As you probably already know the Bernedoodle is a cross between the Poodle and the Bernese Mountain Dog. You are also likely to be aware that the Bernese Mountain Dog is usually tri-colored (black, white, and rust) and that the Poodle comes in a whole array of different colors, shades, and patterns. But what about the Bernedoodle, what colors should you expect to see this loveable giant hound in?
Well basically it’s all down to genetics and your Bernedoodle will inherit color genes from each parent. The combination of those genes is what will determine each pup’s color so let’s start by taking a layman’s look into how these genetics work.
A chocolate colored, F1 Bernedoodle is impossible. This is because the Bernese Mountain Dog doesn’t carry the required gene. Once there is a Poodle from both sides (F2, F1b etc) then there is the possibility of chocolate puppies but unless genetic testing has been done this is down to chance.
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How Does my Dog get their Color?
The color of your dog’s coat is determined by the genes that they inherit from their parents. Genes can be dominant and recessive. If one dominant and one recessive gene are inherited, then the color of the dog will be that of the dominant gene.
If genes are recessive, then two need to be inherited for the dog to be that color. Of course, it is actually much more complex but in simple terms that is how your Bernedoodle or any dog will inherit their color.
What Colors are Poodles and Bernese Mountain Dogs?
Poodles come in many colors. This means that there is the potential for many different color genes to be found across the breed. Solid colors include black, brown, cream, grey, beige, and silver. There are then various pattern options including parti, sable, and phantom.
In contrast the Bernese Mountain Dog is a tri color consisting of black, brown and white although white is generally a lack of color rather than a color in its own right. This means that the Bernese Mountain Dog does not carry the gene which relates to the chocolate (or brown) color.
What Color is a Bernedoodle?
The most popular Bernedoodle solid color is black due to the genes that are carried by the Poodle and the Bernese Mountain Dog. Black is the most dominant color gene in dog genetics.
Of course, other colors and patterns are possible. Tri-Colored Bernedoodles are possible if the Poodle also carries the phantom with white spotting allele (pattern carried on the gene) and the pup inherits from both parents. See our how to breed a Tri-Colored Bernedoodle guide for more information on Tri-Colors.
Parti colored Bernedoodles can also be found with dogs presenting in black and white, brown and white, and even black and brown.
However, due to the parental genetics you won’t find a chocolate (brown) first generation Bernedoodle.
Bernedoodle Color Genetics: Chocolate Bernedoodle
Did we mention that there is no possibility of breeding a chocolate F1 Bernedoodle? We thought that we would reiterate just in case!
The gene responsible for the chocolate color in dogs is recessive (b) so a puppy would need to inherit two copies in order to present as brown. This is simply not possible in an F1 because the Bernese Mountain Dog doesn’t carry the required gene (b). So, your F1 Bernedoodle puppy can only ever conceivably inherit one copy and only if the Poodle parent was a carrier and passes it down.
When we move into second, third, and multigenerational breeding, including backcrosses (with a Poodle), then the possibility of producing chocolate Bernedoodles arises but this is still somewhat of a rarity and they are not often seen.
If both parents carry the chocolate gene, then the chance of passing it down to their offspring is one in four. Hopefully, our explanation will make it easy to understand. We will use an F1b Bernedoodle as an example.
B is the dominant black color gene and b is the recessive chocolate color gene. Let us assume that our Bernedoodle parent carries Bb and our Poodle parent also carries Bb. Remember, the puppies will inherit one gene from each parent. This gives four options for the puppy to inherit:
- BB – Black, doesn’t carry the chocolate gene
- Bb – Black but does carry the chocolate gene
- BB – Black, doesn’t carry the chocolate gene
- bb – Chocolate in color
This doesn’t mean that if your dam delivers eight pups that two will be chocolate in color but that each puppy has a 25% chance of presenting with bb genetics.
A Breeders Perspective
We spoke with a breeder in South Dakota who have had a recent litter of nine F1b Bernedoodles with one chocolate male. With six years of breeding Bernedoodles this is only the second time that Nito Ranch Pups has seen this solid color.
Coincidently both times the parents were an all-black Bernedoodle (dam) and merle Poodle (sire). “I’ve noticed their coats are just luxurious. They seem to have a nicer coat,” said the breeder from Brandon.
Nito Ranch bred the parents of their latest chocolate Bernedoodle in order to gain a variety of different colored pups. They are not DNA tested for color, so chocolate was not intentional but a lovely surprise. You can read more about Nito Ranch Pups and see their available puppies and prices at www.nitopups.com.