There are many out there that love the Labradoodle and just as many who love the Bernese Mountain Dog. It was only a matter of time until someone ventured into the unknowns of taking the much-loved Doodle hybrids and seeing what happens when another pure breed is brought into the mix.
In this article, we will take a deep dive into the world of a new hybrid option which includes Poodle, Labrador, and Bernese Mountain Dog genetics. We will discuss expectations of height, weight, coat type, health and exercise needs so that you, dear reader, can decide if this is the Doodle you have been searching for.
Table of Contents
The Labradoodle is a cross between a Labrador Retriever and one of the three sizes of Poodle (Standard, Miniature, or Toy). As the German Shepherd is a large breed itself, it is most commonly a Labradoodle with Standard Poodle parentage that is selected for a cross between the two.
While this mix was noted to have occurred as early as the 1950’s it was around 1989 that the term Labradoodle became commonplace, and the popularity really increased.
The publicity surrounding the Labradoodle increased in the early 1990s where many guide, assistance, and/or therapy dogs associations realized the Labradoodle would be an option for individuals who experienced dog allergies.
Often the addition of Poodle genetics greatly reduced the amount of shedding that would be associated with Labrador Retrievers.
The Labradoodles smarts and low shedding coat attracted the attention of normal domestic pet owners and there was a meteoric rise in the number of breeders over the course of the ’90s and 2000s.
Generally, Labradoodle owners favor the breed’s natural friendliness while their energetic and affectionate nature makes them popular for active singles, couples, or families with children.
You may also have heard of the Australian Labradoodle. No, it’s not just a Labradoodle who was born south of the Equator.
The Australian Labradoodle is a continuation of Labradoodle breeding. Mixing only Labrador Retrievers and Poodle as first-generation crossbreeds gave rise to lots of variation in things like weight, size, and coat type.
In the early 1990s breeders in Australia began introducing Cocker Spaniel genetics into Labradoodle breeding programs and discovered that this led to more consistent coat types and sizes.
Australian Labradoodles are therefore multi-generational descents of Labradoodles whereby somewhere in the lineage a Labradoodle has been bred back to a Cocker Spaniel. The Curly Coat Retriever and the Irish Water Spaniel can also appear in their stock. The result is all the usual fun of a Labradoodle but with a bit more of a guarantee that litters will have the fluffy, curled, non-shedding coat that many people are seeking.
For more information take a look at our Australian Labradoodle Generations, F1, F1b, F2, F2b, F3 article.
Bernese Mountain Dog History
Synonymous with Switzerland and the rugged snow-covered mountains of Europe, the Bernese Mountain Dog is an impressive example of a large dog.
Descended from large Mastiff type breeds the earliest records of the Bernese Mountain Dog can be found in the late 1800s where there are accounts of these dogs working alongside farmers, herders, and dairymen. The Bernese demonstrated such strength that they could be used in place of small ponies to pull laden carts.
They are often instantly recognizable from their build, long glossy coat, and tri-color markings of a predominantly black body, white chest, white/brown/black facial markings, and black nose.
Favored for largely docile temperament, the Bernese Mountain Dog successfully made the jump to a domestic pet in the early 1900s supported by the development of a breed club and the dog being showcased abroad.
Bernese Mountain Dogs are generally affectionate with their owners and very rarely are ever known to be aggressive unless in defense of their owner. They are known to be patient with young children and due to their size can tolerate some more exuberant child-led play than smaller counterparts.
One of the only drawbacks of this delightful gentle giant is its relatively short lifespan. The breed has a high prevalence of cancer and as a result, the average life span is much shorter than some equivalent size breeds at only 7 to 8 years on average.
What Do We Call a Labradoodle Bernese Mountain Dog Mix?
So far there is little information regarding breeding Labradoodles with the Bernese Mountain Dog.
For instance, this could be that there is a continued demand for Labradoodle and the Bernese Mountain Dog separately in the States and Europe leading to breeders not wanting to mix the gene pool.
The option of the Bernedoodle (Poodle x Bernese Mountain Dog) is also a well-established option for anyone seeking a Mountain Doodle. Also, the wide variation in Labradoodle size and coat type can make creating a good match when trying to introduce a large breed into the mix.
Interestingly though breeders have been much more willing to introduce Bernese Mountain Dogs into breeding programs with Australian Labradoodles. The thinking behind this is often related to the fact that the Australian Labradoodle is already multi-generational and has reached a level of consistency in size and weight that can be more readily matched.
So, what do you need to listen out for to know if we are talking about an Australian Labradoodle Bernese Mountain Dog cross?
The delightful terms coined include an “Australian Bernedoodle” or the slightly more ridiculous “Bernaussie Doodle”. Be careful though not to confuse it with an Australian Mountain Doodle which is an Australian Shepherd x Poodle x Bernese Mountain Dog that does not have any Labrador Retriever genetics.
You can learn more at Australian Bernedoodle – Info, Facts, and Breed Overview.
Why is this Cross Being Bred?
The main driver behind the development of the Australian Bernedoodle is the attractive appearance of the offspring. The Bernese Mountain Dog genetics make for a boxier head shape while they almost always inherit a soft fleecy, low maintenance coat. This makes the breed very appealing for those sensitive to dog hair or with dander allergies.
The Benefits of the Australian Bernedoodle
Benefits of the Australian Bernedoodle include a more predictable temperament than the Labradoodle. The Australian Bernedoodle generally is an energetic but not hyperactive pup with oodles of intelligence. The Bernese, Labrador, Poodle, and Cocker Spaniel genetics mean this dog is hard-wired to want to be with humans.
The fleecy coat gives the Australian Bernedoodle an almost teddy bear like appearance and while it will still need regular grooming it can be less demanding than some Poodle cross variations.
While the Bernese Mountain Dog only comes in one size (and that is fairly large!) adding Poodle genetics (who come in three sizes Toy, Miniature, and Standard) also allows for some size variation.
This means those who love the Bernese Mountain Dog but who are put off by their larger size and strength can choose a smaller variation of Australian Bernedoodle who likely will have had Miniature Poodle heritage.
The Cons of the Australian Bernedoodle
To be truthful it’s hard-to-find cons with this mix. The only potential con is the challenge of making sure you are truly getting an Australian Bernedoodle. While it is pretty easy to determine if a parent is a Bernese Mountain Dog it can be on the trickier side singling out the other parent background. As the Australian Labradoodle is already a hybrid, it can be difficult to determine just how much genetics of which breed you are getting.
The Australian Bernedoodle is also a rarer mix meaning even though you have fallen in love with them, finding a reputable breeder may prove challenging.
Size and Weight
The size of the Poodle used in the parent Australian Labradoodle will generally have the main bearing on the size of the resultant Australian Bernedoodle offspring.
This means you can have a Standard, Mini, or Toy Australian Bernedoodle. A rough size and weight breakdown is outlined below
- Standard Australian Bernedoodle – between 20” and 24” in height and 50lbs to 65 lbs
- Mini Australian Bernedoodle – between 15” and 20” in height and 25lbs to 50lbs
- Toy Australian Bernedoodle – 14” to 18” in height and 10lbs to 24lbs
You will notice that the Toy Australian Bernedoodle will be similar in height to the Mini but will be lighter in weight. This is due to the impact of the considerably larger Bernese Mountain Dog and Labrador height meaning that even though Toy Poodles are much shorter, it has a limited impact on the genetic presentation. A Toy variation will however appear overall more petite as it will be lighter in build.
Generally, reputable breeders will consciously try and avoid significant size differences in parent matches so if one parent is the Bernese Mountain Dog it is much more likely that the matched Australian Labradoodle parent will be descended from Standard or Miniature Poodles rather than Toy.
Color and Coat Types
Most Australian Bernedoodles come in variations of black, white, and brown, which is partially influenced by the mix of parent colors. They can be bi or tricolor however often are more commonly seen in solid colors with some small patches of a secondary color.
On occasion, they can take on a much more typical Bernese Mountain Dog color pattern however with the curly coat of a Doodle cross. These variations are particularly striking and remain in demand.
In terms of texture, the Australian Bernedoodle genetic mix nearly guarantees it to be very low shedding. The generation can have a bit of an impact with first-generation Australian Bernedoodles (50% Bernese Mountain Dog and 50% Australian Labradoodle) generally being soft, wavey, and fleecy while the mix of subsequent generations may be curlier if the percentage of Bernese Mountain Dog is reduced.
Like all low shedding, curly-coated Poodle crosses, the Australian Bernedoodle will need frequent brushing to help prevent matts and tangles. This is because they still shed hair as normal however it doesn’t dislodge into their surroundings as it is captured in their coat. The frequency of brushing depends on just how curly the coat is. Wavier coats may need brushed 3 to 4 times a week while more curled variations will benefit from daily brushing.
If you are not confident in-home grooming, you should take your Australian Bernedoodle to a groomer every 6 to 8 weeks.
As they have longer hair and floppy ears, they can benefit from thorough ear cleaning alongside normal grooming.
The benefit of crossing Australian Labradoodle genetics into the Bernese Mountain Dog line is that it greatly increases the potential lifespan of the resultant hybrid litters. While the Bernese Mountain Dog can only expect to live between 7 and 8 years, this can potentially double to between 12 and 15 years for an Australian Bernedoodle.
Generally, the Australian Bernedoodle is considered a healthy breed however it does have a slightly higher rate of the following health issues:
- Heart Disease
- Immune System Disease
- Hip Dysplasia.
Fortunately, screening of the parents can help reduce the risk of these occurring and many of the conditions can be effectively managed or treated in the event they do occur.
The Australian Bernedoodle could have just about one of the most charming temperaments of all the Doodle crosses. The Bernese Mountain Dog’s more docile traits can temper some of the hyperactivity sometimes seen in a Labradoodle mix.
Owners of Australian Bernedoodles generally described them as intelligent, easily trainable, loving, and most notably loyal. They bond firmly with their owners and will be less interested in strangers.
The Australian Bernedoodle is considered an energetic dog therefore is not a good match for those who have limited living space or no outdoor access.
They will require between 60 and 90 minutes of exercise a day and are capable of significant bursts of energy. That being said, they will equally be happy curled up at home and adore belly rubs and general pampering.
As a larger dog, the Australian Labradoodle will need good quality food. Owners’ forums detail some who choose raw feeding however equally many thrive on kibble or wet foods. The exact amount of food will depend on size and activity levels. It is always the best idea to discuss dietary needs and weight with a veterinary professional if you are any way in doubt.