Bernedoodle Owner Interview: Featuring Duc the Mini F1 Bernedoodle

Duc F1 Mini Bernedoodle-duc_duck_doodle

Ever wonder what it’s like to have a Bernedoodle? Or maybe you’re curious if your experiences with them are typical? You’re going to enjoy this either way!

We thought it would be fun to reach out to some actual Bernedoodle owners and see what they have to say about the breed. We asked Melissa a bunch of questions about her sweet 4-month old pup, Duc, and are excited to share what she had to say.

Meet Duc (pronounced like Duck), the F1 Mini Tri-colored Bernedoodle. His mom is an 85-pound Bernese Mountain Dog and his dad is a 14-pound Miniature Poodle…we didn’t ask too many questions about that process. laughing

Duc F1 Mini Bernedoodle-duc_duck_doodle

How big will he get?

The breeder gave a full-grown weight prediction of 40-70 pounds (quite a range!). He was just about 10 pounds when we brought him home at 8 weeks and is now 24 pounds at 4 months. The vet is predicting he will be just under 50 pounds full grown.

What kind of coat does he have?

Duc’s fur is wavy, so somewhere between his mom’s and dad’s coats. His puppy coat is extremely soft, and people are always surprised that his hair isn’t more coarse when they pet him.

What breeder did you get Duc from? Would you recommend them to friends and family?

We got Duc from Ginger Top Bernedoodles in North Carolina. They are a small breeder who focuses solely on breeding Bernedoodles. They were excellent to work with, and I sing their praises and recommend them to anyone who is interested. 

The breeder did a great job socializing the puppies to what she calls “bomb-proof” status, meaning they were used to all kinds of sounds, people, surfaces, and objects, so they wouldn’t flinch at the sound of a bomb. 

When we visited the litter before taking home our puppy, they all ran up to us with tails wagging, let us hold them on their backs without squirming, and were happy one-on-one with people or hanging with their siblings. Ginger Top was the perfect breeder for us because we know that they take great care in selecting parents, raise the puppies in their home, and clearly love all of their dogs like family.

What made you decide on a Bernedoodle? Were you considering any other breeds?

We had been considering getting a puppy for about 6 years, and our living situation changed to allow it to actually happen in 2018. We were looking for a non-shedding puppy who would be comfortable living in an apartment but also going on hikes and playing outside. First, we looked at Goldendoodles and then started searching other doodle mixes to see what was out there. 

Honestly, we initially looked at the Bernedoodle because of their stunning looks. They are just so darn cute! And then the more we read about them, we realized it sounded like the perfect breed for us. 

Health

First, Bernese Mountain Dogs have a lot of health issues and on average only live about 7-8 years which was a concern for us. However, when bred with another breed, in this case, a Poodle, all of the recessive traits that cause these health issues in the Bernese cannot express themselves unless the Poodle has them as well (you might hear this referred to as hybrid vigor). This makes Bernedoodles much healthier as a breed than the Bernese Mountain Dog (this is the case for all first-generation (F1) doodle mixes!).

Intelligence

Bernedoodles are highly intelligent dogs from the Poodle side, and like all doodle mixes, typically low to no shedding. We both grew up with family dogs but had not raised our own puppies as adults, so the intelligence factor was important to us for training purposes. And because the Bernese Mountain Dog is not as energetic as the poodle or even a Golden Retriever or Labrador Retriever, they are happy to play in short bursts and equally happy to lounge on the couch and snuggle. 

Size

Because we live in an apartment and don’t have our own backyard, this was the perfect combination for us. They love people and other dogs, are easily trainable, and overall very mellow dogs. Sounds pretty perfect, right? Turns out, Duc has lived up to all of hype and has been as perfect a puppy as we could imagine!

How much did they cost? 

Bernedoodles typically cost $3,000+ depending on the generation (Bernese X Poodle, Bernedoodle X Poodle, Bernedoodle X Bernedoodle), their coloring (merle is typically the most expensive, followed by tricolor, phantom, and solid), and potentially size (Standard, Mini, Tiny).

How would you explain his shedding habits?

So far Duc does not shed. He still has his puppy coat, so we will see if he sheds at all once he is a little older. We don’t anticipate much if at all given his wavy coat that clearly has some Poodle characteristics. I am allergic to some dogs (primarily Golden Retrievers) and have had no allergy issues with Duc.

Does he like to swim? What’s been his experience with water? How’d you introduce him?

TBD! We hope that Duc will like to swim. Many Bernedoodles do like to swim (he has webbed feet!), and I think they get that from both sides. So far, his only experiences with water have been baths which he HATES! Duc is extremely food motivated (aka will do anything to get a treat and is ALWAYS hungry), but the first few times we gave him a bath, he refused even the best treats. He has gotten better over time, and we plan to bring him to the beach to try swimming at some point soon.

How much daily exercise does Duc get?

We take Duc on a few short walks and one longer walk each day. Since he is still a puppy, he is building his stamina, so I think the longest walk we’ve been on with him is about 1-1.5 miles. Other than that, he usually gets 1-2 bursts of energy where he likes to play fetch and get chased around our apartment. Oh, and he gets zoomies once or twice a day where he creates his own obstacle course in our apartment, runs the course a few times like he is possessed, and then crashes.

What are some of his favorite things to do?

  • Duc’s number one favorite thing to do is be by my side. He follows me everywhere throughout the day, including into the bathroom every time without fail.
  • He also loves eating and will do any trick you ask just for one piece of kibble – but hey, he loves it!
  • He also loves sleeping on his back or in a sploot and loves to have his belly and ears rubbed.
  • Duc also loves playing hide and seek. When we come in from a long walk, one of us will stay back and hide in an alcove, then whistle. Duc sprints to find whichever parent is hiding and jumps up and down when he finds us. It is beyond cute, gets his mind working, and burns off some extra energy.

Share some funny quirks or habits…

  1. Duc makes the funniest noises – he groans and moans in his sleep and when he stretches like an old man and whelps with joy when he is reunited with you (even if you were only in the other room for 30 seconds).
  2. Whenever we fill up his water bowl from the spout in the fridge, he licks the door to the fridge until we stop.
  3. He lays down in the middle of the sidewalk any time he sees another dog walking towards him.
  4. Duc hasn’t quite figured out how glass works. So on multiple occasions, he has run headfirst into glass doors when he is excited to see someone on the other side.
  5. If we are asleep on the couch (probably because he got us up at 5:45 on a Saturday morning), he will wait until you fall asleep, then bark directly in your face and jump on your head. To be honest, it’s not a bad strategy – we always wake up when he does that. tongue-out

What are his FAVORITE toys or chews?

  1. Bully sticks (like these) are his #1, and probably #2 and #3. He could chew them all day long and has a fun new habit of swallowing them whole once they are about 4-inches long. Not our favorite trick, but so far he has been able to digest them ok once swallowed. We only buy odor-free bully sticks.
  2. Because he goes through the bully sticks so quickly, we’ve also started buying Elk antlers which are great for him to chew and last significantly longer.
  3. He is also crazy about Kongs with peanut butter frozen in the middle – these helped get him comfortable in the crate when we left the house. Now he doesn’t even realize we’re gone because he is so ecstatic about the peanut butter Kong. Here’s the top Kong on Amazon.
  4. He also loves any stuffed toy, although they are usually second fiddle to the edible toys mentioned above.
  5. He loves playing fetch with a tennis ball. These are a popular tennis ball alternative.

What grooming tools and supplies do you use?

So far, we have only needed to use 1 brush, the FURminator Firm Grooming Slicker Brush (bought it on Amazon).

Does he get professionally groomed? If so, when was the first time and how often?

Duc will have his first professional grooming in a few days, so right around 4 months.

What does Duc’s diet look like? What kind of food does he eat?

We feed Duc Purina Pro Plan for large breeds (Amazon carries a huge selection of it). That’s what the breeder was feeding the litter when we brought Duc home and the vet recommended it as well. We feed him using a slow-feed bowl since he devours his food otherwise and that has worked really well! If your pup needs to slow down when they eat, try using a maze bowl like this one. 

Do you use any apps or technology to make life easier? If so, which do you recommend?

So far, we have used Wag! for a sitter which allowed us to go out of town for a few days and the sitter came to our home to watch Duc. We chose this because it was our first time away from Duc, and knowing how attached he is to us, we wanted to minimize the stress of being separated so we wanted him to be able to be in his space.

I wish the sitter had communicated more so we knew how things were going, or even how much time she was actually spending at the apartment with Duc (only received 1-2 updates a day). We will probably use this service again.

Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give to someone considering a Bernedoodle?

I would say that if you are a shy person and don’t want to talk to strangers, a Bernedoodle is not for you. You will get stopped multiple times every time you leave the house with your puppy with people who want to pet them, ask questions about the breed, and take photos. And if you are looking for a way to meet new people and socialize, this is the perfect dog for you! Duc became the inaugural Pet of the Month in our apartment building because he charmed the employees in the leasing office and has become a well-known mascot here.

I would also say that, while Bernedoodles are expensive, we have not once regretted our choice to get Duc. It is an investment in a healthy, sweet, intelligent, and beautiful dog who will be part of your family for 12-15 years.