It is important to understand the temperments and requirments of a breed before deciding to adopt one. A dog is a long term commitment. Understanding a your dogs breed, can greatly increase your enjoyment of your dog and make your life a lot easier for its entire life.
The Bernedoodle is a cross between a Purebred Bernese Mountain Dog and a purebred Standard poodle. It is a relatively new cross. That means it has not yet been able to establish an exact look or temperament. As with all mixed breeds it can exhibit temperments from both sets of parents. That means it is important to know and understand both the standard poodle and the Bernese Mountain Dog if you are looking to adopt one. Fortunately, both the Poodle and the Berner are wonderful family companions, and in that respect, the Bernedoodle is a great choice for a family pet. I have included a description of the Standard poodle temperments as well because any Bernedoodle can have this personality.
The appearance of the Bernedoodle can vary greatly from puppy to puppy. Height can vary usually from 22-27 in and weight from 60-110 lbs. Males tend toward the larger end of the scale than females. The reason for this varience is because the shape of each bernedoodle can be different. The Berner has a stouter body whereas poodle has the more feminine body. The puppies usually are a happy medium between the two but can sometimes tend to look more like the one than the other. We can easily tell which style each puppy will be by the time they are a few days old. Most will be slightly more sleek than the Berner but much more muscular looking than the Standard poodle. Crosses such as these can also become larger than both parents. They are much like a golden doodle as we have raised them as well and they are very similar. It is easy to think of a Bernedoodle as a larger goldendoodle if you are familier with the goldendoodle at all. The hair is very soft and can vary from straight and shaggy to wavy or gently curled (not tight curls like a poodle). We can tell right away from birth if a puppy will have straighter hair or curlier hair. They are usually little to no shedding. Definitely less than the Bernese Mountain Dog so they are a great choice for families who want a Berner without all the shedding. A rule of thumb is the curlier the hair, the less likely they are to shed. When the Standard poodle is the mother, they are less likely to shed as well.
The bernedoodle is a very good natured and loving dog. They are easy to train and eager to please. Both the Berner and the Standard poodle are extremely intelligent dogs and the Bernedoodle is the same. They tend to have a very goofy and confident personality. They are good with strangers and other pets if socialized correctly at a young age. They are great candidates for therepy dogs. They prefer the company of people and can become upset if not with humans for a long period of time. Firm but gentle and consistant training works best with the Bernedoodle.
Bernedoodle require regular grooming. There hair is very fine and can easily become matted if not properly taken care of. Weekly brushes are recommended if you plan to keep their hair long. If you are not a fan of brushing, that is fine. The alternative to this is having them shaved every two to four months. This is what most families do. Their hair is very thick and this helps them stay cool and keeps matts and sores from being a problem. Excercise is a very important part of a bernedoodles life to keep it happy and healthy. The bernedoodle requires moderate to low levels of excercise. Playing in the yard or a nice long walk is a great way to get that exercise in. It is extremely important that a bernedoodle is not over excercised. Do not push a bernedoodle puppy to run or play more than it wants. If they are pushed past this level it can have some devastating effects on their bones, joints, and ligaments, especially if they are under a year old.
Bernedoodles can develop any health issues that a Standard poodle or a Bernese Mountain Dog can have, but there is great news. Many diseases that are genetic are greatly reduced in mixed breed dogs. Most need genes from both parents to develop health issues. If they are present in the breed of one of the parents, and not in the other, the likelihood of them developing that disease is very small. Every purebred or mixed breed of dog has its own set of health issues that may develop. By combing the two breeds, we greatly lower the occurances of health issues. However, bernedoodles like any other living creature, can have health problems. Both the Bernese and Standard poodle are genetically prone to Vwd, PRA, and DM. Luckily there are tests for all of these diseases so there is no reason that any puppy should be afflicted with one of these problems. No puppy from us will ever develop one of these problems (by carrying two genes of this disease) as we health test our parents for all of these problems. Both breeds are geneticallly predisposed to develop hip and elbow dysplasia, and ligament cruciate disease. Unfortunatley there is no cut and dry genetic test for any of these diseases and genetics only play a small role in the liklihood of these problems happening. We can do our part as breeders by testing our adult dogs for these diseases and if they have any of these problems, not breed them. This theoretically should reduce the chances of offspring being affected with these diseases. It is important to keep in mind that just because a parent dog does not have one of these problems, doesent mean the their puppy wont. There are just too many other factors that go into the health of a dog to completely eliminate these problems. Diet and excercise and activities the puppy or dog is allowed to do also plays a key role in helping to reduce the chances of these problems happening. Exercise or playing rough excessively can increase the risk for problems. Dogs that have to climb many stairs on a daily basis are more likely to develop these problems as well. Large breed puppies should always be fed a large breed dog food that has the correct mineral balance to keep them healthy. A dog that is overweight, even just slightly will also be more likely to develop problems. Average lifespan is 10-14 years.
We do not tell families these health issues to scare them but rather to educate so that people can make the best informed decision before deciding to adopt a dog.