Hybrid dog breeds, or “designer dogs” are becoming more and more popular. You’re probably familiar with dog breeds like the Labradoodle and the Golden Doodle, but there’s another hybrid dog breed that you should know about, especially if you’re looking for a family-friendly canine companion.
A cross between a Poodle and a Bernese Mountain Dog, Bernedoodles combine the best of both breeds in a loyal, low maintenance family dog. With a variety in sizes, colourings and even temperaments, it’s important to do your research before adding a Bernedoodle to your family.
Here are 15 things you need to know about the Bernedoodle hybrid dog breed.
1. Bernedoodles Get Their Name From Their Pure-Bred Parents
The Bernedoodle, sometimes called the “Bernese Mountain Poo”, gets its unique name from its two pure-bred parents, the Bernese Mountain Dog and the Poodle. The Bernedoodle combines some of the most desirable traits of both Poodles and Bernese Mountain dogs to create the perfect family dog.
2. Bernedoodles Are a “Mix”, Not a “Mutt”
There’s a big difference between a “mutt” and a hybrid mixed-breed dog like the Bernedoodle. Unlike a mutt, where the exact mix of breeds might not be known, a hybrid breed like the Bernedoodle was deliberately bred from two pure-bred parents to create a whole new breed.. Hybrid breeds are also sometimes called “designer breeds”, because they are selectively bred, or “designed”, to have certain characteristics.
3. Bernedoodles Get Their Intelligence From Their Poodle Parent…
You may be surprised to learn that Poodles are one of the most intelligent dog breeds. They were originally bred in Germany as hunting dogs, and they are known to be able to learn new commands and tricks quickly. Bernedoodles inherit this trait from their Poodle parent, making them easily trainable and eager to please.
Bernese Mountain Dogs are known for their loyalty and attachment to their owners.
4. …And They Get Their Loyalty From The Bernese Mountain Dog Side
Bernedoodles are incredibly loyal and affectionate, traits they inherit from their Bernese Mountain Dog parent. Bernese Mountain Dogs were bred in the Swiss Alps as hard working farm dogs, and they are known to be very loyal and attached to their owners. Bernedoodles inherit this affectionate personality from their Bernese parent – they love to be around people and bond quickly with their families, but they don’t do well when they have to spend a lot of time alone.
5. Bernedoodles Were Bred to Be Companion Dogs
Swiss Ridge Kennels near Toronto, Canada, claims to be the “home of the Bernedoodle”, having been the first breeder to intentionally cross a Bernese Mountain Dog with a Poodle in 2003. Owner Sherry Rupke loved Bernese Mountain Dogs, but not their short lifespan, propensity for cancer and heavy shedding. By crossing a Berner with a Poodle she was not only able to solve some of the health issues common with pure-bred dogs, but also created a breed that makes the perfect companion – loyal, affectionate and intelligent, and happy to be by your side at all times.
6. Bernedoodles Are Not An AKC-Recognized Breed
Even though the Bernedoodle is a mix of two pure-bred dog breeds, they are technically a “hybrid” breed, and so they are not one of the 193 breeds currently recognized by the American Kennel Society. Organizations like the American Canine Hybrid Club and the Designer Breed Registry do recognize the Bernedoodle as an official hybrid dog breed.
Bernese Mountain Dogs were bred in the Swiss Alps as hard working farm dogs, tasked with driving cows down the mountain and to the market.
7. Bernedoodles Come in Many Different Sizes
Bernedoodles are definitely not a one-size-fits-all dog, and can range in size from 10lbs to more than 90lbs. Tiny Bernedoodles, with a Toy Poodle parent, are typically 12-18” tall and weigh 10-24lbs. Miniature Bernedoodles, mixed with a Miniature Poodle, are 18-22” tall and weigh 25-49lbs. Standard Bernedoodles, mixed with a Standard Poodle, are usually 23-29” tall and can weigh up to 90lbs! In general, males are bigger than females, but with three different versions of the breed to choose from, you’re sure to find the right Bernedoodle for you.
8. Bernedoodles Have a Beautiful and Unique Coat…
Not only do Bernedoodles come in a variety of different sizes, but their coats come in many different varieties as well. The classic tri-coloured coat of the Bernese Mountain Dog is a popular and striking option, but you can also find Bernedoodles with white and brown coats, and even pure black. Some Bernedoodles have straighter hair, while some inherit more of their Poodle parent’s curly coat. The best thing about the Bernedoodle’s coat is that they are hypoallergenic and low shedding, especially the curly-haired varieties, which is a big improvement over the Bernese Mountain Dog’s excessive shedding.
9. …But That Coat Needs Regular Grooming Attention
That beautiful coat comes with some grooming work, especially for Bernedoodles with curlier hair. Bernedoodles require regular trims to keep their hair from getting too long, and regular brushing to prevent matting. Thankfully, Bernedoodles loved being brushed, and this can be a great daily bonding time for you and your dog.
Bernedoodles require regular grooming to keep their coat from matting. Thankfully, they love being brushed and it can be a great bonding experience.
10. Bernedoodles Can Be Greedy
Greedy Bernedoodles can be voracious eaters! No leaving the food bowl out with these dogs – you’ll need to monitor their food intake and ensure they get regular exercise to keep your Bernedoodle at a healthy weight.
11. Bernedoodles Have a Great Temperament
Bernedoodles combine not only the best of their parent’s physical traits, but their personalities too. From their Bernese Mountain Dog parent they inherit a loyal and friendly disposition, but they can be a bit wary of strangers and suffer from separation anxiety. They get their keen intelligence from their Poodle parents, making them great companion dogs, if a little bit stubborn. Because they are a hybrid dog breed, there is more variation in their temperament than there would be with a pure-bred dog, but they are generally smart, loyal dogs that make great family pets.
12. Bernedoodles Are Healthier Than Their Pure-Bred Parents
One major problem with pure-bred dogs is that generations of inbreeding has led to significant health issues. Bernedoodles are less likely to have genetic health issues compared to their pure-bred parents. Poodles can be plagued with eye and skin issues, but Bernese Mountain Dogs have one of the shortest lifespans of any pure-bred dog – less than 7 years in many cases. The Bernedoodle has a longer lifespan of 12-18 years, especially for smaller dogs, although they may still be prone to hip dysplasia.
Bernedoodles are playful and goofy, like their Poodle parents, but they don’t require vigorous exercise. A good daily walk and plenty of playtime should satisfy your Bernedoodle’s moderate exercise needs.
13. Bernedoodles Have Moderate Energy and Exercise Needs
Although they are on the larger side, Bernedoodles are a moderately energetic dog that don’t require a lot of vigorous exercise. One good daily walk is plenty for most Bernedoodles, as they are just as happy snuggling up on the couch with you as they are outside. Larger Bernedoodles may need a bit more exercise, but smaller ones can be quite lazy, making them great companions for older people or those with health or mobility concerns – they even make good apartment dogs.
14. Bernedoodles Are The Perfect Family Dog
With their friendly temperament and fierce loyalty, Bernedoodles make the perfect family dog. They are great with children and with other dogs, but they can be a bit protective and can be suspicious of strangers, so it’s important to socialize them early. Bernedoodles become very attached to their family, preferring to be with you every moment of the day. Bernedoodles can also be great dogs for single people and those living in apartments, especially if you opt for a smaller variety mixed with a Toy or Miniature Poodle parent. They don’t need a lot of exercise, so they do great in apartments and make excellent companions for those with mobility issues.
15. There Are Bernedoodles In Shelters That Need Homes Too
Even though Bernedoodles are a hybrid dog breed, they can be as expensive as registered pure-bred dog breeds if purchased through a breeder. Even “pure” hybrids can’t be AKC registered, so it doesn’t always make sense to spend so much and support the breeding industry. Many Bernedoodle mixes already need a forever home, and although they may not be as “pure” as a breeder’s hybrid, they still have the same characteristics and you can feel good about saving a life. Organizations like Poo Mix Rescue focus on finding forever homes exclusively for Poodle-mix dogs.
Bernedoodle Dog Breed
Bernedoodles combine the best of Bernese Mountain Dogs and Poodles to create the perfect companion dog breed.
With hybrid dog breeds rising in popularity, the Bernedoodle is set to become one of the most popular dog breeds. A mix of Bernese Mountain Dog and Poodle, Bernedoodles combine the best of both parent breeds to make the perfect low-maintenance companion breed.
Because they are a hybrid of two pure dog breeds and not a pure-bred breed themselves, there is some variety within the Bernedoodle breed. They come in three distinct sizes based on the size of the Poodle parent (toy, miniature, or standard), so you’re sure to be able to find the right sized Bernedoodle for your life and home. Their beautiful coat comes in many colours, from the traditional Bernese tri-colour to a striking pure black, and thanks to their Poodle parent they are hypoallergenic and low-shedding.
Bernedoodles can thank their parents for more than just their appearance – they combine the best of both breeds’ personalities to create a dog with the perfect temperament. With the intelligence and trainability of a Poodle and the friendliness and loyalty of a Bernese Mountain Dog, Bernedoodles were bred to be companion dogs and make great family pets.
Designer hybrid breeds can be attractive, but that doesn’t mean you have to purchase your Bernedoodle from a breeder. There are plenty of Bernedoodles in shelters looking for their forever homes, so it’s possible to adopt instead of shop for your new canine companion.
Jen Jones is a professional dog trainer and behavior specialist with more than 25 years of experience. As the founder of ‘Your Dog Advisor’ and the ‘Canine Connection’ rehabilitation center, she applies a holistic, empathetic approach, aiming to address root causes rather than merely treating symptoms.
Well known for her intuitive and compassionate approach, Jen adopts scientifically-proven, reward-based methods, encouraging positive reinforcement over punishment. Jen specializes in obedience training, behavior modification, and puppy socialization. Her innovative methods, particularly in addressing anxiety and aggression issues, have been widely recognized. Jen has worked with many of the world’s leading dog behaviorists and in her free time volunteers with local animal shelters and rescue groups.