Sheepadoodle

Table of Contents

Origin and History of the Sheepadoodle

Sheepadoodles are a Doodle designer breed that is a cross of a Poodle and an Old English Sheepdog. Contrary to many other designer breeds, Sheepadoodles have actually been around for some time already! The first accounts of them are from the 1960s when the US Army bred Standard Poodles to Old English Sheepdogs as an experiment for developing a new breed.

The term “Doodle” and their use as family dogs became popular in the 1990s. Since then, Sheepadoodles have made many dog owners fall in love with the loving nature and loyal character of the breed.

Let’s look at the ancestors of the Sheepadoodle to better understand his temperament and character:

black standard poodle

Poodles

Poodles were bred in Europe – specifically Germany – as water retrievers. They are known as fragile show dogs that need to be brushed and bathed daily, but make no mistake: Poodles once were hardworking waterdogs!

They have become increasingly popular in a wide range of mixed breeds, as they lend their low-shedding qualities to their off-springs coat. By crossing them with other breeds, you can combine the sought-after low-shedding trait with other dogs’ personality – such as, in the case of the Sheepadoodle, with Old English Shepherd.

Old English Shepherds

Old English Shepherds originated as a pastoral dog in England. Like all former working dogs, Old English Shepherds were originally not bred to fulfill a certain aesthetic standard, but solely for working ability.

A variety of different breeds were used to created today’s Old English Sheepdog, among them the Bearded Collie and the Russian Owtchar.

Being used as farm and herding dogs, OES are watchful, courageous, intelligent and have a loud bark.

They are medium to large dogs – males can reach up to 24 inches at the shoulder and weigh upwards of 60lbs. Females can be considerably smaller, with the more petites ones only standing 20 inches at the shoulder and weighing 40lbs.

Appearance of the Sheepadoodle

Being a mixed breed, it is impossible to accurately predict the Sheepadoodle’s look. Especially in first generation crosses there is a lot of variation – some dogs might look more like their Poodle parent, while others take after the OES.

Most dogs grow tall with 20-26 inches at the shoulder and weight between 40 and 90 lbs.

There might be some variation if the Poodle parent of your Sheepadoodle was a smaller Poodle (a miniature or toy Poodle) – then you might have what’s known as a Mini-Sheepadoodle, which stay fairly small with a weight under 40lbs.

Do Sheepadoodles Shed?

Many owners decide for a Poodle cross because they want a non-shedding dog. 

It is important to realize that there is no guarantee that your Sheepadoodle will not shed at all. Chances are that he will shed minimally, however as for any cross between two breeds, it is impossible to accurately predict the exact outcome of the mix.

Your Sheepadoodle will require regular grooming and brushing even if he does not shed at all.

Many Doodle owners make the mistake of thinking that because their dog doesn’t shed, no grooming effort is needed. This could not be farther from the truth. Your Sheepadoodle’s coat will mat if you do not brush and bathe him regularly. 

Mats in the coat can even develop into painful hotspots and cause infections and rashes for your dog. Grooming is not just for beauty – it is necessary for your dog’s health!

If you do not want to commit to grooming your Sheepadoodle yourself, find a local groomer to help with bathing and trimming him. 

Temperament

The Sheepadoodle is loyal and committed companion to his owners. He loves to be around his people and spend time with them. Sheepadoodles are great with children and often become a best friend to a family’s little ones.

Due to the fact that OES were bred to be in part guard dogs, Sheepadoodles can be aloof or even aggressive with strangers if they are not properly socialized as young dogs. They have a loud bark and will let you know if someone approaches your house and property! If you live in an apartment, the Sheepadoodle’s watchfulness might not be a good fit for you. 

Sheepadoodles can have a lot of prey drive and might not be the best fit for families with small pets such as cats, guinea pigs or toy dogs. Sheepadoodles will hunt anything small.

While Sheepadoodles enjoy being active with their owners, they usually settle down quite a bit after their puppy stage. Other breeds of Doodles can be high-strung for most of their life, after the Sheepadoodle reaches adulthood he will appreciate calm afternoons on the couch with you.

That doesn’t mean that your Sheepadoodle doesn’t enjoy learning – in fact, they are highly intelligent dogs that will love to train with you if you want to teach tricks or even try out dog sports such as agility or nosework.

sheepadoodle

Do Sheepadoodles bark a lot?

Sheepadoodles are not inherently barky dogs. They tend to be quiet during the day and not use their voice too much. When playing with other dogs, they also do not bark a lot.

However, they can develop suspicion of strangers if not properly socialized and can start to bark extensively at people passing your home or other dog owners walking their dogs. If you live in a busy area or have close neighbors, you need to make sure to start socializing your dog already as a young puppy to avoid this “alert barking”. 

Sheepadoodles – like all dogs with guard instincts – can bark for hours once they get into the habit of it. It is crucial to pay attention to your dog’s barking and address it as soon as possible through training.

Are Sheepadoodles chewers?

Like all Doodles, Sheepadoodles enjoy chewing very much. Poodles are retrievers and as such were bred and born to use their mouth to work! Especially as puppies Sheepadoodles need a variety of appropriate chew toys to satisfy their chewing desire. If you do not provide them with ample opportunities to chew, they will take out their chewing desire on furniture, shoes or even your walls … so make sure to prevent this!

Many Sheepadoodles chew long into their adult years. In my work as a dog trainer I have met many 5-10 year old Sheepadoodles that still needed their daily hour of chewing time to be satisfied. If you commit to a Sheepadoodle, make sure you are ready to provide your dog with daily chews, lifelong!

Training Your Sheepadoodle

Your Sheepadoodle puppy will not need any specialized training. However, since he will grow up to be a large dog you should make sure that he has basic manners, such as:

  • walking nicely on leash
  • greeting people politely
  • coming when called

Due to the tendency of the breed to be a bit stand-offish with strangers if not socialized properly, you should take care to provide plenty of positive exposure and experiences for your puppy and grown dog. You could take him along to dog-friendly patios, family get-togethers or attend group training classes. A Sheepadoodle can be a great family dog – if you make sure to train him well!

It is important to let the dog progress at his own speed when introducing him to other people and dogs – do not push your puppy into interactions, but let him choose himself when and how he wants to approach others.

Deciding on a Puppy

Ready to decide whether a Sheepadoodle is the right breed for you?

This breed will live for 12+ years, so it is important to only commit to a puppy if you are 100% sure that you really want to share your life with him. Sheepadoodles are not dogs that are happy in a kennel or crate for hours on end – they want to have an active part in your life and be included in your day-to-day activities. 

If you are unsure about whether a Sheepadoodle is really the right fit for you, you should try to meet some in person. Many cities have Doodle Meetup Groups that will welcome any newcomer and be glad to share their experiences!

A Sheepadoodle is not the right dog for you if:

A Sheepadoodle is the right dog for you if:

black and white sheepadoodle puppy

Finding your  Puppy Breeder

Ready to decide for a Sheepadoodle? Then you should look for a reputable breeder next.

Dog breeding is not as easy as simply pairing two cute parent dogs. A lot of knowledge, time, love and expenses goes into breeding long-living and healthy dogs with great temperament.

Unfortunately, over the last decade many irresponsible breeders have started to produce and sell puppies for profit only. These puppies will often have genetic conditions such as certain eye issues or hip dysplasia, and they are not raised with the sufficient enrichment needed to turn them into well-balanced dogs.

Hip dysplasia is the most common orthopedic issue in medium and large dog breeds. It is absolutely crucial that your puppy’s parents had their hips x-rayed and assessed by a veterinarian.

Do not settle for a breeder who tries to tell you that they know the hips are ok – it is not possible to pronounce a dog to be free of hip dysplasia unless the hips have been x-rayed.

When you are looking for your Sheepadoodle breeder, here are a couple things to watch out for:

Questions for your Breeder

How much is a Sheepadoodle Puppy?

Designer breeds are not cheap, and the Sheepadoodle is no exception to that rule. Even though Sheepadoodles cannot be registered through the AKC, they cost just as much or even more than a pure-bred pedigreed dog:

Poodles and OES can be upwards of $1,000; expect to pay between $1,000 and $3,000 for your Sheepadoodle puppy.

While this might seem like a high upfront cost, consider that your dog will live with your for 12+ years and bring you a lot of joy. Do not skip out on the purchase price or decide for a less reputable breeder because you want to choose the most affordable puppy.

Quite plainly: Sheepadoodles are not cheap dogs. If you decide for one, see the purchase price as an investment into a healthy and long-living companion.

sheepadoodle closeup

What Sheepadoodle Owners Say:

We decided on a Sheepadoodle after our neighbors got one the previous year. Seeing what a nice and easy-going dog this was, we knew that we wanted one with her temperament to join our family.
Our little Roscoe not only is everything we hoped for, but he actually become best friends with the neighbor's Doodle now as well!
The puppy time was not too difficult. He liked to (and still likes) to chew a lot but other than that training him has not been hard. He loves any kind of food so it is easy to get him to do his tricks!
Anna + Anton P.
First-time dog parents
Our Sheepadoodle Leonardo has been nothing but a joy. We flew to New York State to get him after doing a lot of research on breeders. He walked right into our home knowing it was his the day we brought him home!
He LOVES to cuddle. We have a good routine of going for walks, playing and training and every night I sit down with him and brush him while watching some TV. What surprised me about Leo is how quickly he learns. I didn't know that Sheepadoodles are that smart - but Leo graduated first in his puppy group class and is now in the advanced obedience at only 6 months old.
Margret T.
Leo's momma