The Bernedoodle, also referred to as the Bernepoo, is described by many as the perfect companion.
Origins of the Bernedoodle
While accidental crosses may have existed over the years, the Bernedoodle is said to have been introduced intentionally by Sherry Rupke of SwissRidge Kennels in 2003. Since then, the Bernedoodle has steadily grown in popularity, most likely due to their wonderful temperaments and suitability for family life.
The Bernese Mountain Dog is known to be a placid, easygoing dog, who shows extreme loyalty to members of their family. Originally bred as farm dogs that could drive cattle to market or pull carts for the farmers, the Bernese is a strong, versatile breed. Without correct socialisation this breed can be wary and skittish around strangers, and they can show herding or guarding tendencies if not properly trained and stimulated in a home environment. With the right training from a young age, they make wonderful companions and are particularly good around children.
The Poodle, which comes in four sizes ranging from Toy up to Standard, is playful, cheerful and very loving. The breed was first created for hunting water birds, and they are easily trainable and very intelligent. As social dogs, the Poodle can become vocal or anxious without the right socialisation and training.
The aim in crossing these breeds was that of creating a companion with the best traits of each parent, resulting in a loving, smart and gentle doodle mix. The most common breeding is a first cross, or F1 Bernedoodle, whereby the litter is the result of one Bernese Mountain Dog and one Poodle parent. This can result in varying coat types and temperaments, as each puppy may inherit different traits from their parents.
While an F1b cross, of a Bernedoodle with a Poodle, is more likely to result in a non-shedding coat, no coat can be considered 100% hypoallergenic.
The Bernedoodle comes in three types, depending on the size of their Poodle parent. In hybrids there are no guarantees, meaning size can vary even among littermates, but here are the key features of each type.
The smallest of the family, the Tiny Bernedoodle will have Toy Poodle parentage in their bloodline. The Tiny Bernedoodle will be the product of two Bernedoodles, also known as an F2 cross. They average around 17 inches in height.
The Mini Bernedoodle falls in between the Toy and the Standard, reaching an average height of between 18-22 inches tall. These dogs are active companions, but they are able to adapt to smaller spaces provided the right level of activity is offered on a daily basis.
The standard Bernedoodle ranges in height from 23-29 inches. These are large, strong dogs, who will need plenty of space to run and explore. The Poodle parent for this cross will always be the Standard Poodle.
The Bernedoodle is generally considered a healthy breed. With a wider gene pool than many purebred dogs, this crossbreed usually avoids many of the health concerns typically seen in the Poodle and the Bernese Mountain Dog.
A Bernedoodle's coat will depend on the traits they take from their parents. Ranging from black, to black and white, to tri-colour, you never quite know what you're going to get with a litter of Bernedoodle puppies. The curlier the coat, the more allergen-friendly it will be, but it is important to note that no coat is ever completely hypoallergenic.
Grooming requirements will vary based on the coat type of each individual dog, but it's important to be prepared for regular coat care. Whether straighter or more curly, brushing will always be required to prevent painful knots and matting.
When it comes to diet, you'll want to ensure your pup is eating a high quality, well-balanced diet. A mixture of real meat, along with complex carbs, minerals, vitamins and healthy fats works best, with the occasional treat offered in proportion to their main meals.
The Bernedoodle is an active, intelligent dog, who requires regular exercise and mental stimulation. As fast learners, they can pick up good habits as quickly as they can unwanted ones, so they require committed owners to help them learn good manners from a young age.
Positive reinforcement will go a long way in training your Bernedoodle puppy, as they can be headstrong and very energetic without the right boundaries and guidance. Short, regular training sessions to teach basic manners are essential from a young age. Bernedoodles love having a job to do, so it may be worth looking into local activities such as agility and obedience classes.
Bernedooodles do love spending lots of time around their people, as they are deeply social family dogs who adore company. Getting your puppy used to spending time alone will be very helpful in preventing separation anxiety at a later stage in life.
As a combination of two breeds, the Bernedoodle takes traits from each parent. How much any specific trait is exhibited will depend on the kind of cross your four-legged friend is, and upbringing and training will also come into it. For the most part, Bernedoodles are known to be cheerful, gentle and social dogs, who love to spend time around people.
Socialisation is particularly important given the temperament of the parent breeds, as is consistent training from a young age. The Bernese Mountain Dog is known to form very strong, life-long bonds with their people, and the Bernedoodle will be no different. Prepare for a dog who loves to be by your side at any occasion and no matter the weather!
Bernedoodles for sale: What to look out for
With so many unscrupulous backyard breeders, it's essential that you do your research before bringing your Bernedoodle puppy home. The Bernese Mountain Dog is prone to hip and elbow dysplasia, bloat and cancer, while the Poodle is known to suffer from additional issues such as progressive retinal atrophy, eyelid problems and skin problems. Thankfully, as a combination of two breeds, the Bernedoodle is thought to suffer less health conditions than the parent breeds, with a lifespan of around 12-18 years. This is a significant increase from the purebred Bernese Mountain Dog, who unfortunately can have a life expectancy of as little as 7 years.
A responsible breeder will have taken all possible measures to health check the parent dogs and will be able to provide you with the results of any tests that have been carried out. This helps to ensure that your puppy will become a happy and healthy adult dog.
In addition to health considerations, it's essential that your puppy has been well-socialised before joining you at home. A good breeder will have taken steps to help your puppy feel comfortable in a home environment and around different people before they leave. This can help prevent behavioural problems and fear in adult dogs.
It will always be worth putting in the time and effort required to find the right Bernedoodle breeder. With good-natured, healthy parents, a strong start in life and the right training and socialisation, the Bernedoodle will make an excellent companion and the best addition a family could ask for.