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Your Pet, Our Passion.

Sheepadoodle

The Sheepadoodle is a great dog to be around and will no doubt charm everyone in the family with their smarts and good looks. The breeds that make up the Sheepadoodle are Old English Sheepdog and the Standard Poodle, two friendly and playful dogs that pass on plenty of their good traits to the Sheepadoodle puppy. The aim of this cross is to get an Old English Sheepdog type that doesn’t shed and includes the characteristics of the Poodle. Sometimes a Miniature Poodle is used to produce a smaller dog but this is rarer.

Depending on how they have been bred, there are varieties in size, shape, coat types and temperaments. In theory, the Sheepadoodle can be a first cross (with one Old English Sheepdog parent and one Poodle parent) or can be bred back to one of the original breeds or be two Sheepadoodles bred together.

In reality, this is a very rare cross (usually a first cross only), so there is slightly more consistency in size, shape and temperament. However, this depends on the breeder, so make sure you look out for those breeders that breed them responsibly and ensure all parents are health tested.

 

  • Dog suitable for owners with some experience
  • Some training required
  • Enjoys vigorous walks
  • Enjoys walking one to two hours a day
  • Large dog
  • Some drool
  • Requires grooming daily
  • Don't mind
  • Chatty and vocal dog
  • Guard dog. Barks and alerts
  • May require training to live with other pets
  • May require training to live with kids

Key Facts

Height: The height of a Sheepadoodle depends on the size of the parents used (especially the Poodle), so can vary widely from 40 to 64cm. If the Miniature Poodle is used, a dog as small as 36cm is possible. Old English Sheepdog - 56-61cm. Standard Poodle - Over 38cm (Miniature Poodle 28-38cm)
Colours:

The colour of a Sheepadoodle depends on the parents’ coats, but it’s usually a mixture of black and white. Old English Sheepdog - any shade of grey, grizzle or blue. Body and hindquarters of solid colour with or without white socks. Head, neck, forequarters and underbelly to be white. Poodle: All solid colours

UK Kennel Club Groups: Pastoral (Old English Sheepdog) and Utility (Poodle)

Ratings

Family-friendly: 5/5
Exercise needs: 4/5
Easy to train: 3/5
Tolerates being alone: 2/5
Likes other pets: 4/5
Energy level: 4/5
Grooming needs: 3/5
Shedding: 2/5
Dog standing in front of the house

Personality

Like most crossbreeds, the personality of a Sheepadoodle depends on the parents and how they have been bred and reared.

Old English Sheepdogs are a protective, intelligent, loving and watchful dog with an appealing personality who bonds closely to their owners. They enjoy being involved in all activities, but can become overly boisterous without training.

The Poodle is a lively, sociable and affectionate dog who is both intelligent and amusing, and makes a wonderful and fun companion. They love to be included in all family pursuits and can be good watch dogs, announcing visitors but never being aggressive. The Standard Poodle is still at heart a working dog and can easily be the start of your training class, your agility group or in the obedience ring. These are dog that will thrive with a job to do, especially if they can work with their owner.

While the personality of a Sheepadoodle can vary widely, the two breeds that make up this cross will usually produce a large, friendly dog who needs both space and company. However, they can become overly protective, but with early and ongoing socialisation, habituation and training, this trait can be easily tempered. It is important that they are bred from good temperament parents.

The personality of a Sheepadoodle seems to be more consistent when they are first crosses (F1). As a line is successively bred, they can be either bred back to one of the original breeds (and so strengthen either the Old English Sheepdog or the Poodle personalities - or breed to a smaller Poodle to reduce the size) or be bred to another Sheepadoodle in which case there is less predictability in temperament (and in-breeding becomes more of a potential issue).

Sheepadoodle running in field

History and Origins

Given the relative low numbers of Old English Sheepdogs and the breed club’s desire to protect the breed, the Sheepadoodle is an unusual crossbreed in the UK.

To understand more about the origin of the Sheepadoodle we need to look at the two breeds that go into its formation.

Old English Sheepdog

Country of Origin: England

This dog breed might make you think it’s got a short biography as its name, but the Old English Sheepdog moniker is a bit misleading. This breed of dogs is not that old, it’s only partially English and was used to move cattle and not work sheep!

The breed emerged in England in the mid-1700s and was most probably a cross between the native Bearded Collies with European breeds such as the Bergamasco or some of the Russian guardian breeds. Once developed in the UK, it found a home in the West Country where over the years, it became the breed we know today. It was also called the Bobtail because in the 18th century a tax exemption was granted to drover dogs, which helped drive the herds to market. A sheepdog would never be modified in this way as they need their tails for the fast, athletic turning that is essential to work sheep.

Old English Sheepdogs were excellent at this job because of their eagerness to work, their strength of body and mind, and their weather-resistant coats. The coats were sheared annually along with the sheep and the farmers’ wives spun the dog shearings as well as the sheep's wool into warm clothing.

Standard Poodle

Country of origin: Germany

The original Poodle is the Standard Poodle, a water retrieving dog. Their unusual haircuts were not about fashion, but rather a way for owners to make sure their dogs didn’t get waterlogged and become too heavy to swim easily in lakes. While keeping the vital organs and joints protected, much of the rest of their hair was shaved off.

The Sheepadoodle can have any combination of the two breeds in their appearance, behaviour and temperament.

Health and Common Issues

One aim with crossbreeds is to dilute or eliminate any inherited health issues that may exist within one or other of the breeds. This dilution or elimination is only likely if only one parent is the carrier of any particular condition, and where this is a first cross (F1). As this can’t always be guaranteed, all parents should be health tested prior to breeding:

Old English Sheepdog - eye test and hip scoring should be done plus there is a DNA test for Primary Ciliary Syskinesia which is also strongly recommended

Poodle - eye tests and hip scoring should be done

Information on health tests for both breeds can be found on the Kennel Club’s website and via their respective breed clubs.

Exercise Needs

It is difficult to predict the exercise needs of this cross, but you can usually expect a dog with moderate to high levels of activity. The Poodle is an active working dog who needs plenty of exercise, thrives on having a job to do, and loves training and exercising their busy brains. The Old English Sheepdog is calmer but still active and clownish - and of course he is a working dog at heart. As such, the Sheepadoodle will need 1-2 hours a day exercise but will also enjoy training, and time outside in the garden along with playing with their owner.

Old English Sheepdogs have huge coats and are designed to withstand the cold - and so they do not do well in the heat of the summer so exercising first thing in the morning and last thing at night when the sun is cooler may be necessary.

Take advice from both your breeder and your vet as to how much dog exercise they will need as they grow up.

Potential Issues

Plenty of early and ongoing dog socialisation is important in such a large breed. It is also important to build up their social skills in order to counteract any potential guarding issues that may come with the protective Old English Sheepdog temperament. 

Jumping up can be an issue and so polite greeting behaviour should be taught from puppyhood.

Space Requirements

The Sheepadoodle is a large active dog who needs a good-sized living space. Plus, they will also appreciate a large garden and access to the great outdoors.

Nutrition and Feeding

Large breed dogs, as well as having large appetites, benefit from a different balance of nutrients compared to smaller-breed dogs.

Your dog's diet needs to have the right balance of all the main nutrient groups including a constant supply of fresh water. It's important to conduct regular body condition scores to ensure you keep your dog in ideal shape and remember to feed him at least twice daily and in accordance with the dog feeding guidelines of his particular food.

Grooming Sheepadoodles

It is difficult to predict what kind of coat the Sheepadoodle is going to have, as they may inherit a profuse coat like the Old English or they may inherit the Poodle coat (or any mixtures of the two).

This means they may not shed or shed minimally if they inherit the Poodle coat, which means they will equire regular trimming. Or else they may take after their Old English Sheepdog parent and shed. Old English Sheepdogs are prone to matting unless the coat is extremely well looked after and groomed daily, and despite the Poodle influence, this is entirely possible in the Sheepadoodle.

Find a good local groomer who can either look after your Sheepadoodle’s coat or teach you how to do it yourself as their coat develops. They can be anything from medium maintenance to extremely high maintenance so be prepared for either!

Dog ear care is extremely important as Poodles can have problems with excessive hair inside the ears which can cause infections or sore ears.

Training the Sheepadoodle Dog

This is a large breed who will need dog training so you can walk them easily on a lead and ensure they will come back to you when you call them. They also need to learn not to jump up at people, or knock them over in their enthusiasm! The Sheepadoodle needs plenty of early and ongoing socialisation to ensure they are happy around people and other dogs.

Both breeds are clever and highly trainable. They will enjoy working with their owner and can excel in training classes.

The two breeds that go into the Sheepadoodle are very owner-oriented, and so training and handling should always be positive and reward-based. It is important to train a Sheepadoodle to enjoy handling and grooming (as they will need a lot of it).

Family Friendly Dog Breeds

If the Sheepadoodle is sourced from a reliable breeder who prioritises temperament and health, and is well-trained from puppyhood, they will make fabulous family dogs, be a joy to own and will get on with everyone.

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