A relatively new ‘designer’ crossbreed, the Mini Bernedoodle is quickly gaining popularity as a family pet due to its small size and friendly demeanor.
With their teddy bear faces and striking colors, Mini Bernedoodles are certainly eye-catching but as a responsible dog owner, you will know that it’s not all about the looks. It is important to research the breed thoroughly to know if it’s the right dog for you and your family.
To help you, we’ve put together the ultimate guide to the Mini Bernedoodle!
Table of Contents
What is a Mini Bernedoodle?
A Mini Bernedoodle is a cross between a Miniature Poodle and a Bernese Mountain Dog. In this case, the Bernese Mountain Dog is nearly always the mother as it is far safer for her to give birth than the much smaller Mini Poodle.
Sometimes two Mini Bernedoodles will be bred, resulting in F1 Mini Bernedoodle puppies. The Mini Bernedoodle is also known as the Mini Bernepoo, Mini Bernese Mountain Poo, Mini Bernepoo, or the Mini Bernesedoodle.
Physical characteristics of the Mini Bernedoodle
Mini Bernedoodles are nearly always black and white, or tri- color (black, white and tan). Occasionally you may find Mini Bernedoodles that are all black or even black and tan.
Most owners like the Bernese Mountain Dog coloration, mainly black and white with tan on the face and legs, so that is what breeders often aim for. However, it is notoriously difficult to breed for a guaranteed coat color so if you have your heart set on one in particular, you may have to be prepared to wait.
When it comes to coat type, there is considerable variation among Mini Bernedoodles. Like coat color, a guaranteed coat type is hard to breed for. Most have a coat that is somewhere between that of a Bernese Mountain Dog and a Poodle.
Often they have a wavy coat but sometimes it may be more curly like the poodle. It is more unusual to find a Mini Bernedoodle with a very straight coat. The curlier and more Poodle-like the coat, the less it will shed.
There is no such thing as a non-shedding dog, but poodle crosses like the Mini Bernedoodle are often low-shedding dogs, meaning they may be a better choice for people with allergies as they may also shed slightly less dander (dead skin cells).
Mini Bernedoodles are small-medium-sized dogs, usually 18-21 inches tall and 25-49 pounds in weight. Females are usually slightly smaller than males.
There is some variation in size as some puppies will take after their Mini Poodle father and some will be slightly larger, although generally not as large as their Bernese Mountain Dog Mother. F1 puppies from two Mini Bernedoodle parents will show less variation in size.
Black, White, Tan
good with children:
The History of the Mini Bernedoodle
Like humans, dogs inherit physical and behavioral characteristics from both their parents. All breeds have different character traits and physical capabilities, often this is related to what they were originally bred for.
In order to understand the Mini Bernedoodle, it is helpful to know a little about the two breeds that were used to create it.
Although the Mini Bernedoodle is a relatively new ‘designer’ breed, the Poodle and the Bernese Mountain Dog are both breeds with a long ancestry.
The Miniature Poodle
It is thought that the Poodle originated in Germany and was used as a wildfowl hunting dog as far back as the medieval period. The German word for the breed is ‘pudel’ which is derived from the word ‘puddeln’, meaning ‘to splash’.
These highly trained dogs were adept at following instructions and working closely with their handlers, so it’s not surprising that Poodles are now known for their intelligence and trainability.
Their thick coats provided protection against the freezing water. Later, the Poodle became popular in France as a circus dog because it was so easy to train. From the larger Standard Poodles, Miniature Poodles were bred as performing dogs in the 19th Century as their small size meant that they were easier to transport and handle.
They also became popular and fashionable pet dogs around the same time. In the early 20th century, the Miniature Poodle (which confusingly, was originally known as the Toy Poodle) was bred to be even smaller again, the new tiny version became known as the Toy Poodle.
Today, the three poodle types- Standard, Miniature, and Toy- remain popular all over the world.
The Bernese Mountain Dog
The Bernese Mountain dog was officially established as a breed in 1912, although its ancestry goes back way before then. Commonly thought to be descended from Roman mastiff-type dogs, the Bernese Mountain Dog as we know it originates in the Swiss Alps where they were used as a general farm dog by the Alpine herders and dairymen.
A robust and useful dog, the Bernese was used to guard and herd livestock and also as a draft dog for pulling carts. They would often pull carts full of dairy produce, and were known as ‘Cheese Dogs’ by local people.
Due to their friendly, laid-back temperaments, Bernese Mountain dogs started to become popular as companions. They were officially recognized by the American kennel Club in 1937.
Miniature Poodle + Bernese Mountain Dog = Mini Bernadoodle
So from these two very different breeds, how did we end up with the Mini Bernedoodle? The first Bernedoodle puppy was born in 2003, bred by Sherry Rupke of Swissridge Kennels, Ontario, Canada. Sherry was originally a breeder of Bernese Mountain Dogs and Goldendoodles.
She became frustrated that despite her best efforts to breed healthy dogs, the Bernese Mountain Dogs continued to suffer from health problems and had an average lifespan of only 7 years.
She had seen considerable health improvements in her Goldendoodles compared to purebred Golden Retrievers, so she decided to aim for the same success with the Bernese Mountain Dog.
She crossed the Bernese with a Poodle and was delighted with the resulting puppies. Since then she has refined and improved the breed, aiming to achieve a blend of the best characteristics of the Poodle and Bernese Mountain Dog.
Seeing the results that Sherry has achieved, other breeders have also started to breed Mini Bernedoodles and they are becoming more and more popular.
Temperament of the Mini Bernedoodle
Mini Bernedoodles were bred to be excellent family pets, with temperament being prioritized over appearance during the initial years of breeding. They combine the calm and friendly nature of the Bernese Mountain Dog with the exceptional intelligence and trainability of the Poodle.
Of course, some Mini Bernedoodles will inherit less desirable characteristics from their parents- Bernese Mountain Dogs have a reputation for being a little stubborn and Mini Poodles can be extremely energetic so be prepared that your pup could inherit these traits.
Both Mini Poodles and Bernese Mountain Dogs can be unsure of strangers. The Poodle tends to be noisy when worried while the Bernese will usually be quite aloof around strangers.
Socialization when young is very important for the Mini Bernedoodle so they can learn to be confident around strangers. Owners of Mini Bernedoodles have described them as loyal and gentle, goofy, smart, energetic, and loving.
How much exercise does a Mini Bernedoodle need?
Mini Bernedoodles are moderately energetic. They will happily accompany you on a hike in the hills but may be content with shorter walks a few days of the week. They enjoy playing just as much as snuggling on the sofa.
Some Mini Bernedoodles may inherit the Poodle’s love of water or retrieving. There will be variations within the breed, some dogs may be more energetic like the Poodle and some will be more laid back like the Bernese Mountain Dog.
Training a Mini Bernedoodle
Socialization when young is critical. You will need to ensure your puppy has plenty of positive experiences around other people, other dogs and animals, and in a variety of situations.
Mini Bernedoodles are intelligent dogs who will need regular training and mental stimulation. Training classes are a good idea, especially for the first year of your dog’s life. If your dog has a good level of basic training he will be much easier to have around.
Only use kind, reward-based training methods with your Mini Bernedoodle. There is never any need for harsh training methods or punishment, this can negatively affect the welfare of your dog.
Mini Bernedoodles will love to engage in activities such as agility, Rally-O, or scent work. On rainy days, they will enjoy interactive dog toys and games to use up some of that mental energy.
Health and Lifespan of the Mini Bernedoodle
As with most crossbreeds, the Mini Bernedoodle tends to be healthier than its purebred parents. It is a relatively new cross, but so far there do not seem to be any issues with genetic problems or issues that they are particularly prone to.
As with all dog breeds, they may occasionally be diagnosed with hip or elbow dysplasia, skin or eye disorders, and other health conditions.
There are certain health problems that purebred Poodles and Bernese Mountain Dogs are prone to and there is a chance they may pass these on to their offspring so it is vitally important that all parent dogs are health screened before being used to breed. Healthy parent dogs are more likely to produce healthy puppies.
Mini Bernedoodles tend to live to around 12 to 15 years old. Smaller dogs tend to live longer and some Mini Bernedoodles have reached the grand old age of 17 years old!
Are Mini Bernedoodles good with kids?
On the whole, Mini Bernedoodles make excellent family pets if they have been raised around children. They are fun-loving and devoted to their family, but this should not be taken for granted.
Like all dogs, Mini Bernedoodles should be treated with respect and children should not be allowed to climb on them or pull their ears. They will enjoy playtime and being with their family as they are sociable dogs, but they should have a quiet place to retreat to when they have had enough.
Care of the Mini Bernedoodle
The Mini Bernedoodle is not a difficult dog to care for, but their coats do need regular maintenance.
If your dog has a curly Poodle-type coat, they will not shed much but will need regular grooming by a professional dog groomer to remove mats and dead hair. They will also trim their coat to keep it looking tidy.
If you neglect this aspect of your dog’s care, they will become very uncomfortable and may develop skin problems as a result. If your Mini Bernedoodle has wavy or even straight hair, you may choose to send them to a groomer or you may be able to care for his coat yourself.
They need regular brushing to remove dead hair and mats, choose a brush that is most suited to the coat type. A slicker brush can be used on most coat types and is very effective at removing loose hair.
Like all dogs, Mini Bernedoodles will need regular check-ups at the vet, vaccinations, parasite control, nail trimming, and to have their anal glands checked. They need constant access to clean, fresh water, nutritious food, a comfy bed in a quiet spot, regular exercise, and plenty of time to rest.
Dogs should be treated well and loved. Although they can be left alone for a few hours if they get used to it slowly, they are a social species and should not be left alone for excessively long periods.
The Mini Bernedoodle requires a well-balanced and nutritious diet. Choose the best quality commercial food you can afford, with meat as the main ingredient. Avoid food with cheap fillers or artificial ingredients, these are not good for dogs and can contribute to health and behavior problems.
You may choose to feed dry kibble or canned food, or a combination of both. Many owners choose to supplement their dog’s diet with some additional fresh fruit and veggies like carrots, papaya, okra, or even seaweed!
This is fine for most dogs and can benefit their health, just make sure everything you feed is safe for dogs and is fed in moderate amounts so as not to unbalance the diet.
Check with your vet or canine nutritionist if you are unsure. Some Mini Bernedoodle owners choose to prepare their dog’s food themselves, feeding either raw or home-cooked meat, fruit and vegetables. If you choose to prepare your dog’s food yourself, have a canine nutritionist review the diet to ensure it adequately meets your dog’s nutritional requirements.
Mini Bernedoodles love the occasional treat and if you are training them you will probably use food treats as rewards. Use small treats for training and watch your dog’s waistline to ensure they are not becoming overweight. If this is the case, you can use a portion of your dog’s daily kibble ration for training instead of additional treats.
Where to find a Mini Bernedoodle
So, you’ve done your research and you’ve decided that a Mini Bernedoodle is the dog for you. The next step is to find a puppy.
The Mini Bernadoodle is not a registered breed with the American Kennel Club, however, they AKC do have a database of breeders published on its website.
It may be worth contacting the listed breeders of Bernese Mountain Dogs and of Miniature Poodles to see if they know of others who breed Mini Bernadoodles.
Another good place to look is on Facebook (and other social media platforms) to identify Mini Bernadoodle and other ‘doodle’ communities and groups. Start by searching ‘Mini Bernadoodle’ and then filter the results to groups.
This is a great way to ask any questions you might have and get the input of other Mini Bernadoodle owners before committing to having one yourself and, of course, you can also ask everyone else where they found their pups!
Your search is not something to be rushed- finding a good breeder is incredibly important. Don’t just buy the first Mini Bernedoodle puppy you see for sale, or indeed the cheapest. Because these dogs are becoming popular, unscrupulous breeders are starting to cash in to make a quick buck.
Recommended reading: How to find a reputable breeder, Adopting vs buying a dog
They don’t health test their breeding dogs and the bitches and pups are often kept in appalling conditions. Puppies from these ‘puppy mills’ or ‘backyard breeders’ are often sickly or have inherited health or behavioral conditions.
Although you may feel sorry for the pups, buying them only allows these irresponsible breeders to continue with their business and it will cost you heartache and money later on.
It is preferable to find a reputable and responsible Mini Bernedoodle breeder, even if that means traveling further to see the puppies. Look for a breeder who has a good knowledge of Mini Bernedoodles and has tested the health of the parent dogs.
The breeder should be concerned about the homes their puppies go to and should ask you lots of questions. When you visit, you should be able to meet the puppies with their Mom. It would be nice to also meet their dad if you are able.
Take note of the temperament of the parent dogs– are they nervous or barky? This is important as it is likely that your pup will inherit some of their character traits.
The breeder should be aware of the importance of early socialization and should be introducing the puppies to household noise such as the washing machine and hoover as well as novel objects and smells.
Even better if the puppies are being raised around children, other dogs, and animals. The breeder should also provide you with details of the healthcare your puppy will receive before he or she comes home with you.
How much do Mini Bernedoodles cost?
Mini Bernedoodles are sought after dogs and this is reflected in the price. Be prepared to pay from $2500 up to $5000 or higher for a puppy from a responsible breeder.
These prices reflect the time and effort to ensure good breeding, the cost of parent health tests, and the excellent care a good breeder will provide.
Can you adopt Mini Bernedoodles?
Mini Bernedoodles are not common in rescue but you may get lucky. There are many organizations that will take them in, for example, Poodle rescues, Bernese Mountain Dog rescues, Doodle rescues, and general dog rescue organizations.
It is a good idea to leave your details with these organizations and ask them to contact you if a suitable Mini Bernedoodle becomes available.
Breeders sometimes take rescue Bernedoodles in, whether they have bred them or not. Some dogs find themselves needing a new home because of a family break-up or bereavement and will be returned to their breeder (some breeders will include this as a condition of sale).
Suggested reading: Reasons to adopt a shelter or rescue dog, Questions to ask when adopting a dog
Contact a few breeders and ask if they know of any suitable Mini Bernedoodles, or if they can let you know if they hear of any, available for adoption.
Another great option is pet adoption websites, you can cast your net far and wide by searching thousands of animals in need of a new home, refine your search by age, breed, and location, and set up email alerts to let you know when new animals are listed who fit your criteria.
To check out our guide to the best pet adoption websites click here.
Pros and Cons of owning a Mini Bernedoodle
Like all dogs, there are positive and negative aspects to living with a Mini Bernedoodle. These include:
- A generally friendly dog who is loyal and loving to their family
- Adaptable- the Mini Bernedoodle likes long walks but is happy to sleep on the sofa if it’s raining
- They are small-medium-sized dogs, so are easy to handle and transport
- They are intelligent and easy to train
- If well socialized they are usually good with children
- Mini Bernedoodles are generally healthy dogs who live to a good age
- As a low shedding breed, they may be better tolerated by allergy sufferers and you may not have to vacuum as often!
- The coat of the Mini Bernedoodle will require regular maintenance throughout his whole life
- Their dense coat can make them prone to overheating in the summer
- Due to the temperament of the Poodle and of the Bernese Mountain dog, the Mini Bernedoodle may be wary of strangers if not well socialized as a puppy
- May inherit a tendency to be stubborn from the Bernese Mountain Dog
- May inherit the extremely energetic nature of the Mini Poodle
The Mini Bernedoodle may not be right for you if…..
- You need to leave them alone for very long periods on a regular basis
- You lead a sedentary lifestyle or have no time to exercise a dog
- You are not able to commit to socialization and training
- You are not willing to groom your dog or have him professionally groomed on a regular basis
The Mini Bernedoodle is a relatively new ‘designer’ crossbreed that was bred with the intention of creating the perfect family dog.
Combining the laid-back, loving nature and good looks of the Bernese Mountain Dog with the intelligence and low shedding coat of the Poodle, the Mini Bernedoodle certainly has the potential to be a fabulous pet dog.
Source your puppy responsibly, ensure you socialize and train it well and you will be rewarded with a devoted, charismatic, and fun-loving companion.
You might like some of our other doodle articles:
Doodle Rescue Ohio
Do Aussiedoodles shed?
The Cavapoochon – everything you need to know
Maltipoo Rescue – best places to find one
Micro Sheepadoodle: 12 things you should know
Labradoodle Rescue Florida
The Doberdoodle – everything you need to know