11 Things to Know About Sheepadoodles
All images on this page are Sheepadoodles from Grace Wood Farm
Cute, fluffy, playful, loving, smart, fun - could the Sheepadoodle be the perfect dog? This breed is capturing the hearts of dog lovers more and more each day. Who could resist all this cuteness? It's like having your own cuddly living stuffed animal to snuggle and love!
The Sheepadoodle is a "designer dog" that is quickly becoming a tremendously popular and highly sought after breed. With exceptional intelligence & trainability, being as cute as a big teddy bear, and a personality full of love and kisses, the Sheepadoodle is our very favorite dog breed!
Want to know more about this adorable doggie? Here are 11 things you should know about Sheepadoodles before buying one.
1. What is a Sheepadoodle?
Sheepadoodles are a hybrid cross between a Poodle and an Old English Sheepdog. Drawing the best from both breeds creates a fantastic combination.
In recent years it has become increasingly popular to cross the Poodle with other breeds. By nature, Poodles have minimal possible shedding, making them low likelihood to trigger allergies and great indoor pets.
Link, our Standard Poodle sire
Fully grown Sheepadoodle from our farm
Poodles are one of the most highly intelligent dog breeds, known for being easy to train. They have a playful nature and are one of the friendliest dogs around. They are affectionate, loyal, sociable, and enjoy games. They are a low aggression breed and get along well with children and other animals.
But not everyone is looking for a Poodle as a pet, and they have carried a reputation as being more of a "prissy" or "frou-frou" breed due to fancy hair cuts and a history of aristocratic ownership.
For years the average American family was drawn to lovable breeds like the Golden Retriever and Labrador Retriever. But as anyone who's owned one of these breeds knows, these sweet doggies shed A LOT! Often their fur would end up in every crack and crevice of a home, and could be near impossible to keep up with cleaning. Additionally these dogs trigger allergies in humans, and if a family member suffers from a dog allergy these breeds were not an option.
In recent decades breeders began to search for a solution to these issues. Was there a breed that was a lovable, down-to-earth family pet that also was low shedding and trigger pet allergies? The solution came in the form of the "designer dog", a hybrid between a purebred Poodle and another family-friendly breed such as the Old English Sheepdog.
The Old English Sheepdog, referred to as an OES, has been a beloved and cherished breed for centuries. They are the most famous "shaggy dog", known for their huge, fluffy coats. They have a low-key and mellow temperament, and are natural people pleasers with a longing desire to make their people feel loved and happy. They love children, other animals, and always keep an eye on everything going on. They aren't yappy or prone to senselessly bark, but will bark at unknown noises or strangers, making them a great watch dog. Their playfulness, kindness, and sweet nature have people in love.
Sheepadoodles are bred to bring the best traits out of both breeds by selecting dams (mamas) and sires (daddies) with the best qualities from each breed. They inherit intelligence and easy trainability from both sides. They are often graced to inherit the kindness and mellow temperament from the OES. They also are bred to carry the minimal shedding and low allergy triggering coat from the Poodle. Sheepadoodles are friendly, loving, kind, and love to play.
Put all this together and what have you got? A breed that everyone is falling in love with!
Torrun, one of our OES mamas
2. How big do Sheepadoodles get?
Sheepadoodle from our farm
An average standard Sheepadoodle will be in the range of 50-85lbs, but can be as small as 45lbs and as large as 100lbs.
Mini Sheepadoodles are a cross between a Miniature Poodle and a standard OES or Sheepadoodle, making for a smaller version of this beloved pooch. Mini Sheepadoodles will be in a range of 30-50lbs. This size is sometimes more desirable for older folks who feel they don't want to handle a big doggie, or for families with young kids who don't want a giant fur baby.
3. How much do Sheepadoodles shed?
Sheepadoodle from our farm
Sheepadoodles are a minimally shedding dog. It is a misnomer to call any dog "non-shedding", as even a Poodle will still shed a very little bit and a 100% no shedding dog does not exist. But as Sheepadoodles are bred to inherit the minimal shedding from the Poodle, the Sheepadoodle is likely going to be as low shedding as possible.
This minimal shedding also makes them a low allergy triggering dog. Many people who suffer from pet dander allergies will find that their allergies aren't triggered around a Sheepadoodle. Some with very extreme allergies may still be triggered, and those allergic to dog drool may also experience allergies. But an average, non-extreme dog allergy can be avoided with a Sheepadoodle. We also breed F1b Sheepadoodles which are going to have the highest level of low allergy triggering traits to meet the needs of our doggie loves who suffer from allergies.
4. What is the Sheepadoodle's temperament & personality?
When the proper Poodle and Old English Sheepdog parents are selected to breed for ideal temperament like we do here at Grace Wood Farm, the result is a fantastic personality in the Sheepadoodle offspring. Sheepadoodles often have a relaxed and calm demeanor. They are friendly with children and other animals, making them fantastic family pets.
Our Sheepadoodles love kids!
They are obedient, easy to train, and love to please their family, making them a wonderful addition to the family. They are a highly social dog and will love to be around their people all the time. We do not recommend that they be left alone without socialization for extended time periods, as this breed needs to be around people and loved. If you work long hours and there is no one home for many extended hours per day 5 days a week, the Sheepadoodle is not the right fit for you. This highly social breed could develop anxiety, depression, and lead to destructive behavior if spending most of their time alone.
Sheepadoodles are often very cuddly, and will love to snuggle you or crawl up in your lap. Because they have such soft and fluffy fur, you will love your new snuggle buddy!
Snow from Grace Wood Farm
Our Sheepadoodles love snuggles!
Big, fluffy lap dogs
5. What are the colors and patterns of the Sheepadoodle's coat?
The variety of coat patterns of our Sheepadoodles in the same litter
Sheepadoodles are almost always born with a combination of black and white colors. As they get older the black often can fade to various shades of gray, a trait often inherited from the OES. It is also possible for some black spots to fade or "clear" to white over time and disappear entirely!
With some Sheepadoodles, their adult coat can vary greatly from how they looked as a puppy, while others keep their same puppy colors and pattern into adulthood. Some Sheepadoodles can be almost entirely black or entirely white, depending on the traits inherited from their parents. Coat patterns can include black markings in the form of tuxedo, abstract spots, polka-dots, patch eyes, parti faces, masks, and many unique markings. There's always a wide range of variety in each Sheepadoodle litter! It is also possible to have Sheepadoodles in shades or with touches of cream, brown, and red, although this is less common.
Mostly White & Black Coats
Sheepadoodle coats can range from straight to curly hair, and often there is a variety even within one litter. Some can have a coat very similar to the straight, fluffy hair of the OES, while others can have kinkier hair like a Poodle. On average a Sheepadoodle bred for optimum coat will have thick, wavy hair, giving them that stuffed animal cuteness that is hard to resist. F1b Sheepadoodles are more likely to have kinky or curly hair than F1's.
An average Sheepadoodle fluffy coat wave
6. What does the Sheepadoodle's coat maintenance look like?
Since Sheepadoodles are a mostly non-shedding dog, you are going to save yourself a TON of time in not having to clean up massive amounts of dog hair around the house. The trade off for this luxury is that the Sheepadoodle coat is going to require more maintenance than some other dog breeds. Sheepadoodles will need to be brushed at least once a week to prevent and remove any matting in their fur.
To keep an optimum coat you should plan on brushing 2-3 times a week, or even daily if you want your dog to look their best. We recommend using a combination of a de-matting brush and a regular hair brush to work through their entire coat.
Sheepadoodles will also need to be routinely groomed to keep their hair trimmed, neat, free from matting, keep their ears clean, and their nails trimmed. You can either learn to do this yourself, or as most people do you can take them into the groomer. Their ears also can get built up with dirt, moisture, and earwax, so they need to be regularly cleaned to prevent problems and discomfort to the doggie.
If you aren't ready to spend the time and money to keep them groomed, this might not be the right breed for you.
7. How are Sheepadoodles with kids & other animals?
By nature, Sheepadoodles love to play with kids and other animals. Because they look like a big, fluffy, stuffed animal, children often fall in love with these doggies. Don't be surprised if your kids find a new best friend in these sweet pups!
Because Old English Sheepdogs are bred to herd sheep, they can be a breed that can nip at children. Some Sheepadoodles can pick up this tendency. This is most common while they are still a puppy (under age 2), and is a trait that can be removed through proper training and reinforcement. Parents with young children should understand this propensity so they and their children can know what the puppy is doing and respond in a way to discourage the behavior. To better understand what a "nip" is, know that they aren't biting hard or to be aggressive or mean. Often it is just a herding tendency, and most often would happen when a child is running away from a group. The dog will gently nip at the child's clothes or hips, like a herding dog would do to encourage a sheep to return to the fold. Because Sheepadoodles have such a strong desire to please their people and receive positive affirmation, they should quickly learn that this behavior is discouraged if they do have this tendency, and with training they should quit the behavior out of their desire to make you happy.
One of the beauties of the Sheepadoodle's calm demeanor is they get along great with children and are very gentle with them. They often will take a child's rougher play with little to no reaction, and simply enjoy the attention they get. They also love playing games with kids and will enjoy burning off energy by running around and playing with their little humans.
Sheepadoodles also love to play with other dogs, and with proper socialization will enjoy going out in public and visiting doggie parks. They also appreciate having doggie siblings and will get along great with any dogs you already have. Most dogs actually do best when you have 2 or more in a home. By nature, they are pack animals, and having a doggie sibling will help them to not feel lonely or bored and often will keep them out of any troublesome behavior.
8. How long will Sheepadoodles live?
Sheepadoodles have a lifespan of 12-15 years, meaning they will be a loving member of the family for years to come.
9. How healthy are Sheepadoodles?
An additional benefit to properly bred Sheepadoodles is that the likelihood of health issues that may be more prone to the Poodle or Old English Sheepdog can be reduced through crossbreeding, which is often referred to as "hybrid vigor." Some breed's uncommon health problems can repeat through generations through negative recessive genes prone to the breed being passed on.
By crossing two healthy, purebred dogs from different breeds there is an increased likelihood that any negative recessive health issues will be eliminated. This doesn't mean they are impervious to health problems, and with advanced age, any dog can develop health issues. Regular vet visits combed with proper diet and exercise will help a Sheepadoodle have a maximized healthy life.
10. How active are Sheepadoodles?
Sheepadoodles are an active and playful breed. They require daily exercise, play, and activity to be a happy and healthy dog. A minimum of 30 minutes per day should be given to your Sheepadoodle to exercise through walks, playing, fetch, etc. When responsibly bred for temperament, they should not be a hyperactive breed prone to exasperate their owners. For most active families, the Sheepadoodle is the perfect level of activity to fit your lifestyle. Do you have kids? Your children and a Sheepadoodle will love actively playing together and wearing each other out, and you as a parent can enjoy them all sleeping soundly at night after a good vigorous playtime.
Sheepadoodles also by nature should enjoy water and swimming, although some dogs individual personality leads them to dislike water. Sheepadoodles will play hard, but they also love to crash hard. Don't be surprised for a Sheepadoodle to curl up for a nice hard nap around the house (or in your lap!) after play time.
11. How easy are Sheepadoodles to train?
When properly bred from the ideal parents, Sheepadoodles are by nature very intelligent and they long to please their people. They are quick learners, and with the right training and positive reinforcement they will pick up housebreaking and commands. We highly recommend every puppy go through doggie obedience classes, and often you as the owner are the ones that will learn the most from the classes! An understanding of best practice with dog training will set both you and your Sheepadoodle up for the best scenario to have a happy and positive human to doggie relationship.
Sheepadoodles can also be trained to bark at unknown strangers or unusual sounds, making them great watchdogs. Yet their gentle demeanor as a breed will help them with positive reinforcement to learn to still interact well with new people and animals. Sheepadoodles can easily learn commands and love positive reinforcement as they crave their people's approval. We've had dogs from our previous Sheepadoodle litters be trained by their new owners to be active in dog competitions, completing various tricks, obstacle courses, and complicated commands.
Check out this video of Snow, one of the Sheepadoodles from our farm in a competition:
Sheepadoodles are so smart, this mom trained her pup to talk to her through a sound board! If you've never seen this video, prepared to be surprised, we've never seen anything like it before!
Put all this together and you can see why we believe that Sheepadoodles are the best dogs around! The real question to ask yourself now is: why don't I have a Sheepadoodle yet?