It has to be one of the most important questions you take into consideration when looking to buy a new dog. Those who suffer from allergies in particular need to know just how hypoallergenic dogs are – and how severe these allergies are will determine the breeds you can look at. However, there are other reasons people seek low shedding dogs. Let’s take a look at just how hypoallergenic Bernedoodles really are and if they make a good choice for allergy sufferers. We will also discover whether there any differences between generations.
No breed of dog is 100% hypoallergenic. When looking for a hypoallergenic, low shedding Bernedoodle you should consider a generation that has a high Poodle percentage such as one of the backcross generations (F1b, F1bb, F2b, F2bb). The curlier the coat the better for allergy sufferers.
There are lots of factors to consider when looking for a low shedding dog. We will also look into why low shedding does NOT equal low maintenance.
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What Is A Hypoallergenic Dog?
What does this phrase mean and is any dog 100% hypoallergenic? Hypoallergenic is used to describe a dog who is believed to be low to non-shedding. This is good news for allergy sufferers. The dander in the fur doesn’t get into the environment as much as dogs that shed, as it traps between the coat and the skin.
Often allergies come from the saliva and urine proteins which then stick to a dog’s skin flakes (dander). No dog is completely hypoallergenic but there are dogs that are compatible with allergy sufferers because they are low shedding and Bernedoodles fall into this category.
Important note: All dogs lose hair / fur when brushed so when you hear the term “low shedding” this means any day to day shedding that happens naturally and falls off them.
How Hypoallergenic Are Bernedoodles?
Bernedoodles are a cross between a Poodle and a Bernese Mountain Dog. Due to the curly nature of a Poodle’s coat, they are considered a low shedding dog. Due to this Poodle influence Doodle breeds often produce fairly hypoallergenic offspring. Bernese Mountain dogs do shed their fur so it’s really important to look into the generations of Bernedoodles and find the right one for you.
The generation of your Bernedoodle can influence their hypoallergenic traits:
- F1 Bernedoodles: F1’s are 50% Poodle and 50% Bernese Mountain Dog. With F1 dogs you may or may not have a low shedding dog, it’s a bit of a gamble and it’s not unusual for there to be some shedding.
- F1b Bernedoodles: An F1b backcross is 75% Poodle, 25% Bernese Mountain Dog. F1b’s stand the biggest chance of being low shedding due to the majority influence coming from the Poodle side.
- F1bb Bernedoodles: This generation consists of 87.5% Poodle and only 12.5% Bernese Mountain Dog. It is achieved by crossing an F1B Bernedoodle with purebred 100% Poodle.
- F2 Bernedoodles: This generation is produced by crossing an F1 Bernedoodle with another F1 Bernedoodle. Coat types are most varied with this generation so low shedding is not very likely with this pairing.
- F2b Bernedoodles: Second-generation backcross is achieved by crossing an F1 Bernedoodle with an F1b Bernedoodle (62.5% Poodle – 37.5% Bernese Mountain Dog). This generation can be popular with allergy sufferers and are usually low to non-shedding.
- F2bb Bernedoodles: 81.25% Poodle and18.75% Bernese Mountain Dog makes up this generation. Again, the strong Poodle influence makes them low risk for allergy sufferers.
- F3 Bernedoodles: Also referred to as a multi-generation Bernedoodle and these include any Bernedoodles beyond the second generation.
In summary, allergy sufferers looking for a low shedding dog should avoid F2 Bernedoodles and be aware that an F1 will not guarantee what you are looking for. Many people who are looking for hypoallergenic dogs’ edge towards F1bs and F2bs due to the higher percentage of Poodle involved. F1bb and F2bb arguably make up the most genes suitable for allergies due to the higher percentage of poodle in them but these are a rarer cross.
Bernedoodle Coat Types
As with all dog breeds, the coat type also influences the amount of shedding involved so let’s look at the coat types you can expect to see with Bernedoodles. There are three coat types that Bernedoodles acquire and these are straight, wavy, and curly. The curlier the coat the less your dog will shed. However, their coats can also change drastically during the transition from puppy to adult coat. An experienced breeder may be able to make an educated guess as to what their adult coat may be like but this is never guaranteed.
There are also straight coat Bernedoodles (also called flat-coated Bernedoodles) and they do tend to shed, sometimes a lot. Wavy Bernedoodles again are prone to some shedding. The closer the resemblance to the Poodle coat the less shedding you will get so the curly Bernedoodles will be the most hypoallergenic.
Bernedoodles shed their puppy coats around 9 to 12 months old and during this process, you will see more hair coming off during the brushing process. Whether dogs have one coat or a double coat they will shed some of their puppy coat before their permanent coat grows in so it’s worth bearing this in mind.
Grooming Requirements for Bernedoodles
You might assume that low shedding dogs require less maintenance than high shedding ones but I’m afraid you would be very wrong. In fact, lower shedding dogs need more grooming. This is because their coat doesn’t shed naturally. This means they require regular brushing to stop knots and tangles from forming. Many Bernedoodle owners do brief daily brushing sessions or two longer sessions a week to keep on top of their dog’s grooming needs.
Should you use a professional dog groomer then you should aim to visit there every 6 to 8 weeks with your Bernedoodle. It’s important to wait until your pooch has had all their vaccinations before introducing them to a dog groomer for the first time. Slicker brushes are great for Bernedoodle coat types and are popular amongst owners.
Getting your puppy used to a grooming routine from a young age is important, it will then become natural to them and they won’t find it stressful. You can also choose to groom your dog yourself, cutting out the costs of a groomer but this isn’t easy and it’s important to know what you are doing. Our how to groom a Labradoodle guide gives step by step instructions on how to achieve this safely.
When it comes to bathing your Bernedoodle this should be carried out roughly every 3 months. Bathing should not be too regular an occurrence – dogs do a good job of self-grooming and bathing too frequently causes them to lose their natural oils. Of course, if your pooch has off the leash adventures and is drawn to muddy puddles you may need to bathe them on an ‘as and when’ basis.
If this is the case then a sensitive shampoo is important or even better just rinse off the dirt using water when possible. Too much bathing with products will end up irritating your dog’s skin causing issues that can lead to infection.
Why Has my Bernedoodle Suddenly Started Shedding?
So, you chose what you believed to be a low shedding puppy, and all has been good. Your chairs, rugs, and carpets didn’t need any extra hoovering up until now. But suddenly you are finding hairballs and fur on the carpet and on the upholstery. What’s going on – why has this started to happen? It could be down to a few reasons:
- Parasites, such as mites or fleas: All of these can cause excess shedding and bald patches on your dog.
- Allergies to Foods: If you have changed your dog’s food it’s possible they have an intolerance to it.
- Medications: If your dog is on any medications check the side effects as this can be the cause of excessive shedding.
- Cushing’s Disease: This is when the adrenal glands produce too much of certain hormones.
- Pregnancy and Lactation: If your Bernedoodle is pregnant or thinks they are pregnant this can cause some hair loss.
- Anxiety or Stress: Some dogs who are anxious may pull their own fur out to relieve this.
- Fungal or Bacterial Infection: Some infections can lead to skin irritations which can cause the fur to fall out.
Are Bernedoodles Soft to Touch?
Bernedoodles have a very soft coat to the touch. From straight to curly their coats have a lovely feel to them. If your Bernedoodle enjoys swimming and/or running, they may get a slightly drier coat, but regular grooming will help with this. Bernedoodles love the outdoors which can mean they need slightly more regular grooming to keep those coats looking and feeling gorgeous.