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Calm, intelligent, and a little bit funny, the Bernedoodle is a relatively new breed.

Made by crossing a Bernese Mountain Dog and a Poodle, Bernedoodles get the best of both worlds. They’re sweet and goofy like the fun loving Bernese while being loyal and smart like the Poodle.

This is intentional and the breed originated with the idea of the perfect companion in mind.

They come in a variety of coat colors from red to black with black, tan and white tricolor being the most common.

They make an excellent family pet for active owners who can spend a good chunk of time with them. These dogs have a lot of energy and crave human attention.

That means they’re as happy to cuddle with you on a cold winter’s day as they are to go for a morning jog.

History of the Bernedoodle

Bernedoodles are fairly new to the game. Sherry Rupke of Swissridge Kennels made the first intentional cross in 2003.

She wanted a hypoallergenic family pet that combined the sweet nature of the Bernese and the intelligence of the Poodle.

That first generation was no doubt as cute as the dogs we know today. Sherry took it a step further and bred the best of her F1 litter back to a Poodle to get a curlier coat.

Other breeders have since picked up the torch and continued on.

New breeds added to the mix include Labradoodles and Mini Bernese (a cross between the Bernese Mountain Dog and the King Cavalier Charles Spaniel).

Even today, the Bernedoodle continues to grow as a breed as more and more people fall in love with this goofy pup.

Bernedoodle Size & Appearance

Photo by Jsinghmpls, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Bernedoodle comes in three sizes: tiny, miniature, and standard.

All three sizes make for cute and cuddly companions, but not every Bernedoodle is best for all living situations. The difference lies in the size of their Poodle and Bernese parents.

The Tiny Bernedoodle is a cross between a Toy Poodle and a Mini Bernese.

They stand around 12 to 17 inches tall at the shoulder and can weigh anywhere between 10 and 24 pounds. That makes them the perfect size for apartment living and keeping your lap warm.

Miniature Bernedoodles come from pairing a Miniature Poodle and a standard size Bernese.

Contrary to their name, the Miniature Bernedoodle is not a small dog. Bernese are no medium sized pooch.

In fact, they can reach up to 100 pounds. That makes the Mini Bernedoodle one of the biggest mini doodles you can find. They can reach 18 to 22 inches at the shoulder and weigh anywhere from 25 to 49 pounds.

The Standard Bernedoodle is a mix of a Standard Poodle with a full size Bernese Mountain Dog.

At 23 to 29 inches at the shoulder, this is the largest of the Bernedoodle family. They love food and can weigh 70 to 90 pounds (similar to something like a Samoyed).

Sure, there’s more of them to love. However, their size and energy level makes them better suited for a house with a yard.

Housing For Bernedoodles

Bernedoodles are energetic dogs with a steady temperament and moderate exercise needs.

Therefore, do well with one or two longer walks a day, but will gladly get in more exercise with an active owner.

Their housing requirements will depend on what size Bernedoodle they are.

Toy and Miniature Bernedoodles do well with apartment living as long as they have at least one long walk a day.

Typically, the standard Bernedoodle does best with at least some sort of yard to burn off their extra energy. If you’re gone at work for longer periods of time, consider hiring a dog walker to help your pooch get the wiggles out.

Bernedoodle Friendliness

bernedoodle puppy

No matter their size, the Bernedoodle can be the perfect companion and family pet. That means they’re loyal, loving, and usually as happy to be in your lap as they are to head out on an adventure.

They’re not known for being dog aggressive and tend to have excellent temperaments. In addition, their high intelligence also means they pick things up fast.

This is a breed that’s ready for the next new activity, even if that activity is the couch.

On a rare occasion, they can inherit an aloofness to strangers from their Bernese parent. Careful and consistent socialization will help reduce the severity of this problem.

Bernedoodle Trainability

This breed. is sharp as a tack and it shows. Bernedoodles are eager to please and deeply attached to their human companions. As a result, this makes them pretty easy to train.

They’re rarely destructive, though puppies can go throw a chewing phase. Some younger dogs may inherit the Bernese’s stubborn streak, but most of them will grow out of this as they age.

With that said, it’s best to keep their minds busy so those big brains don’t have time to think up some mischief.

A happy Bernedoodle is one who’s busy with the humans they love. Give your Bernedoodle a job to do, even one as simple as carrying their own treats on walks.

Usually, this simple step will go a long way in keeping your dog happy and fulfilled. Their desire to please combined with a sweet, steady nature makes them excellent candidates for therapy dogs.

Bernedoodle Grooming

Since Bernedoodles are a combination of both parents and the breed is so new, grooming needs can vary. Generally, your average Bernedoodle has a soft wavy to curly coat that sheds little to not at all.

That means they’re a more hypoallergenic choice than a pure Bernese. That said, keep in mind this is not the case for every example of the breed.

Some individuals have straighter coats and still shed much like a regular Bernese. However, all Bernedoodles have a thick coat that will need regular brushing.

In fact, some owners choose to brush daily as a bonding exercise with their dog. Bernedoodles with curlier coats will be easier to manage if they’re clipped every six to eight weeks.

Grooming Needs

The Bernedoodle is a breed with moderate to high grooming needs. A Bernedoodle’s thick coat insulates them from the cold or heat, but it can also make upkeep a nightmare.

The ones with straighter coats tend to shed and need regular brushing. On the other hand, those with curlier coats need brushing combined with semi regular trims.

You should aim to get your dog trimmed every six to eight weeks. You can buy clippers and do this grooming all on your own.

If you don’t have the time, you’ll need to factor the cost of professional grooming into your puppy budget.

Bernedoodle Health

As a designer breed, the Bernedoodle is a usually healthy dog that benefits from hybrid vigor.

They aren’t prone to as many issues as either parent and can live 12 to 18 years. Smaller Bernedoodles tend to live longer than Standards with variation.

When we look at the health risk, we have to keep in mind that individuals can inherit more of their genetics from one side or the other.

Bernese are prone to hip and elbow dysplasia, eye issues, cancer, and bloat. Poodles are more likely to suffer from eye problems, thyroid issues, and hip dysplasia.

Watch for signs of hip and elbow dysplasia in Standard Bernedoodles. At the same time, keep watch for any eye problems. Choosing a pup from a breeder who takes advantage of genetic testing may lower the risk that your new family member will have these problems.

Bernedoodle Care

The Bernedoodle is no harder to care for than any other companion breed. In some ways, they’re easier.

They can get a bit too attached to their human companions, but their intelligence makes them easy to train.

With that said, some individuals can be stubborn as puppies. Others may be shy of strangers at first, but since they want to go everywhere you go, they’re also easy to socialize.

They need size appropriate amounts of food and do exceptionally well with one or two long walks a day. Other than that, these pups are happiest curled up in your lap, whether they fit there or not.

Bernedoodle Diet

Different sized Bernedoodles will eat differing amounts and types of food.

Tiny Bernedoodles will eat less than a Miniature and far less than a Standard.

Beyond that, it’s good to keep track of the protein levels of your dog’s diet. This is especially true if you’re raising a standard variation.

Most dogs do well on a high protein, low carb diet, buts large breeds can grow too fast if fed too much as puppies.

This quick growth predisposes them to painful skeletal anomalies, hip dysplasia and osteochondrosis.

Osteochondrosis is a condition that affects the joints of puppies who grow faster than they should. It’s expensive to treat and terrible watch your pup go through. Larger dogs are more prone to the condition.

This means it’s crucial to feed the proper amounts to growing pups. On top of this, Bernedoodles have inherited a love of food from their Bernese parentage.

If free fed, they often overeat and become obese.

Bernedoodle Energy Level

The Bernedoodle is a breed with a moderate energy level. Individual variation aside, this is a breed that thrives with some exercise.

One or two long walks a day is usually enough to expel their energy, but some may need more or less.

Tiny and Miniature Benerdoodles are often as excited for a good hike as the standard version. You should expect your new Bernedoodle to need a decent amount of exercise.

If you’re unable to provide regular walks, consider hiring a dog walker. Enrolling your pup in doggy daycare is another good option to help them burn off some of that steam.

Training Pros and Cons

Bernedoodles are super smart and that means they pick up new tricks and commands with ease. They have no trouble learning new things.

This, combined with their sweet nature makes them excellent candidates as therapy dogs. Bernedoodles who have more Bernese traits can be a bit stubborn.

This phase is usually something they grow out of, but it’s still best to keep this breed busy. In some cases, it may be helpful to consider certain training aids to help you through this phase.

For example, while training them to walk on a leash, you may notice your Bernedoodle pup pulling on the leash constantly. We’d suggest grabbing a harness to help make this phase of training a whole lot easier.

With Bernedoodles, If you don’t keep their brains occupied, they’ll find their own job to do. Usually, that’s not going to be something you like.

While they’re not a particularly destructive breed, they’re curious and will get into everything if they’re bored. Some Bernedoodles can also be a bit shy around strangers. Lots of socialization can help curb this issue.

In general, training is an incredibly important part of raising any puppy. If you don’t have the time or money to hire an in person trainer, consider one of the online training courses listed here.

Common Health Issues

Thanks to hybrid vigor, the Bernedoodle is a healthy breed overall.

They don’t suffer from the same level of inbreeding as older breeds that have been line bred for more generations than we can count.

That said, there are a few issues to watch out for. Bernedoodles can sometimes experience eye issues, hip and elbow dysplasia, and skin issues.

Larger dogs are more likely to develop some form of dysplasia while all sizes can experience eye problems. Allergies and hot spots are also a problem with those thick coats.

Standard Bernedoodles fed too much as puppies may also suffer painful growing pains.

To minimize the chance you’ll be stuck with an expensive vet bill, do your research. Finding a breeder who breeds dogs that pass genetic testing is a good start in bringing home a healthy pet.

Bernedoodle Personality

Photo by Bellavelo, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you’re in search of the ultimate family dog, look no further than the Bernedoodle.

These designer dogs are smart, sweet, and bond deeply with their human companions.

True velcro dogs, they crave affection and don’t do well when left alone for long periods of time.

Separation anxiety can crop up in these adorable pooches. Proper training can help get your dog used to time away from you.

This can help build their confidence enough to ease this issue. The good news is, this isn’t an often dog aggressive breed and they should do fine with cats.

Of course, it’s important to always introduce a new pet to your current ones under close supervision. Never leave any dog alone with small animals.

Friendliness

Bernedoodles are a friendly, fun loving breed by design. The original idea was to create furry, fun loving companions.

These dogs more than live up to that idea. They thrive on human attention. In fact, you may find your biggest problem with your Bernedoodle is that they’re too friendly.

Alone time doesn’t exist when you have one of these curly furred friends in your life.

The one caveat to this is that Bernedoodles who take after their Bernese parent may be shy around strangers. Socializing early and often is an easy way to fix this problem.

Family Pet or Single Owner?

The Bernedoodle has no shortage of love to go around and does as well with a single owner as they do as a family pet.

They tend to do wonderful with respectful children and often take on a natural guardian role.

That said, no dog’s patience is infinite. For this reason, it’s important to teach children how to respect animals.

Never leave a child unattended with a pet.

Drive

Despite their working dog heritage, the Bernedoodle is a breed with little prey drive. That said, they’re smart and curious.

These dogs can make a game from just about everything, so keeping them busy is important.

If you work long hours consider hiring a dog walker or enrolling your pooch in doggy daycare.

Once you’re home, be sure to take your Bernedoodle on a long walk. Not only will you get exercise, but your canine companion will get a chance to be with you while they blow off steam.

The standard variation does well with a yard, but even the tiny and miniature versions can have energy abound.

Living with a Bernedoodle

With all the good things that come with owning a Bernedoodle, you might find yourself wondering, what’s the catch?

The truth is that no dog is perfect and no breed is perfect for every person. There are pros and cons to every breed, or to having any pet for that matter.

No one can decide what dog is best for you and your family. Make sure you do your research on any breed you want to buy before you bring your new pup home.

If you decide a certain breed doesn’t match you, that’s fine. It’s okay if your lifestyle doesn’t jive with a breed, even if that breed is absolutely adorable.

Pros

  • Cuddly: Bernedoodles love their humans and they love cuddles.

  • Friendly: Since they’re bred as a companion breed, these dogs are as friendly as they come.

  • Smart: Their Poodle heritage means that Bernedoodles pick up on training fast.

Cons

  • Clingy: Bernedoodles bond deeply to their humans and this can lead to problems like separation anxiety.

  • Wary of Strangers: Some Bernedoodles can be shy about strangers and need extra socialization.

  • Do Have Health Problems: Bernedoodles may suffer from eye issues, bloat, skin problems, and dysplasia.

  • Lots of Grooming: Bernedoodles need more grooming than some other breeds and this adds an extra layer of work for potential owners.

Are Bernedoodles a Good Choice for Your Lifestyle?

One look at the cute little face of a Bernedoodle puppy and you might want to run out and find one of your own.

But before you bring any animal into your life, it’s important to stop and ask yourself if they’re a good fit for your lifestyle.

The answer to this question is going to vary from person to person. A Bernedoodle might not be right for you, and that’s okay.

Ask yourself the following questions. Do you live in a house or an apartment? How much time do you spend at work?

Can you take your pooch with you or will they have to stay behind at home? Finally, how active is your lifestyle?

Big House or Apartment?

How big your living space should be depends on how big your Bernedoodle is. Tiny and Miniature Bernedoodles take up less space and do quite well in apartment living.

All they need is a good long walk or two and some time with their human to be happy. Standard Bernedoodles, on the other hand, are too big for most apartments.

While it’s possible to keep a full sized version of this pup in an apartment, they do best with a yard to play in.

Trips to the dog park or doggy daycare can help burn off the extra energy, but the sheer size of these dogs complicates apartment living.

If you have a yard or, better yet, your own property, go for the standard goof ball. If you’re in an apartment and you don’t jive with tiny dogs, a Miniature Bernedoodle is the best of both worlds.

Workaholic or Homebody?

If you spend a big chunk of your time at work, the Bernedoodle probably isn’t the dog for you. This is a breed that bonds deeply with their family and doesn’t like to spend long hours home alone.

Enrolling your pup in doggy daycare or hiring a dog walker can help keep your dog from getting bored, but what they really want is you.

Bernedoodles are happiest when they’re spending time with their humans. That could mean going out for a walk or curling up on the couch to binge watch your favorite series.

If you work from home or work part time, a Bernedoodle is a perfect fit.

Couch Potato or Daily Jogger?

Bernedoodles enjoy a good blanket and a cuddle as much as the next dog, but they’re not lazy by any means.

Even the smallest of the breed will enjoy a long walk or a morning jog. If you don’t like to take longer walks, this breed probably isn’t for you.

Hiring a dog walker or putting them in doggy daycare can help. That said, this is a dog who enjoys being with their family above all else.

If you enjoy daily exercise and are always up for a new adventure, the Bernedoodle is the perfect pooch for you.

 

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