If you’re looking for a smaller doodle that is also a wonderful family dog, the Mini Bernedoodle is a great option.
But no dog breed is perfect and the mini Berniedoodle has some traits that might make you think twice before getting one. Join us as we go over what’s good and bad about the Miniature Bernedoodle.
Quick Facts About the Mini Bernedoodle
|Height||18 to 22″|
|Lifespan||12 and 16 years|
|Temperament||Loyal, active, protective, social, stubborn and intelligent|
|Colors||Tri color, cream, red, black, chocolate (dark brown), silver and gray coloring.|
Note: We do not endorse any of the breeders linked to on this page. Links are strictly to used as a reference for information supplied in this post.
Mini Bernedoodle Basics
You can’t have a guide without going over the basics, so let’s start with there.
What is a Miniature Bernedoodle?
Most people will tell you that the Mini Berniedoodle is a poodle cross breed that combines the Bernese Mountain dog with a mini poodle. While this may be correct in many cases not all Bernedoodles are created only using these two purebreds or variations of their offspring.
Some breeders are starting to use an Australian Labradoodles or other doodle mixes instead of purebred poodles. Some will change the name (aka Australian Bernedoodles) but others will still use Bernedoodle. One of the reasons given for this change is to achieve consistent sizing in the mini Bernedoodle.
Why cross a Bernese Mountain Dog with a Mini Poodle
The first Bernese/Poodle cross is claimed to be done by a Canadian breeder. She states on her website that it was her intention to breed a doodle that was better suited for family life. Unlike the Labrador Retriever the Bernese is very laid back and easy going. Plus they require less exercise making them better for busy families. But that doesn’t mean they do not need daily exercise. It’s just not as much as a Labradoodle.
The Bernese Mountain Dog
The Bernese Mountain dog is one of the four Sennenhund-type dogs originated in the Swiss Alps. All four dogs have similar black, brown and white markings but they differ in size and fur type. The Bernese is the second largest in the group and the only one with long fur.
The Bernese, or Bernie as they are commonly called, was bred to be a general farm dog. They spent their time watching over the flocks and helping out on the farm as needed. Sometimes they were used to pull small wagons. As former guard dogs they tend to be reserved and standoffish to new people.
The Bernese is a large, hardy dog that loves being outside and prefers cooler climates that resemble their native Swiss alps. They’re very family oriented and have a great deal of love and commitment to their families. Unfortunately they do have their share of health problems and their average lifespan is only 6-10 years
Both France and Germany claim the poodle as their own. While no one knows for sure where the dogs originated both countries agree that they were breed to be a waterfowl retriever.
Regardless of where they come from Poodles are highly intelligent, natural athletes and have a wonderfully goofy personality. Plus they don’t shed which is why they are paired to so many other breeds.
While Bernese only comes in one size – large, Poodles come in four sizes; Toy, Mini, Moyen (medium) and Standard. To breed the mini Berniedoodle, a mini poodle, toy or moyen poodle may be used. The mini poodle, if carefully bred, lives a long life, averaging about 15 years.
Crossing these two breeds creates a healthier, less shedding dog that has the laid-back confidence of the Berne and the high intelligence and willing to please attitude of the poodle.
Is a Mini Bernedoodle a good dog?
The Mini Bernedoodle temperament
Ask a Bernedoodle owner about their temperament and you will get a mixed response. That’s because much like people, Bernedoodles are all different. A lot of what they are like is based on their parent’s temperament, their environment and training. But there are common themes when it comes to Mini Bernedoodles.
- First, the most common comment about the Miniature Bernedoodle’s temperament is that they are stubborn. This is also a common trait of the Bernese Mountain Dog.
Now that doesn’t mean they can’t be trained but they tend to want to know what’s in it for them rather than just blind obedience. Most will learn quickly when given a treat as a reward.
- Another common comment about the mini Berniedoodle is that they are full of personality. It is often said that they can be very clownish and also very vocal. This vocalization may come in the form of barking, whining or arguing with you through various sounds they can make.
- They are very affectionate, loyal to their families and love cuddle time as they get older, but most owners report that as puppies they are more interested in exploring the world and playing.
- Like all puppies they will get the zoomies. This is when they go racing around the house or yard at full speed. If you are not used to it, you may think your puppy has lost their mind, but rest assure it is a normal puppy thing.
- In general the Miniature Bernedoodle tend to have higher energy levels than their full sized counter parts, but they also know how to chill.
Is a Mini Bernedoodle a small dog?
So when it comes to size, the term “mini” is relative to the size of a standard Berniedoodle. A standard sized F1 Berne doodle can be anywhere between 45 and 120 pound and 23 to 29 inches tall at the shoulder.
This means that a mini Berne doodle can be between 18-65 pounds and 18-22 inches at the shoulder and still be called a “mini”. After all even at 60 pounds they are still half the weight of a full sized Bernedoodle. While an 18 pound dog is definitely small, most people would not consider a 65 pound dog small.
You may be thinking right now that 18 to 65 pounds is a huge size range and you would be correct.
The reason for the big range is due to the size differences of the Bernese Mountain dog and the mini poodle.
The Bernese Mountain dog generally falls between 75 and 110 pounds though some might be larger. Mini poodles are on the complete opposite end of the size scale and must be between 10 and 15 pounds. Anything larger is called a Moyen poodle.
That large size difference makes it difficult to determine the size of the off-spring. However an experienced breeder should have a semi accurate guess to the future size of their Bernedoodle puppies based on previous litters and the size of the parents.
If you are looking to get a later generation of mini Berne doodle the size differences of the parents are not as great so it becomes easier to predict. But remember with any crossbreed you never really know what you will get until you have it.
Tiny or micro Bernedoodle
If you really want a smaller sized pup some breeders now offer a Tiny or micro Bernedoodle. These pups are the smallest size you can find. The micro Bernedoodle ranges in size from 15-45pounds. Again it’s all relative to the extra-large size of the Berniedoodle
Sometimes you will also see someone say that they have a “Medium” sized Bernedoodle. The mediums are generally just a small standard or big mini. Doodles classified as medium typically fall between 19 to 25 inches at the shoulder and weigh 35 to 55 pounds.
Do Mini Bernedoodle’s Shed?
Many people are attracted to doodles because of the common miss-perception that all breeds crossed with a poodle will not shed and are hypoallergenic.
The reality is that it’s not just that they are part poodle, but the type of fur they inherit (and the genes can control fur type) that will determine the amount of shedding and in turn how hypoallergenic they are.
Bernedoodles can inherit either a straight coat, wavy coat, or curly coat. Sometimes they end up with an improper coat that has a mix of fur types. You may hear people say their doodle is Furnished or Unfurnished. This refers to whether the dog will have long curly hair on their face or short straight hair. A fluffy face indicates they are furnished and less likely to shed.
In general the more poodle they are, the curlier the coat they will have, and the less they will shed. The straighter the coat, the more shedding will occur and in turn the more saliva & dandruff will be in the air leading to allergic reactions.
Be cautious of any breeder that guarantees a pup is hypoallergenic.
Should I get an F1 Miniature Bernedoodle or multigenerational Miniature Bernedoodle?
If you are new to the world of doodles you may not know what F1 or multigenerational means.
Way back when doodles were first created and genetic testing was not as widely available as they are today, breeders used a doodle classification system to determine how much poodle vs the other breed doodles had in them. This allowed breeders to have some idea as to what the fur type would be like and how much shedding could be expected.
Mini Bernedoodle Generations
F1 Miniature Bernedoodle
The F1 is a first generation cross between the Bernese and mini poodle. The F1 is considered to be the healthiest of the generations because they are 50% poodle and 50% Bernese. This means they have the least chance of inheriting two genes that cause common health conditions.
But there are some conditions that are common in both the poodle and Bernese so it is best to go to a breeder that does health testing on their breeding dogs.
F1 Bernedoodles will usually have a straight to wavy coat and tends to shed a little. Occasionally you could get a curly coat or two in the litter and no shedding.
F1b Miniature Bernedoodle
The F1b is a cross between a Bernedoodle and a poodle. These puppies are believed to be 25 percent Bernese Mountain dog , and 75 percent mini Poodle.
F1b puppies have a greater chance of being non-shedding and allergy-friendly due to the greater percentage of poodle genes. The tradeoff is that your doodle might have a curlier coat and have more “poodle” traits.
However some breeders will cross a Bernedoodle with a Bernese, which results in a dog with more of the Bernese traits but they are more likely to shed. So make sure to ask the breeder how they crossed their F1b Bernedoodle.
F2 Miniature Bernedoodle
The F2 is a second-generation cross, in which an F1 Bernedoodle is crossed with another F1 Bernedoodle. They can also be called a multigenerational doodle
These later generations will have more consistency in appearance, but may inherit the genetic problems of purebreds.
What is a furnished Bernedoodle?
You may have heard the term “furnished” thrown around when people talk about the Berne doodle or really any type of poodle mix. But you may not know what this means.
The term “furnishings” refers to the long hair on a dog’s face that makes a doodle look like a teddy bear. This includes the long fluffy mustache and eye brows that gives a doodle that sweet look. Unfurnished dogs will have short flat fur on their face.
In the picture below you can see that the Bernese Mountain Dog is an unfurnished breed. Although this puppy has long wavy fur on the top of his head, his facial hair is short and straight. On the other hand the poodle is a furnished breed. You can see in the picture that the puppy has long fur on their muzzle and the long eyebrows.
Since furnishings are a dominant trait, a dog only has to have one copy of the furnishing gene to have the fluffy look. This means a F1 Mini Berniedoodles (50% purebred Bernese Mountain Dog and 50% mini poodle) should have long hair on their face.
Where it gets complicated is when you start looking at multi-generation Bernedoodles, since two F1 Bernedoodles will each carry one furnished gene and one unfurnished there is a chance for at least some of the puppies to have no furnished genes.
The good news is that all of this can be determined through genetic testing so it important to only use a breeder that does both health and genetic testing on their dogs.
What Colors do Mini Bernedoodles come in?
Mini Berniedoodles come in a range of colors and patterns. While the Bernese will always pass down the genes for their tri color coat, poodles can pass on both dominate and recessive color genes.
Poodles carry genes that can include shades of cream, apricot, red, black, chocolate (dark brown), silver and gray coloring. They also carry the genes for popular color patterns, like Phantom and not so popular genes like the fading gene.
Mini Bernedoodle Care
Their exercise requirements will depend on their size, but it is generally less than a mini Labradoodle or mini Goldendoodle. A standard sized mini will require about 2 hours of daily exercise. This can be in the form of daily walks and playtime in the yard.
A common question about puppies is when they will start to settle down. For Bernedoodles, most owners say that their pups started to settle down around 6 to 8 months, which is sooner that a lot of breeds.
The amount of time you will need to spend on daily brushing and combing will depend on their fur type and the length of their fur. The curlier their hair the more prone they are to matting which means they need to be combed more often. Also the longer their hair the greater chance of it getting tangled when it falls out.
Not only do they need to be brushed often but they will also need to have their fur cut on a regular basis. Just like humans their fur may continuously grow. You can either chose to groom them yourself or find a good groomer.
The cost of a groomer will depend on where you live, the size of your dog and how well they behave while being groomed. It is best to start getting them used to being brushed and handled as soon as you bring the home. Talk to your vet about when it is safe to bring them to the groomer.
How much do Mini Berniedoodles Cost?
The average cost of a health tested mini Bernedoodle is $3,000 to $5,000, with the popular tri-color pups being the most expensive.
While the cost might seem high, so is the demand for these pups. Plus there are still a limited number of quality breeders to get your pup from. High demand plus low inventory always means higher prices.
If you find a Bernedoodle puppy for less ask lots of questions to make sure they are not from a puppy mill.
Where to find a Mini Berniedoodle?
When searching for one of these dogs you can either look for a Bernedoodle rescue or go to a quality breeder. If you chose to get your pup from a breeder make sure to ask a lot of questions. The breeder should be knowledgeable in parent breeds and the breeding process. Plus they should be able to provide proof of the health testing for genetic traits on parent dogs.
It is common to have to wait 6 to 12 for a puppy from a quality breeder. If you want a Bernedoodle with tri-color markings the wait can be even longer.
12 Things to Know About Living With a Mini Bernedoodle
1. Mini Bernedoodles run hot
Bernedoodles tend to run hot. This is not really a surprise when you consider the Bernese Mountain Dog originates from the Swiss alps where it’s often cold. And the poodle’s curly coat was developed to keep them warm in the water. Put these two traits together in a warmer climate and you end up with one hot dog.
Because of their tendency to be hot many do not take to their crate because there is not enough space to spread out. To help you can set up a fan to blow on them or place their crate near an air conditioner vent.
2. They prefer to sleep on the floor
Because of them running hot Bernedoodles prefer to sleep on the floor rather than a bed. Regardless of if it’s your bed or theirs. In fact it’s not uncommon to find a Bernedoodle sleeping on the bathroom floor or kitchen tiles.
3. They like to sleep on their backs
Another way they like to sleep is on their backs. The common belief is that this also helps them to cool off when they are getting too hot. Since dogs only have sweat glands in their paws leaving them to dangle in the air help them cool off.
4. Bernedoodles are known as “Velcro” dogs
They love to be with their people. To the point they will follow you around all day long. But you need to remember that they are breed to be watch dogs on the farm. So keeping track of the family while also protecting them is what they were born to do. If there are no sheep watch over the kids (or you) will take their place.
5. They are big communicators
They are known to “talk” with their people. This talking can include whining, grumbles, barking and soft growls. Sometimes it’s done to get your attention, but some seem to argue with their humans when they don’t like something.
6. They are very stubborn
I already mentioned this trait earlier, but it’s worth stating again. Berniedoodles can be are stubborn and the mini is no different. If you are planning to share your life with a mini Bernie doodle be prepared to deal with a dog that likes to do things on their own terms. After all the Bernese was a farm dog that needed to work independently to protect the herd.
7. The Bernedoodle lean
As we already covered, Bernedoodles tend to get hot easily. Because of this many of them don’t like to be cuddled a lot, but they do like lean against their person.
Most owners believe this is their way of cuddling without getting too hot.
8. They can lose their puppy teeth quickly
Mini Berniedoodle owners have stated that their pups lost large numbers of their puppy teeth all at once. It seems once they are ready for their adult teeth all the puppy teeth come out very quickly. Sometimes they lose two or more teeth at a time.
9. Their colors may fade
Due to the poodle’s fading gene a Bernedoodle’s colors may fade as the mature. The easiest way to determine if your pup might inherit this gene is by looking at the parents or asking if the breeder tested for the gene.
10. Bernedoodles can be Sensitive
This trait comes from the Bernese Mountain dog side of the pairing. Not all Bernepoos will be sensitive but some are. This is important to know because they do not take well to punishments. These dogs need to be trained using positive reinforcement only.
11. Can Develop Separation Anxiety
The breed parents of the Bernedoodles were both developed to work alongside humans, either in the fields retrieving prey or on the farm helping with livestock and other duties. So it only makes sense that these dogs want to be around their people all the time. But Bernedoodles seem to be a bit more prone to Separation Anxiety then other dog breeds.
12. Mini Bernedoodles are born with pink noses
They inherit this trait from the Bernese Mountain Dog side of the genes. All Bernese Mountain Dogs are born with pink noses, while only some poodles are born that way. As the puppies grow up, their nose will start to turn all black so enjoy those adorable pink noses while you can.
Of course since they are a mix of breeds it’s possible for them to not to be born with a pink nose, but it seems like the majority do.
Mini Berniedoodle Resources