Bernedoodles, like other poodle mixes, are often marketed as the perfect “designer dogs.” Breeders claim they don’t shed, that they’re hypoallergenic, and that they’re low-maintenance.
However, none of this is true. When you mix two dog breeds, you don’t get the best of each — you get an uncontrolled mixture of traits.
Some Bernedoodles will shed little, while others will shed heavily. Mixing these breeds can also make the puppies more difficult to groom. Bernedoodles aren’t hypoallergenic and they’re definitely not low-maintenance!
The reason these lies are so widespread is because most Bernedoodle breeders are puppy mills or backyard breeders. They care about profits, not the lives of dogs.
In this article, we’ll discuss what to expect from your pup, including whether Bernedoodles shed, what their fur is like, and how to groom them.
Bernedoodle Coat Characteristics
Bernedoodles Don’t Have a Standard Coat
The first thing to know about this mixed breed is that they don’t have standard coats. This means that the puppies’ fur in any litter will be unpredictable.
Your dog might have a curly, single coat like a poodle, or a long, double coat like a Bernese mountain dog. More likely, they’ll have a mix of both.
The problem here is that this mixture of coats can mean the coat mats more quickly than either parent breed, and requires more grooming to keep your dog healthy.
Even a single mat in the coat will tug on your dog’s skin each time they move, causing pain and potentially damaging the skin if left for too long.
A heavily-matted coat hurts dogs, and is also more likely to trap dirt and debris. Matted fur can be a good place for parasites like fleas to hide.
Unfortunately, many Doodle breeders recommend against taking puppies to the groomer for the first six months to a year. It’s unclear why they do this, as it will only cause the puppies to suffer!
It will also lead to worse behavior at the groomers, potentially getting in the way of their ability to be groomed.
If you have a Bernedoodle, brush them daily and bring them to the groomer every 4-6 weeks.
If you’ve yet to adopt, please know that almost all Doodles come from backyard breeders or puppy mills. Consider adopting a rescue pup or searching for a purebred dog from a reputable breeder instead.
Why Does My Bernedoodle Shed So Much?
As we discussed above, it’s a myth that Bernedoodles don’t shed. Poodles are low-shedding dogs, but they aren’t necessarily going to pass this trait down to their mixed-breed offspring.
Genetics are random, and there is no breed standard for mixed-breed dogs. This means your Bernedoodle is just as likely to take after their Bernese mountain dog parent.
Bernese mountain dogs shed very heavily. They have long, double coats that shed more than most breeds, all year round. During shedding season in the spring and fall, they shed even more.
Are Bernedoodles Hypoallergenic?
No, Bernedoodles aren’t hypoallergenic. To explain why, we first need to answer, are hypoallergenic dogs really a thing?
This is heavily debated in the dog world, and the answer seems to be no. Some people with dog allergies report worse allergy symptoms around low-shedding dogs.
Interestingly, some even say that they can be okay around one dog, but their allergies flare up around another of the same breed.
For this reason, I always recommend spending time with the exact dog you’re looking to adopt before you commit.
However, even if low-shedding dogs are better for your allergies, there’s no guarantee a Bernedoodle will be low-shed. It’s more likely that they’ll shed a lot, like their Bernese mountain dog parent, or that they’ll shed less than that but still more than a poodle due to mixed genetics.
How Do I Stop My Bernedoodle From Shedding?
You’ll never be able to stop your Bernedoodle from shedding, especially if they take after their Bernese mountain dog parent. This giant breed is one of the highest-shedding dogs out there!
However, there are things you can do to lessen the amount of shed fur you find around the house. These include:
- Brush your Bernedoodle daily with a brush recommended by your groomer.
- Use a deshedding brush if your dog is double-coated.
- Bathe your Bernedoodle with deshedding shampoo.
- Bring them to the groomer regularly, as they can usually remove more fur than you can at home!
How to Groom a Bernedoodle
Grooming any dog happens in multiple parts, and is more than just caring for their coat! The following steps will help to keep your Bernedoodle clean and healthy:
- Comb the coat daily, or as recommended by a professional groomer
- Brush the teeth daily
- Bathe them around once a month
- Clip the nails at least once monthly
- Clean the ears at least once monthly
- Visit a groomer once every 4-6 weeks for haircuts and other care if desired
Combing Your Bernedoodle
The brush you use for your Bernedoodle will depend on their fur type. I highly recommend seeing a professional groomer at least once, early in your dog’s life, to get recommendations. Using the wrong brush can leave stuck shed in the coat and may not prevent mats properly.
As a rule of thumb, you should comb your Bernedoodle daily unless told otherwise (by someone other than a Doodle breeder!).
While maintenance will depend on coat type, it’s better to brush too often than not often enough. Just make sure you aren’t removing too much of the undercoat with a deshedding brush.
Poodles must be combed daily, while Bernese mountain dogs can be brushed once a week outside of shedding season. During their shedding seasons, they should also be brushed daily. Your Bernedoodle might require either of these routines, or something in the middle, depending on coat type.
When brushing your Bernedoodle, comb all of the way to the skin, separating the fur into layers if needed. Also, take this time to look for any abnormalities in the coat or skin. If you notice anything unusual, contact your veterinarian.
Brushing Your Bernedoodle’s Teeth
Many of us are used to our dog’s having bad breath—but did you know that this is actually a sign of poor hygiene? Just like humans, Bernedoodles should have their teeth brushed daily and see a veterinarian for a professional cleaning once a year.
Be sure to desensitize your pup to having their mouth handled first, then desensitize them to the toothbrush.
Take this process slowly to set them up for success—after all, they’ll need their teeth brushed for the rest of their life, and you want them to have a positive association. Provide plenty of treats and praise for good behavior!
When you’re ready to brush your Bernedoodle’s teeth, choose a dog toothpaste. Remember that human toothpaste is toxic to dogs, and should never be used.
While you have their mouth open, look for signs of dental disease such as bad breath, rotting teeth, or red, swollen gums. See your veterinarian if you notice anything amiss.
Bathing Your Bernedoodle
Poodles and Bernese mountain dogs have different bathing routines, so use your best judgment when it comes to bath time! You should be able to tell if your pup needs a bath pretty easily.
They might smell bad, or their fur might look dull, dry, or greasy.
You don’t want to bathe your dog too often, as this can dry out its skin, but you don’t want a smelly pup either!
Poodles are typically bathed every four to six weeks, while Bernese mountain dogs can usually go a couple of months without a bath.
To avoid drying out their skin, use dog shampoo. Lather it down to the skin and rinse it thoroughly, leaving no soap suds behind—it can irritate the skin.
If you’d like, you can follow up with a dog conditioner or coconut oil to moisturize the fur and skin.
Dog groomers are always happy to bathe dogs in their care, so if you’d rather not bathe your dog, you can ask them to do it for an added fee.
Clipping Your Bernedoodle’s Nails
The most important part of clipping a dog’s nails is to learn where the quick is. The quick of the nail is located at the base, near the paw, and is filled with blood. If you cut into the quick, your dog will bleed and feel pain.
Using a sharp, clean pair of nail trimmers will help to avoid splintering of the nail, or infection if you do accidentally hit the quick.
Desensitizing your dog to having their paws handled by touching them during your everyday activities, such as snuggles on the couch, will also help the process go more smoothly. Start slow and work up over time, rewarding your dog along the way!
If you do cut into the quick of your dog’s nail, use flour or cornstarch to stop the bleeding. See a veterinarian if it doesn’t stop within a few minutes.
If you prefer not to cut your dog’s nails, you can ask your groomer to do it during your visits. Other options include teaching your dog to scratch at a filing board or using a nail Dremel.
Cleaning Your Bernedoodle’s Ears
Cleaning a Bernedoodle’s ears is super easy! All you need is a cleaning solution, like dog ear wash or baby oil, and whatever you choose to clean the ear with.
I typically use paper towels, but you can also use cotton pads, cotton balls, or q-tips.
Gently flip your dog’s ear onto the top of its head and clean the underside. Don’t stick anything into the ear canal—if you notice it’s dirty, contact your veterinarian to have the ears cleaned professionally.
Like with humans, sticking q-tips or other objects into the ear can push wax further inside. This may cause it to compact, or you could injure your dog’s ear drum.
While cleaning the ears, also look for signs of illness like redness, odor, abnormal discharge, or swelling. See your veterinarian if you notice any of these symptoms, as your dog might have an ear infection or other health problem.
Visiting the Groomer
Unless you’re keeping their fur long, your Bernedoodle should see a groomer every four to six weeks for a haircut.
Remember that a long coat will likely require daily maintenance, while a shorter cut can save you time. However, you’ll have to stay on top of the short cut to prevent matting.
Your groomer can also take care of other necessities, like bathing, trimming nails, and cleaning your dog’s ears. Some people choose to take their pup to the groomer regularly for these things, even if they keep the coat long.
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- The Atlantic, Available here: https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2022/09/hypoallergenic-dog-allergies/671439/
- VCA Animal Hospitals, Available here: https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/dental-disease-in-dogs
- VCA Animal Hospitals, Available here: https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/ear-infections-in-dogs-otitis-externa