We’ve said it before and will say it again…the Doodle dog community is absolutely amazing! They have a wealth of knowledge and will happily share the experiences they’ve had along the way.
This is a new series we’re doing. It’s been a lot of fun so far and we are sure you’ll really enjoy the read.
We’ve reached out to real owners of our favorite dog breeds and ask them tons of questions. Now, we want to share all the info with you.
So whether you’re in the ‘Bernedoodle research phase’, just put down your deposit with a breeder (or hopped on a waiting list), or are lucky enough to already have one in your family, we’re sure you’ll get lots of value here.
Meet Benedict (Benny) Charles. He’s an F1 Standard Tri-Colored Bernedoodle. His mom is an 80-pound Bernese Mountain Dog named Carmen and his dad is a 75-pound white Poodle named Romeo.
How big will he get?
He is DEFINITELY going to be on the larger side compared to the average standard Bernedoodle. He’s projected to be around 90 – 100 pounds full grown with the possibility of being bigger. Lucky for me, I wanted a big dog so I’m not shocked.
He was born on April 23rd, 2019 and though he is now the biggest of his litter, he was the last one born.
What kind of coat does he have?
His coat is wavier than it is curly but since his full adult coat hasn’t come in yet, there is a chance it may be different. He definitely takes more after his mom, so I won’t be surprised if it’s on the straighter side.
But wait, there’s more! The breeder originally thought they only had 6 puppies in his litter (4 girls and 2 boys), but when Allison, the breeder, went to check on momma Carmen, she saw puppy feet hanging out of her. She had to hurry to get his brother out and then get Benny out safely.
What breeder did you get Benny from? Would you recommend them to friends and family?
Southern Dream Bernedoodles (SDB) in Swansboro, NC (as of now, they only have a Facebook page but are looking to launch a full website later this year).
I would 110% recommend SDB. It feels like an extension of my family. Allison and I text every single week. I share updates of Benny and she is so excited to receive them. I know that she would advise and help me if any instances were to arise where I had questions or concerns.
The adoption process was simple. She sent me pictures every week and updates on the dogs. We even FaceTimed so that I could meet Benny prior to adoption day.
During adoption weekend, I was able to meet Benny’s mom and all their dogs—two more Bernese mommas and a Bernedoodle named Haven from their first litter.
The dogs truly live normal lives and they currently only offer one litter a year, not putting too much stress on the moms.
I would also like to shout-out Ocoee River Doodles located in Tennessee. This was our original breeder (and they caught the initial wrath of my endless questions and requests for updates) but due to an extensive waiting list, we were not going to get a puppy until October.
When I found SDB and met Allison, we were able to expedite this as they had puppies available to go home in June. As I have no ounce of patience and had been planning to get a puppy for 6 months, I decided to go with Southern Dream Bernedoodles and get a puppy over the summertime.
Ocoee River Doodles was awesome in understanding my decision and keeping the door open should we want to adopt a future Bernedoodle from them. They were gracious enough to refund my nonrefundable deposit, knowing that it would go to necessities and gifts for Benny.
What made you decide on a Bernedoodle? Were you considering any other breeds?
I have been obsessed with Bernese Mountain Dogs for years. That was my dream dog. When my boyfriend and I moved in together, we decided it was time to look for the four-legged addition to our family. After this decision, we reviewed the qualities of a Bernese together as he knew this was the kind of dog I wanted.
As we live in North Carolina where the summers can be brutal, the thick Bernese coat and love for cold weather was a concern. The short life expectancy was another concern of ours and the shedding was my boyfriend’s breaking point. He, being the logical one, said with a heavy heart, that he didn’t think it was the best breed for our first dog together.
Side Note: Benny is my boyfriend’s first dog EVER – he never had a dog growing up so this was also a factor in selecting what kind of dog we would get).
His little brother actually suggested that I look into Bernedoodles – with the hybrid mix, longer life expectancy, being hypoallergenic + little-to-no shedding, calm temperament, and high level of intelligence, we knew this would be a great addition to our family and an ideal first dog for us.
Once I started doing research on Bernedoodles, I couldn’t stop, and I couldn’t imagine having any other type of dog. They are the best parts of Berneses and Poodles.
How would you explain his shedding habits?
Benny does not shed at all currently. I know this may change with his adult coat, but I’ve been around other breeds of Doodle puppies who still shed a ton even at 14 weeks.
Does he like to swim? What’s been his experience with water? How’d you introduce him?
It’s 50/50. He doesn’t despise water, but he isn’t the biggest fan of it quite yet. We’ve started introducing him to water very slowly. From a squirt bottle we use to cool him down on hot days to baths to putting him in a baby pool to me holding him in a bigger pool while he swims around. Our next step is to introduce him to an inground pool on a hot day and see if he chooses to jump in himself.
We really are working to get him to like the water but we’re trying to not rush it. We treat the baby pool as a “reward” for really hot days, so he knows that it’s something positive and a way for him to keep cool. We never want him to view it as a forced activity. We’re trying to get him to be curious about the water and want to jump in himself.
How would you describe his exercise needs? What does daily exercise look like for Benny?
Currently, he goes on at least 3 walks a day. Mornings and evenings are longer as this is the coolest part of the day. Benny definitely has some energy, but it comes in small spurts. For every 30 minutes of intense play or a long walk, he naps for about 2 or 3 hours. The Bernese mixed with the Poodle is the perfect combination. I’m not incredibly active and knew that a high-energy dog would not be a great fit for me or for the dog. I wanted one who will go for a walk with me but also be okay lying on the couch while I read a book.
What are some of his favorite things to do?
- Benny LOVES making new friends. Whether they are other dogs or people or children – he pouts when someone walks by and doesn’t give him love. He is his happiest when we have a playdate with another pup.
- He learned to fetch very early on and loves playing with tennis balls.
- His favorite thing in the whole world? His cooling pad. Summers in NC can be brutal and since I’ve bought him a cooling pad, he cannot get enough of it. We place it in the fridge for a little extra coldness. He jumps up and down and tries to pull it out of my hands when he sees it come out of the fridge.
- He also really loves ice cubes. He will chase it around until it’s nothing but a pile of water.
Share some funny quirks or habits…
- Greetings with mom – One of my favorite things about Benny is how we greet one another. I sit down on the floor with my legs crossed and he runs up to me, places his butt on my right leg and his paws on my left leg then I wrap my arms around him and he drops his head down on top of my arm. We stay like that for a few moments and honestly, my heart bursts just thinking about it. When I’m out of town and come back, nothing makes my heart soar quite like this reunion.
- Benny is such a little bunny – he hops everywhere. Once he mastered going down the stairs, he started jumping with excitement and sometimes, his excited jumping turns into a little tumble down the stairs. He is, and probably will always be, a goofball. He is not used to his size and is very clumsy. Learning how to jump on the couch and on the bed was a trial and error with a lot of wipeouts.
- Benny also loves drinking water – This means there is NO privacy in the shower or bath. If I’m taking a bath, he hovers over me the entire time, making sure I’m okay and also trying to drink the scalding hot water.
- Benny’s rescue mission – He still sleeps in his crate every night so after we go outside in the morning, I let him roam around and leave the crate door open. Queue the “rescue mission”. He has specific toys that we leave in the crate with him during the night. Every morning, one-by-one, he runs into his crate and rescues his buddies from the crate and brings them out into the living room with him. Once one man is saved, he sprints back to grab the next I’m not sure if he realizes this gets him more time out while we prepare his crate for him to go back inside of it but it is really funny to watch.
Story-time: One morning it was just him and I at our place and I was getting ready for work. Once you walk into our bedroom door, there is a small hallway to the bathroom where you can see the bedroom door from the bathroom. As I was turned around, I noticed Benny was very quiet – a sure sign of trouble from a 2-month old puppy. I turned around and saw he was peering at me from behind the door, all I could see was one eye. He kept the rest of his face hidden behind the door. Curious, I went to see what he was doing. Apparently, he had stolen a pair of my shorts from the laundry hamper, was chewing on them, but was smart enough to know that as soon as I caught him, I would take them away. He was watching me to see when I would find out that he had stolen them! He is too smart for his own good.
What are his FAVORITE toys?
- His favorite toy is his moose, appropriately named Moosey, from KONG. This was the first toy we ever gave him, and he still loves it. It sleeps with him every night in his crate. (this cute little guy)
- Another favorite toy (and also the thing that got us through those first few nights of crate training) is his Snuggle Puppy. It is a stuffed dog with a battery-powered heartbeat in it. The Snuggle Puppy really helped with the transition from sleeping with his littermates to sleeping alone in his crate. Now that he’s outgrown the need for the heartbeat, we simply took it out and he carries his Snuggle Puppy everywhere. If you’ve never seen one, check it out here!
- He also loves his squeaky hedgehog that his Aunt Amanda bought him. The hedgehog was about the size of him when we first brought him home at 7.5 weeks so it was hilarious to watch him carry it around. You can get your own hedgehog here.
- He also loves KONGs and Prized Pet chews (particularly, the duck & mango flavor). Our big boy is treat motivated and loves anything he can put in his mouth (i.e. leaves, sticks, litter on the ground…)
What grooming tools and supplies do you use?
Brushes / Combs
I ordered two brushes from Amazon:
- Andis Premium Pet Firm Slicker Brush (see on Amazon) – Benny doesn’t love this brush, but I typically use it after baths whenever I’m using a blow dryer on him.
- Poodle Pet Detangling Pet Comb (see on Amazon) – THIS is a game-changer. Even when Benny’s fur seems fine, I take this comb to him and I find some potential matted fur.
Shampoos / Conditioners
- Buddy Wash Lavender & Mint 2-in-1 Dog Shampoo + Conditioner (see on Amazon)
- Buddy Wash Original Lavender & Mint Dog Spritzer & Conditioner Spray (see on Amazon) – I got this for any potential mats where I wanted to try to comb them out but not cause him pain.
Does he get professionally groomed? If so, when was the first time and how often?
Not yet – I’m being selfish and wanting to hold onto his fluffiness. I have trimmed his face myself multiple times (about 2 – 3 times a month). His fur often grows over his eyes and I try to clean it up for him. I also trim his nails with the Dremel 7300-PT Dog & Cat Nail Grinder Kit. I’ve only had to do this once, but it was a game-changer when he had his sharp little puppy nails.
Once he is fully vaccinated, I will likely take him for a trim but as the weather cools down, I’ll enjoy the fluff while I have it.
What crate do you use for him?
We got Benny the MidWest iCrate Single Door Fold & Carry Dog Crate, 42-in. So far, it’s perfect. The divider was easy to use and very easy to expand as our boy keeps growing so quickly. My only fear is that he may outgrow the 42-inch crate so I would recommend always sizing up. Worse comes to worst, you can divide it off if they need less space.
Does he have a bed in his crate?
As for a bed, we have a hand-me-down one from my boyfriend’s parents. Honestly, he just chews on and plays with it. His favorite “bedding” is his Arf Pets Cooling Pad. We bought the largest size and it’s easy to place into his crate because you can fold it. As soon as I pull this out of the fridge, he plops down on it and takes a nap. He prefers sleeping on the cold floor above anything else.
What does Benny’s diet look like? What kind of food does he eat?
For food, we feed Benny Royal Canin for large puppies (Amazon’s selection is huge). He does really like it and we’ve learned that he is more of a grazer so we leave food out for him. No supplements yet but I’d really like to start him on some joint supplements as bigger dogs typically have joint problems. I did order a probiotic to add to his food when he’s having tummy issues: Makondo Pets Probiotics for Dogs & Puppies. I also put canned pumpkin in his food when he has diarrhea and it works WONDERS!
Do you use any apps or technology to make life easier? If so, which do you recommend?
I haven’t yet – I used to be a dog walker myself for Wag! It was a very positive experience for me as a walker. We’ve been very lucky that our schedules are flexible. We have not needed a dog walker/boarding/daycare service yet. I have heard great things about Rover and plan to use that in the future.
WiFi camera is DEFINITELY on our to-buy list once we start trusting him to be out of his crate during the day (the Furbo Dog Camera is super popular – see it here). For now, and with the puppy teeth, we leave him in his crate during the day and let him roam free while someone is at home. As we do enjoy the mountains and going hiking, I’m looking into some e-collars for when we begin off-leash training him. I’m not a fan of shock collars but these deliver a vibration or a beep instead of the shock. I have heard really good things about these collars from fellow Doodle owners.
Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give to someone considering a Bernedoodle?
Do your research! Do not make a dog selection based on “cuteness”. Benny has been the best thing to ever happen to me, but he came from 9 years of me wanting a dog, waiting until the right moment to welcome one into my family, and doing extensive research on their behaviors, habits, and personalities. Having a puppy is a full-time commitment. I was very prepared but still, feel like my entire life has changed. Though we have our ups & downs in the puppy stage and the communication building stage, I wouldn’t change a thing. It’s remarkable being able to watch this little ball of fur grow into an intelligent and loving companion.
Understand the breed. My other bit of advice is to know these dogs truly are companion dogs. They are very family-oriented and love attention. If you do not have the time to dedicate to them, I would suggest considering another breed. Benny is happiest when he’s with his parents and does not like to be in the other room away from us.
Breeder selection is really important. The first breeder I reached out to had me feeling a little uneasy (they operated very much like a business and I didn’t love that). Go with your gut! When I found breeders like Ocoee River Doodles and Southern Dream Bernedoodles, I knew I was in great hands. They answered all of my questions, provided helpful suggestions/feedback, and made me feel like a part of the family. Especially if this is your first dog or first Bernedoodle, you’ll want someone who has extensive knowledge on the breed.
My last bit of advice is that you cannot go wrong with a Bernedoodle. My whole world has changed since this little guy came into it. I’m forever grateful to be his Mom.