Coat Type – Each Bernedoodle has a unique coat. Most have a wavy coat that sheds minimally, if at all. Many people with allergies to dog dander (i.e., those who experience sneezing and runny eyes) are not affected by a wavy-coated dog. Bernedoodles with a curly coat look similar to a Poodle and will not shed. While there are no guarantees, even if you have serious allergies to dander, you should do well with a curly-coated Bernedoodle.
We can often tell by the time a dog is a few weeks old what type of coat it will have, and can help match you to the best coat type for your situation. If you are allergic to dog saliva, and your skin breaks out in hives when licked by a dog, you will most likely be allergic to all Bernedoodles regardless of coat type. As for grooming, the curlier the dog’s coat, the harder it is to maintain. Since most Bernedoodles shed little, if at all, they need to be brushed regularly to prevent matting, and must be clipped every few months.
Coat Colors -Bernedoodles can come in many “base colors”. The traditional base color is Black, but base colors can also be Chocolate, Cream or Red. Following are common Bernedoodle coat colors and coat patterns:
- Tri-Color Bernedoodle – has the classic color and pattern of the Bernese Mountain Dog. It is the most desirable look for a Bernedoodle but also the hardest to produce.
- Sable-Color Bernedoodle – appear to have two-toned coats. Sable dogs change or lighten in color with age. The tips on the coat of a sable puppy can be either black or brown depending upon their color genetics. These tips will not be as visible on an adult, other than possibly showing on the tips of the ears or possibly on the legs.
- Bi-Color Bernedoodle – has the classic pattern of the Bernese Mountain Dog but missing the rust points on the legs and face. Bi-color Bernedoodles are stunning.
- Phantom-Color – The black and rust pattern of a Bernese Mountain Dog that has no white. Phantom can also be in Chocolate and tan/cream.
- Parti-Color – is not a color but a pattern that affects the pigment of the coat and changes it to white. A parti-colored dog is at least 50 percent white.
- Mis-Marked Bernedoodle – has markings that are atypical from the classic pattern, but just as eye-catching as all other Bernedoodles.
- Solid-Color Bernedoodle – has all the beauty of a Bernedoodle temperament in a stunning solid colored dog.
- Merle – a marbled pattern with darker spots or patches (either blue or red varieties).
- Brindle – a mixture of black, brown and tan; usually in a “tiger stripe” pattern.
Sizes – Bernedoodles come in different sizes, depending on the size of the parents and genetic factors. Females are usually smaller than males. At Wolf River Bernedoodles we breed the following sizes of dogs:
- Standard Bernedoodle – results from crossing a Standard Poodle or Doodle with a Bernese Mountain Dog and will generally be 50 lbs. or more, and measure around 23-29 inches at the shoulder. Most standards are in the 70-90 lb. range.
- Mini Bernedoodle – results from crossing a Miniature Poodle or Doodle with a Bernese Mountain Dog, generally weigh from 25-49 lbs. and be 18-22 inches at the shoulder.
Different Generations of Bernedoodles
- F1 – is a first generation cross, in which the pup is 50 percent Bernese Mountain Dog and 50 percent Poodle. The F1 cross is considered the healthiest, as the parents have the least likelihood of contributing genes for common inheritable diseases.
- F1b – is a backcross in which a Bernedoodle is bred with a poodle. The puppy is 25 percent Bernese, and 75 percent Poodle. F1b puppies are the most likely to be non-shedding and allergy-friendly. Some breeders have backcrossed a Bernedoodle with a Bernese, which results in a dog with more of the Bernese traits. I prefer not to breed this backcross as there is a greater likelihood of shedding.
- F2 – is a second-generation cross, in which an F1 Bernedoodle is crossed with another F1 Bernedoodle. If this is done for 7 generations a breeder could apply to register this dog as a purebred. The closer the generations come together the more consistency there will be in the lines, but the genetic problems of the purebreds are more likely to reappear, and hybrid vigor diminishes.
Health and Lifespan
The first Bernedoodles were bred in 2003 by Sherry Rupke of Swissridge Kennels in Ontario, Canada, so there is limited information about longevity and health concerns. At this point, we can only estimate an average lifespan: Standard Bernedoodles are predicted to live 12-15 years; and Mini Bernedoodles up to 17 years. Usually, the smaller the dog is, the longer it lives.
While Bernedoodles tend to be healthier than their parent breeds, they can still be prone to conditions such as hip and elbow dysplasia and certain eye problems. Skin problems, such as hot spots and allergies, are also seen in this mix. Like any other breed of dog, they may get cancer.
Genetic testing can reduce the risk of many diseases. At Wolf River Bernedoodles, we will perform a number of tests and provide evidence of the successful results. It’s important for prospective buyers to understand that breeders invest a great deal of money upfront in finding healthy breeding stock and doing the required testing. This investment is usually reflected in the higher cost of the puppy for the buyer. A higher upfront cost will most likely reduce vet bills down the road.