Bernedoodle Breed Photo

Bernedoodle

Bernedoodles are goofy, charming dogs who love to play outdoors just as much as they love to cuddle up on the couch. They’re the perfect family dog and have a special fondness for children. Plus, they inherit a nearly hypoallergenic coat from their poodle parent.
By Sierra Burgos
Updated April 17, 2021
Bernedoodle
Breed Group
Dog Size
Other Traits
Temperament

Bernedoodle

height
  • 23 - 29 inches
weight
  • 70 - 90 pounds
life span
  • 12 - 18 years
breed size
  • large (61-100 lbs.)
good with
  • children
  • families
  • dogs
temperament
  • gentle
  • friendly
  • outgoing
  • playful
intelligence
  • high
shedding amount
  • infrequent
exercise needs
  • high
energy level
  • active
barking level
  • when necessary
drool amount
  • low
breed group
  • hybrid
coat length/texture
  • long
  • curly
colors
  • brown / chocolate / liver
  • black
  • white
patterns
  • bicolor
  • tricolor
  • sable
  • brindle
  • tuxedo
  • merle
  • black and tan
other traits
  • hypoallergenic
  • requires lots of grooming
  • cold weather tolerant
  • strong loyalty tendencies
  • good hiking companion

The Bernedoodle, first introduced in 2003, is a cross between a Bernese mountain dog and a poodle. They were bred solely for companionship, so they love attention and lots of cuddles from their families. Bernedoodles are just as happy curling up on the couch as they are hiking a trail alongside their humans. They're playful and active dogs who can be willful as puppies but are highly trainable thanks to their big brains. 

Appearance 

Though Bernese mountain dogs have a black, tan, and white uniform, poodles can have a much wider range of coat colors. Because of this, Bernedoodles can vary in color. While they're typically tricolor like their mountain dog mom or dad, they can also be pure black, black and white, or a random mix. 

Their fur can also be curly like their poodle parent or straighter like a Bernese mountain dog. As a general rule, the straighter the coat, the more your Bernedoodle will shed. In both cases, the thickness of a Bernedoodle mane makes this breed suitable for colder temperatures. A curly Bernedoodle coat is typically sought-after because it's considered hypoallergenic. While no dog is 100-percent allergen-friendly, this breed's coat can be a good option for those who tend to sneeze, sniffle, or itch around dogs.  

Black, tan, and white Bernedoodle on dock
Because of their happy-go-lucky personalities, Bernedoodles are ideal family dogs. They're great for first-time pet parents, too!
| Credit: Katherine Jianas / Shutterstock

Because poodles can come in three sizes—toy, miniature, and standard—Bernedoodles can be different sizes, too. Bernedoodle breeders typically offer a tiny, miniature, and standard size, which allows for flexibility with the care and living needs of each pup. A smaller mix could easily live in an apartment as long as she gets plenty of walks and exercise. The standard Bernedoodle can reach up to 29 inches in height and weigh up to 90 pounds. A mini is between 18–22 inches tall and weighs 20–45 pounds. A "tiny," bred from a toy poodle, is only 12–17 inches and weighs 10–24 pounds, according to the United Bernedoodle Registry.

Temperament 

Affectionate and playful, Bernedoodles are a perfect family pet. They are especially fond of younger kids and provide a wonderful lifelong companion as children grow into adults. Though they're intelligent pups, they tend to be goofy and love attention from their humans.

Though they can't get enough of their family, Bernedoodles might first be apprehensive, sensitive, and skittish around strangers. As with all breeds, it's important to socialize your Bernedoodle puppy so she'll be comfortable and affectionate around new people, too. She can be very charming and charismatic with positive reinforcement training.

Black and white Bernedoodle standing in the snow
Bernese mountain dogs hail from the Swiss mountains. So no matter if a Bernedoodle's fur is curly or straight, these pups can do well in cold climates.
| Credit: TempleNick / Shutterstock

Sarah Hodgson, author, trainer, and applied behaviorist with the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, loves the Bernedoodle temperament. "As a trainer, I've been watching their star rise for over 10 years," she says. "What I love about this mix is that when you get a Bernedoodle from a mindful, responsible breeder, you get the sweet, mellow temperament of a Bernese blended with the sociability, smarts, and sense of humor of a poodle."

Living Needs 

Bernedoodles are the best of both worlds—they love to be active outdoors (think hiking, swimming, running, etc.), but they also love being your snuggle buddy. Personal space is not a part of their vocabulary, and they should not be left alone much. Loneliness can result in separation anxiety, which could cause nervous habits like whining or chewing. 

Black, tan, and white Berenedoodle laying in grass
These social pups shouldn't be left alone for extended periods of time. A lonely Bernedoodle can develop undesirable behaviors to keep herself entertained and just might dig up your yard.
| Credit: Reconciliation / Shutterstock

"[Bernedoodles] require lots of TLC, room to stretch their paws, and work," Adam Christman, DVM, says. "Give them a job to do ... going for walks, agility trials, or even placing a backpack on their back [can] help mimic a job. They will end feeling more fulfilled and have less anxious, OCD behaviors."

A mini- or tiny-size Bernedoodle can easily live in an apartment as long as they get frequent outdoor time and lots of attention. And no matter the size, this hybrid is especially gentle-natured and loves children. They're so gentle, in fact, they don't make good guard dogs: They bark infrequently and are more likely to befriend an intruder than scare them away.

Black, tan, and white Bernedoodle on white rug
Credit: Katherine Jianas / Shutterstock

Care

Most often, a Bernedoodle will have a wavy or curly coat that's ideal for those with allergies. In some cases, a Bernedoodle can have a straighter coat similar to that of a Bernese mountain dog. This means they'll shed more and might not agree with an owner who's allergic to pet dander. Once the litter is a few weeks old, a Bernedoodle breeder will be able to tell what kind of coat each puppy will have in order to match the right dog to the right owner.

But with that curly coat comes a greater need for grooming. Bernedoodles don't shed much, so they'll need frequent brushing to prevent painful matting. Most doodles love being brushed, and the routine allows the owner to bond with their dog. Keep in mind a very curly, "hypoallergenic" dog will need a haircut every few months. Just because they're low-shedding doesn't mean they're low maintenance!

Black, tan, and white Bernedoodle on grass
Brown and white Bernedoodle sitting in grass
Left: Bernedoodles can't get enough of their human BFFs. If you're going hiking, swimming, or just hanging out on the couch, they'll want to be by your side. | Credit: jcburke / Shutterstock
Right: Bernedoodles might not shed much, but that curly coat needs a lot of grooming—especially if they spend lots of time running around outside. | Credit: Cavan-Images / Shutterstock

Standard Bernedoodles do best with a fenced-in yard to run around and play in. They'll need daily walkies to burn off their energy, but so long as their physical needs are met, they likely won't turn to undesirable behaviors like digging to keep themselves entertained. They'll also need consistent social stimulation to reinforce positive behaviors. The more exposure they have to new pets and humans, the more likely they are to be well-behaved when introduced to a foreign person or situation.

A Bernedoodle's smarts makes her typically easy to train. It also means she can learn behaviors (good or bad) quickly—that's why it's important to keep up with training, even past her puppy days. Training a Bernedoodle requires positive reinforcement and, in some cases, a high level of patience. 

"While all [Bernedoodles] are responsive to training, they have their own unique personalities and are not as uniformly predictable as a fully purebred dog," Hodgson says. Should the puppy inherit the Bernese's willfullness or the poodle's high energy, they'll need more of your time and attention. "The training process can be somewhat of a hit or miss in that you're not sure if you'll get the intense focus of a poodle, or the more laid-back 'what's in it for me?' attitude of the [Bernese]," Hodgson says.

black and white Bernedoodle standing in yard
Credit: cburke / Shutterstock

Health 

The Bernedoodle lifespan is 12–18 years. Luckily, the hybrid breed does not inherit the same health risks as the Bernese mountain dog. The Bernese side of their lineage has a life expectancy of only seven years and a high rate of cancer, hip and elbow dysplasia, heart disease, and epilepsy. And while Bernedoodles are far healthier than a purebred Bernese, they can still be "predisposed to hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, ocular diseases, and some allergies," Christman says. "Overall, the Bernedoodle is a healthy breed and makes for a great family addition. Just be on the lookout for [warning signs like] excessive drooling and ability to gain some weight quickly."

Skin issues like hot spots can also be common in this mix due to their thick coats. Hot spots are primarily caused by excessive licking or chewing of an area. This is why it's so important to keep up with grooming—a Bernedoodle is more likely to pick at their skin when her coat is dirty and matted. 

History

Being a relatively new breed, the history book on Bernedoodles is a short one. After years of breeding Bernese mountain dogs, Sherry Rupke of SwissRidge Bernedoodles wanted a way to make the purebreds more allergen-friendly and free from the health issues that plague the breed. 

two Bernedoodle puppies on white bed
Bernedoodle puppies can inherit either poodle curls or the Bernese' straight locks. But the straighter their fur, the less allergen-friendly they might be.
| Credit: Jason Cameron / Getty

After successfully breeding goldendoodles, Rupke wondered if she could create a version of the Bernese that achieved the same health results. Thus, the Bernedoodle (or at least the first intentional pairing of a Bernese mountain dog and a poodle) was born in 2003. Now, dog owners everywhere have fallen in love with the loyal, loving breed that looks like a huggable teddy bear.

Fun Facts

  • Meet Timber, an Instagram famous mini Bernedoodle living her best life in the mountains of Colorado. She has more than 26,000 followers!
  • Actress and filmmaker Greta Gerwig reportedly takes her mini Bernedoodle, Wizard, everywhere with her. Both the Los Angeles Times and Vogue have given us a glimpse of Wizard’s devotion to her human.