The Sheepadoodle is part goofy, part graceful, and all giggles. Learn more about this hybrid dog’s history, grooming needs, and trainability.
Quick Facts ✔
Height – Under 38cm (Toy/Micro), 38-45cm (Mini), 45-55cm (Medium), 55-70cm (Standard)
Weight – 8-12kg (Toy), 12-15kg (Mini), 15-25kg (Medium), 25-40kg (Standard)
Lifespan – 12-15 years, with smaller varieties up to 16 years
Country of origin – Unknown, likely USA
Breed type – Hybrid
- Active families
- Owners looking for a hypoallergenic dog
- Apartment living (for smaller Sheepadoodles)
Sheepadoodle Breed History ♜
Like many of the hybrid doggos in our midst, the Sheepadoodle doesn’t have a long historical record. Breeders started to offer up these little doodles around the early 1990s, when Poodle hybrids were all the rage.
And, while there are rumours that this dog was once part of a 1960s US military campaign to create a new breed for the army, there’s no official documentation to verify the fact. In all likelihood, the US military isn’t keeping the secret locked up in the Pentagon, but rather that they didn’t have anything to do with the breed. They’re more interested in German Shepherds and Belgain Malinois, so we’ve heard!
Still, when the Sheepadoodle came about during the last decade of the 20th century, this breed was instantly successful. Early versions of the Sheepadoodle were typically the result of a crossing between Standard Poodles and Old English Sheepdogs as these puppers were closer in size. But in short order, smaller and smaller Sheepadoodles came onto the scene.
As with all hybrid breeds, there isn’t universal recognition of the Sheepadoodle by canine clubs. The Australian Kennel Club does not recognize the breed, and you won’t find them in the Westminster Dog Show. Still, they’ve won the hearts of families around the world!
Sheepadoodle Varieties, Explained
Part of what makes hybrid breeds like the Sheepadoodle so difficult to recognise officially is the diversity within the group. F1, F1BB, F2B—learning the different generations of Sheepadoodle is like speaking another language!
But, let’s try to make sense of it all:
The letter “F” stands for filial hybrid. Basically, it’s the term used to describe Sheepadoodles because they are not purebred. Any Sheepadoodle you come across is going to be F-something.
The number, as you probably guessed, refers to generation. An F1 Sheepadoodle comes from a purebred Old English Sheepdog and a purebred Poodle (usually Standard.) F2 Sheepadoodles come from the crossing of two Sheepadoodles, and so on.
You might assume that an F1 Sheepadoodle is the most desirable generation. But that’s actually not the case! This generation is surely full of a wonderful bunch of puppies, but their coat type is less predictable than later generations. Especially for families looking for a hypoallergenic dog, an F1 Sheepadoodle might not be the safest choice.
Now, how about that tricky B or BB that you can see in some Sheepadoodles? The B stands for back-breeding, and it means that another purebred has been crossed with a Sheepadoodle. This is often the case when a breeder is looking to stabilise the coat type of the next generation. And, it’s also why you can assume that Sheepadoodles with the B label have a higher percentage of Poodle.
Clearly, the actual genetics of Sheepadoodles is complicated, and we haven’t even talked about the different sizes! But, knowing more about your dog’s parent breed history can help to predict your doggo’s personality and coat type.
Personality Traits ★
As is the case with all hybrid dogs, the Sheepadoodle’s personality is a little bit Poodle, a little bit Old English Sheepdog, and a little bit uniquely Sheepadoodle. It’s helpful to take a look at the personalities of the parent breeds and how they tend to present themselves in the Sheepadoodle.
Let’s start with the Poodle. Poodles are highly intelligent, determined dogs with a history of waterfowl hunting. Because of their gorgeous locks and proud stance, the Poodle is often misjudged as delicate, but this couldn’t be farther from the truth.
In reality, Poodles are strong-willed, confident, hard-working dogs. They need mental stimulation to be happy and well-mannered. Poodles also have a playful side that goes against their perfectly manicured doggy look. They love to play and are especially fun to watch as they splash around in puddles, ponds, and really whatever body of water in sight.
Poodles are pretty open to making new furry friends, whether they’re other dogs or cats. And as long as they’re getting enough exercise to manage their excitement levels, they tend to be patient and gentle with children.
How about the Old English Sheepdog? Well, you’d be hard-pressed to find a dog with a better attitude. OES dogs love life, and they make friends wherever they go.
Like the Poodle, this dog was originally a working dog, but instead of hunting, they’re job was to herd sheep or cattle from the fields into town. This gave them a resilient and steady disposition. They know how to stay focused when duty calls, but when they’re off duty, they’re all goofiness and games.
Old English Sheepdogs are also a smart dog breed who can get along with children and other pets. Because of their herding instincts, they need appropriate outlets to satisfy their working mentality. Otherwise, they may be overly controlling of children’s play.
As you can see, Poodles and Old English Sheepdogs both have high intelligence, great social skills, and a family attitude. And the Sheepadoodle carries on these lovable traits. Because they’ve been bred primarily to be companion animals, these dogs make wonderful therapy dogs as well.
Sheepadoodles may be even less comfortable with alone time than their working dog parents. They really want to be in the same room as their favourite humans or in the care of a dedicated Pet Sitter.
And when we say in the same room, what we really mean is in your personal bubble. Sheepadoodles are known to be big cuddlers, and are likely to want a space on the couch for movie nights. Given how large these dogs can be, having one is like having a real life teddy bear in the house.
Sheepadoodle Trainability & Training Tips
You might think that a puppy this wiggly would be hard to train. And to be sure, their high energy levels and goofy attitudes can be a challenge to reign in. And, thanks to their background as herding dogs, they also have a bit of an independent streak. But, with their intelligence and eagerness to please, training is absolutely doodle-able!
Here are a few tips to make training a Sheepadoodle easier:
- Build your bond through playtime. While both Poodles and OES dogs were bred to do some of the work on their own, they were still accustomed to following the lead of their Owner. So, to get a Sheepadoodle on board with training, the first thing to do is build a training relationship. For a playful dog like the Sheepadoodle, this should be a pretty fun task for both dog and Owner!
- Get plenty of socialisation. Sheepadoodles tend to be friendly doggos, but that doesn’t mean that they should skip socialisation. From the time they’re puppies, it’s important for these dogs to meet a variety of people and animals so that they learn not to get over excited when meeting new friends.
- Keep your training sessions engaging. High intelligence is great for training, but it can also mean that your dog gets bored easily. Keep them engaged with short and swift training sessions.
- Have plenty of treats. Under that mop of fur is one treat-loving pooch. Positive reinforcement training is excellent for a high spirited dog like this the Sheepadoodle, so keep treats on hand to reward good behaviour.
- Focus on good manners. Sheepadoodles are big dogs with little regard for personal space. And some of their natural tendencies, like jumping up on people and herd-nipping, can be dangerous in adulthood. Take special care to train your Sheepadoodle to interact gently with people to prevent problems later on.
- Keep challenging your Sheepadoodle. Even though your trainable dog might learn tricks faster than most, that doesn’t mean that the training process is a one time deal. Instead, training for a Sheepadoodle should be a lifelong activity.
Living Conditions & Exercise Needs ⌂
Sheepadoodles have no problem spending an afternoon on the couch with their favourite human. But, these dogs are by no means low-energy.
To prevent some common behavioural issues in Sheepadoodles, such as digging and chewing, regular exercise is a must. These dogs need at least an hour of exercise per day (or about half that for the minis), and they’ll benefit from a varied schedule of activities to keep them engaged. Here are a few ways that Sheepadoodles love to get moving:
- Trips to the dog park. As super social dogs, Sheepadoodles love catching up with their furry friends at the dog park.
- Swimming. We’re giving you fair warning on this one: if your Sheepadoodle sees a body of water, they’re going to jump in it. These Poodle descendents adore water activities, and they’ll get a great workout for as long as you let them loose to splash around.
- Running/Jogging. They’ve got the athleticism to keep up with your daily jog, but are Sheepadoodles the best running partners? It might be tricky if they’ve got a strong sense of the OES dog herding instinct. But, you can turn your dog into a running partner with some additional training.
- Walking. Daily walks are a Sheepadoodle favourite, especially if you’re able to walk them in new areas so they enjoy a sense of adventure. Another way to make your Sheepadoodle’s walks more interesting is with the help of an experienced Dog Walker! Your Sheepadoodle will love to have another friend to explore the neighbourhood with.
- Agility training. Now, are Sheepadoodles going to be as quick and agile as a fierce competitor like a Border Collie? Maybe not. But, these hard-working dogs will bound their way through an agility course with dedication and heart!
No matter what kind of exercise your doodle loves, they’ll need a high-quality dog meal plan to keep them strong and energetic. Fresh dog food with a good balance of protein and dog-friendly veggies is recommended for this athletic doggo.
One final note about exercise: be mindful of your Sheepadoodle’s size. Mini and toy doodles still need daily exercise, but it doesn’t need to be as rigorous or lengthy unless your little doodle has a lot of energy.
When it comes to living conditions, a large Sheepadoodle will surely love a home with ample space and a backyard. But, even more important, they want to be close to their favourite human. If you work from home, make sure to set up a doggy bed in your home office.
Sheepadoodle Grooming ✄
Sheepadoodles come in three different coat types—Poodle, OES, or mixed—but most tend to fall towards the Poodle end of the spectrum.
For the Poodle coat, you’re looking at three at-home grooming sessions per week plus a trip to the groomers every 6 to 8 weeks. Your at-home sessions can include brushing your Sheepadoodle with a comb to break up any tangles in their tight curls. And, you might also bathe your Sheepadoodle between grooming sessions if you feel they’re dirty.
If your doodle is one of the OES or mixed-coat pups, you have a fuzzy undercoat to contend with. Sheepadoodles with this coat type are not considered hypoallergenic, because they do shed some of that bottom layer of fluff. Deshedding tools are helpful for brushing this kind of coat. Like the Poodle-coated variety, Sheepadoodles with more OES-type coats should go to the groomers about every 6 weeks for a bath and a haircut.
For all Sheepadoodle coats, make sure that any washing sessions are finished off with a hairdryer. These dogs are prone to “hot spots” or areas on the body where bacterial infections can occur as a result of heat and moisture. And, in between trips to the groomers, you will want to have some grooming scissors on hand to keep the hair out of their eyes.
Beyond coat care, grooming for this dog includes regular teeth brushing, nail trimming, and checking their ears.
Sheepadoodle Health +
Like many hybrid dogs, Sheepadoodles tend to be slightly healthier than their parent breeds. And this doodle doesn’t have too many health concerns to worry about.
If they are big dogs, there is always a risk for canine bloat. And, they do sometimes suffer from hip and elbow dysplasia.
While we wouldn’t say that Sheepadoodles are necessarily accident-prone, their zest for life can sometimes land them at the vet’s office. Make sure that you get your dog on a trusted pet insurance plan for any unexpected trips to the vet!
Fun Fact about the Sheepadoodle ♥
With so many doodles in existence today, it’s not surprising that eventually we’d get confused with some of the names. Take the Sheepadoodle and the Shepadoodle, for instance. Are they the same doggo?
No! Shepadoodles are a cross between German Shepherds and Poodles. And they’ve got a completely different personality and coat type than the star of this Dog Breed Corner!
Final Thoughts on the Sheepadoodle
Fun-loving, energetic and a real smartie of the dog world, it’s no wonder that Sheepadoodles are one of the most common doodle doggos out there. They’re great with kids, friendly with other animals, and complete cuddle-monsters with their loved ones.
Because they come in a variety of sizes, Sheepadoodles can be ideal for just about any lifestyle or living space. But, every size will come with higher-than-average grooming needs.
Life with a Sheepadoodle is all giggles, play, and plenty of cuddles.