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There are many “doodle” dogs around these days – Labradoodle, Goldendoodle, Aussiedoodle and more – all of which get their name because of the cross breeding with a Poodle, usually for a better quality of coat, or a slightly more intelligent dog.
The name Sheepadoodle may sound a little alarming at first, but this is another of those interesting poodle hybrids rather than some strange form of livestock.
They are a fairly new hybrid, but one that breeders are keen to promote and export. This is because they are seen as such a perfect mix – according to those breeding them anyway.
In this guide to Sheepadoodles we will look at the truth behind this idea that the Sheepadoodle (or Sheepapoo to some breeders) is the perfect mix with no problems at all. There are some great claims out there about their health, the Sheepadoodle life expectancy and their behavior. Many claim that training a Sheepadoodle and raising them in a family is a breeze.
However, these claims most often come from the breeders trying to sell them. Therefore a pinch of salt is required when taking their word as gospel.
In addition to looking at any potential temperament and health issues that may arise, we will consider the concerns over the true parentage of the dogs and the Sheepadoodle grooming needs. Here there is the confusion over the hypoallergenic, non-shedding coats that are promised.
Finally, we will compare the pros and cons of buying from breeders vs Sheepadoodle rescue.
Old English Sheepdog Poodle mix – Image Source
In its most basic of terms, this Sheepadoodle is an Old English Sheepdog Poodle mix.
However, as you will soon see below, it isn’t always that simple. There are two interesting parent breeds here. We have an old herding dog from England, with that trademark coat and large stature, and we have the Poodle, a working dog turned family dog with a big personality.
The Old English Sheepdog is a dog that has fallen out of popularity, despite its good nature. The Standard Poodle is more common, but often used to breed more desirable traits into another type of dog for a more appealing cross. Doodle mixes give owners the best Poodle traits with other benefits thrown in.
Here we have a curious mix that creates a larger doodle dog, with a familiar look to the coat and face and a strong build.
This is an important question because there is more than one type of Sheepapoo mix out there.
The dog above is the standard mix, with genes from the Sheepdog and the Standard Poodle in a fairly even split. Then there are those that are either naturally smaller, or have a stronger leaning towards the Poodle.
The mini Sheepadoodle, is a dog between 16 – 19 inches in height and under 55 in weight. Here the Miniature Poodle may be in use with a Sheepdog, or a Poodle with another miniature Sheepadoodle.
There is then the micro version, at 13-16 inches and under 35 pounds, with the mix of a mini Sheepadoodle with a small Moyen poodle. This means that there is a little more Poodle than Sheepdog in the genes, which could affect their temperament.
Also some create what is known as a “small standard”, which is generally 19.5 – 20.5 inches high and under 65 lbs. This just occurs with Sheepdogs and Poodles that are simply undersized. With such variation, it is important to know precisely what type a local breeder has for sale, and how they are breeding them.
The Sheepadoodle pictures that are available highlight a surprising amount of similarity between the animals.
They share the same well-proportioned body with a muscular look and the face that immediately shows that this is a doodle breed.
There is a cute look to this hybrid that is a cross between a doodle-type dog and the Old English Sheepdog. The poodle features are less apparent until we get to the coat. On that note, there is also a sense of uniformity in the colors of these animals. There are many black and white dog with markings in various places, sometimes mimicking the pattern of the Sheepdog. This appears to be the dominant trend here, but there is the potential for grey patterns, and a darker black.
sheepadoodle dog – Image Source
There is often some confusion over the issue of the Sheepadoodle shedding. There is the assumption that they will not because they are a “doodle”, and because they a classed as a hypoallergenic breed. Also, there are some breeders that wrongly claim “100% non-shedding” in their adverts.
Like all dogs, they will shed some hair and this doodle does shed more than a Goldendoodle or Labradoodle. Still, the effect is still minimal compared to some other dogs.
It is also important to remember that this is a dog with a coat of curly, long, soft hair that requires regular brushing and maintenance for the best look and a tangle free coat. Regular clipping also helps to keep them at their best, so it pays to train pups to handle grooming and clippers from a young age.
There is more about training issues further on.
Reports from breeders, owners and others that are familiar with the cross don’t highlight any major health concerns. There is the sense here that any issues from the parents were either bred out or have disappeared through what is known as “hybrid vigour”. In addition to this, there is the long Sheepadoodle lifespan. These dogs have a life expectancy of around 12 to 15 years, which is about average for larger breeds and slightly above average for the Poodle and the Old English Sheepdog. This may be a pretty healthy, fit breed without many health problems or other concerns, but they still need a strong regime of diet and exercise. This will help to keep them in shape and ensure that they don’t develop illnesses down the line.
You are sure to read guides that mention that this animal isn’t as active as other doodles – notably the more athletic Labradoodle. Yet, it still needs a good walk and plenty of play time. Play time is also important for maintaining that bond between the family and the pup and keeping his brain active. This is a smart animal and you don’t want him to get bored. The diet is fairly simple: 2.5 to 3 cups of dry dog food each day and some treats for good behaviour. This all means that the home life of a Sheepadoodle dog is fairly straightforward. They do require enough space to be content, but not as much as some other dogs. They are also fairly happy to be left alone for short periods in the home if needed.
It was mentioned above that breeders have nothing but praise for the personality and behaviour of this dog.
As a result, they are viewed as the ideal family friendly dog with no negative behaviour traits to worry about. Reports of bad behaviour are minimal. For a dog with two parents with the potential for barking, this is a surprisingly quiet breed. They have few issues with separation despite their devotion to the family. Also, they are too gentle for high spirited, disruptive behaviour.
The apparent exception to the rule here is that there are some pups that are pretty mouthy with play biting. Otherwise, Sheepadoodle puppies are one of more loyal, people-oriented hybrids that gets on pretty well with children and other pets. There is a playful energetic side that means they make great companions on family trips. Still, this balances nicely with the gentle, friendly side, so they are rarely boisterous or overeager.
Training a Sheepadoodle puppy should be pretty straight forward, as long as owners work with them from a young age to get the best out of them. They have the non-dominant, keen nature of the Sheepdog coupled with the intelligence of the Poodle. Border Collies used to be seen as the smart Sheepdog, but these crosses aren’t far behind.
Those that do have issues – either with the play biting or simply because they are with a first time owner – should succeed with the Doggy Dan the online dog trainer e-book.
Here you will find clear step-by-step instruction on all elements of training in an easy-to-follow solution. Those that do well with their dogs may find that they also go to prove themselves as guidance or service dogs. This gentle side is perfect in therapy dog situations, although the Miniature Sheepadoodle may be preferred.
There are a number of breeders out there that specialize in these dogs, to varying degrees.
On one hand, there are those that work hard to create generations of these doodles from strong breeding stock. These high end breeders are the ones that work with each of the four sizes for a variation of puppies and options. These breeders should know what they are doing, but there are still concerns over welfare and their main aims. Is this a business for high profits, or one with the welfare of the animal as a priority?
Then there are those lesser breeders with a Sheepdog and a Poodle that may want to try themselves and offer Sheepadoodle puppies for sale.
Also take the time to learn about the parents. This will provide an idea of whether it is a straight Poodle/Sheepdog cross or if a smaller Poodle or Mini Sheepadoodle parent is involved. This will provide an idea on the likely size of the animal as it grows. There is sure to be difference in Sheepadoodle cost here, and cost can depend on the breeding, the availability and the individual business. Beware of those with cheap deal or rare colors that aren’t actually rare at all.
Sheepdog and Poodle mix – Image Source
Because there are so many risks involved in getting a pup from a breeder, there are many hopeful owners that will prefer to get a rescue animal.
Some shelters may have one of these hybrids in need of a good home. This is a great way to get a Sheepadoodle full grown, rather than a puppy, and the costs will be greatly reduced. However, it may be a little more difficult to tell the precise parentage with a rescue.
Hopefully this Sheepadoodle information has provided some clarity over some of the questions about this breed.
While it is clear that some breeders are over-exaggerating when it comes to the perfect nature of these animals, they are still a great dog. Don’t get caught up with the talk on a non-shedding, perfectly behaved dog and make sure to get a better idea of the true parentage to understand their size. Still, there is no doubt that this low-shedding, good-natured animal is a good family pet with minimal concerns.
Image Source: Instagram/ladythesheepadoodle
If you are looking for a gentle, cute dog of a medium build with the hypoallergenic coat and intelligence of a Poodle, this Poodle Sheepdog mix is a great option.
They may have greater grooming needs and a bigger build than other doodles, but they are sweet, loyal animals that train well and have few health issues.
Families that can dedicate the time to taking care of this cross, and raise them well, should soon understand why breeders and current owners are so in love with them.
Featured Image: Instagram/_lifeaccordingtolola_
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