Golden Miniature Sheepadoodle Puppies
Nope, that's not a stuffed animal—it's an ulta-fluffy, goofy sheepadoodle, a mixed breed that results from crossing an Old English sheepdog and a poodle. They've become more popular in recent years because of their super-friendly personalities, low-shedding coats, and teddy bear-like appearance.
Because the sheepadoodle is not a pure breed, there are no hard and fast rules about the dog's size, coloring, and appearance. However, the most common coat you'll find is a black-and-white patchwork pattern. The size of a sheepadoodle varies depending on whether the Old English sheepdog was crossed with a standard poodle, miniature poodle, or toy poodle.
The sheepadoodle can tend toward one parent or the other in appearance—some will have more of the square face of an Old English sheepdog and others will have a more poodle-like domed head. But nearly all sheepadoodles share the patchwork of black and white markings that sometimes give them the appearance of a panda. These black and white markings can sometimes fade into gray (similar to an Old English sheepdog's coloring) as the sheepadoodle ages. On rare occasions, a sheepadoodle will be red and white.
Sheepadoodle puppy laughs at the camera while laying down
Sheepadoodles can have straight fur like their sheepdog parent or be more curly coated like the poodle. It's hard to tell exactly what coat she'll have until your sheepadoodle puppy grows up.| CREDIT: MCCAIG / GETTY
In general, a sheepadoodle bred from a standard poodle will weigh 65–85 pounds and stand 18–27 inches tall. Sheepadoodles bred from mini poodles and toy poodles will be smaller.
As with most poodle mixes (affectionately termed "doodles"), the coat of a sheepadoodle can tend more to be straight or more curly—and it's generally hard to tell until the puppy gets a little older.
Sheepadoodles are often compared to Bernedoodles, which are a mix between a poodle and a Bernese mountain dog. Bernedoodles have a similar giant teddy bear vibe: big fluffy paws; shaggy faces; and furry, floppy ears. However, Bernedoodles come in a greater variety of colors and share more of the Bernese mountain dog's personality traits.
The sheepadoodle owes a lot of her easygoing temperament to the Old English sheepdog, a good-natured, shaggy breed that was developed to help bring cattle and sheep to market.
"Sheepadoodles have been described as a playful and energetic breed," says Stacy Choczynski Johnson, DVM, veterinary expert for Pumpkin Pet Insurance. "Something that's interesting about them is that they're a mixed designer breed dog, meaning that there's a good chance they'll inherit different traits from either side of their DNA. Because of this cross breeding, there can be a pretty wide variety of personality traits depending on the individual dog."
Typically, sheepadoodles are wonderful family dogs that love attention and children even more. They're exceptionally playful and sweet, and they enjoy the company of other dogs. While they might alert you to a passing stranger with a bark, they're typically a little more mellow than breeds developed specifically for guarding the home.
sheepadoodle running outside with a tennis ball in their mouth
closeup of a sheepadoodle dog sitting outside with her tongue out wearing gold and pink dog tags
Left: Sheepadoodles love to play, whether it's a game of fetch, a splash in a local lake, or a "sniffari" down a trail. | CREDIT: TRUDY GARDNER / GETTYRight: With their big brains, sheepadoodles can be quick to pick up new cues and tricks. They want to make their humans happy! | CREDIT: LISA MOUNTEER / SHUTTERSTOCK
Training a sheepadoodle will depend on which traits the dog inherits from her parents. While Old English sheepdogs can at times be independent-minded, poodles are typically very eager to please their parents by sitting on cue and learning tricks. Sheepadoodles also inherit a great deal of intelligence from their poodle forebears and have a working dog's herding instincts from the Old English sheepdog side.
Unless you opt for a mini or a toy mix, sheepadoodles are typically large dogs that will do best in a house with a fenced yard. If you live in an apartment, you should be ready to provide your sheepadoodle with regular exercise.
"Sheepadoodles are active dogs and exercise is vital for their overall health and wellbeing," Choczynski Johnson says. She recommendss finding ways to integrate your dog into your regular activity: bringing them on your runs, neighborhood walks, and hikes through the woods.
"Using a ball launcher for a good game of fetch is a great way to burn off energy," she says. "If your sheepadoodle enjoys the company of other dogs, a playdate in a fenced yard would be a great way for them to socialize and stretch their legs."
And while your sheepadoodle might like to splash through some water like her poodle parent, Choczynski Johnson recommends sticking to "land-based play" because post-swimming cleanup can be time-consuming.
With their thick coats, sheepadoodles are excellent dogs for cold-weather climates. In warmer climates, Choczynski Johnson says, their owners can trim their fur a bit shorter and make sure they can relax in cool indoor spaces with plenty of water.
RELATED: How to Protect Your Dog From Heat Exhaustion as the Temps Rise
Sheepadoodles typically enjoy the company of other dogs and taking part in playtime at dog parks. However, given the sheepadoodles' herding background, they occasionally have a tendency to try rounding up small animals and children, so keep an eye on them at dog parks that allow small dogs and large dogs to mingle.