The Bernedoodle, also known as a Bernese Mountain Poo, is an amazingly clever, loyal, gentle and slightly goofy designer breed which takes on the best from both parents – the Bernese Mountain Dog and the Poodle.
This mix breed dog is relatively new but is becoming increasingly popular because of its cuteness and its ability to be the perfect companion dog for all kinds of owners and families.
This designer breed first appeared in 2003-2004 and is very similar to the older and more popular doodle hybrid types. But the Bernedoodle could be a tad more mischievous as a puppy.
The Bernedoodle comes in three sizes – standard, mini and tiny, depending on the size of the Poodle parent. So, this means that there is a perfectly sized Bernedoodle for all families, home sizes, and lifestyles.
When properly socialized and trained, the dogs from this mix breed can be the gentlest and merriest of all companions.
This new crossbreed is a low shedding dog with a lovely character.
Read on to find out more about this adorable hybrid breed and everything you can expect if you decide to add a Bernedoodle to your family.
- Canine breed group: Mixed breed dogs
- Height at the shoulder: Standard: 23-29 inches, Mini: 18-22 inches, Tiny: 12-17 inches
- Average weight: Standard: 70-90 lbs., Mini: 25-49 lbs., Tiny: 10-24 lbs.
- Average lifespan: 12 – 18 years
- Coat color: Black, Black and brown, Black and white and Tricolor
Overview of the Bernedoodle breed
Like the other Doodle breeds, the Bernedoodle has inherited the intelligence of its Poodle parent and heritage, as well as the fact that it is a low shedder. From its other side, the Bernedoodle has inherited the goofiness and merry character of the Bernese Mountain Dog.
The dogs from this mixed breed will happily spend all of their time cuddling and playing with their human families – adults and children both.
Since the breed is relatively new, it is challenging to pinpoint general characteristics and traits for all Bernedoodles, since some of them are more like Poodles and others are more like Bernese Mountain Dogs.
Still, there are already a lot of fanciers of this designer breed who are in love with their friendliness, affection, and inborn intelligence.
Apart from being available in three different sizes, the Bernedoodles can also differ when it comes to coat type and overall appearance. You can see Bernedoodles with wavy, curly or straight hair, as well as dogs in different colors, including black, black and white, black and brown and tri-colored. All of them are considered to be hypoallergenic, like their Poodle parents, which is bliss for pet allergy sufferers.
As mentioned previously, the size of the Bernedoodle depends on the size of the Poodle parent – Standard, Miniature, or Toy.
Naturally, the toy and mini sized Bernedoodles are more suitable for apartment and urban living, because the standard sized ones can get quite big – up to 29 inches at the shoulder and 90 lbs. Standard sized Bernedoodles will thrive better if they have a backyard to play, roam, and burn their energy.
Overall, the dogs from this designer breed are pretty adaptable and can quickly get used to all kinds of homes and families.
They do have moderate to high energy needs and need at least one long walk per day in order to stay happy and healthy.
The dogs from this new hybrid breed are overall quite healthy, and they shed a little, they are brilliant and affectionate, and are one of the best companion dogs to have.
After all, they were not bred to be show dogs but rather to be the perfect companion dogs.
Even though pups from this mixed breed can be quite mischievous and a tad stubborn, you shouldn’t have problems training and socializing your Bernedoodle thanks to their natural intelligence.
Even though they are great with people, children and with other dogs, just like with any other dog breed, early socialization and training are required.
The Bernedoodle will enjoy playing outside with the children as well as cuddle up and rest indoors with the adults at home, so it is a pretty universal companion dog to have.
They also get along with small children and teenagers alike, and can live in peace and harmony with other dogs or cats at home, is socialized or if they grow up together.
They will feel at their best with families, which can provide them with at least 60 minutes of walks and exercise per day.
They crave attention and love being with their human family, which is why they are not suitable for owners who travel a lot or are gone from home for long hours.
Still being a mixed breed, there is a possibility that the Bernedoodle could inherit some of the not so desirable traits of its parents, such as the stubbornness of the Bernese Mountain Dog or the hyper or neuroticism of some Poodles. This is why getting a dog from a reputable breeder and meeting at least one of its parents is essential.
History of the Bernedoodle
The Bernedoodle is of the newest of all Doodle breeds. The first breeder who claims to have bred a Bernedoodle is Sherry Rupke of Swissridge Kennels who first developed dogs from this cross breed in 2003.
The Bernedoodle is not recognized by the American Kennel Club, but has already been recognized by the American Canine Hybrid Club, the International Designer Canine Registry, the Designer Dogs Kennel Clun and the Designer Breed Registry.
Still, even being such a new designer breed, there are some Bernedoodles which can be found in rescue shelters, so always check at the shelters for dogs put up for adoption before proceeding to buy one.
The idea of the developers of this cross breed was to capture all of the positive traits of the two popular breeds – the Poodle and the Bernese Mountain Dog, including:
- The incredible smartness of the Poodle and its playful nature, as well as the fact that it sheds little and is considered hypoallergenic
- The happy go lucky and calm nature of the Bernese Mountain Dog
The Bernese Mountain Dog was developed in the Swiss Alps and was used for guarding farms and for protecting and driving cattle. It is a dog which is strong and robust as it was made for hard work. Bernese Mountain Dogs are strong and muscular dogs, but they are truly gentle giants and have a sweet, placid and slightly goofy nature.
The Poodle is among the most popular dog breeds in the world. It comes in Standard, Mini and Toy sizes but in general all Poodles are incredibly intelligent, playful and do well in active homes. Poodles are also hypoallergenic and shed very little. The smaller ones tend to have higher energy levels and to live longer than the standard sized poodles. This dog breed originated in Germany over 400 years ago and was originally developed for duck hunting.
The result from cross-breeding these two amazing dog breeds is an intelligent, enthusiastic, sociable, and gentle companion suitable for just about any owner of family.
The size of the Bernedoodle
Depending on the size of its Poodle parent, the Bernedoodle can be standard, mini or tiny, and the males are a tad larger and heavier than the females. The standard Bernedoodle can reach a weight of up to 90 lbs. and a height of up to 29 inches. The tiny ones can be just 12 inches high and weigh only about 10 lbs.
Standard Bernedoodles are a result of cross-breeding a Bernese Mountain Dog with a Standard Poodle.
Mini Bernedoodles have a Miniature or a Standard Poodle as a parent, and the Tiny Bernedoodle is a result of cross-breeding a second or third generation mini Bernedoodle with a Toy Poodle.
The personality of the Bernedoodle
The whole idea between crossbreeding Bernese Mountain Dogs and Poodles is to get the best traits of both of these dog breeds. But the exact traits which each and every single Bernedoodle puppy differ depending on its personality and that of its parents.
Overall, Bernedoodles tend to be very intelligent dogs, loyal, hardworking and somewhat goofy. They are great with other dogs and with children if they have been properly socialized.
Some Bernedoodles may inherit the stubbornness of the Bernese Mountain Dogs, while others may be a bit neurotic and hyperactive like some Poodles.
The stubbornness of Bernedoodle pups tends to fade off as it grows, so they are actually pretty easy to train.
Because Bernese Mountain Dogs can have a natural distrust of strangers, it is essential to properly socialize your Bernedoodle from an early age in order to curb such behavior.
The tiny and miniature sized Bernedoodles do better with apartment living. Although they do require everyday walks and some physical activity, they will feel fine cuddling and enjoying spending time with their humans at home just as much.
Since being with people and with their families is essential for their wellbeing, you should not leave your Bernedoodle home alone for long.
Health care and common health problems for the breed
Being a mixed breed, the Bernedoodles are usually healthier than their pure breed parents, which are often prone to inherited and genetic diseases and health problems.
Since this designer breed is a quite new one, there is no systematic data or statistics about the most common health problems in these dogs.
There are some conditions to which they seem to be pre-disposed including hip or elbow dysplasia, eye problems or skin conditions such as hot spots or allergies.
Overall, the Bernedoodle is a very healthy dog breed, and the mini and tiny sized ones have an exceptionally long life span of up to 18 years. Unfortunately, like most other large dogs, the Standard Bernedoodles have much shorter lifespans of an average of 7 to 12 years.
Unfortunately, Bernese Mountain Dogs have been found to be at much higher risk of developing cancer than most other dog breeds. Thankfully, there is no evidence that the Bernedoodles have inherited this risk.
Hip or elbow displacement (dysplasia) is another condition which is more common among larger dog breeds, which is why it is more likely to occur in Standard sized Bernedoodles rather than the Mini and Tiny ones.
In order to be sure that your Bernedoodle is healthy and doesn’t have inherited conditions, it is a good idea to ask the breeders for tests of the eyes, for hip and elbow scores, for testing for Von Willebrand’s disease, for Degenerative Myelopathy, for Sebaceous Adenitis, Patella, Macrothrombocytopenia and for Progressive Retinal Atrophy.
Caring for the Bernedoodle
The miniature and tiny Bernedoodles will fit in perfectly with apartment life, while the standard ones will feel better if they have access to an outdoor space such as a backyard.
All Bernedoodles love being with their humans and will feel better the less time they have to spend alone.
Being bred from Poodles, Bernedoodles are highly intelligent, but this means that they can quickly learn bad habits as they can – the good ones. This is why early training and socializing with other people and dogs is important.
They are quite similar to Goldendoodles, but the Bernedoodle pups can be a bit more stubborn and mischievous. The good news is that with consistent positive training, you can teach the dog to curb this type of behavior.
Due to the different sizes of their parents, it is pretty difficult to predict just how big your Bernedoodle will get. Reputable and experienced breeders will have an idea based on previous litters though.
The Standard Bernedoodle will become fully mature at the age of 12 to 18 months, while the smaller ones reach complete maturity up to an age of 12 months.
All sizes of this designer breed will feel better in homes where the people are more active, and can easily adapt to people of all ages – from very young to the elderly.
The dogs from this breed require at least 60 minutes of daily exercise. Due to the fact that both parents are active working dogs, the Bernedoodles have high activity levels as well.
If you enjoy jogging, hiking or long walks, you can be sure that your Bernedoodle will happily become your exercise or jogging buddy.
Remember not to over exercise puppy Standard Bernedoodles because of their proneness to hip or elbow dysplasia.
The healthy exercise time for puppies is about 5 minutes of exercise per every month, which means that your 5-month-old Bernedoodle can safely walk and run for 25 minutes without risking any growth or other issues.
Feeding the Bernedoodle
The proper amount of food to feed your Bernedoodle depends on its age, its size, overall health, and its activity level. The Standard Bernedoodles have great appetites so you will need to carefully portion their meals, rather than leave food out all day long.
When the dog is still a puppy it should eat four times a day, but when it grows up you should feed it only twice a day.
Ask your vet for advice on the type of food and the amount of food to give to your dog.
The larger sized Standard Bernedoodles are at higher risk of bloat, which is why splitting the food into smaller but more frequent meals could be a good idea.
You should feed your active little puppy with top quality dry food for active breeds, and make sure that the daily food meets the nutritional requirements, including the protein and fat necessary for the proper functioning, regulation, and repair of the dog’s organs and tissues.
Puppies should eat diets consisting of 22% proteins and 8% fat, while adult dogs can eat about 18% proteins and 5% fat.
The Standard Bernedoodle requires about 1,400-1,800 calories per day, the Mini requires 750-1,400 calories and the Tiny requires 400 to 960 calories per day.
Grooming the Bernedoodle
Being dogs of a mixed breed, the coat of the Bernedoodle can differ quite a bit. It can be long straight and wavy like their Bernese Mountain Dog parent, or curly like their Poodles parent.
They have inherited the single coat of Poodles, so they are considered to be low shedding dogs. Still, they do shed pet dander, so they are not 100% hypoallergenic, but this is true for all other low-shedding dog breeds as well.
Bernedoodles may not be heavy shedders, but they still require regular grooming. Brushing the pup 2 to 3 times a week will ensure that the coat stays healthy and beautiful.
Many Doodle owners clip their dogs’ coats regularly, but there is no standard for the Bernedoodle, so most get cute teddy bear clips.
You should wait until the dog is at least 7 months old before clipping its coat, or you can cause irreversible damage to its further growth!
These wonderful designer dogs are usually tri-colored, black, white and black or brown and black and can have different markings. They are highly recognizable because they have a rather shaggy look.
Thankfully, the Bernedoodles like to be groomed because they feel like they are further bonding with their humans, so you shouldn’t have a problem with the regular grooming of your pet.
Socializing the Bernedoodle with pets and children
Bernedoodles are perfect companions and playmates for children because they are extremely gentle and patient animals. Even so, like with any other dog, you should teach your children how to properly interact and treat the dogs for their own personal safety, as well as for the safety of the pups, especially the smaller and more fragile ones like the Mini or Tiny Bernedoodles.
Otherwise, the dogs from this hybrid breed love to play and interact with children and adults alike and would prefer spending all of their time with their human families over anything else.
In general, they are good with other dogs as well, but like with any other dog breed, early socialization is essential in order to teach the dog to interact properly and not to be timid or uncomfortable around other animals.
Even though they have inherited the intelligence of their Poodle ancestors, some Bernedoodles have the hard-headed nature of their Bernese Mountain Dog parents and can be quite difficult to train.
Thankfully, this stubbornness will gradually go away, and with patience and consistent positive reinforcement and training, you can raise a well-disciplined and trained dog.
Remember that these dogs can get offended quite easily, so be gentle and never apply punishments because they won’t work and can actually make matters worse with the discipline.
If you are patient, calm and confident, you shouldn’t have a problem socializing and training your Bernedoodle and turning it into a perfect companion dog and pet.
Buying or rescuing a Bernedoodle from a shelter
Since Bernedoodles are a relatively new and rare breed, they can be quite costly with a price of about $2,500-$3,000.
There are also not too many dos from this designer breed in shelters, but it is always a good idea to check with the local rescue groups and shelters before going ahead and buying a dog.
Adopting a dog is not only less expensive but is also a good deed, as you will be giving a loving home to an unwanted animal.
The Bernedoodles thrive well in busy homes with gentle, loving and patient owners who are willing to spend time with their four-legged friends.
If you are thinking about adopting or buying a Bernedoodle you should be prepared that the pup can be a bit stubborn and a little naughty at first, but with its natural intelligence, loyalty, and gentleness, you can expect the dog to grow up to be a loving member of your family.
A Bernedoodle is perfect for active people, but it will adapt well to all kinds of owners – young and old, with children or single.
Bernedoodles are generally quite healthy dogs, and especially the Mini and Tiny sized ones have a very long life expectancy of about 18 years.
With a dog like the Bernedoodle, there will never be a dull moment in your life again!