In the past few decades, there has been a growth in demand for so-called hypoallergenic dog breeds.
Some breeders saw this as an opportunity and started mixing different purebred dogs to get the desired hypoallergenic trait.
But, are any of them completely hypoallergenic? And, is there such a thing at all?
In this article, we will focus on the Bernese Mountain Dog and Poodle mix, also known as the Bernedoodle.
With this mix, breeders hoped to combine the sweet, loveable personality of the Bernese Mountain Dog with the intelligence and non-shedding coat of the Poodle.
Fortunately, for dog lovers all around the world, they succeeded, and the dog we got is one of the sweetest, smartest, and in most cases, most allergy-friendly around.
However, you should know that Bernedoodles, like all the other Poodle mixed breeds, come in different generations.
How hypoallergenic a dog can be is greatly influenced by its generation.
Apart from this, the coat type and the amount of shedding are also key factors that determine how allergy-friendly or hypoallergenic a pup will be.
This can be somewhat overwhelming to understand at first glance, but don’t worry. We will go over all the terms we use here and explain them step by step.
For starters, let’s get a better understanding of what hypoallergenic actually means when it comes to dogs and other things in general.
What does hypoallergenic actually mean?
While the term hypoallergenic is nowadays mostly linked to dog breeds, the first time it was used was in the cosmetic industry in the 1950s.
The cosmetic companies of that time came up with this term to label a product that was less likely to trigger an allergic reaction in humans than some other cosmetic item.
So, the first thing you might deduce from this is that the hypoallergenic mark doesn’t guarantee that there will be no allergic reactions; it just states that they are less likely.
To further explain, a hypoallergenic product is one that contains few allergy-inducing substances known as allergens.
This means that if you see “hypoallergenic” on a skincare or a makeup label, the maker claims that this product causes fewer allergic reactions than others you might come across.
In no way does it mean that it is allergy-proof or even gentler for your skin.
As of yet, the United States government doesn’t have standards that products should meet in order to have a hypoallergenic mark on them.
Are there hypoallergenic dogs?
Even though the cosmetic industry was the first to incorporate the term into their products, hypoallergenic is often used to describe a dog breed that is less likely to trigger allergies in humans.
That being said, you must know that the American Kennel Club (AKC) states on their website that there is no such thing as a completely hypoallergenic dog.
So, you should go by this fact despite what you might hear from breeders or anything else you read online.
However, while no dog is 100% hypoallergenic, there are some breeds that are well suited for people suffering from dog-related allergies.
These dog breeds come with a predictable, and most of the time, non-shedding coat that produces less dander.
Now, what about Bernedoodles? How do they fit into all of this hypoallergenic talk?
It is important to remember that even though breeds such as Poodles are considered hypoallergenic, there is no such thing as a dog that is completely allergy-proof.
Since one of the Bernedoodles parents is a Poodle, it is easy to make a mistake thinking that they cannot cause allergic reactions in allergy sufferers.
But, there are some positive sides to Bernedoodles that people suffering from allergies might look forward to. So, let’s dive into them.
What causes dog-related allergies?
Although most people think that dog hair is the main culprit for allergies, that isn’t exactly true.
It is, in fact, the dander that catches on to the hair that is the main cause of allergic reactions in humans.
For those who are unsure of what this is, pet dander is composed of tiny, even microscopic flecks of skin shed by dogs, cats, birds, rodents, and other animals with fur or feathers.
It is actually these bits of skin that cause reactions in people who are specifically allergic to these triggers.
Different dog breeds produce different levels of dander. Some canines produce large amounts and have a coat that can be difficult to deal with.
Others, like hairless dog breeds, can be wiped daily to remove any dander on their skin.
While dog hair and pet dander are usually the biggest triggers when talking about dog allergies, people can also suffer from allergic reactions caused by saliva, urine, or allergens brought in from outside such as pollen.
What are the symptoms?
Before we go any further, it is important to point out that if you suspect you may have allergies to dogs and you want to learn more, you should speak to your doctor.
This article is in no way a replacement for medical or professional advice.
That being said, there are some potential symptoms that often manifest when it comes to dog-related allergies that you should watch out for.
If you are exposed to a dog or a cat and you do have an allergic reaction to either canines or felines, you may experience one or more of the following symptoms:
• Runny nose
• Itchy, red, watery eyes
• Itchy nose, throat, or roof of the mouth
• Nasal congestion
• Postnasal drip
• Frequent awakening
• Facial pressure and pain
• Swollen, blue-colored skin under your eyes
Bernedoodles up close
Since they are a fairly new dog breed, the information we have on them is limited.
But, with a closer look at their background and their parent breeds, we might be able to get to know these pooches a little bit better.
The Bernese Mountain Dog
These gentle giants often pass down their goofy, fun-loving personalities to their offspring.
As they were purposefully bred as farm dogs in the Swiss Alps, these pups are built for hard work. This explains their robust build and powerful muscles.
They can grow to 28 inches (71cm) in height and weigh as much as 115 pounds (52 kg).
Aside from excelling in herding, tracking, and agility, the Bernese Mountain Dog is completely dedicated to its family and is exceptionally loyal.
The downside of this sweet colossus is that it is a relatively short-lived breed with a life expectancy of just seven years.
But, throughout its lifespan, this pup will do anything to please its family and soak up all the love and attention it has been given.
You might already know that Poodles rank pretty high on the canine intelligence scale and that they are covered in a low- to non-shedding coat.
These, along with many others, are the main reasons why they are a popular choice for crossbreeding.
One more reason might be that behind their classy appearance, Poodles are fearless dogs that originated as water retrievers.
In addition, Poodles are quite playful and fun-loving. They enjoy outdoor adventures as much as any other canine, but can also be chill couch potatoes if needed.
They thrive in an active household where they can get plenty of mental and physical stimulation alongside lots of affection and attention.
Another reason why breeders love crossing these smart pups with other dog breeds is that they come in three sizes:
• The Standard Poodle – typically over 15 inches (38 cm) tall and can weigh as much as 55 pounds (25 kgs).
• The Miniature Poodle – this version can be between 10 and 15 inches (25 to 38 cm) tall and have a weight of between 12 and 15 pounds (5 to 7 kgs).
• The Toy Poodle – this is the smallest Poodle variety, and it is typically under 10 inches (25cm) in height with a weight of only 5 to 10 pounds (2 to 4 kgs).
What does a Bernedoodle look like?
If you are thinking about getting a hybrid dog, then you should keep in mind that no two crossbreeds are going to look the same. The same can be said for their temperament.
One question can be answered, though, and that is “how big can Bernedoodles get?”
Like their Poodle parents, Bernedoodles can also come in three sizes. Therefore, you can find:
• Tiny Bernedoodles
Arguably, the cutest of the three varieties is the Tiny or Toy version. It stands at 10 to 17 inches (25 to 43 cm) tall and weighs around 10 to 24 pounds (5 to 11 kgs).
The miniature version is around 18 to 22 inches in height (46 to 56 cm) and weighs 25 to 49 pounds (11 to 22 kg).
The biggest variety, or the Standard Bernedoodle, stands at 23 to 29 inches (58 to 74 cm) and can weigh anywhere between 70 and 90 pounds (32 to 41 kg).
Another thing you can be sure of is that by combining the bulkiness of a Bernese Mountain Dog with the soft, curly hair of a Poodle, a Bernedoodle will have a shaggy teddy-bear appearance that they are known and loved for.
These adorable pups usually come in four color variations:
• Black and brown
• Black and white
• Tricolor (a combination of black, brown, and white)
No matter what color they have, they will melt your heart, but the tricolor variety is the most preferred among Bernedoodle owners.
One of the reasons for this might be that the tricolor Bernedoodles closely resemble their Bernese Mountain Dog parents.
Do Bernedoodles shed?
One of the things that determine if a dog is hypoallergenic is how much it sheds. Even though dog hair is not the main cause of allergies, it does play a role in distributing allergens around the house.
In general, not much. However, a non-shedding Bernedoodle is not a blanket rule. There are scenarios in which a Bernedoodle might shed.
• Different generations of Bernedoodle are more or less likely to shed
• Different related breeds, like Australian Bernedoodles, shed differently
• Most Bernedoodles lose their puppy coat
Now, let’s take a closer look at some of the generations and types of Bernedoodles, and how much they shed.
Do F1 Bernedoodles shed?
The F1 stands for first-generation Bernedoodle, and it is a cross between a Poodle and a Bernese Mountain Dog. This is the one that is most often thought of among dog owners when Bernedoodles are mentioned.
An F1 Bernedoodle is a fifty-fifty split between a Bernese Mountain Dog and a Poodle. And, while Poodles are typically non-shedding, most Bernese Mountain Dogs tend to shed quite a lot.
The level of shedding in a Bernedoodle will be determined by the number of coat traits it inherits from its Poodle parent.
For instance, it is completely possible that an F1 Bernedoodle doesn’t shed at all, but it is also very common that it sheds frequently in great volume.
The coat type of an F1 Bernedoodle is the most influencing factor when trying to determine if your pup will shed. The most Poodle-like are curly coats, and they are the least likely to shed.
Do Mini Bernedoodles shed?
These pups are created by mixing a Bernese Mountain Dog and a Miniature Poodle, as we mentioned before. This means that they are still a first-generation mix.
As such, just like any other F1 Bernedoodle, they can either be non-shedding or they can shed quite a large amount of hair.
When it comes to the first-generation of mixed breeds, there really is no precise way of telling whether or not they will shed.
Do F1B Bernedoodles shed?
Now, for F1B Bernedoodles, things are a bit different. The B in their name stands for backcross, and it means that one of their parents is a Bernedoodle and the other is a Poodle.
With this mix, you get a dog that is 75% Poodle and around 25% Bernese Mountain Dog.
Because of this, F1B Bernedoodles are far less likely to shed than a first-generation Bernedoodle, or F1.
The increased proportion of Poodle genetics in the mix results in a higher likelihood of a low- to a non-shedding pooch.
Do Australian Bernedoodles shed?
There is a huge difference between Bernedoodles and Australian Bernedoodles. In fact, Australian Bernedoodles are a whole different crossbreed.
These pups are a mix of a Bernese Mountain Dog and the unique Australian Labradoodle, which tends to be non-shedding.
Like with any other crossbreed, the coat type dictates how much hair they shed, and most Australian Bernedoodles do not shed.
When do Bernedoodles shed their puppy coat?
Different types of Bernedoodles will have different kinds of puppy coats. That being said, a Bernedoodle puppy will typically lose its puppy coat at around eight or nine months of age.
You will notice the coat being lost by a short-term increase in the volume of hair you brush off their coat.
Which Bernedoodle coat sheds the most?
There are a few different types of coats that can be found on a Bernedoodle and each one has a different level of shedding.
The three most common types that you will find in this breed are the curly coat, the wavy coat, and the straight coat.
A curly-coated Bernedoodle will have a Poodle-like coat. These dogs are typically low shedders and are highly hypoallergenic.
Also, their curls are soft and not abrasive, just like the ones you can find on a Poodle.
Wavy-coated Bernedoodles have a slightly curly, but more of a wavy coat as the name suggests. These pups typically have straight hair on their face, furnishings, and muzzle.
Straight coat Bernedoodles have, you guessed it, a straight coat over their whole body. These flat-coated Bernedoodles, as they are also known as, might still have a slight mild curl or wave to them.
We mentioned furnishings, but some people might not know what they are. So, to clarify, furnishings are a dog’s facial hair!
The defining facial characteristics of Bernedoodles are their eyebrows, mustache, and muzzle hair.
Usually, if a Bernedoodle doesn’t have these furnishings, it will resemble the facial shape of their Berner ancestors.
Also, most of the time, Bernedoodles without furnishings tend to shed to a higher degree.
Which Bernedoodle coat sheds the least?
As we stated above, the type of coat your pup has will determine how much it sheds. But, which one sheds the least?
The general rule is that the more the coat resembles that of a Poodle, the less it will shed. So, the curly coat Bernedoodle will typically shed the least.
What about the other two? Let’s rank all three from the least shedding dog to the one that is most likely to be a high shedder:
1. Curly coat.
2. Wavy coat.
3. Straight coat.
So, if you are looking for a dog that doesn’t shed a lot of hair, you should stay away from the Straight Coat Bernedoodles.
You can still get away with a wavy-coated one, but your best bet would be to get the Curly-coated Bernedoodle pup.
However, you should know that low shedding does not mean low maintenance. Everything has pros and cons, so if you decide to get a low shedding Poodle mix breed, then you should be prepared for more grooming.
Which Bernedoodle coat is best for allergy sufferers?
Before you get all excited, we have to remind you that there is no dog that is completely hypoallergenic.
This means that even if some people claim they had no allergic reactions to a certain type of Bernedoodle, it doesn’t mean that the same type will not trigger your allergies.
Now that we got that out the way, you should know that most allergy sufferers can live with and tolerate dogs that have less shedding and less dander.
The curlier the coat of your Bernedoodle is, the better it is for people suffering from allergies. So, to live happily with your new canine companion, you should aim to get curly, or at least, a wavy coat type.
These types are usually found in F1B Bernedoodles, and while they are less common in F2 Bernedoodles, these pooches are also considered suitable for people with mild allergies.
F1 Bernedoodles can sometimes also have curly coats and be allergy-appropriate. After all, they do have a 50% chance of having a more Poodle-like coat, so they are not to be dismissed just yet.
However, you cannot know for sure until you spend some time with the puppy and see if your allergies flare up.
Bernedoodle care guide
As with most other dog breeds, if you provide your Bernedoodle with plenty of exercise, a diet appropriate to its size, and regular grooming, you will have a healthy and happy four-legged companion.
Let’s start with probably the most important of those things – the diet.
Diet and nutrition
You should always aim to buy high-quality dog food from a reputable brand for your pup.
But, keep in mind that there is no food that fits all, and some dogs with allergies or other issues may have a problem with certain types of food.
To determine how much food you should give your Bernedoodle, you should look at its energy level, consistency of its stools, how healthy it seems to be on the diet, and how shiny and thick its coat is.
Also, always discuss your pup’s diet with your veterinarian.
Size is also one of the main factors in determining how many calories your pup should eat.
Toy and Mini Bernedoodles will do just fine with dog food designed for small dog breeds.
However, for a Standard Bernedoodle, you should get a large-breed formula as it can grow to be quite a large dog.
Proper diet and nutrition can also help with excessive shedding.
If you notice that your pup is losing hair in increased amounts without any apparent reason, then you might want to tweak their diet.
There might be something that bothers them or they might simply not be getting enough nutrients that their body needs to be in a healthy condition.
As both the Poodle and the Bernese Mountain Dog are working dog breeds, their offspring have high energy levels.
But, this is mostly attributed to the Poodle side of the mix as Berners are generally calm, docile, and placid dogs.
No matter where they get it from, Bernedoodles love being active, so it is important to provide your pup with both physical exercise as well as mental stimulation.
They love exercising with their humans, and will happily hike for hours. If you have a Standard Bernedoodle, then you should provide it with at least sixty minutes of exercise per day. The smaller varieties will need less, of course.
This mixed breed, the standard size, in particular, is at risk of hip and elbow dysplasia, and because of this, it is essential to avoid over-exercising your dog.
A general rule of thumb is that for every month of age, a dog can walk for five minutes. This means that you can walk your four-month-old pup for 20 minutes per day without causing growth issues.
Giving them too much exercise can also bring other health issues, such as dislocated kneecaps, especially in the Mini and Toy varieties of Bernedoodles.
Training sessions can be very rewarding when it comes to Bernedoodles, but they might not be as easy as you think.
With the intelligence they inherit from their Poodle parents, you would think that this mix is rather easy to train, right? Well, this isn’t always the case.
Being a mixed breed means that they get personality traits from both sides, so the Bernese Mountain Dog also has a say in it.
Berners are often renowned for their stubbornness as puppies. They tend to grow out of this, but it can be difficult if you are not expecting it.
To reduce the likelihood of having a stubborn and skittish adult dog, you should socialize your pup from an early age.
Socialization with other humans and animals in their puppy years will ensure that they will grow up to be well-mannered adult dogs.
Keep in mind that punishment never works with these pups. Bernedoodles thrive when given positive reinforcement and reward-based training.
If your Bernedoodle is being particularly stubborn, stay calm and reduce your expectations. Try to always set up your Bernedoodle to succeed and enable it to carry out the behavior you want to see.
An interesting thing about Bernedoodles is that they don’t actually have fur. Instead, they have hair. Hair tends to have a finer texture and be smoother to the touch compared to fur.
Whether you have a straight-, wavy-, or curly-coated Bernedoodle, you should brush its hair two to three times a week. Regular brushing will help get rid of the dead hair that gets trapped in your pup’s curls.
Some Bernedoodle owners even brush their dog’s hair daily. They consider grooming as an opportunity to bond with their pets, and their pups love the extra attention they are given.
Once your dog reaches around seven or nine months of age, you can take it to a professional groomer. Try to do this every eight to twelve weeks to get its coat clipped. This will prevent any tangles or matting from forming on their coat.
Also, make sure to tell the groomer how you want your pup’s coat to look. If you do not specify, the groomer will probably default to a Poodle clip, which some Bernedoodle owners do not like.
When it comes to bathing your Bernedoodle pup, you can do it once a month or so. Just don’t overdo it since you risk stripping your dog of natural oils that its coat produces.
Taking care of a Bernedoodles’ eyes and ears
Even with a fresh-smelling, tangle-free coat, your pup isn’t well-groomed if you don’t pay attention to its face.
Let’s start with your dog’s sparkly eyes, which can produce tears that lead to stains in the dog’s facial hair.
To tackle this issue, use some water and a washcloth and gently wipe away any dried-out hair around your buddy’s eyes.
This can be a great time to check your dog’s eyes for swelling or redness, or even unusual discharge. Never use shampoo or soap near your Bernedoodle’s face since it can lead to discomfort or even damage its eyes.
If your Berner-Poodle mix has long hair, clip or tie their hair away from their face. This will prevent any eye irritation, and on top of that, you can have a very stylish-looking companion.
Now that we have covered the basics of eye care, the next thing you should take care of is your pup’s ears.
Hair in a Bernedoodle’s ears, combined with their ears’ dropped position, prevents proper air circulation, which contributes to the accumulation of dirt and moisture.
This makes your pup more susceptible to ear infections as compared to dogs with erect or prick ears.
You should check your dog’s ears weekly and clean them with a cotton ball dipped in hydrogen peroxide. Just remember to remove excess liquid from the cotton ball before you start cleaning out your pup’s ears.
Keep an eye out for waxy buildup, redness, irritated skin, or a foul odor around your pooch’s ears.
If you notice your Bernedoodle often scratching its ears or shaking its head, take it to a vet for a checkup.
What health problems can Bernedoodles have?
Mixed breeds are generally healthier than purebred dogs because of hybrid vigor.
However, this doesn’t make them immune from health issues that their parent breeds suffer from.
Bernese Mountain Dogs can struggle with elbow and hip dysplasia, heart disease, or epilepsy. Also, this dog breed has one of the highest risks of getting cancer.
On the other side, despite their energetic gait, Poodles may suffer from serious health issues such as eye, skin, and digestive conditions.
They are also prone to diseases that target their immune system.
Because of all these problems found in their parent breeds, Bernedoodles are predisposed to eye problems, skin issues, and hip dysplasia.
You can, however, minimize the likelihood of your pup getting skin allergies by grooming them regularly and feeding them the right diet.
Grains are a common food allergy trigger for dogs, so if you see your pup having allergic reactions, try giving it a grain-free diet.
If you are searching for a Bernedoodle puppy and you want to buy it from a breeder, then make sure to ask him about testing for the following conditions:
• Von Willebrand’s disease
• Degenerative myelopathy
• Progressive Retinal Atrophy
• Patellar luxation
• MTC (Macrothrombocytopenia)
Early health screening will show if a puppy suffers from any of these conditions.
If they get the proper care they need, then the average lifespan of Bernedoodles is between seven and eighteen years.
But, this also depends on the size of your pup. Mini and Tiny Bernedoodles usually live longer while Standard Bernedoodles have a shorter life expectancy.
How to get a Bernedoodle
If you’ve decided that the Bernedoodle is the right choice for your family, then there are two ways you can get your hands on one.
The first way is to buy one from a breeder. This can be rather expensive since they can cost anywhere between $1,500 and $5,000 each.
The price can vary depending on the size, the overall appearance, and even the color of the coat a Bernedoodle has.
The other way you can introduce this pup to your home is by adopting one.
Let’s go over both of these ways, so you can get a better grasp on what you need to do.
Finding the right Bernedoodle breeder
The best breeders around are those who select the puppy for the owner, and not the other way around.
For instance, if an owner-to-be has allergies, then the breeder will recommend one of his Bernedoodles that has a curly or a wavy coat. These ones are less likely to trigger the owner’s allergies.
Sadly, we do not live in a perfect world, and reputable, responsible breeders can be difficult to find.
But, don’t fear… we offer a list of things you should consider when choosing a breeder, so you can more easily make the right choice:
• The right breeder will have his pups health-tested and will have proof of it in the form of health certificates
• He will gladly allow you to meet the parents of the litter, and the puppy itself, before you decide to purchase it
• He will most likely have references from previous buyers, other breeders, and veterinarians
• You will know that you chose the right breeder if he is willing to keep in touch even after you have bought the puppy and brought it home
• His puppies are vaccinated, microchipped, and dewormed before they go home with their new owners
• He asks questions about the environment his puppy will live in. He might ask about your lifestyle, your family, and where the dog will be kept.
Adopting or rescuing a Bernedoodle
Many love stories between humans and their pets start with adoption. Even though Bernedoodles are designer dogs, it is not impossible to find one in a shelter or in a rescue group.
They can also appear in breed-specific shelters for Bernese Mountain Dogs and Poodles. Keep in touch with your local shelters and rescue groups, and be ready to act quickly when one of these cuties shows up.
So, Are Bernedoodles hypoallergenic?
Even though there are no hypoallergenic dog breeds, we’ve seen that some Bernedoodles come pretty close.
If you or any of your family members suffer from dog-related allergies, then one of these pups might just be the right one for you.
However, we’ve also seen that there are differences between different generations of Bernedoodles.
Some are more suitable for allergy sufferers, and some other generations should be avoided if you have severe allergic reactions.
So, if you really want to own a Bernedoodle despite having allergies, then the F1B Bernedoodle might be your best shot.
These dogs have a higher chance of getting the Poodle-like curly coat from their Poodle parent; thus, shedding less and spreading fewer allergens.