Not to be confused with a Shepadoodle, the Sheepadoodle is not a pure dog breed and is a cross between a male Old English Sheepdog and a female Poodle. This breed is very popular because of their obedient, friendly and loving temperament. They are very easy to train and are kid friendly, making them the perfect family dog. Sheepadoodles love to exercise and are a very loyal companion to their owner. Read on below to see whether a Sheepadoodle is the right dog for you.
History Of The Sheepadoodle
Sheepadoodles are a fluffy breed that are a cross between male Old English Sheepdog and female Standard Poodle. They are known for not shedding their fur too much, which makes them perfect for those with allergies or who want a fur-free home.
Sheepadoodles are the product of an experiment conducted in the 1960s by the US Army to see if they would make good military dogs. However, it wasn’t until 2007 that they started appearing as pets and their popularity has increased massively in recent years. A lot of the interest in these pups is down to many celebrities buying Sheepadoodles.
Because the Sheepadoodle is a cross breed, you can never be sure which characteristics you are going to get from each parent. Sheepadoodle puppies are normally born in litter sizes of five or six and can cost between $1,400 to $2,800 each.
By crossbreeding dogs, you can cherry pick the most beneficial characteristics from each breed and remove faults and less desirable traits in pure breeds. Read on below to see the characteristics of a Sheepadoodle.
The appearance of Sheepadoodles is very similar to a standard Poodle in regards to size and weight.
They have three color variations — black and white, all black and red white. However, due to them being a cross breed, they are prone to their coats fading to an Old English Sheepdog gray.
Their coat is a single coat that is long and curly. They make great cuddle companions because their coat is so soft! Their coats are hypoallergenic which means they are great for allergy sufferers. They do need to be groomed often though, to avoid tangling and matting of the fur. Further on we will discuss how to groom your Sheepadoodle.
As we mentioned above, because the Sheepadoodle is a cross breed, you can never be sure which characteristics you are going to get from each parent. We can take a look at the common temperaments in both Old English Sheepdogs and Standard Poodles so you can get a feel for a Sheepadoodle’s temperament.
A Standard Poodle is a very intelligent dog. They adapt very well to family environments and do not really like being on their own. They are very active and were originally used for fowl hunting.
An Old English Sheepdog is also very active, making them great work dogs as well as family dogs. They are smart and and adaptable. They are also known for being gentle and incredibly loyal to their owners.
A Sheepadoodle dog is a mix of all these traits. Many owners report that their Sheepadoodle is calm tempered, playful and intelligent. Because they are so friendly and sociable, they make excellent family pets. However, this, along with their intelligence, can also cause destructive behavior if they are bored or do not get enough mental stimulation. They do not really like to be left alone and would prefer to be with you all day long! They are easy to train though, so you don’t need to worry about undesirable behaviors.
The life expectancy of a Sheepadoodle is anywhere between twelve to fifteen years. This is closer to the lifespan on an Old English Sheepdog rather than a Standard Poodle.
Known Health Issues
Like any dog, a Sheepadoodle is subject to certain health issues. Because they are a cross breed, you can’t be sure what your dog is going to be more susceptible to. However, there are some known common health problems in Sheepadoodles that are more likely to occur.
Hip dysplasia – this is when your Sheepadoodle’s hips weaken and become arthritic. They can be the result of abnormal development in the hips, especially in larger breeds where the body grows very quickly.
Elbow dysplasia – This is very similar to hip dysplasia except it occurs in the elbow. It can result in weak and arthritic elbows.
Cataracts – Cataracts are very common in Poodles and Poodles should undergo annual eye checks. You might suspect your dog has cataracts if they are constantly bumping into furniture. Cataracts can be cured with surgery.
Sebaceous Adenitis – This is a skin condition that humans can also suffer with. It involves the sebaceous glands becoming inflamed and eventually dying, which can result in fur loss, thick skin, musty odor and other skin infections.
Addison’s Disease – A common disease found in Poodles, this is when your dog’s body doesn’t produce enough cortisol, which is a vital hormone for daily functioning. The symptoms of it include excessive drinking and urinating, as well as increased heart rate and panting.
Canine Autoimmune Thyroiditis – This is when your dog has anti-thyroid anti-bodies in their body and leads to the deplete of the thyroid gland. Treatment is available through daily medication and it is essential to keep your dog alive.
Now you know about the Sheepadoodle temperament, it is time to look at what taking care of them is like. This includes their diet, exercise, grooming and training.
Food And Diet
Your sheepadoodle will require around 1300 calories a day while an adult, and 2100 calories while they are a puppy and still growing. Generally, the rule for an adult Sheepadoodle is 25 calories per lbs per day to keep their current weight maintained.
The manufacturer of the dog food your buy for your pup will give a guideline on the food packet as to how much of that particular food you should be feeding them. It is all based on the expected weight of your dog, which is around 60 lbs to 90 lbs for a Sheepadoodle.
A puppy’s meal should be split into four meals a day, so they do not overstretch their stomachs. From six months old, this can be split into two meals a day, which is how your dog will continue to eat for the rest of their life.
Remember not to overfeed your pup, because this can result in them becoming overweight. You should be able to tell if they are at the right weight because you should be able to see a waistline, feel the ribs and from a birds eye view, your dog should have an hourglass outline. It is also important to make sure they get enough exercise. Read on below to see the exercise requirements of Sheepadoodles.
While Sheepadoodles are active and large breed dogs, they shouldn’t be exercised more than a certain amount every day. Of course, these dogs require walking every day, but there are rules. When your Sheepadoodle is a puppy, you should remember the five minute rule. This means that per month of their age, they get a five minute walk. So, if your pup is five months old, they shouldn’t be walking for more than 25 minutes.
When your dog reaches 18 months, this is when you can start exercising them like an adult dog. At this life stage, they will need 60 minutes of walking a day. It has been said by experts that the first 12 months of life is where the skeletal system of your Sheepadoodle is most vulnerable, so be cautious as to not over-exercise them and cause damage to their bodies. The same goes for adult Sheepadoodles — once they have had their 60 minutes of exercise for the day, turn your attention to mental exercise and play games with them instead.
Sheepadoodles love to swim, too. This is fine, but too much swimming and contact with water will cause coat issues in the long run.
We touched on this above, but Sheepadoodles are great with families. They love children and love to play. They have a very friendly nature and are intelligent, as well as being calm tempered.
To ensure your Poodle mix displays positive behavior around people, especially young children, they will need to be socialized properly at a young age. We go into more detail about socializing your dog below.
Sheepadoodles are known for being easy to train, because they are very intelligent. However, you should always remember that positive reinforcement is going to make your life a lot easier when training any dog.
You want to reward your dog when they do something correctly or listen to a command. If you punish your dog while training, this can result in problematic and undesirable behaviors such as barking and aggression. This is why positive reinforcement and reward based training are so important. You can also ignore unwanted behaviors — such as scratching or digging around the house — by giving an alternative. You could give them some toys so they don’t scratch at the furniture, and then you are not having to discipline your dog or punish them.
One of the most important things you should do as a dog owner is socialize your pooch from a young age. This is not only going to make training much easier for you, but also your daily life. You should socialize your dogs with other dogs — of all shapes and sizes — as well as both adults and children. Sheepadoodles love people, so this shouldn’t be an issue.
Nonetheless, you should introduce them to people wearing hats, hooded sweatshirts and coats, as well as tall people, short people and children. You can also introduce them to farm animals where possible, such as sheep, as well as household items that make a noise such as the dishwasher, vacuum cleaner and washing machine.
All this socialising should be done in a safe environment, where your Sheepadoodle does not feel overwhelmed. Well socialized dogs are much less likely to exhibit undesirable behaviors such as aggression or barking, which stems from being fearful or anxious. You should always remember to watch out for your dog’s body language when meeting other people or dogs, so you can intervene before disaster happens.
The Sheepadoodle inherits most of it’s coat’s characteristics from it’s Poodle parent. While a Poodle’s coat is very curly, a Sheepadoodles will be just as thick but not quite as curly. This coat is hypoallergenic, making it great for those who have allergies. They do not shed as the curly coat traps the hair, so your house will be relatively hair-free.
Unfortunately, it still requires a lot of grooming. This is to prevent knots and tangles from forming. You should brush your doggie 2-3 times a week as a minimum, but daily brushing is better to keep them in the best shape. A lot of large dogs with thick coats have their fur clipped every 8-12 weeks to keep it at a manageable length. You can do this with your Sheepadoodle too, if needed.
You should also regularly clean and check your Sheepadoodle’s ears to prevent from ear infections. Teeth brushing and nail clipping is also frequently required, although this can be done by a professional groomer.
How much do Sheepadoodles cost?
A Sheepadoodle puppy can cost anywhere between $1,400 to $2,800 each, depending on which breeder you get them from. It is important to remember that just because one breeder is more expensive than the other, this does not necessarily mean you are getting a better dog. You want to take a look at the way the breeder is raising them and treating them to see whether you want to buy from them.
A much cheaper way to get a Sheepadoodle is to rescue one from an animal shelter. There are lots of dogs in shelters who need homes, so you may be able to find an adult Sheepadoodle who wants to join your family!
What are some other Doodle breeds?
The other most popular Doodle mixed breeds today are Goldendoodles, Bernedoodles and Shepadoodles.
Goldendoodles are a cross between a Poodle and a Golden Retriever. They are smaller than Sheepadoodles but have many of the same characteristics.
Bernedoodles are a cross between a Poodle and a Bernese Mountain Dog. They are social, loyal and active. As a crossbreed, they can come in many different sizes just like the Sheepadoodle.
Shepadoodles are a cross between a Poodle and a German Shepherd. The names are almost the same but you shouldn’t confuse them with Sheepadoodles. These dogs can be much bigger than Sheepadoodles!
Sheepadoodles are excellent family dogs. A cross between a Standard Poodle and the Old English Sheepdog, they are loyal, sweet-natured and loving. Great with both children and adults, Sheepadoodles are intelligent animals that are easy to train. While they need good exercise they don’t need to be outside all the time, and can live up to 15 years. While grooming can be a hassle, the cuddles you can get out of your Sheepadoodle are worth it. Does a Sheepadoodle sound like the right pup for you?