Mini Bernedoodle are hybrid dogs that can make excellent family pets.
This cross breed has only become popular in the past 20 years or so after the first breeder started to create the Mini Bernedoodle at the start of the 2000s following the success of the Bernedoodle.
Mini Bernedoodles aren’t a breed recognised by the American Kennel Club but their parents are two well-established breeds – the Bernese Mountain Dog and the Poodle.
The so-called designer breed have pros and cons just like any other dog breed or mix.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the advantages and the challenges of owning a Mini Bernedoodle.
We’ll speak to Booker (@venice_dood), Lucky (@lj.thebernedoodle) and Bernie (@bernie__doodle) to learn more about the pros and cons of Mini Bernedoodle cross breed and share some of their photos (with their permission).
Intelligent and easy to train
Mini Bernedoodles are smart dogs considering one of their parents is the Poodle. The Poodle is widely considered the second-smartest dog breed in the world behind the Border Collie. Mini Bernedoodles will usually be quick to learn new commands and follow instructions without the need for many repetitions. Therefore, owners may find training their Mini Bernedoodle a relative breeze. Having said that, it’s still a good idea to start training your Mini Bernedoodle as soon as you get your pup home. Lucky’s owner Kate described Mini Bernedoodles as “super intelligent”. Bernie’s owner Rasa explained her Mini Bernedoodle was very easy to train as a highly food motivated dog.
[Mini] Bernedoodles are VERY intelligent and eager to please, and in my experience EXTREMELY food motivated – so if you have those two things going for you with your dog, training will be a breeze. Be warned, however, that sometimes Mini [Bernedoodles] will try to outsmart you to get treats without a task!
Perfect family dog
If you’re looking for a family pet, the Mini Bernedoodle could fit the bill. Swissridge Kennel owner Sherry Rupke, who is credited with starting the Mini Bernedoodle cross breed, wrote on her website that these small dogs make “excellent family pets”. These fluffy dogs have a gentle side around children as well as developing a “special fondness for children” which is synonymous with the Bernese Mountain Dog breed. Rasa highlighted the importance of educating younger members of the family on how to interact and play with a Mini Bernedoodle to set up your family (including your dog) for success.
As with any dog, as long as family members are respectful, what you’ll get back is endless love, affection, and snuggles. To families with young children with any breed I’d recommend making sure that your kids have boundaries and don’t do anything that might hurt the dogs, and if ever bringing in a new dog introducing them slowly and on neutral ground. In general, Mini Bernedoodles love being part of a family unit, inclusive of humans, dogs, cats, whatever!
Loyal best friend
If you’re looking for a loyal canine companion then Mini Bernedoodle could be the friend for you. They’re extremely loyal dogs that will relish developing a deep and meaningful bond with their owners. The Poodle breed is known for their loyalty to their owners. You may find that your Mini Bernedoodle becomes a bit of a velrco dog, following you around the home as your permanent shadow.
Mehnoosh shed some light on the personality of his Mini Bernedoodle called Booker.
Mini Bernedoodles are very affectionate and friendly dogs, particularly to other pets within the household! Early socialization to both people and other pets is important, but they’re very loyal and trustworthy companions.
If you’re looking for a low shedding dog for your home, Mini Bernedoodles could be a potential fit for you. These small dogs tend to be low shedding so they won’t leave a lot of hair on your clothes, on your furniture or on the floor. Poodles are a hypoallergenic dog breed but Bernese Mountain Dogs are not. So Mini Bernedoodles will shed to varying degrees depending on their specific heritage. For example, a first generation Mini Bernedoodle could shed more than a second or third generation Mini Bernedoodle. While you may see Mini Bernedoodles billed as hypoallergenic, you should be aware that they can still shed to some degree seeing as Bernese Mountain Dogs are moderate shedders. Their salvia and urine can also trigger a reaction or they can carry allergens in their coat such as pollen.
Mehnoosh shed some light on the topic of Mini Bernedoodle shedding.
F1 Mini Bernedoodles, first generation crosses where the puppy is 50% Bernese Mountain Dog and 50% Poodle, do have the possibility of shedding a bit, as Bernese Mountain Dogs are dogs that shed. However, the shedding is minimal and is reduced when you breed Bernedoodles with other Bernedoodles.
Bernese Mountain Dogs have a life expectancy of just seven years, while Poodles can live up to 12 to 15 years. Rupke writes on Swissridge Kennel’s website that Mini Bernedoodle can live up to 17 years, adding the smaller the dog the longer it lives.
Mehnoosh explained a little more about Mini Bernedoodle life expectancy.
The benefit of having a Mini Bernedoodle is that by mixing a Poodle with the Bernese Mountain Dog, you actually see a longer life expectancy for the breed due to the addition of the Poodle genetics. Their standard life expectancy is 12-18 years and are expected to have a longer lifespan than Standard Bernedoodles.
Mini Bernedoodle are sometimes dubbed a desginer dog breed so you won’t be surprised to learn that these dogs can set you back quite a bit. You may be asked to put down a deposit to get on a breeder’s waitlist before you cough up the rest of the cost of your Mini Bernedoodle. Having spoken to our three Mini Bernedoodle owners, it appears the average price of buying a Mini Bernedoodle is $3000 to $6000. Of course, there are other costs to consider once you’ve got your Mini Bernedoodle at home, such as essentials like dog toys, leashes, harnesses, treats and food. It’s a good idea to get pet insurance to protect against an unforeseen emergency. There are also grooming costs to consider if you decide to go with a Mini Bernedoodle. A low shedding coat means more time, effort and money spent on grooming.
Require social interaction
These hybrid dogs thrive on human interaction so you’ll need to dedicate time to bonding with your Mini Bernedoodle. Whether it’s training, exercise or playing mental stimulation games, these small dogs will demand a lot of your time. Rasa explained that Mini Bernedoodles tend to be loyal dogs that want to go on adventures with you. These social dogs could be prone to some separation anxiety if they become particularly attached to you. Swissridge Kennel owner Rupke warns on her website that Mini Bernedoodles are very social dogs that thrive on human interaction and if you have limited time, they may not be the breed for you.
While Mini Bernedoodles are smart dogs, they can also be stubborn. This can be a challenge if you don’t persist with regular training sessions with your hybrid dog. The stubborn trait is more than likely inherited from the Bernese Mountain Dog who have a reputation for being headstrong. So while the influence of the Poodle genes can result in a highly obedient dog, it could be countered by the stubbornness of the Bernese Mountain Dog.
Mehnoosh provided us with some insight into Mini Bernedoodle stubborness.
One thing to note though is that they’re very stubborn. This is both a blessing and a curse, but does require persistence when training them because they can regress in training quickly if you do not maintain consistency.
We’ve already touched upon it above but Mini Bernedoodles will require regular grooming to maintain the appearance and the health of their coat. Dog owners will need to brush their Mini Bernedoodle at least a couple of times a week. Mini Bernedoodle owners may find it useful to use the services of a professional groomer every couple of months.
Rasa warned that without daily grooming, a Mini Bernedoodle’s coat can become matted.
You do have to keep up with grooming religiously. While most [Mini] Bernedoodles have the non-shedding poodle coat, without daily brushing and regular professional grooming it can get quite matted. There are some [Mini] Bernedoodles that have “unfurnished” coats, as well, and those types of coats tend to shed a bit more.
Mehnoosh revealed that Booker requires a trip to a groomer every six to eight weeks.
In terms of grooming, it’s really a matter of how long owners like to keep their pup’s hair. Mini Bernedoodles typically have curly hair, a genetic trait from their poodle side, which can get matted pretty quickly. I take Booker in for a grooming session ever 6-8 weeks.
Some Mini Bernedoodles can be prone to separation anxiety. As we mentioned above, Mini Bernedoodles are a social cross breed that like to be around their owners and other members of the family. However, they can display some signs of separation anxiety when left at home alone. These symptoms include barking, whining, chewing or digging. The coronavirus pandemic has meant a lot of new puppies and young dogs have never experienced their owners leaving for work or being left at home alone consistently. While not every Mini Bernedoodle will suffer from this chronic canine condition, it’s good to be aware of it if you do decide to get one of these Poodle cross breeds.
Rasa explained some of the things she does to try to prevent any separation anxiety.
Mini Bernedoodles are absolutely velcro dogs and would rather be with their people than without, so to an extent, yes. However, if you do your best to make sure they are well exercised physically and mentally, this should not be a problem. When leaving my Mini Bernedoodle at home, I like to create a safe space or room for him to be in, turn the TV on to a medium volume, and leave him with a treat puzzle or something I know isn’t dangerous unsupervised, such as a chew toy. If you leave them comfortable, they should be able to stay comfortable!