Sheepadoodle: English Sheepdog Poodle Mix

A sheepadoodle resting in the grass

Here’s a dog that can instantly draw you in with their unique look and have you come back for more with their gentle and sweet personality. The sheepadoodle is a cross between the shaggy, calm Old English sheepdog and the smart, sophisticated poodle. What you get is an affectionate and intelligent dog that can make a great addition to nearly any family. If you’re intrigued by a sheepadoodle’s looks and attracted to their personality, read on to find out more about this cross. Whether you're a seasoned dog owner or simply curious about this gentle giant, you'll find valuable insights to guide your decision. So, let's delve into the world of the Sheepadoodle and see if this unassuming companion might just win your heart. 

Quick Sheepadoodle Facts 

  • Name: Sheepadoodle, sheeppoo, sheep-a-poo, sheepdogpoo, sheepdoodle 

  • Origin: United States 

  • Size: 60-85 pounds, 18-26 inches tall with some variation if miniature or toy poodles are used 

  • Lifespan: 12-15 years 

  • Appearance: black and white or gray and white patches, curly, low-shedding hair 

  • Temperament: easygoing, playful, friendly, intelligent, affectionate 

  • Compatibility: Most thrive in families, including children and other pets 

  • Intelligence: very smart and easily trainable 

  • Exercise & Energy: sheepadoodles need plenty of exercise and activity 

  • Grooming Needs: frequent brushing and trimming, regular ear cleaning 

  • Training: a sheepadoodle’s intelligence and eagerness to please makes them highly trainable 

  • Health: relatively healthy, but common issues include hip dysplasia, eye issues, bloat 

  • Highlights: fun-loving, energetic, playful, loyal, and long-lived 

Who Would Appreciate a Sheepadoodle? 

  • Active families: Sheepadoodles are high energy and playful. 

  • Nature Enthusiasts: They make great outdoor companions and are always up for adventure. 

  • Individuals with allergies: While not truly hypoallergenic, sheepadoodles shed minimally, making them suitable for some allergy sufferers. Plus, less fur on your couch! 

  • Experienced dog owners: Sheepadoodles can be intelligent but also stubborn, requiring consistent training and firm yet gentle leadership. Owners with experience training dogs will fare better.  

  • People with large living spaces: Sheepadoodles are medium-to-large dogs needing adequate space to roam and play. They're not ideal for cramped apartments. 

  • Cuddlers: Sheepadoodles are known for their gentle nature and love to cuddle with their humans. 

What do Sheepadoodles Look Like? 

Both parent breeds have their own unique appearance; the cross they produce is no different. The combination of a sheepdog’s shagginess with a poodle’s curls, creates a pup with soft, wavy locks. Most are on the larger side, but there can be variety in size if a mini or toy poodle is a part of the deal. 

How Big are Sheepadoodles? 

The most common makeup of a sheepadoodle is crossing a standard poodle with an English sheepdog. This yields a large breed dog, that’s 16-22 inches tall and weighing 60-80 pounds or more. If the combination is between a mini or a toy poodle, you’ll find a much smaller dog, more in the 50 pounds and under category. These are much harder to find, however. 

What is a Sheepadoodle’s Haircoat Like? 

The sheepadoodle's fur is undeniably fluffy, but it doesn't quite reach the full cloud-like volume of an Old English Sheepdog. Their haircoat can vary from wavy to curly. Sheepadoodles generally come with panda-like black and white patches, or a variation of gray and white. Rarely there may be other colors, including red and white, or solids. 

A sheepadoodle laying in the grass wearing a harness

What is a Sheepadoodle Like? 

Sheepadoodles may know a stranger, and will bark to let you know it, but they generally aren’t upset by them. Instead, they tend to be friendly, affectionate, loyal, and playful. Sheepadoodles are also pretty quiet, except when alerting their family to a visitor or when being overly exuberant. Of course, every dog is an individual, and some Sheepadoodles might be more reserved or vocal than others. However, their generally calm and affectionate demeanor is one of the reasons they've become such popular family companions. So, while they might alert you to visitors, don't expect them to turn into guard dogs – their mission is to love and be loved, with an occasional bark thrown in for good measure. 

How is a Sheepadoodle’s Personality? 

You may find it hard to rile a sheepadoodle since they tend to be very easy-going and laid back, preferring to enjoy life instead of being worried about it. They’re affectionate and loyal to their family, but ready to take on any adventure that comes their way.  They are also playful, making it important that toys top your list of essentials for a new puppy

How are Sheepadoodles with Children? 

For most sheepadoodles, being around children is the highlight of their day. Their playful nature tends to pair well with that of kids. Their enormous capacity for fun and goofy antics perfectly complements the boundless energy of kids. Imagine endless games of fetch, frisbee, and cuddle puddles – pure joy for both dog and child. 

However, their innate protectiveness, a trait inherited from their sheepdog ancestors, can sometimes kick in a little too strongly. While it's heartwarming to know they have your child's back, it's crucial to ensure this devotion doesn't lead to unwanted possessiveness or aggression. 

Can Sheepadoodles Live with Other Animals? 

Most sheepadoodles will readily incorporate animals of all kinds into their family. However, they will need proper socialization and training to learn how to appropriately interact with them. Being large and playful, they can be a bit much for smaller animals. 

How Do You Care for a Sheepadoodle? 

This furry member of your family will need time dedicated to their care. That fluffy coat isn’t without its fair share of maintenance, and their intelligence can become mischief if not properly channeled. Consistent training is crucial to ensure their smarts translate into good behavior, not boredom-induced antics. 

What Are a Sheepadoodle’s Grooming Needs? 

Sheepadoodles tend to be a low-shedding critter, but that doesn’t mean they don’t still lose hair. Instead, that shed hair can become tangled in the haircoat, potentially leading to mats if they aren’t properly brushed. This means giving it some attention at least weekly. Some may need to be trimmed around the face or even get a sanitary trim. And let’s not forget those big, floppy ears. Without regular cleaning, especially after baths or getting wet, those floppy ears can quickly become a source of irritation and ear infections.  

Sheepadoodles should also have regular dental care to help prevent dental disease and tooth loss. You can do some of this at home by brushing their teeth on a regular basis, but a dog’s dental cleaning cost is one that you should budget for on an annual basis. 

Are Sheepadoodles Easy to Train? 

Both parent breeds bring intelligence to the cross. This makes sheepadoodles easy to train, if you know how to do it properly. Positive reinforcement works better than punishment, and consistency is also key to ensure that your sheepadoodle’s intelligence doesn’t turn toward bad behaviors. 

How Much Space Does a Sheepadoodle Need? 

This cross tends to be on the larger side, unless you’re lucky enough to find the rarer mini or toy mixes. This means that while they can live in an apartment, they will prefer more wide-open spaces. Sheepadoodles also tend to be fairly active, requiring multiple hours of exercise per day. Along with the physical exercise, mental stimulation is also required to prevent boredom. 

What Should a Sheepadoodle be Fed? 

Expect to provide ample food for these energetic dogs, as they burn through calories quickly. It takes a lot to fuel their adventurous, fun-loving nature. This is an important consideration when looking at the cost of having a dog. Invest in nutrient-rich, high-quality dog food specifically formulated for large and active breeds like Sheepadoodles. This ensures they receive the essential vitamins, minerals, and proteins for optimal health and energy. Speak to your vet for recommendations on the best dog food for your sheepadoodle. 

Are Sheepadoodles Healthy? 

With most dog crosses, the combination tends to be healthier than the purebred parents, and sheepadoodles are no exception. However, the possibility for some health concerns remains. In order to ensure the lifelong health of your sheepadoodle, make sure to choose a reputable breeder and invest in pet insurance early on. 

What Health Issues Commonly Affect Sheepadoodles? 

A sheepadoodle can inherit some health issues from both their poodle side and the Old English Sheepdog side. Be on the lookout for: 

Hip Dysplasia 

This is a common plague of larger dogs and occurs when the hip joints don’t develop properly. Instead of a nice, smoothly working joint, the abnormal joint can create inflammation and pain with every step. Hip dysplasia has varying degrees of severity, with dogs showing signs of lameness, difficulty standing or going up stairs, and atrophy of the hind legs. Pre-breeding screenings can be done to determine if a dog is likely to pass hip dysplasia on to offspring, and dogs can be evaluated at a young age to decide the best route. 

Eye Issues 

Poodles and their crosses have a higher chance of developing eye conditions such as cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy, and eye injuries from hair rubbing on the eyeball. To help prevent these issues, be sure to frequently check your dog’s eyes, trim the hair as needed, and see your vet if you suspect any issues with their vision or the appearance of the eye. 

What Are the Benefits of Pet Insurance for Sheepadoodles? 

Even though these pups tend to be on the healthier side, dog insurance should still be on your radar—and soon. You see, a lot of the issues that can affect sheepadoodles have the potential to start at an early age. Most pet insurance policies won’t cover pre-existing conditions, or those health problems that show up before you purchase the policy. That makes it important to get your pup in on the ground floor and purchase that pet insurance policy before anything nasty has a chance to show its face.  

Where Did Sheepadoodles Come From? 

1960s Army labs dreamt of a brainy, loyal soldier dog, crossing Poodles with Old English Sheepdogs. Enter the Sheepadoodle! Smart and devoted, they almost fit the bill. But alas, their playful spirit (adorable, but not exactly military material) led them down a different path. 

Luckily, families embraced these gentle giants, trading fatigues for comfy couches. However, rather than the personality, it was more likely the low-shedding quality that breeders were after. Since no dog is truly hypoallergenic, allergy sufferers have to make do with dogs that are low-shedders and therefore, better suited than others. This is where the sheepadoodle comes in.  

Their charming appearance, gentle temperament, and eagerness to please captured the hearts of families, and their popularity soared throughout the 2000s. Today, these playful fluffballs are cherished companions, bringing joy and laughter to homes around the world.  

A sheepadoodle dog playing tug with it's pet parent

How Do You Go About Getting a Sheepadoodle? 

Since the sheepadoodle is a cross between two purebreds, it’s more likely that you’ll find them from a breeder rather than a shelter or rescue. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some out there for adoption. You’ll just need to exercise patience and be ready to jump should one become available. 

If you decide to go the breeder route, be sure that you’re choosing an ethical dog breeder that knows their dogs. They need to be experts in both poodles and English Sheepdogs to ensure they are creating the healthiest puppies they can. This includes proper pre-breeding screenings to help decrease hereditary diseases and good nutrition and sanitary conditions once the puppies are born. 

If you have any questions about where to find a sheepadoodle, a good first step is to contact a veterinarian. Many will often have relationships with breeders in the area or they can point you in the direction of a good shelter or rescue group. 

Sheepadoodle Frequently Asked Questions 

How rare are sheepadoodles? 

Let’s just say you probably won’t see one at every local dog park, but they are out there. However, colors other than the traditional black and white will be even more rare to find. This cross may be so unfamiliar to most that looking into the cost to microchip a dog is a good idea if you get one. This will help ensure that you can also definitively identify your dog should they become lost, or worse, stolen. 

Can sheepadoodles live in an apartment? 

These are generally very active dogs, requiring more than a couple hours of activity per day. But they also enjoy cuddling on the couch with you. So, if you happen to have a larger apartment where a dog can still stretch their legs and play, they may do fine, but will still need daily outings. 

Mini or toy versions may be better suited for apartment living as they won’t require quite as much space to get a good game of tug-o-war in, but they will still need frequent walks and other forms of exercise. 

How much exercise does a Sheepadoodle need? 

Sheepadoodles are energetic dogs that require at least 1-2 hours of exercise daily, including walks, playtime, and mental stimulation. They thrive on activities like swimming, fetching, and agility training. 

Are Sheepadoodles hypoallergenic? 

While no dog is truly hypoallergenic, Sheepadoodles are considered low-shedding due to their Poodle heritage. However, they still require regular brushing to prevent matting, and some individuals with allergies may still experience reactions. 

How much do Sheepadoodles cost? 

Prices vary depending on breeder, location, and lineage. Expect to pay anywhere from $2,000 to $8,000 or more for a Sheepadoodle puppy. Remember, responsible pet ownership involves budgeting for more than just the adoption or purchase price. Food, grooming, vet care, and other essentials add up. Consider pet insurance as part of your initial investment to help manage unexpected veterinary expenses down the line. 

Are Sheepadoodles easy to train? 

Their intelligence makes them highly trainable, but they can also be stubborn and require consistent, positive reinforcement training. Early socialization is important to prevent unwanted behaviors.