The Bernedoodle is an adorable designer breed (aka. hybrid breed) that is growing in popularity.
They are sometimes called a Bernese Poodle, Bernese Mountain Poo, Bernese Mountain Doodle or Bernepoo.
This affectionate yet playful dog breed is a great pet for families with children.
What is a Bernedoodle?
The Bernedoodle dog breed is a cross between a Bernese Mountain Dog and a Poodle.
The first purposely bred Bernedoodles were created in 2003. They were bred by Sherry Rupke of Swissridge Kennels in Ontario, Canada.
Sherry was a breeder of both Bernese Mountain Dogs and Labradoodles. She was saddened to see that the purebred Bernese Mountain Dogs had short life spans (around 8 years), as many purebreeds do.
Crossing purebred dogs of different breeds helps to lower the chance of genetic problems. So she crossed a Bernese Mountain Dog with a Poodle.
The first Bernedoodle puppies were healthy, adorable and had a friendly demeanor. She then began a formal breeding program for them.
Many people all around the world now breed Bernedoodles however they are most commonly found in the USA and Canada. They were first bred in Australia in 2014 but they are not as common here.
They are typically kept as family pets but can also be trained as therapy dogs.
The American Kennel Club does not recognise hybrid breeds.
However, in the last 10 years designer dogs have grown in popularity, especially hybrid poodle breeds. There are now many groups that do recognise them.
These include the Designer Dogs Kennel Club, American Canine Hybrid Club, International Designer Canine Registry and the Designer Breed Registry.
An Australian Bernedoodle is different from a regular Bernedoodle.
An Australian Bernedoodle is a Bernese Mountain Dog crossed with an Australian Labradoodle (instead of a purebred Poodle).
This means it is really a cross of many breeds as an Australian Labradoodle is made up of a mix of Labrador Retriever, Poodle, English Cocker Spaniel, American Cocker Spaniel, Curly Coated Retriever and Irish Water Spaniel.
The Australian Bernedoodle has very similar traits to the regular Bernedoodle. Because they are even more of a hybrid mix, they typically have less health issues and will often live longer.
Bernese Mountain Dog
Bernese Mountain Dogs originated in Switzerland around 2,000 years ago. They worked as farm dogs, helping to herd livestock.
They are a large, active breed which is very strong and can haul up to 10 times their own body weight. They have a thick coat designed to keep them warm in cooler climates.
They have a friendly, happy demeanor and love to spend time with their humans.
Purebred Bernese Mountain Dogs are more commonly found in Australia than the Bernedoodle.
What is an F1 / F1B / F2 Bernedoodle?
Which generation of Bernedoodle you get can affect the dog’s health, coat and behaviour.
It is therefore important to understand the differences below before welcoming a Bernedoodle into your family.
Every Bernedoodle is a Bernese Mountain Dog and Poodle mix but at different levels.
A F1 Bernedoodle (aka. 1st generation) is the result of a Bernese Mountain Dog and a purebred Poodle mating. They are the healthiest generation of Bernedoodle.
However, a F1 Bernedoodle coat will be more similar to the Bernese Mountain Dog’s coat and therefore less suitable for allergy sufferers. Its traits may also be less predictable.
A F1B Bernedoodle (aka. back cross) is the result of a F1 crossed with a purebred Poodle. These dogs have more Poodle genes. They shed barely any hair and are the most suitable generation for people with severe dog allergies.
A F2 Bernedoodle (aka. 2nd generation) is the result of breeding two F1 Bernedoodles together. 2nd generations are still half Bernese Mountain Dog and half Poodle but their genes are more mixed.
They shed a minimal amount so are suitable for people with mild dog allergies.
Their traits will be quite predictable but they are more prone to health issues than other generations.
Multi-generational Bernedoodles are sometimes referred to as ‘Teddy Bear Bernedoodles’.
They are 3rd or subsequent generations. This allows more selective breeding with physical or temperamental traits.
Read more on the F1, F2, and F3 Oodle dog breeds here.
Like any designer breed, their appearance can vary greatly and is hard to predict when breeding them.
Bernedoodles typically look more like a Bernese Mountain Dog than a Poodle. They have sturdy, square bodies with big, oval eyes. They have floppy ears and a fluffy tail.
Because they are a hybrid breed, breeders cannot guarantee you an exact size. They can only estimate based on the parent breeds.
There are no official sizing standards for cross breeds so some breeders may categorise sizes differently.
The most common size categorise are:
A standard Bernedoodle is the largest size available. They are usually crossed with a standard sized Poodle.
- They weigh between 25-40kg.
- They are between 55-70cm (21-27 inches) tall.
Miniature Bernedoodles are sometimes referred to as medium or mini Bernedoodles.
They are usually mixed with a miniature poodle.
- Mini Bernedoodles weigh between 15-25kg.
- They are between 44-55cm (17-21 inches) tall.
Toy / Tiny Bernedoodle
A toy Bernedoodle is sometimes referred to as micro or tiny Bernedoodle. They are the smallest size available and typically have a toy poodle parent.
They weigh a tiny 5-15kg.
Tiny Bernedoodles are only 30-45cm (11-17 inches) tall.
Coat & Colours
The Bernedoodle dog breed comes in a wide variety of colours. These include bi-colour, tri-colour, merle, sable, brindle and phantom.
The bi- and tri-colour coats can have a combination of black, white, brown or apricot.
Wavy or Curly Coat
A Bernedoodle’s coat will vary depending on the parent breeds. If they have more Poodle in their genes, the dog’s coat will be curly.
Curly coats shed less but are harder to groom yourself at home. If they have more Bernese Mountain Dog genes, they will have a wavy coat.
This coat type will shed more but is easier to manage without the help of a professional.
The Bernedoodle breed is an excitable, bouncy dog. They are friendly and lovable.
The breed is suitable for families and first time owners as they are social and get along with humans of all ages. They also get along well with other dog breeds.
They love to be included as part of your family and will want to interact with you daily. If you leave them in the backyard all day without any attention, they are prone to barking or becoming destructive.
From the Poodle parent, they get their intelligence and stubborn attitude, and from the Bernese Mountain Dog parent, they get their easy going nature.
Both the Poodle and the Bernese Mountain Dog are confident, happy breeds so the Bernedoodle will show these traits very strongly.
Because they are a hybrid breed, personality traits can vary greatly based on either parent breed. Cross bred dogs are harder to predict.
Personality traits can also vary based on size. Toy or mini Bernedoodles are more likely to be untrusting of strangers and become more attached to their owners.
Meanwhile, the standard Bernedoodle is more energetic and confident.
Like most hybrid dogs, the Bernedoodle is a healthy breed.
Compared to purebred dogs, hybrids have less genetic defects and therefore less health concerns.
A Bernedoodle’s life expectancy is between 12-18 years.
Toy or mini Bernedoodles will usually have a longer life expectancy compared to standard Bernedoodles.
Despite being very healthy overall, Bernedoodles can still be prone to some health issues.
The most common are hip and elbow dysplasia, eye problems, digestive issues and immune system diseases.
Responsible breeders will do genetic testing on their dogs to try avoid issues, such as hip dysplasia, developing.
Keep your pet Bernedoodle healthy by keeping up to date with vaccinations, regularly treating it for fleas, ticks and worms, and taking it to the vet if any concerns arise.
Bernedoodles as Pets
Bernedoodles make wonderful pets for all people including families with children.
They love to be around humans and will usually get along well with other dogs (including other breeds) and are suited to households with a backyard large enough for them to run around it.
Standard Bernedoodles will need more space than toy or miniature varieties.
They can handle a variety of climates. Dogs with more Bernese Mountain Dog in their genes will have thicker fur and prefer cold weather.
On hot days, make sure they have sufficient shade and access to cool water.
Standard sized Bernedoodles will need dog food especially for large breeds while toy or mini Bernedoodles will need dog food designed for small breeds.
Bernedoodles are a great pet choice for people with dog allergies.
This is because Poodles are hypoallergenic and are low to non shedding.
The more Poodle genes your Bernedoodle has in it, the more allergy friendly it will be.
Please note some people with severe allergies will still react to hypoallergenic dogs as the dogs still produce dander.
Grooming requirements will vary depending on if your dog has a wavy or curly coat.
Dog’s with a wavy coat are easier to detangle, wash or trim yourself.
Meanwhile, dog’s with thick, curly fur are more difficult and will have to see a professional groomer.
All coat types are prone to tangles so you will need to brush them at home regularly, in between groomer visits.
If dog owners bathe their Bernedoodle too often, it can strip the natural oils from their coat and cause skin problems.
If your dog gets dirty in between washes, it is better to brush out the dirt if possible.
Bernedoodles are high energy dogs. This is a combination of Poodles being originally bred as hunting dogs and Bernese Mountain Dogs being originally used for herding animals on farms.
Typically, the larger standard Bernedoodles will have more more energy than the toy or miniature varieties.
This means that the larger your Bernedoodle is, the more exercise it will need.
The best way to exercise your pet Bernedoodle is by taking it on a daily walk, until it seems tired.
This not only exercises it physically but helps stimulate it mentally with all the new sights and smells. Another great option is taking it to a dog park or dog friendly beach.
At home, your Bernedoodle will love a game of tug-of-war or fetch with its favourite toy. This not only wears it out but also gives it some attention and one-on-one time with you.
Interactive puzzle toys will help to entertain your Bernedoodle while you aren’t home.
Bernedoodles are intelligent and eager to please their owners. This makes training them easier.
When training your beloved pet, remember they can be sensitive. Always be patient and use positive reinforcement.
Being aggressive or using punishment too often during the puppy stage can result in an upset dog and won’t necessarily help it learn any faster.
Start with the basics like potty training then graduate onto more serious obedience training. They can be a little stubborn sometimes but this won’t be as bad if you begin training as early as possible.
They are not prone to aggression but it is still important to socialise them from a young age with as many different things as you can.
This includes children, other dogs and other animals. Taking your Bernedoodle to the dog park is a great way to help it learn to interact with other dog breeds.
Teaching it new tricks is a great way to bond with your dog and also wear it out mentally, resulting in a better behaved dog.
Bernedoodles for Sale
Have you decided to welcome a Bernedoodle into your family? You will need to consider the price and where you want to get one from.
Note that the Bernedoodle is quite rare in Australia as they are a new breed.
Where to Buy and Price
You can either buy a Bernedoodle from a breeder or adopt one from a shelter. Remember that a pet dog will cost more than just what the seller charges you.
Ongoing costs include food, grooming, a good kennel, and vet bills which can be quite expensive over the lifetime of the dog. So make sure you will be able to afford them long term before committing to buying a dog.
You should only buy your Bernedoodle puppy from a reputable breeder.
Buying from a breeder allows you to pick the dog you want. You can choose the generation, coat variety and size that will best suit your lifestyle and family.
There are only a handful of Bernedoodle puppy breeders currently in Australia.
Price will vary based on colour, size, location and demand. Bernedoodle puppies currently cost between $5,000 – $10,000 in Australia.
The fact that there are so few breeders can really drive up the price compared to other similar dog breeds.
A reputable Bernedoodle breeder will do genetic testing to minimise the risk of health concerns. Some will even offer a health guarantee for a set amount of time.
A Bernedoodle puppy will typically come with paperwork, their first vaccinations, a vet check and a microchip. Breeders will be able to give you advice on caring for your new puppy.
Bernedoodle Adult Dogs
You may be able to adopt an adult Bernedoodle from a rescue group or dog shelter. This is a great way to give an older dog a second chance at a happy life.
Adopting an adult dog will usually cost around $400. However, it can sometimes be hard to find a particular breed when you are adopting a dog.
Bernedoodles are not always available as they are rare in Australia.
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