There is such a wealth of Doodles out there to choose from these days, that narrowing down your choice can feel like an impossible task. One of the ways to start sifting through the plethora of options is to think do you want to go small, big, or really big? If you like your Doodles on the larger side some of your research may lead you to the mountain dog and Poodle crosses.
In this article, we will compare two, in particular, the Pyredoodle and Bernedoodle. So, if you have a big place in your heart (and home) one of these “Doods” may just be the pup for you.
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Origins of the Bernedoodle
A cross between a Bernese Mountain Dog and a Poodle, the Bernedoodle has a growing loyal following since they were first purposefully bred in the early 2000s. The Bernese Mountain Dog parent brings with it a long history of working credentials.
These strong majestic looking dogs have been employed as guard dogs, cattle drovers, cart pullers, and even mountain rescue dogs in their chilly homeland of Switzerland.
Not only does the Bernese Mountain Dog bring brawn it also brings a degree of brains that when coupled with the Poodle makes for a bright, loyal, and affectionate companion dog who despite its size will quite happily squish on a sofa with its owners.
Origins of the Pyredoodle
The Great Pyrenees is another mountain pup who originates in the hilly heights of Europe however, this pooch is French in origin. Instantly recognizable for their silken, primarily white coats, these dogs were historically trusted workmates of shepherds driving sheep through the often harsh conditions of the Pyrenees mountains.
As the popularity of the Doodle cross has continued to grow over the last 20 years the Pyredoodle offers up a more unusual pairing for those who like their Doodles on the larger size.
Colors, Coats, and Grooming
The most instantly recognizable Bernedoodle coloring is a tri-color of brown, black and white that is so unmistakably Bernese Mountain Dog. While this may be one of the most desirable Bernedoodle colorings it is quite a challenge of the genetic lottery to achieve this appearance. Commonly they can be tri-color of different colors including apricot, cream, sable, and tan.
The Bernedoodle can come in lots of other equally adorable color configurations such as black and white, black and brown, solid black, solid brown. They can also display merle coloring including shades of gray.
The Pyredoodle by comparison tends to present more often in shades of white, cream, or apricot. This is due to breeders actively choosing to breed the light-colored Great Pyrenees with lighter-colored Poodles to maintain that appearance.
Less commonly the Pyredoodle can come in variations of gray or black. While many Pyredoodles will appear to be mostly single-colored some can be a mix of colors.
Bernedoodle Coat Type and Grooming Needs
Just as with all Doodle crosses there is no guarantee that your Bernedoodle will be low shedding. Although its Poodle parentage is low shedding the Bernese has a long silky coat that sheds frequently.
A Bernedoodle can be dense and curly, exhibit a longer wavier coat or in rare cases be straighter and silkier. While the denser curly coat type may shed less, they actually require more regimented grooming. This is due to the fact that the hair does not shed off naturally and any broken hair fibres can become matted and tangled. Daily brushing and regular groomers trips will be part of your Bernedoodle owning life.
Pyredoodle Coat Type and Grooming Needs
The Pyredoodle coat type can be more unpredictable than the Bernedoodle with instances of Pyredoodle offspring retaining the thick double coat passed on from the Great Pyrenees. This type of coat will shed more than those who inherit a denser Poodle-Esque coat. A perfect example of this look can be found in our cover comparison photo.
Even curly-coated Pyredoodles will tend to have a looser, longer coat than many Bernedoodles meaning even more rigorous daily grooming needs. Some Pyredoodle owners remark on how quick their coats can grow meaning that if you wish to keep your Pyredoodle’s coat shorter they will need four weekly groomers visits.
Size and Weight Averages
The European mountains where both the Bernese Mountain Dog and the Great Pyrenees originate are pretty harsh which mean both these breeds developed into strong, large dogs. Berenedoodles and Pyredoodles are often matched with the Standard Poodle due to them being the closest in height.
While there has been some development of Miniature Bernedoodles, Pyredoodles tend to continue to be paired with Standards.
Bernedoodles when crossed with a Standard Poodle comes in on average at between 23 and 29 inches tall and can weigh in the region of 70 to 90 pounds.
The Pyredoodle tends to be slightly larger both in height and weight, averaging between 20 and 32 inches in height and tipping the scales at between 85 and 100 pounds.
In both breeds, it is normal for the males to be larger than females both in height and weight.
Both these breeds are hard-wired to be loyal owing to their working dog histories. Adding a pinch of Poodle makes for a smart pooch who can also get up to a healthy dose of mischief.
Loyal, affectionate, and playful are some of the words often tossed around when talking Bernedoodle. Intelligent and observant they can make excellent watchdogs however as they are not naturally predisposed to aggressive behaviors, they are more prone to bark an alert than bite anyone.
Be warned though Bernedoodle puppies can be known to display trademark Bernese Mountain Dog stubbornness in their puppyhood. The good news is this generally diminishes as they reach adolescence. However, be prepared to stick your ground with your tiny canine tyrant.
Sweet, loving, and intelligent. Pyredoodles are often particularly appealing to families as they are known to bond quickly and are good with children. Despite his bulk, the Pyredoodle is known to be very calm even bordering on laziness.
Be prepared though many Pyredoodle owners have found themselves on the receiving end of their pooch’s inherent herding skills passed down from the Great Pyrenees. They can often be known to seek different family members from different rooms. They are never happier when snuggled on a couch with all their favorite people in sight.
Both these breeds require regular daily exercise and while being considered high energy in their younger years once they are out of adolescence they will level out. Lugging around all that bulk and fur can make for tiring work after all.
The Pyredoodle being naturally of a calmer nature will be more pre-disposed to being a couch potato than the Bernedoodle and may need a gentle reminder to undertake daily exercise. Both will require a minimum of two decent walks a day or one longer walk of up to 1 hour. This is key to prevent obesity which due to their larger build can cause significant joint problems further down the line.
While the Miniature Bernedoodle may offer up an option for those living in apartments, the Standard Bernedoodle and Pyredoodle really need access to access to a decent yard area to stretch their legs out with actual walks.
As both these breeds have smarts in abundance they also respond well to mental stimulation and can show enthusiasm for both obedience training and agility skills.
It’s hardly surprising but the bigger the Doodle the more they eat and boy does the Bernedoodle love to eat! You can work the Bernedoodle’s food motivation to your advantage for training but be sure to keep an eye on just how many treats they get (or pinch).
The Pyredoodle’s more laid-back nature means they may not go snaffling miscellaneous remnants of left-over takeout in the park however given their overall size they still need a significant daily calorie intake.
If we think of the adult Bernedoodle as ranging from 70 to 90 pounds who is moderately active, they would require in the region of 1500 to 1800 calories a day. This equates to roughly 3.25 to 4.25 cups of a balanced dry food per day.
The larger adult Pyredoodle coming in at 85 to 100 pounds will require, on average, 1700 to 1950 calories per day. This is around 3.75 to 4.5 cups of dry food per day.
Of course, any Doodle’s dietary needs change as they age. With older, less active dogs requiring lower calorie intakes. If you are ever in any doubt regarding your dog’s nutrition it is always advisable to seek advice from your veterinarian.
One of the major appeals of crossing the Poodle with another purebred is to widen the gene pool and breed out some more common health issues in both parent breeds. This is most notable in the case of the Bernedoodle. Limited breeding lines in the Bernese Mountain Dog has led to frequent health problems and a relatively short lifespan of 6 to 8 years. By comparison, the Bernedoodle can be expected to reach in the region of 12 to 15 years.
Conversely, the Great Pyrenees is generally a healthy breed to start with and can be expected to live 10 to 12 years however they too can benefit from hybrid breeding with reports of Pyredoodles living up to 15 years.
Both the Pyredoodle and Bernedoodle are considered healthy breeds overall. There are some conditions that may be more common in both with the most notable being GDV (gastric dilatation-volvulus often referred to as Bloat.
This is a condition common to the deep-chested dogs which include the Poodle, the Bernese Mountain Dog, and the Great Pyrenees. It stands to reason that this can’t be wiped out by cross-breeding these matches.
Being aware of the condition means owners can spot it quickly and seek help promptly as it can be often fatal. You can read more about bloat and how to recognize the warning signs in our article what causes bloat in Poodles?
The Bernedoodle may be slightly more predisposed to hip and elbow dysplasia and some eye problems while the Pyredoodle can have instances of cancer and similar joint issues. The good news is reputable breeders will undertake health screening to minimize the risk of conditions being passed on where possible.
At the time of writing, this article demand for nearly all types of Doodles is high which has led to significant price increases. So many factors can influence the price of puppies such as breeder reputation, regional availability, gender, generation, and coloring to mention just a few.
Currently, the Bernedoodle is seen to be overall more popular than the Pyredoodle which means in general terms you can expect to pay as much as 40% more for a well-bred Bernedoodle pup. The cost can be even higher for a healthy tri-color Bernedoodle as this is often seen as the most desirable.
However, as Pyredoodles are not as widely bred, in some areas this can create inflated prices due to their perceived rarity.
Given the cost and popularity of these breeds, they are not frequently found in re-homing shelters, although it is always a good idea to check your local rescues before buying in case there is a homeless Bernedoodle or Pyredoodle in need of a second chance.
If a big ole bundle of Doodle is what you have your heart set on you certainly won’t go wrong with either the Bernedoodle or Pyredoodle as both offer up similar loyalty and affection. As a proud Bernedoodle owner myself though, I can honestly warn you about the vast array of comments you will receive as you walk your dog, who is taller than most toddlers, down the street.
The larger size coupled with the soft Doodle curls attract many admiring glances and just like the Pyredoodle, the Bernedoodle’s friendly nature can soften up even those who are more on the grumpy side.
One thing is for sure though, whatever one of these gentle giants you settle for I’d seriously consider getting a king-size bed as we all start out saying they’ll sleep elsewhere but these big softies will have other ideas!