip Replacement, Veterinary Surgery, 2007
- Designer Canine Registry
Old English Sheepdog Club of America