The Sheepadoodle is among the most adorable Doodle mixed breeds. The Sheep-a-poo is a mix between an Old English Sheepdog and a Poodle. The dogs from this hybrid breed are medium to large-sized, with a height at the shoulder of 16 to 22 inches and a weight of 60 to 80 lbs.
In the best-case scenario, the Sheepadoodle will inherit all of the best traits of both of its purebred parents.
Not only does the Sheep-a-poo look adorable as a cute teddy bear, but it is also a breed known to be friendly, intelligent, affectionate, and playful.
The dogs from this crossbreed are perfect for owners of all ages and families of all sizes. They are excellent emotional support dogs that can read the emotions of their humans.
Sheepadoodles are protective, energetic, absolutely adorable, and are great pets.
Read on to find out everything you need to know about this exceptional mixed breed.
The characteristics of the Sheepadoodle crossbreed
Adaptability to living in an apartment
The temperament and adaptability of each Sheepadoodle are more difficult to predict than that of the purebred dogs.
Still, in most cases, it is expected that the Sheepadoodle can adapt well to living in any home, family, and even in an apartment without a backyard.
While your pup will be happy to have its own securely fenced outdoor space to roam around for a few hours a day, the Sheepadoodle can also feel well and thrive in an apartment in the city, but if you provide it with the walks, playtime, and exercise it needs.
It is a calm dog that can be trained and socialized easily, but in some cases, the Sheepadoodle may develop separation anxiety which can turn into destructive behavior, incessant barking, howling, or other unwanted types of behavior if left alone for too long at home.
Suitability for newbie owners
Being a descendent of two of the most intelligent dog breeds – the Poodle and the Old English Shepherd, the Sheepadoodle is very easy to train, even by a newbie dog owner, given that the proper training methods are used.
So, overall, a Sheepadoodle is suitable for new dog owners without previous experience, given that they have the time and confidence to train and socialize the dog.
Depending on the specific dog, it may have low or high energy levels, so you will need to be prepared to walk the dog every day for sufficient periods of time, rain or shine. This is something that not all new dog owners are prepared for.
The Sheepadoodle is genetically inclined to be smart, loyal, and easygoing, but it does typically have high sensitivity levels than some other dog breeds.
This means that it may not be the most suitable dog for larger families with noisy children, lots of guests, noisy environments, and other factors which may be disturbing to dogs with high sensitivity levels and less tolerance.
Tolerating being left alone
The Sheepadoodle has very little tolerance for being left alone for long hours or days. It develops a very close bond to its owner or family and is a loyal crossbreed, which is prone to separation anxiety.
Leaving a dog like this alone for long can lead to it acting out and indulging in destructive or other unwanted behavior such as continuous barking, howling, chewing, and others.
If you are someone who spends a lot of time outside of your home, and cannot take your pet with you, then the Sheepadoodle is not the best option for you.
It thrives when it is close to its owner or family member, kids, and other pets.
Another alternative is to find your dog a pet sitter or send it to doggy care when you are planning on being gone from home for hours.
Tolerating cold weather
The Sheepadoodle usually has the long hair of the Old English Shepherd and is relatively tolerant of cold weather. Still, you should never leave your dog outdoors when it is freezing and snowing, and make sure it has a warm dog bed or another place to sleep and spend the time at home instead of outdoors in a kennel.
Tolerating hot weather
The Sheepadoodle is less likely to tolerate extremely hot or humid weather than it does the cold. In the summer, you can clip your pup’s coat to help keep it more comfortable and may want to limit the time you spend outdoors to the hours when the sun is low such as at dusk, pre-dawn, or dawn.
At home, you can help your dog feel more comfortable by keeping it in a cool area, providing it with fresh water at all times, and with some healthy frozen treats.
Attachment to family
The Sheepadoodle is among the best family dog options. The crossbreed is loyal, loving, playful, and yet gentle and calm, so it is suitable even for large households with loud young children.
It is an affectionate pup that will develop a strong bond with its owners and makes an excellent watchdog.
Since some dogs from this crossbreed are aloof to strangers, you will have to socialize it when it is young, especially if you like socializing and entertaining guests.
When it is young, your Sheepadoodle puppy may try to herd the children at home by playfully nipping them on the heels, but with proper training, this trait will disappear as the dog matures.
But, as mentioned previously, the dogs from this hybrid breed are prone to suffering from separation anxiety which is something you need to keep in mind before adopting or buying a Sheepadoodle.
Friendliness to children
The Sheepadoodle is normally very calm and gentle with children but big and strong enough to tolerate even louder screaming and rougher playing kids.
In any case, as with every other dog, you will need to explain to your children how to treat and interact with the dog, including not approaching it when it is eating or sleeping, if you want everyone at home to stay safe because not all dogs are the same.
Friendliness to dogs
When socialized from as early as possible and gotten used to interacting with all kinds of other dogs, the Sheepadoodle is a friendly and social dog.
It can easily get used to living under the same roof with other dogs when introduced gradually and properly.
Friendliness to strangers
Although the Sheepadoodle is generally friendly, non-aggressive, and playful, it will attempt to protect its owners if danger is detected. The crossbreed dog may have an inherited aloofness to strangers, which can be curbed if it is socialized from puppyhood by meeting different people and interacting with them.
Overall health and grooming requirements
One of the main reasons Doodle cross breeds were first created was for their low shedding and the intelligence inherited by Poodles.
In most cases, the Sheepadoodle will be considered a low or non-shedder, which is great news for people with pet allergies, respiratory problems, or those who don’t want to deal with dog hair everywhere.
Still, you will need to brush and clip your pup’s hair in order to remove any dead hairs and prevent matting on a regular basis.
The Sheepadoodle is a non-drooling dog, so you don’t have to worry about dealing with slobber and wet stains on your furniture and clothes.
If drooling worries you, then the Sheepadoodle is among the best choices for a pet for you.
As with other Doodle hybrid breeds, the amount of grooming your dog requires depends on the type of genes it has inherited from its purebred parents. Sheepadoodles can have long, straight, wavy, or curly hair.
In general, they are considered no or low shedding dogs, but they do still require to be brushed several times a week, and their coats clipped once every eight months in order to keep them looking good and feeling well.
As with all other dogs, you will also need to periodically clean and check the dog’s ears and also to clip or grind its nails. You can do this yourself, but make sure that you as your vet or groomer for advice on how to clip the nails of your dog safely.
In order to keep your pup’s teeth and gums healthy and to prevent bad breath, you should accustom it to getting its teeth brushed several times a week or more often.
Some experts claim that crossbred dogs are less prone to genetic diseases than purebred ones. On the other hand, reputable breeders claim that by testing their dogs and practicing responsible breeding, they have curbed the incidents of puppies inheriting the common health conditions in their dogs.
Nevertheless, the health of your dog depends on its heritage, as well as your care, activity levels, diet, and other factors.
While Sheepadoodles are generally resilient and healthy dogs, they may be more prone to inheriting some typical hereditary conditions such as hip dysplasia and Addison’s disease. Due to their size and their physical characteristics, they are also at risk of suffering from life-threatening bloat and from other health problems, such as joint or skin disorders.
Weight gain potential
Sheepadoodles are prone to becoming overweight and even obese when left without sufficient walks and exercise and when being overfed and fed with inappropriate foods and treats.
It is essential to feed your pup with high-quality dog food, which is formulated for its age, weight, activity level, overall health, and metabolism.
By keeping your dog within the recommended weight limits, you will reduce its risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, joint problems, and even some types of cancers.
Talk to your veterinarian if you have worries about the weight of your dog or if you have questions about its healthy diet.
The Sheepadoodle is usually with a height of 16-22 inches at the withers and weighs 40-80 lbs. so it is considered a medium or large-sized dog.
If you choose to adopt or buy a Micro Sheepadoodle (with a mini or toy Poodle parent), then you can expect it to grow only up to 20 inches and weigh up to 40 lbs.
Ease of training
The Sheepadoodle is an intelligent dog that is relatively easy to train with the right approach, methods, and consistency. Since it is a highly sensitive dog, you shouldn’t use punishments when training your pup. Instead, you should rely on positive reinforcement, delicious treats, and other awards if you want to end with a well-behaved and trained pup.
Owners should establish themselves as leaders of the pack and teach their dogs basic commands in order to ensure that the dog and all other dogs and people are safe.
The Sheepadoodle is among the most intelligent dogs, given that it is a result of the crossbreeding of the super-intelligent Poodle with another naturally smart dog, the Old English Shepherd dog.
While this is great news if you want your dog to be a quick learner and interact with it better, it means that the Sheepadoodle will require more mental stimulation than other dogs to stay happy and be well-behaved. This can be accomplished with the help of interactive dog toys and with games you can play with your pup.
A bored pup can become a destructive and annoying pup.
Being so intelligent makes the Sheepadoodle a great therapy, support, or service dog as well.
Being a direct descendent of the Old English Sheepdog, the Sheepadoodle can have some strong herding instincts, especially during puppyhood. So, you can expect that it will try to herd your kids by nipping them on the heels.
This behavior, though, can be curbed with proper training, and usually, the dogs grow out of it when they mature.
Still, it will help if you provide your pup with strong, chewy toys which are safe and do not present a choking or blockage hazard, especially when the dog is still young.
Although Poodles were originally bred as hunting dogs, it is unusual for a Sheepadoodle to have a strong prey drive. This is good news if you are worried about your pup chasing the wild animals and running after cars, bikes, and other moving objects.
Still, to be on the safe side, you should never leave your dog unsupervised outdoors without a leash or without a secure fence to avoid accidents or the dog running off.
The low prey drive in Sheepadoodles also means that it is more likely to be able to adapt the dog to living in the same home with smaller animals safely when they are introduced and socialized correctly.
The dogs from this hybrid Doodle breed are not the loudest of canines. They will rarely bark without reason but will alert you if someone is at your door or if danger is detected.
In some cases, when left alone for a long time, Sheepadoodles may resort to continuous barking and yelping, especially if they already suffer from separation anxiety.
But all in all, Sheepadoodles are relatively quiet dogs, suitable for homes where loud noises are not tolerated for one reason or another.
Impulse to roam or wander off
Thankfully, even though it has herding and hunting in its genes, the Sheepadoodle is much less likely to wander off than dogs from other breeds with a high wanderlust potential.
Still, you should keep your dog on a leash or in a fenced yard to prevent it from chasing after something or someone or wandering off.
Physical and exercise needs
Being a mix between the athletic hunting Poodles and the herding Old English Shepherds, Sheepadoodles can have quite high energy levels. This means that you should provide these dogs with enough action, including walks, play, and training, to satisfy their stamina for working.
Your Sheepadoodle pup will need at least 60-minute walks every day when it matures and 40 minutes of walking when it is still a puppy.
Get ready to spend time with your pet by playing games, training it, and providing it with enough mental stimulation. This will reduce the risk of it becoming bored and resorting to other non-desirable behaviors such as chewing your shoes or furniture, digging holes, and others.
The good news is that if you provide the Sheepadoodle with enough physical and mental exercise, it will happily rest and sleep or cuddle for the rest of the day with you.
While your Sheepadoodle may have high energy levels, it is less likely that it will turn out to be a very vigorous dog that is hard to control.
As mentioned previously, providing it receives the daily walks, games, and exercise, these dogs are pretty calm at home.
You will need to be prepared to provide your pup with regular daily walks at least twice a day, no matter the weather outside.
The Sheepadoodle will also enjoy playing different games and joining you on your outdoor adventures, such as hiking or participating in sports with or without you. It can become your jogging buddy, but you can train it in agility and other dog sports as well.
The Sheepadoodle is more suitable for an owner or family with a more active lifestyle.
The Sheepadoodle is a perpetual puppy and will enjoy playing fetch and playing with you and your kids on a daily basis for years, even when it is an adult dog.
The playful Sheepadoodle is an excellent playmate for children and will keep you entertained and active throughout your life.
In some cases, your dog may retain its playfulness well into its senior years. So you will need to make sure that you provide it with the dog food, treats, and supplements needed to keep its joints and bones healthy, allowing it to enjoy its favorite games even in its golden years.
Dog breed group: Mixed breed
Height at the shoulder: from 16 to 22 inches
Weight: from 60 to 80 lbs.
Average lifespan: 12-15 years
Here are some of the most important, and additional interesting facts about the Sheepadoodle, which you may or may not be familiar with:
- Unlike their purebred parents, the Poodle and the Old English Sheepdog, Sheepadoodles are a hybrid breed
- They can come in various sizes, depending on whether the Poodle parent is miniature, toy, or standard-sized. The miniature dogs from this crossbreed are often referred to as “Micro Sheepadoodles and are up to 20 inches in height and 24-44 lbs. in weight
- The valuable hybrid breed has been around since the 1960s, but the term Doodles started being used in 1992
- Most Sheepadoodles are black and white in color, but in some cases, they can be white and red, or solid grey, brown or black colored as well
- They are considered a non-shedding crossbreed suitable for people with pet allergies, but they still require regular brushing and trimming. Nevertheless, whether they are hypoallergenic depends on their genes and how much of the low-shedding Poodle genes they have inherited
- These pups are active and require daily walks and physical exercise, as well as mental stimulation, such as training or interactive games
- Due to their strong bonding with their humans, Sheepadoodles can be excellent therapy or support dogs but can also cause problems with separation anxiety
- They get along with adults and kids alike, thanks to their affectionate, obedient, and calm natures
- Since they are gentle and quiet, they are a superb choice for families with babies and toddlers too
- The dogs from this mixed breed can get along with other dogs and pets at home with proper socialization from as early as possible
- They are not recognized by the AKC but are registered at the Dog Registry of America, the International Designer Canine Registry, and the American Canine Hybrid Club
- Sheepadoodle puppies cost about $1,000-3,000, and Micro Sheepadoodles are usually about $500-$800 more expensive
- Although they are relatively rare to find at shelters and rescue centers, you check your local shelters or online resources for Sheepadoodles in need of adoption before buying one
History of the Sheepadoodle
The Sheepadoodle is one of the many Doodle hybrid breeds, which have become increasingly popular in the last decades and years.
It is a crossbreed that has purebred parents of two amazing breeds – the Poodle and the Old English Sheepdog.
According to fanciers of the crossbreed, Sheepadoodles were first originally intentionally bred back in the 1960s with the idea of creating a military and police dog for the US Army.
The term Doodle for all the new Poodle mixes was coined in the early 1990s.
The most common Sheepadoodles are a mix between an Old English Sheepdog dam and a Standard Poodle sire.
Sheepadoodles are widely preferred as pets, therapy, and support dogs and are also commonly sought after by people with pet allergies.
They are bred for their fantastic appearance and for their natural intelligence and low shedding qualities.
Sheepadoodles are an excellent choice if you want a family pet, as they are gentle and patient with children and adults alike.
While there are various breeders who offer Sheepadoodles, the chances are that there are dogs from this crossbreed in search of forever homes at the pet rescue centers, shelters, and online adoption organizations, so you can search for a dog up for adoption before buying a Sheepadoodle.
The most common Sheepadoodles are the result of the crossbreeding between an Old English Shepherd and a Standard Poodle and are 16 to 22 inches high at the shoulder and weigh 60-80 lbs.
But recently, the smaller Sheepadoodles have become even more popular. They have a toy or mini Poodles as one parent and are understandably quite a lot smaller. A Micro Sheepadoodle is usually just up to 20 inches at the shoulder and weighs 22-44 lbs. in weight.
Owners and fanciers of the Sheepadoodle designer breed describe these pups as intelligent, calm tempered, lovable, and playful.
They are friendly and will get along with all members of the family, children and other pets included, if they have been socialized properly from an early age.
Sheepadoodles create a strong bond with their humans, which makes them lovable and cuddly, but at the same time poses the risk of developing unwanted and destructive behaviors if left alone for long due to separation anxiety.
These dogs are highly intelligent, so they are easy to train with the correct and consistent positive reinforcement techniques.
They can be excellent service, support, or therapy dogs as well.
The Sheepadoodle is an active breed, thanks to the fact that it is a descendent of the fowl hunting Poodle and the herding Old English Sheepdog. This means that you will need to take your dog on daily walks, engage in games, and provide it with enough physical and mental stimulation to keep it happy and away from trouble and bad behavior.
At the same time, your Sheepadoodle will gladly spend the rest of the time snoozing and cuddling with you on the couch.
The activity and energy levels of your Sheepadoodle will depend on the genes it has inherited from each of its purebred parents.
In any case, the dogs from this crossbreed are loyal and will protect their families, making them excellent guard dogs as well. But their instinctive suspicion towards strangers can become problematic for your social interactions if you fail to socialize your pup properly by meeting it with different people and dogs from an early age.
You can help keep your Sheepadoodle mentally stimulated by getting it or playing with it some interactive games.
While these dogs develop strong bonds and are very loyal, this trait can easily turn into separation anxiety. You should consider getting another breed or signing up for doggy care if you are gone from home for long hours or for days and will be leaving your pet alone.
While some experts believe that crossbreeds are less prone to hereditary illnesses and health problems than their purebred parents, other breeders claim that it is the pure breeds that are safer due to the responsible breeding practices, which include mating only healthy animals and testing them for genetic mutations and predispositions.
In any case, the Sheepdoodle may be exposed to any of the hereditary health issues which often plague its purebred ancestors, including:
- Hip Dysplasia
- Joint problems
- Addison’s disease
- Skin disorders such as sebaceous adenitis
Exercise and care
When they are young, the Sheepadoodle puppies can be pretty boisterous, so you will need to spend time training your young Doodle.
They are smart and will respond well to positive training and treats.
Keep in mind that very young puppies shouldn’t be walked or exercised too much. In fact, you should refrain from walking a Sheepadoodle which is less than 4 months of age for longer than 20 minutes per walk, twice a day, in order to allow for its bones, joints, and entire body to develop healthily and properly.
Once the dog reaches the age of 18 months and is fully mature, you can safely increase its walk and exercise time to 60 or more minutes per day.
Depending on its activity levels, your dog may require less or more exercise and playtime per day to stay healthy, fit, and away from destructive behavior due to boredom.
Otherwise, Sheepadoodles are intelligent pups and are easy to train with positive reinforcement and consistency.
Nutrition and diet
You should always strive to feed your dog with age-appropriate dog food of high quality. Larger Sheepadoodles will thrive best on dog food formulated for large and active breeds, but if your dog happens to be less active, you should adjust its food type and quantities accordingly to prevent it from becoming overweight.
You should try to keep your dog active and on a balanced diet in order to prevent it from becoming overweight or obese. Obesity can lead to a number of serious health problems such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, joint pain and issues, and other debilitating conditions which can worsen your dog’s wellbeing and shorten its lifespan.
When giving your dog treats, make sure that you calculate the calories and include the treats in the recommended food quantities per day.
As the dog ages, you can switch to dog food for senior dogs, which is formulated to meet the caloric needs of older pups who are less active and have slower metabolisms.
Since, like most large-sized dogs, Sheepadoodles can be prone to bloat (gastric dilation volvulus), you should avoid strenuous exercise and games right before or after mealtime. Bloat is caused by their intake of excess air and can cause a twisting of the stomach. It can be a fatal condition if not treated immediately by an emergency veterinarian.
Always consult with your veterinarian if you are planning on switching your dog’s diet or adding other foods, including human foods.
Overall, consider the age, weight, activity level, and overall health when determining the best diet for its specific needs.
Grooming and coat type and color
Sheepadoodles are usually white and black, often resembling cute little Pandas when they are young puppies. In some cases, the dogs from this designer breed can be all black, brown, grey, or white, and there are some dogs from this mixed breed that have white and red coats.
The coat of the Sheepadoodle is commonly a mix of the coats of its Old English Sheepdog and Poodle parents. In most cases, the coat is long, but it can be straight, wavy, or curly, depending on the specific inherited genes.
When it has inherited most of its coat traits from the Poodle parent, the Sheepadoodle is a low or non-shedding dog, suitable for people allergic to dog hair and dander.
In any case, Sheepadoodles will need to be groomed on a regular basis to keep them healthy, looking good, and happy.
You should brush the coat of your dog several times a week to prevent matting and get it trimmed once every two months.
Thanks to their long coats, Sheepadoodles do well in cold weather, but you may consider trimming the coat short in the summer to make the hot weather more tolerable for your pup.
Because Sheepadoodles have cute floppy ears, you should take extra care and inspect and clean them regularly because floppy ears are more prone to the development of microorganisms and infections. Carefully clear the inner side of the ears with dog ear cleaner on a cotton ball. Do not insert anything in the ear canal, though. If you notice that the ear is red, warm, and smelly or has excess ear wax, you should take your pup to the vet to get it checked out in order to treat a possible ear infection as early as possible.
To keep your dog healthy and its breath fresh, you should wash its teeth several times a week, or every day, if you prefer.
Also, regularly clip its nails to prevent painful and serious injuries to the paws and legs. But, make sure that you ask a groomer or your veterinarian to show you how the nail trimming or grinding is done safely because cutting the nails too deep can cause bleeding and pain.
Living with children and pets
Sheepadoodles are patient and gentle with children, but due to their herding instincts from their Old English Shepherd heritage, they can be prone to nipping at the heels of the children, especially as puppies.
While the Sheepadoodles are very even-tempered, quiet, and loving pets around children, you should make sure that you teach your kids how to properly and safely interact with the puppy and dog to keep everybody safe and happy.
The dogs from this adorable Doodle breed can get along with and happily live with other dogs and pets at home, but only if they have been socialized and gradually introduced to each other as early as possible.
Finding Doodle mixed breed dogs in rescue groups and shelters may not be as easy as finding purebred or other mixed breed dogs because they are relatively rare.
Still, you can try searching the online dog adoption pages or your local or other rescue centers and shelters to check whether there is a dog that is up for adoption before buying one.
Other places to check are the Old English Sheepdog, or Poodle rescues in your area or the country.