Compared to the Labradoodle or Goldendoodle the Bernedoodle is still a relatively new poodle mix breed. The Bernepoo (another name it goes by) was first developed in the early 2000’s by a breeder in Canada. The breeder stated she was looking to develop a doodle that was better suited for family life. She felt that the Goldendoodle and Labradoodle had too high of an energy level to fit in with many of today’s families. She wanted to create one the was more “chill”
Since the Bernese Mountain Poo (yup, it’s yet another name for this dog) is a newer type of doodle finding answers about them can be difficult. This often leaves people guessing what the dog will be like based on the traits of the parent breeds. While this information is both useful and needed, here we want to provide you with information that goes beyond the basics.
The information in this post, in addition to basic information, also includes real life experiences from people who share their lives with a Bernedoodle. Join us as we go over 10 things you didn’t know about the Bernedoodle.
The Bernedoodle is a crossbreed between the Bernese Mountain dog and the Poodle. As I mentioned above these dogs are first claimed to be breed in 2003 by a Canadian breeder that had started out breeding Golden Retrievers and then Bernese Mountain dogs.
Although most breeders of the Bernepoo use a poodle to crossbreed some breeders have chosen to use a Labradoodle instead. We will discuss why later in the post.
What is a Bernese/Poodle crossbreed called?
Bernese Mountain dog and Poodle crossbreeds are known by many names including Bernedoodle, Bernepoo, Bernese Mountain Poo, Bernese Mountain Doodle or a Bernese Poodle.
Let’s start with our discussion with an overview of the parent breeds.
Bernese Mountain Dog
The Bernese Mountain dog is one of the four Swiss Mountain dog breeds that originated in the Swiss Alps. Although all four breeds have similar black, brown and white markings the dogs differ in size, with the Bernese being 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. Their purpose was to tend the flock and watch over the farm. Unlike the Golden Retriever that is a friend to everyone these dogs are more reserved and standoffish to new people. They may also exhibit a tendency to herd people and other animals. In addition to their farm duties they were used to pull small carts.
The Bernese is a large, hardy dog that loves being outside and prefers cooler climates that resemble their native Swiss alps. They don’t care for the heat. They’re very family oriented and have a great deal of love and commitment to their families.
As I mentioned the Bernese is a large dog with males weighing in between 80 to 120 pounds and standing at between 25 to 27.5 inches tall at the shoulder. The Berne became popular about 20 years ago when people discovered that these gentle giants were easy going and self-assured making them a great addition for families with children.
The Poodle is believed to be having been bred to be a waterfowl retriever for German hunters but France also claims it as their own. Either way thanks to the high intelligence, athleticism and goofy personality the Poodle has been a favorite for many years. Oh and of course they don’t shed which is why they are paired to so many other breeds.
Don’t let anyone tell you that poodles are cold and aloof. I know from personal experiences that poodles love to cuddle and be with their family, it’s just that they think before they act.
Poodles come in four sizes; toy, mini, moyen (medium) and standard. The standard is rather large at 18 to 24in tall and 40 to 70lbs. It is the range in poodle sizes that help create the various size classifications for the Bernedoodle.
Breeders will tell you that a well-bred Bernedoodle temperament combines the best of the parent breeds. Ideally this means they inherit the Poodle’s smart and playful nature and the Bernese’s sweet, loyal and calm personality. Plus they should be healthier than the parent breeds and low shedding.
Here’s what Bernedoodle parents say about their pups.
- Easiest dog I ever had
- Sweet; a herder, but a bit aloof
- Wants attention
- Calm; easy to train
- Good energy level and personality;
- Friendly and loves children, needy
- Less energetic then a Goldendoodle
- Goofy, affectionate, but also skittish
- Laid back and easy going, stubborn
- Mouthy and vocal
- Has stranger danger
- Smart, but stubborn
As you can see most people agree that the Bernese Mountain Doodle is a smart, calm but playful, easy going dog. But some can inherit the stubbornness and the wariness of strangers that comes from the Bernese Mountain Dog. In the end their individual temperament will depend on their breeding and which personality they inherit.
Just remember regardless of the temperament a dog has, all children must be taught how to be around a dog. Although most Bernepoos love to be around children all puppies will nip and have a high energy level.
The Bernedoodle comes in three sizes; standard, mini and tiny or micro. Size is determined by the size of the poodle used in breeding, plus the generation of doodle.
F1 Bernedoodles may be larger than F2 Bernedoodles since they are 50% Bernese and 50%poodle. F2 Berne D’s and multi-generations poos may be smaller due to the greater percentage of poodle in the mix.
Most adult standard sized dogs will fall in the range between a Bernese Mountain dog and a standard poodle. This is somewhere around 23 to 29 inches high and between 60 to 100 pounds. However it is not uncommon for poodle mix breeds to grow larger than either of the parent breeds.
The Mini Bernedoodle is not that small. At 18 to 22 inches tall and between 25-50lbs, the mini is about the same size as a medium sized dog. But compared to a standard sized Bernepoo a mini is much smaller.
Tiny or Micro
The tiny or micro sized pup is more in line with the mini Goldendoodle when it comes to size. The tiny pups range between 12-17 inches tall and 10 to 24lbs. As a comparison the mini Goldendoodle averages in size between 13 and 20 inches tall and weighs between 15 to 35 pounds.
Their exercise requirements will depend on their size, but it is generally less than a Labradoodle or Goldendoodle. A standard sized pup will require about 1 1/2 hours of daily exercise. This can be in the form of daily walks and playtime in the yard. Due to their large size they will have bouts of energy but will then need to rest. Although they don’t require hours of exercise they are still very happy to accompany you on long walks or hiking.
The mini and tiny will need a bit more exercise but much of it can come in the form of playtime. They also love to hang out and cuddle with their humans.
A common question about puppies is when will they 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.
Bernedoodles can come in a range of colors and patterns. While the Bernese will always pass down the genes for their tri color coat, poodles can have both dominate and recessive color genes.
Poodles can carry genes that 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.
If you are looking for one the most popular colors (tri color, sable or merle) the wait time can easily be between 18-24 months at breeders that conduct genetic health tests.
Where to Find A Bernedoodle?
Although not as popular as other doodles the Bernedoodle has been increasing in popularity in recent years as word gets out about them. This makes finding a Bernedoodle difficult.
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 tested for genetic traits on parent dogs.
When searching for a Bernedoodle be prepared for a long wait. Most quality Bernepoo breeders have a 6 to 12 month waiting list. The wait time can be even longer if you want a pup with the Bernese tri-color markings. If you don’t want to wait you can opt for a pre-trained pup but be ready to pay big bucks for the dog.
Cost of a Bernedoodle
The average cost of a health tested Bernedoodle is $4,000 to $5,000, with the popular tri-color pups being the most expensive. If you would prefer to have your puppy trained so you can skip the puppy blues, the price tag goes up to 15K.
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. You can find Bernedoodles for less but they most likely will not be health tested. The cheaper the price the more likely that you are buying from a puppy mill.
While most doodles tend to be healthier than their parent breed, they are still prone to common conditions that affect both breeds. In the case of the Bernedoodle this includes hip and elbow dysplasia, eye diseases and skin issues. Another concern is cancer. Bernese Mountain dogs have a high rate of cancer at about 50% and the Poodle’s rate of cancer is 40%.
The best way to avoid these issues is to buy from a quality breeder that invests in health testing to make sure they are not breeding health conditions into the offspring. Vet checks do not guarantee that the breeder worked towards creating a health dog. It only tells you they are not sick at the moment.
10 Things you didn’t know about the Bernedoodle
1. They like to talk
According to their owners Bernedoodles like to be vocal. Most people believe they are trying to communicate with them and have different sounds for different meanings. Sounds can be either a whine, moan, bark or other variations of sounds that I can’t describe. Some will even howl along to certain songs.
Now don’t get me wrong they are not noisy dogs, but they do like to communicate. Most people find their attempt to communicate charming. Our doodle is very communicative as well. She will whine when she needs something or playfully bark when she wants to play.
2. It’s common for puppies to Sploot
Never heard of splooting? Splooting is when a dog lays flat on their stomach with their back feet and legs stretched either behind them or off to the sides. In the picture below can see a dog doing both veriations. It’s pretty funny to see since they look like a frog from above. It’s believed that they do this to either stretch out their legs or to cool off by placing their belly on a cold surface. While this is more common in puppies, most adult dogs do not lay this way
3. Their colors may fade
I touched on this earlier. Poodles can carry the fade gene. This causes a dark haired poodle to fade to a lighter color. In the case of my own doodle, Bella, her black fur faded to a light gray by the time she was two. This can also happen with Bernedoodles that inherit the fading gene. For most people it won’t matter but if you wanted a tri color Bernedoodle that matches the look of the Bernese you may be in for a surprise as your pup ages. 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, though neither method is guaranteed.
4. Mini is a relative term when it comes to the Bernedoodle
In general because the Bernese Mountain dog is an ex-large dog breed the mini and the micro Bernedoodle will be larger than other similarly named doodles. For example the Mini Bernedoodle is 18 to 22 inches tall and between 25-50lbs but the mini Labradoodle is only between 14 to 16 inches tall and 15 to 25 pounds.
So although they are billed as a “mini” Bernedoodle, the size is in relations to the size of a full sized Berne doodle. When looking for a mini, make sure to ask about the parent’s sizes.
5. Not all Bernedoodles have a tri-color coat
Bernedoodles can be all black, black and white, black and brown, or tri color (black, and white with red or tan markings). The most requested color combination for these dogs is one that matches the markings on the Bernese but this color combination is hard to find. Other colors and color combinations can also be seen based on the color genes of the poodle. Bernedoodles that take on the poodle’s colors and patterns can be hard to tell the difference between them and the other doodles.
6. Your Bernedoodle might be part Labradoodle
Some breeders chose to use an Australian Labradoodle (ALD) instead of a poodle to breed a Bernedoodle. These pups are generally reference to as an Australian Bernedoodle.
Although reasons may vary, one breeder’s reason to use an Australian Labradoodle was that they felt the Bernese and ADL was a better match in both temperament and structure. This results in a more consistent look for the puppies. Also using wavy or straight haired ADL results in a Bernedoodle that is low-shed but without the curly coat.
7. Are Expensive to have Groomed
Due to their large size standard Bernedoodles are more expensive to have professionally groomed. You can expect to pay over $100 each time you have your pup groomed
8. They can be Stubborn
While poodles are easy to train, Bernes tend to have a stubbornness to them. This trait can be passed down to some crossbreeds. The good news is that most will outgrow their stubbornness by the time they become adults.
9. 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.
10. 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.