It may sound like a fancy new crossbreed, but this dog has actually been around for quite a while. Beautiful, intelligent, and family-oriented, the Sheepadoodle is just one of many popular doodle mixed breeds taking the US by storm.
Are you curious about this stunning and intelligent dog? Then you’ve come to the right place. Keep reading to learn more about the Sheepadoole and decide if this would be the right dog for you.
Introducing The Sheepadoodle Dog
The Sheepadoodle is what is known as a designer dog.
A Cross Between: The Old English Sheepdog and The Poodle
Other Names: Sheep-A-Poo, Sheepdoodle, Sheepdogpoo, Sheeppoo
Height: 16 to 22 Inches
Weight: 60 to 80 Pounds
Temperament: Affectionate, Playful, Athletic, Intelligent
Best Suited For: Active Families, Families With Flexible Schedules
Lifespan: 12 to 15 Years
Health Issues: Ear Infections, Atrial Septal Defect, Entropion, Tricuspid Valve Dysplasia,Corneal Dystrophy,Sebaceous Adenitis, Addison’s disease, Hip Dysplasia, Optic Nerve Hypoplasia, and Bloat
Breed Clubs That Recognize The Sheepadoodle: None
The Origin Of The Sheepadoodle
Sheepadoodle dogs are the offspring of the purebred Old English Sheepdog and the purebred Poodle.
In a time when designer dogs are costing more than purebreds, the term Sheepadoodle isn’t as likely to turn heads as it would have about twenty years ago. Crossbreeding – the act of breeding two different purebred parents to create a combination of the two – is nothing new.
Some of the more popular crossbreed dogs include other doodle mixes like Labradoodles and Goldendoodles. However, in spite of their popularity, you might be surprised to learn that the Sheepadoodle came first.
In fact, Sheepadoodles were first created in the early 1960’s as a breeding experiment for the military. They were used for a while as military dogs, chosen for their incredible intelligence and trainability.
From there, it’s unclear what became of them, because they didn’t become popular with the masses of dog lovers until a few years ago.
Today, the Sheepadoodle is a coveted dog that can cost as much as $3,000 when buying from a reputable breeder.
And while these guys are adorable, intelligent, and family-friendly, they are also work-oriented dogs worth learning about before investing in.
In order to learn more about the Sheepadoodle, we must take a look at the origins of his two purebred parents. Let’s begin with the Old English Sheepdog.
The Old English Sheepdog
Though he is coined the “Old” English Sheepdog, there’s nothing particularly old about this breed, as far as breeds go. In fact, he wasn’t created until the late 1800’s in England, where he was bred to be a droving dog for sheep.
Intelligent, whip smart, tenacious and full of stamina, the Old English Sheepdog is a working man’s best friend. He is easy to train and eager to please, and has gone on to perform other jobs throughout his existence, including herding, guarding, and pulling carts.
The Poodle comes in three size varieties including standard, miniature and toy. Typically, when considering a Sheepadoodle, the most common size right now is the standard Sheepadoodle.
That said, it is possible to get a Miniature Sheepadoodle, which would be a Sheepdog bred with a Miniature Poodle.
But we digress.
The origin of the Poodle is a unique one, and this is a dog that can provide us with a laundry list of jobs on his resume. Bred as a water dog in Germany, the Poodle eventually found his way to France where he became a popular and fashionable dog to noblewomen.
Poodles also used their cunning wit and comedic timing to land them jobs as circus performers and street performers.
Today, they make wonderful service dogs for those in need and serve as the foundation for some of the cutest and most popular doodle mixes in the world. And yes, this includes the Sheepadoodle.
Let’s Discuss The Designer Dog Controversy
Designer dogs are nothing new, though they have become somewhat controversial.
Sheepadoodles and dogs like them may be popular, but they are also considered somewhat controversial. This is especially true when discussing first, second and third generation crossbreed dogs.
Also known as hybrids, designer dogs and mixed breeds, crossbreed dogs are, as we mentioned above, the offspring of two specifically chosen purebred parent breeds. One of the reasons crossbreeds are controversial today is that they are being bred and sold to the masses without being “perfected”, which is to say that breeders are typically not taking the time to ensure their dogs have somewhat of a breed standard.
It used to be that crossbreeding was done by experts, professionals and fanciers keen on creating dogs for specific working purposes. It takes generations to perfect a dog, and once a dog has a basic breed standard it is often soon accepted as a purebred by most major breed clubs.
The Sheepadoodle, however, does not yet have a breed standard. Many breeders breeding first, second and third generation Sheepadoodles will even admit to you that they can’t always guarantee certain genetic outcomes. This is especially true for traits like health, temperament and appearance.
Sheepadoodle dogs, because they are not purebred, are also not eligible for show or canine competitions, though they are often sold for top dollar.
Still, there are some benefits to investing in a crossbreed dog like the Sheepadoodle. Have you ever heard of hybrid vigor? Hybrid vigor is the theory that crossbreed dogs and mutts may actually be healthier than purebreds thanks to their wider gene pool.
This is because purebred dogs have been so overbred now for generations that many of them are doubly susceptible to certain genetic health issues.
That said, while crossbreed dogs may have a wider gene pool, they will also have a longer list of genetic health issues, as they are the offspring of two different purebred parents.
We will cover more about health further down, but for now let’s talk about the Sheepadoodle’s temperamental traits.
What Are The Sheepadoodle’s Temperamental Traits?
Sheepadoodle dogs are friendly, athletic and playful. They are also incredibly intelligent.
Brains and beautify can easily be applied when talking about a Sheepadoodle dog. While his looks may have caught your attention, it will be his incredible charm that will have you falling in love.
Sheepadoodles are ripe with personality. They are sweet natured, adoring, and affectionate. Happy-go-lucky dogs. Sheepadoodles do well with children of all ages and enjoy being around other pets, so long as they are properly socialized.
Of course, it’s wise to remember that the Sheepadoodle comes from two working breeds, both of which have a high prey drive.
The Poodle in particular was a “duck dog” while the Old English Sheepdog was once a herding dog. This could mean that your Sheepadoodle could take off after smaller animals, so it’s important not to leave him unsupervised around pets like rodents, birds and rabbits.
And although the Sheepadoodle is a wonderful dog for children, it’s important to remember that all dogs can nip or bite, especially if they are not handled appropriately.
For this reason, we recommend monitoring young children around your Sheepadoodle and teaching older children how to gently and respectfully play and interact with the family dog.
It’s also a good idea for the whole family to sit down and learn a bit about basic canine body language. This could help you better communicate and bond with your dog in the future, which is always a plus!
Of course, ensuring your Sheepadoodle fits in seamlessly as a family dog and companion has a lot to do with socialization and training.
Let’s learn more.
How To Train and Socialize A Sheepadoodle
Sheepadoodles are highly intelligent and can make wonderful service dogs.
Sheepadoodles are friendly by nature, but they’re also protective. This is likely due to their Sheepdog’s parentage, as Sheepdogs were responsible for not only herding their sheep but also protecting them from predators.
As such, Sheepadoodles may be prone to resource guarding or protective tendencies towards family and children. While this can be a wonderful quality, it can also be problematic if it’s not managed.
The best way to ensure your Sheepadoodle is confident in the world around him is to ensure he is well trained and socialized. The great news is that Sheepadoodle dogs are highly intelligent. In fact, they are becoming a very popular choice for service dogs and therapy dogs thanks to their ability to learn.
You can train a dog at any age, but it’s generally easier to begin training a Sheepadoodle while he is young. Like all dogs, Sheepadoodles do best with positive reinforcement training techniques like treats and praise as opposed to punishment and scolding. Punishment during training could actually hinder your dog’s learning and even damage the bond built between the two of you.
Instead, keep training light, game-like and fun. The Sheepadoodle is highly food motivated, which means that it is best to use quality training treats like those listed below to help hold his attention.
Zuke’s Mini Training Treats
We like Zuke’s Mini Training Treats because they are only three calories a treat. They are also highly palatable and smelly, which is always important when looking for a quality training treat. These treats will work best when used alongside praise and encouragement.
Most importantly, we suggest only pulling them out during training so your Sheepadoodle will know that when he sees and smells these treats, it’s time to work for them.
Along with training, it’s equally important to implement proper socialization. Making sure your dog is properly socized is incredibly important not only to his physical health, but also to his mental health.
Sheepadoodle Exercise and Mental Stimulation Needs
Sheepadoodles are athletic dogs hailing from two working parents, so they’re going to need plenty of exercise and mental stimulation.
When it comes to any dog, exercise and mental stimulation are important. This is especially true, though, when considering working dogs. The Sheepadoodle may be a crossbreed, but this is a crossbreed that hails from two working parents. His Poodle parent is very intelligent and athletic, and his Sheepdog parent was bred for stamina and courage.
This means that a Sheepadoodle dog is going to be energetic, athletic, and clever minded. A dog with these qualities can be a gem to work with, but they can also be easily prone to serious behavioral issues if their specific mental and physical needs are not met.
When it comes to exercising a Sheepadoodle, experts recommend adult Sheepdadoodles get out for walks everyday, with routine exercise of at least 60 minutes. This exercise can be broken up into two sessions, however, for example a thirty minute walk in the morning and again in the evening.
When walking a Sheepadoodle, it’s important to use the right equipment. We advise against using prong collars and choke chains, as these can be dangerous and even harmful to your dog’s emotional wellbeing.
Instead, stick with no pull dog harnesses and harnesses that fit snugly around your dog’s body or clip in the front.
PetSafe Easy Walk Dog Harness
We like to recommend a harness like the PetSafe Easy Walk Dog Harness to our clients for athletic, large breed dogs like the Sheepadoodle for a few reasons. First, this harness clips in front which reduces pressure on your dog’s throat that can cause choking or damage to the trachea.
The other reason we like these types of harnesses is because they are fitted to redirect your dog back to you without using pain or force when your dog pulls ahead. This can not only help gently teach your dog good walking manners, but reduce damage done to your dog physically or mentally.
It’s also very important to ensure your Sheepadoodle is kept properly mentally stimulated. Intelligent dogs like the Sheepadoodle can suffer from anxiety, depression and boredom if their busy minds are not kept active, which is why we are big fans of puzzle toys and KONGS for large breed dogs.
Nina Ottosson Puzzle Toy
A puzzle toy like the one above by Nina Ottosson is an excellent toy to give to a clever dog like the Sheepadoodle. Working dogs love these toys because they use food as motivation and encourage your dog to think.
These toys can be ordered in different levels depending on your dog’s ability, which can help keep your dog busy and feel like he has a purpose.
KONGS For Large Breed Dogs
KONGS are a doggy toy box staple, no matter how large or small your dog is. These clever toys can be filled with tasty treats like dog-safe peanut butter, kibble or specified KONG filler. The purpose of a KONG is to provide your dog with something to do and give him a challenge to help keep him safely busy.
These toys can help reduce anxiety, depression, and even destructive behaviors when utilized correctly.
Along with using a quality puzzle toy and KONG toys to keep your Sheepadoodle busy, you can also work to teach your dog to do basic chores around the house.
Some Sheepadoodle owners have had success training their Sheepadoodle dog how to help with the laundry, load the dishwasher and even carry in groceries or the mail.
Tips On Grooming A Sheepadoodle Dog
If a Sheepadoodle’s coat gets too long, grooming can be tough.
One of the biggest draws of a Sheepadoodle, according to most dog lovers, is their stunning coat. However, while this coat is certainly eye-catching, it also requires a lot of work to maintain.
Most Sheepadoodle owners opt to hire a professional groomer to keep their Sheepadoodle’s coat in check. On average, Sheepadoodle dogs will need to be seen six or more times a year by a professional groomer depending on the type of grooming you need done.
At the groomers, your Sheepadoodle should be bathed using a dog-safe shampoo and should be trimmed up, with groomers paying special attention to his withers, ears and underbelly.
Outside of taking your dog to a groomer, you’ll want to invest in a quality dematting comb to help brush your Sheepadoodle’s coat out at least once a week when it is longer. If left to get too long or tangled, the Sheepadoodle’s coat can be prone to dreading, which can lead to a buildup of debris in the fur and skin as well as doggy odor. Dreading in the fur is also painful, especially when it’s left unattended.
Poodle Pet Dematting Comb
Any type of brush or comb that works on a Poodle’s hair should work on a Sheepadoodle’s coat, so we recommend the Poodle Pet Dematting Comb above. This comb is designed to gently comb through tangles and matted areas from the fur, while also removing debris or a buildup of loose hair.
The teeth are bent so as to not harm the skin, and the texture actually feels good on your dog when you’re brushing him gently.
When you do use this dematting comb, it’s very important not to brush your dog’s fur while it is wet, as this could damage the coat.
Outside of brushing, it’s important to also check and clean your Sheepadoodle’s ears regularly to keep them from developing ear infections. His teeth should be brushed at least once a week using a dog safe toothbrush and toothpaste to help keep dental disease at bay, and his nails should be trimmed or ground down regularly to keep them from cracking or splitting during outings.
Sheepadoodle Lifespan and Health Issues
Sheepadoodles do have the added benefit of hybrid vigor, but they can still be susceptible to the same health issues as their parent breeds.
All dogs can be prone to suffering from genetic health issues, especially if they are not responsibly bred.
On average, Sheepadoodles can live to be between 12 and 15 years old. They can be prone to a number of health issues you should know about, including but not limited to:
- Ear Infections
- Atrial Septal Defect
- Tricuspid Valve Dysplasia
- Corneal Dystrophy
- Sebaceous Adenitis
- Addison’s disease
- Hip Dysplasia
- Optic Nerve Hypoplasia
- And Bloat
You can help combat certain health issues by ensuring your Sheepadoodle is on healthy dog food specified for his age and weight, and that you have him health screened at an early age.
We also recommend you keep routine wellness visits with your vet once a year until your Sheepadoodle is seven, and then twice a year after that.
Do You Have The Best Home For A Sheepadoodle?
Sheepadoodles are very active and intelligent dogs. They do best with devoted families who have time to commit to them.
Sheepadoodle dogs are attractive to many people for many reasons, but any novice dog owner smitten with their looks will quickly be overcome with the sheer amount of Sheepadoodle they need to contend with each day.
This is a large dog, and he’s also going to be an athletic dog. The ideal owner of a Sheepadoodle is an owner who understands working breeds and has plenty of time to commit to exercise, training, grooming and socialization.
Sheepadoodles do make wonderful family dogs, though they are not ideal for smaller spaces or apartment living. They do best in homes with lots of room and large backyards where they can play or roam freely.
Should You Rescue A Sheepadoodle Or Go Through A Breeder?
Sheepadoodle puppies can cost up to $3,000 when going through a reputable breeder.
The Sheepadoodle is not for everyone, but if you’ve decided he’s right for you we want to help. Here are some tips on how to go about finding the healthiest Sheepadoodle puppy or rescue dog possible, according to experts.
What To Expect When Buying A Sheepadoodle Through A Breeder
Sheepadoodles are not a newer crossbreed, but they are just now becoming some of the most popular cross breeds in the US. As the demand for a Sheepadoodle increases, so does their cost when going through breeders.
On average, a Sheepadoodle puppy from a quality breeder will cost between $1,000 and $3,000. This price can vary depending on your region, the breeder you go through, and sometimes even the gender of Sheepadoodle you are looking for.
That said, it’s important to know what the average cost for a Sheepadoodle dog is in your region and to avoid breeders selling puppies for prices that seem too good to be true or prices that seem much higher than they should be.
Additionally, it’s also wise to avoid backyard breeders, unqualified sellers, or unlicensed online sellers who are not certified. Because Sheepadoodles are so popular these days, there is a chance you could wind up buying through an irresponsible or non reputable source, which could raise your risk of winding up with a sick puppy or a puppy that is not a Sheepadoodle at all.
Instead, stick with breeders who are certified and can provide references and paperwork. Although a responsible breeder of a Sheepadoodle puppy will likely be more expensive, they will also most likely have had their puppies health screened and cleared of any serious health issues.
Their puppies will also have been properly socialized from birth until seven weeks, (at which point they go to their forever homes), and you may even be able to meet the parent dogs to get a good idea of how big your Sheepadoodle puppy will grow up to become.
What To Expect When Going Through A Rescue To Adopt A Sheepadoodle
Sheepadoodles are pretty popular, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to find one through a rescue. Sadly, Sheepadoodles may be turned over by overwhelmed owners who were unprepared for either this dog’s larger than life size or his larger than life temperament.
If you have your heart set on a Sheepadoodle and want to rescue, we recommend looking for breed specific shelters or rescues in your area or around the United States that focus on either Poodles or Old English Sheepdogs. Though this may take some time and patience, there are countless benefits of going through a shelter to obtain the Sheepadoodle of your dreams.
First, getting a dog through a shelter is often a fraction of a cost of going through a breeder, and this is especially true for a Sheepadoodle dog. The average cost of rescuing a dog is around $250 to $500, though this fee can vary depending on your region and which shelter you go through.
Aside from the lower costs, other benefits of adoption include the potential to skip that crazy puppy phase. Sheepadoodle dogs who are adopted over the age of two may also be more likely to have been spayed or neutered. Some may have undergone basic training and behavioral testing or even been microchipped.
Perhaps the best part of rescuing a dog is that you are providing a dog in need of a loving home. You are also opening up room in the shelter for more dogs to get care, and you can’t put a price on that.
Of course, it can be difficult to find a Sheepadoodle through a rescue, and you might want to raise your Sheepadoodle from puppyhood. Whichever way you opt to go about obtaining your Sheepadoodle puppy or dog is up to you.
We just hope this was an informative guide on the Sheepadoodle hybrid and you were able to decide if this truly was the dog for you.
Now we want to know what you think! Are you considering a Sheepadoodle dog? Keep us in the loop by sharing a comment below.
Thanks for reading!
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.