Our giant Sheepadoodle is a more popular topic than anything else I talk about on the internet, despite having a blog about decorating my home! Maybe it’s time he became the face of my blog!
I am sharing what Sheepadoodles are really like to own – what we paid for our Sheepadoodle puppy, their challenges, and what we experienced his first year. Because let’s be honest, the first year is the hardest!
Table of Contents
What Is A Sheepadoodle?
“Sheep-a what?” is the reply most people give us. A Sheepadoodle is a mixed breed: a brilliant cross between a Standard Poodle and an Old English Sheepdog. These dogs offer perks like non shedding fur, a loving and playful temperament, and a teddy bear face!
- Your average Sheepadoodle is very bright – with a high emotional IQ as well. After all, they are half Poodle – an intelligent breed!
- These dogs are known to be very playful.
- Their eagerness to play, socialize, with a love of children. They enjoy a bit of rough housing, making them a great family dog!
- These dogs are very affectionate, and love to be around and please their owners.
What It’s REALLY Like To Own A Sheepadoodle
Zion is our full sized, 1 year old, f1 Sheepadoodle. F1 means his dad was purebred Standard Poodle, and his mom was purebred Sheepdog.
Our situation: we have 4 kids, ages 4 through 11. We live on a half acre, with a good sized fenced in backyard. I work from home.
We never owned any type of doodle before and weren’t sure what to expect, but I speak for the family when I say we are now doodle owners for life!
Zion stopped growing around 75lbs – making him a giant sheepadoodle. If you’re considering a bigger dog, remember large means large appetite (expensive!), large amounts to groom (again, pricey!), a large body to pull you on a leash (meaning our younger kids can’t walk him), a large head that easily reaches food left out, and large poops in the yard!
Do not underestimate how much brute strength he has! Zion at 5 months:
Zion at 8 months:
How Big Do Sheepadoodle Puppies get?
- The standard Sheepadoodle dog is between 50-80lbs, depending on the size of the parents.
- The dogs also can be bred in medium and toy size.
Think carefully before committing to the giant Sheepadoodle- a smaller sized dog is easier to handle and might be best for you!
What Do Sheepadoodle Puppies Cost? Where Can I Buy A Sheepadoodle Near Me? Do You Have a Sheepadoodle Breeder on the East Coast?
- In 2019, we paid just over $2,000 for our Sheepadoodle, the going rate at that time
- As of 2023 the cost of Sheepadoodle puppies from breeders were running between $3000-$4000
- In 2023 expect to pay upwards of $4000 for merle Sheepadoodles (merle meaning the coat has mottled patches of different colors)
You don’t want to unknowingly support a puppy mill operation – having the Mama impregnated repeatedly without time to rest, to turn a high profit. (Every breeder will say they don’t do that- ask the right questions and trust your gut). Look carefully for a business that treats the dogs they breed as family pets. These breeders will take proper steps to hand over healthy, happy Sheepadoodle puppies to you!
We spent almost an hour on FaceTime when it came time to pick out our pup from an East Coast breeder, finding out specific temperaments of our pup.
I mean!! Can you handle that cuteness??
Training Sheepadoodle Puppies
We quickly realized this was like having a toddler again! He wanted to play all day every day, but he didn’t know the rules yet! Honest talk: It was HARD at first.
We crate trained him right away (highly recommend for your own sanity!). We kept his puppy crate in our walk-in pantry, with a blanket over it to make him feel cozy. I recommend you don’t place the crate near your bedroom, so you could train him to sleep independently!
I like this puppy crate because you can divide it in the middle, so a puppy still feels cozy and safe! The bottom is a tray that slides out. We could clean accidents easily without a mess.
The crate helped set order, gave Zion somewhere safe to go, and made house training easier. Zion was 100% fully housebroken around 13 weeks. Sheepadoodle puppies are particularly easy to house train.
Buy the crate we used for Zion as a pup:
Have you ever seen a crate big enough for a full size 75lb dog? This is our current XL crate that we bought after Zion outgrew his puppy crate around 10 months old. It is huge! I didn’t want that giant XL crate sitting in the middle of my living room. We don’t have a big laundry room or any extra place to store it, either. As a home decor blogger this crate was cramping my style!
A few months ago we got him his own dog bed and stored the XL crate in the attic for when he stays at my parent’s house.
Crate Training Schedule
Keep a blanket over the crate at all times. His first few weeks his schedule was:
- In his crate around 9:30-10pm, we left him there all night
- Took him out at 6am to potty in the yard
- Breakfast and lots of playtime.
- Two – three half hour breaks in the crate for nap time through out the day
Behavior Issues: Nipping
Zion’s biggest behavior issue was nipping. Nipping usually doesn’t hurt – it isn’t actual biting.
Sheepadoodles puppies nip more than other breeds because they are herding dogs. These dogs have a natural instinct to nip (to keep their sheep in line!). Nevertheless, it is not good behavior, and it’s something you need to train out of your dog.
For the first few months, Zion would follow around our 5 year old Leo and nip his clothes and hands all day. Leo loved to entice the dog to play and nip at first, which was a terrible idea because the dog wouldn’t stop. All of Leo’s shirts got holes. This was frustrating for us!
Thankfully, Zion no longer nips, but it was work to break the habit and took almost the full first year.
- Serious redirecting by constantly giving him his favorite bully sticks to chew instead every time he wants to nip you. This was our basic method of defense
- Don’t allow your kids to encourage it (like I did)
- Consistently not allowing it from the beginning is your best bet
- When they stop teething they will stop nipping if you’ve been consistent
Behavior Issues: Herding
Herding is a common characteristic of this dog that comes from their Sheepdog lineage. You can’t train this natural instinct and desire out of them. It’s in their DNA! To a herding dog, the desire to herd animals is also the desire to herd any humans in the house, too. Luckily, sheepadoodles live to please and you can train them to control this urge!
- Learning the basic commands like sit and stay is a breeze with a sheepadoodle. This is the first step to controlling their instinct to herd. Direct the dog to stop and sit when they want to herd.
- Stop the herding before it begins is the most helpful. Sternly intervene when you see the dog wanting to herd each time.
- Once the dog understands herding is disapproved by his owner, you can make sure not running after kids and others becomes a habit.
Do Sheepadoodles Shed?
No, Sheepadoodle dogs are not supposed to shed. We don’t even see fluff balls on Zion’s brush, even after a thorough brushing. But speaking of grooming…
How Much Do You Spend On Grooming? How Often Do Sheepadoodles Need Grooming?
Who could forget the day I looked out back and saw THIS? I was NOT pleased.
Even though Sheepadoodles do not shed, they DO require regular brushing to make sure their coat doesn’t mat.
- Zion goes every 6 weeks to the groomer for a bath and cut, and every 3 weeks he goes in for just a bath.
- In our area in 2023, for a full size Sheepadoodle a cut/bath is $90 plus tip, and a bath alone is $50 or so. Regular baths and trims keeps their teddy bear look.
Sometimes we bathe him ourselves. I LOVE and swear by this whitening shampoo to keep the white in his coat super bright white instead of off white or dingy. Oh my gosh, it’s a miracle shampoo! It almost makes his white fur BRIGHT! I just started buying the bigger jar (here) to save money on it, since we use it regularly.
After a recommendation from my brother in law, we bought this high quality pin brush off Amazon – night and day from the cheap pet store plastic brushes! If you read the reviews you will know why. It’s the best brush for Sheepadoodle fur. For his mats specifically, we like this slicker brush. You can go back and forth on the mats quickly and it untangles them without Zion even noticing. The pet store brushes were getting stuck in the actual mat and pull.
Between those two brushes, you will never have to buy your dog another brush again! Splurge on the good brushes once, than buy a lifetime of cheapies from the pet store.
For his teeth, our vet suggested giving him Greenies every few days to help with tartar control and his breath. It takes him a few minutes to chew them and he enjoys the taste.
Grooming Supplies We Use For Our Sheepadoodle (Amazon):
Update: After two years as dog owners, we figured out the haircut we love on Zion the most! If you are struggling with what to tell the groomer, I wrote this post on Sheepadoodle Grooming that gives you the exact language to tell your groomer:
Sheepadoodle Exercise / Socialization
A walk or two a day isn’t going to cut it for full sized Sheepadoodle puppies. This guy needs serious speed and playtime. If the kids are outside playing, he wants to be there. If they’re on the trampoline, he’s jumping too!
He is all about that frisbee life! Any sort of high energy, running fast and playing keep away with the ball – Sheepadoodles live for that. As a family it’s been a bonding experience- us all being out in the yard together regularly.
Zion’s Chuck It Toy is hands down his favorite toy his whole life. This toy is indestructible and flies like a Frisbee! A good game of tug-a-wore followed by some fetch with the Chuck It Toy is favorite activity. He likes his Nerf Dog when he can’t find his Chuck It.
Shop Zion’s Favorite Toy Here:
We discovered this scooper to keep our yard clean of poop bombs, and it’s pretty brilliant! It comes with little bags that are attached to the scooper, so the poop is collected directly into the bag. We recently started attaching old grocery bags to the scooper; they work just as well.
Shop The Scooper Here:
Despite Zion’s playfulness, he definitely knows how to just lay down and chill with the family too. We are his people and he just wants to be in the same room as us. That is usually his priority!
Sheepadoodles + Kids
Our family is hypersensitive to relationships between animals and our kids. We taught our kids how to be respectful. We trained our two youngest with songs (“when a dog has a bone- leave him alone!”) and they know basic rules, like not to wake him while he is sleeping, etc.
But the truth is, Zion really just wants to play with the kids at allllll times. This playfulness is a trait of Sheepadoodles and why we were so attracted to the dogs to begin with! Don’t take his gentleness for granted – at the end of the day he is an animal, so respect his food and toys, and avoid a dog’s space when sleeping.
Zion has attached himself to our oldest child more than anyone. He sleeps with him and he likes to come pick up the kids from school in the afternoons- mostly so he can sit in his lap all the way home. His love for him is heartwarming stuff!
Pros and Cons Of Owning a Sheepadoodle
- Extremely social He loves to interact and be near us
- Smart Easy to train, so quick to be housebroken
- Emotionally smart High emotional IQ so he picks up on our feelings – would make a popular therapy dog
- Hypoallergenic, no shedding
- Great temperament Playful, loving, gentle, confident, and obedient! No obnoxious barking, whining or anxiety.
- Longer lifespan of 12 to 15 years
- Affectionate Their even happy temperment makes them great for singles who want a companion, or a families like us with kids
- Extremely social Since they hate to be left alone, this doesn’t lend itself to people who work full time out of the house. Your Sheepadoodle will be sad, lonely and destructive left alone. They need to be around people!
- Expensive grooming and regular upkeep to keep the fur from matting
- Herding The dog will have to be trained out of this instinctual behavior
- Nipping Another instinctual behavior to deal with
- Some chewing issues – not a lot Our Sheepadoodle has been trained to leave our home alone, but he did go to town on my rug as a pup. We have his favorite bully sticks out for him. These have been his favorite chews since day 1 and they last a little while, which is nice.