Bernedoodles: The Bernese Mountain Dog Poodle Mix

The adorable Bernedoodle is a cross between a Bernese Mountain Dog and a Poodle. This mixed breed is known for being playful yet gentle.

These dogs love to be around their family and do well around children. They are loyal but can be somewhat aloof around strangers, making socialization extremely important. Furthermore, they can also have some separation anxiety issues.

These dogs are well-loved due to their beautiful coats. They hardly shed at all, though this does not necessarily make them hypoallergenic.

Because this is a mixed breed, it is impossible to know exactly what each puppy will look and act like. Mixed breeds come from very different parents, and what traits they inherit from what parent are completely random.

Still, we can make some educated guesses as to what the appearance and temperament of a Bernedoodle might be.

Appearance

Like other poodle mixes, the Bernedoodle can inherit traits from either of its parent breeds. Mixing two dog breeds together is the flip of a coin, so you never know what you’re going to get.

Despite all the cute pictures on the internet, not all Bernedoodles have the same fuzzy appearance. They can look quite different from each other, even if they’re brothers and sisters.

You can never be sure what a particular Bernedoodle is going to look like. They can inherit any trait from either parent. Still, there are some traits that most Bernedoodle have in common.

These dogs are typically quite large. They can weigh upwards of 75 pounds. Some are even closer to 100 pounds. They are large dogs by any description.

The Bernedoodle often has the curly, single-layer coat of the Poodle. However, this is not always the case. Their fur can be longer like the Bernese Mountain Dog, though this is rarer.

This canine can come in a huge variety of colors. The tri-coloration of the Bernese Mountain Dog seems to be the most common, but it is not rare to see dogs of other colorations. Solid colors are possible as are a huge variety of markings.

The coloration of a particularly Bernedoodle is affected heavily by the color of the parents. Looking at the parents is a good way to estimate what the puppies might look like.

The Bernedoodle is typically very muscular and solidly built. They are working dogs and look as such.  To get a better idea of what a Bernedoodle might look like, let’s explore what the parent breeds look like.

Bernese Mountain Dog

The Bernese Mountain Dog is large and muscular. These dogs are huge. They can weigh between 75 to 120 pounds. Males are typically larger, but this isn’t always the case.

They are slightly longer than they are tall but generally appear proportional. They have a strong back and are very muscular. These are working dogs, and it is apparent in their build.

Every Bernese Mountain dog as a tri-colored coat of black, brown, and white. They are mostly black but do have white on their stomach and various brown markings on their face and paws. The exact markings and color proportions will vary from dog to dog.

These dogs have longer coats, which require regular grooming. This breed does have dew claws, but they are normally removed for safety purposes.

Poodle

Poodles come in a variety of sizes. Toy Poodles are the smallest size and stand under 10 inches tall. Miniature Poodles are the next size up and stand between 10 to 15 inches tall. Standard Poodles are the largest size and stand over 15 inches.

Because of the size of the Bernese Mountain dog, it is likely that the Standard Poodle will be bred to make this mixed breed. The other variants of the Poodle are just too small and would have difficulty breeding successfully with the Bernese Mountain Dog.

Poodles are built sturdily. They might look prim and proper, but they can also be quite muscular and built.

Unlike most dogs, the Poodle has a single layer coat. This coat is composed of dense, curly hair. While the Poodles do shed, the lost hair gets stuck in their other hair, which can make it appear that they aren’t shedding. This can also lead to matting if the dog is not properly groomed.

While we most commonly see Poodles in show clips, they are usually not cut this way as companion animals. Instead, they are usually cut to require less maintenance. Still, a pet owner should expect to get their Poodle groomed every six to eight weeks.

Poodles come in a variety of colors, including white, black, brown, parti, silver, gray, and many others. Nearly all Poodles are solid colored. Shade may vary throughout the coat depending on the base color.

Parti-colored Poodles have solid-colored spots over a white coat. Normally, the coat will be equal parts of white and spots. However, sometimes it is possible for there to be a larger percentage of white.

Temperament

While purebred dogs often have a common “breed personality,” this is not the case with mixed breeds.

Genetics do play a role in personality and temperament. Because mixed breed dogs are being bred from a larger gene pool, you never know exactly what they’re going to act like.

Still, you can draw some conclusions based on the personality of the two parent breeds. Furthermore, much of temperament is also environmental. A puppy must be socialized from a young age for them to be friendly and composed. A dog who has never seen a cat before will likely not welcome cats, no matter how friendly his breed is predisposed to be.

While it is impossible to predict exactly how any one Bernedoodle will act, they are usually playful and affectionate. They bond closely to their family and enjoy being around their people.

They do well with children thanks to their larger size and are quite patient. Of course, they should be introduced to children at a young age so they can become accustomed to them.

They can be somewhat aloof and reserved around strangers. They need to be socialized from an early age to prevent aggression from forming.

These dogs require quite a bit of human interaction and are not suitable to be left alone for long periods. They can suffer from separation anxiety.

The Bernedoodle is intelligent and easy to please. They do well in most training situations and enjoy obedience classes.

Bernese Mountain Dog

The Bernese Mountain dog is generally laid back and accepting of strangers. They are not aggressive, shy, or anxious around people.

Most of the time, these dogs are quite docile. They only kick into guarding mode when necessary, such as when their owner is attacked.

These dogs are very large and therefore need to be socialized thoroughly. Regular training and puppy classes are required.

Bernese enjoy being outdoors. They require activity and have lots of endurance. These dogs are built for the farm or another large outdoor area. However, they are also well-behaved indoors – as long as their exercise needs are met. Not meeting their exercise need often makes these dogs bark and harass their owners.

These dogs are affectionate and do well with children. They are patient and normally don’t mind children climbing all over them. However, socialization plays a key role in this, as well.

Poodle

Poodles are highly energetic and social. They are very smart and enjoy both physical and mental activities.

Usually, these dogs are aloof and standoffish with strangers, but quickly warm up to their family and friends. Once they know someone, they are friendly and agreeable.

Snappy behavior is not uncommon in this breed. However, this is largely a result of improper socialization. These dogs need to be introduced to a variety of other people from a young age.

Despite their aloofness towards strangers, they are bot a guarding breed. They are generally quiet and not territorial.

The Poodle is very trainable and intelligent. They regularly compete in a number of different sports, including obedience.

Larger, standard Poodles are good with children of socialized. They will need somewhere to retire to when they have had enough, and the children should be taught to be gentle.

Health

Most of the time, mixed breeds are healthier than purebreds. This is because they come from a larger gene pool, lowering the chance that they’ll inherit genetic problems. (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1090023316300673)

Purebred dogs, on the other hand, are more prone to a variety of genetic conditions because their parents are very genetically similar. Nearly all purebred dogs are the result of inbreeding long ago.

Still, the Bernedoodle is decently healthy. They are not prone to many problems. Let’s look at the problems that affect some Bernedoodles, however.

Elbow and Hip Dysplasia

Dysplasia is when the joints in the elbow and hip do not correctly form. This makes the bones not fit correctly into the joints, which can be painful and cause arthritis. This condition is genetic. (https://europepmc.org/abstract/med/9154200)

Larger breeds are more prone to this disorder due to their higher BMI. In most cases, this problem presents itself before the dog is 18 months old.

Symptoms vary from dog to dog. Because this condition causes pain in the joint, dogs will often attempt to avoid moving the joint. This results in a bunny-like gait. Other changes of gait can also be measured depending on the joint affected. (https://europepmc.org/abstract/med/8807004)

Other symptoms include discomfort when walking, mild lameness, and lethargy. Most of the time, the signs of dysplasia are not dramatic. However, they can worsen with time or suddenly.

This condition is incurable and lifelong. Instead, the focus is on treating the symptoms and reducing pain. Luckily, many dogs have a high quality of life despite this condition.

Sebaceous Adenitis

This is an uncommon skin condition in some breeds of dogs. It does affect the Poodle, which makes it possible for it to affect the Bernedoodle as well.

This disease is an inflammation of the sebaceous glands. These glands are found in a dog’s hair follicles. They produce a substance called sebum that helps lubricate and waterproof the skins and furs of mammals.

The most obvious sign of this disease is a silvery dandruff that adheres to the coat of the canine. Hair loss is very common and can be severe in many cases. A dull and dirty coat can also develop.

As the disease progresses, the dog’s skin will form lesions and produce a musty odor.

The exact cause of this disease is unknown. Different breeds of dogs seem to have different underlying causes for this disorder. In Poodles, it is likely that the disease is genetic.

There is no cure for this disease. Instead, treatment involves lifelong mineral baths and washing with antibiotic shampoos to slow the progression of the disease.

Sometimes, steroids, cyclosporine, and immunosuppressive drugs can elicit an improvement. Other times, a large dose of vitamin A might be used.

History

The Bernedoodle is relatively new to history. They have only become popular as a mixed breed over the last year or so. While they likely occurred accidentally before that, they only become sought after and popular a short time ago.

However, their parent breeds have a very long history.

Bernese Mountain Dog

The Bernese Mountain dog comes from an area in Switzerland called Bern, hence the name. This is actually only one of four mountain dogs that come from this area.

Bern is a vast agricultural region that is known for its dairy production. The dairy produced at Bern is very important, as it is used to make cheese and chocolate- Switzerland’s most profitable exports.

Bernese Mountain Dogs were originally bred to assist in this dairy production. They drive cattle, chased away predators, and served as companions to their masters.

These dogs also worked as carting dogs. They can pull a load that is many times their body weight.

Despite the Bernese Mountain dog’s overall usefulness, this breed began to dwindle in the 1800s. The dogs left became low-quality and hard to find. Luckily, some Swiss fans saved the breed from extinction.

A Swiss breed club was formed in 1907, and soon the dog was once again prosperous. The breed was imported to America in 1926 and was recognized in the AKC in 1937.

Poodle

Despite some misconceptions, the Poodle actually originated from Germany. It was originally bred to be a duck dog. The name “Poodle” refers to the German word used to describe the splashing of water – “pudelin.”

The Standard Poodle was developed approximately 400 years ago, though it was not exactly like the modern Poodle until later. As a water retrieval dog, this canine was trained to jump into the water to retrieve waterfowl after they had been shot.

Their short, curly coat made them particularly suitable for this job. It protects them from the elements as they jump in and out of the water.

The show cut we often know the Poodle for actually developed for practical purposes. The hunters wanted the dogs to have free movement in the water without being bogged down by their hair. But they also wanted their dogs to be protected from the cold.

In an attempt to find a balance between these two needs, the hunters shaved their legs, neck, and tail, leaving the rest coated. This cut developed into the show cut we commonly see today.

Since these early days, the Poodle has found other work as well, which helped it spread across Europe. They were performers in circuses throughout Europe and became a favorite among the nobles of France. Their higher intelligence makes them very trainable and natural entertainers. They were also used for hunting truffles due to their terrific nose.

Grooming

These dogs require a moderate amount of grooming and maintenance. These dogs will shed, with the amount of hair lost increasing seasonally. Depending on the dog’s coat type, this hair might get stuck in their coat or be lost normally. However, this hair will still need to be removed with regular brushing.

We recommend brushing your Bernedoodle at least a few times a week. If your dog has poodle-like hair, they will also need groomed professionally on a regular basis.

Routine eye and ear cleaning are also required, but this can be done at home with nothing more than water and a cotton ball. You should also brush your dog’s teeth with an enzymatic toothpaste designed for canines.

Activity Needs

This breed has a moderate activity requirement. They are energetic and do require regular exercise. However, they do not need exercise for hours a day like some other breeds.

The Bernedoodle tends to have a lot of endurance and likes to roam. A fenced in backyard is very helpful, though this is not necessary as long as you take your dog on daily walks.

You can expect this dog to need about thirty minutes of intense exercise a day. This can be playing fetch, going for a walk, or anything else that gets your dog panting.

Besides this, you Bernedoodle will also want to play throughout the day. They like to spend time roaming outside and doing outdoor activities with their family.

These dogs are also very intelligent and need mental stimulation every day. This can be done easily through a fifteen-minute training session. Puzzle toys and games like hide-and-seek can also mentally stimulate your canine.

Diet & Nutrition

We probably don’t have to tell you that Bernedoodles eat a ton of food. However, what food they should be eating might surprise you.

Despite many misconceptions, a Bernedoodle should not be eating pain-free foods unless they have a grain allergy. Because Bernedoodles are not particularly prone to allergies, this is unlikely. Dogs have adapted to eat grains, so it is not harmful to the average dog in the least.

While grain-free free foods do not contain grain, they do contain other fillers that can be harmful to dogs, such as peas, legumes, and potatoes. These substances can harm a dog’s ability to digest their food properly, which can lead to other health problems. DMC, which is a serious heart condition, can occur in dogs who consume lots of potatoes, legumes, or peas.

It is better to choose a grain-inclusive food instead of one that contains these potentially harmful ingredients.

You should also avoid foods that have duck, lamb, or boar as the main source of protein. These protein sources have not been properly tested to meet a dog’s nutritional needs. They are okay if paired with another protein, but should not be your dog’s sole protein source.

You should also avoid “boutique” diets. These are foods that come from smaller companies and often have “fancy” ingredients. Most of the time, these companies do not have a dog nutrition expert on staff and have not properly tested their food. Instead, you should always choose food that meets AAFCO standards.

Equipment

Bernedoodles are large dogs, and their equipment tends to cost more than it might for a smaller dog. For example, your Bernedoodle is going to need a bed. They do not like being without their family and will not appreciate being left outside for extended periods of time. A bed in your room or in a crate is a must. Because they are large dogs, they are going to need a large bed, which will likely cost more than a smaller bed might. Furthermore, these dogs are prone to hip and elbow dysplasia, so a good bed is necessary for their wellbeing.

Your Bernedoodle is also going to need a decent number of toys, especially those that get them moving outside. We also recommend investing in a puzzle toy or two. These will help your pup stay busy when you’re otherwise occupied.

Also, a good leash and collar is a must. These are big dogs! A strong leash is needed to keep them safe and secure.

Final Thoughts

The Bernedoodle is a huge, lovable dog that can make a great companion to the right family.

It is important to ensure that you have enough room for this dog to run, however. They do not do well in apartments due to their large size.