Our giant Sheepadoodle is much more popular than anything I talk about, despite having a blog about home decor! Considering he has a few magazine features under his belt, he should be the face of my blog rather than me!
I am sharing what Sheepadoodles are really like- the cost of Sheepadoodle puppies, their challenges, and what we experienced his first year. Because let’s be honest, the first year is the hardest with dogs!
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What Is A Sheepadoodle?
“Sheep-a what?” is the reply most people give us. A Sheepadoodle is not a pure bred dog but a mixed breed: a brilliant cross between a Standard Poodle and an Old English Sheepdog. These dogs offer perks like non shedding hair, a loving temperament, and a teddy bear face!
Your average Sheepadoodle is going to be very bright. After all, they are half Poodle – a very intelligent breed!
These dogs are not usually anxious, somewhat calm, and very playful. Their eagerness to play and their love of children makes them the perfect family dog! These dogs are extremely social, very affectionate, and love to be around and please their families and owners.
You will be hard pressed to find another more perfect family dog than the Sheepadoodle!
What It’s REALLY Like To Own A Sheepadoodle
Zion is our full sized, 1 year old, f1 Sheepadoodle – meaning his Dad was purebred Standard Poodle (a big black and white guy), and his mama was Purebread Sheepdog. He has a fluffy black and white wavy coat, a big pink tongue often hanging out, and a black eye patch that helps him get what he wants.
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, but Sheepadoodles are better than I could have imagined! We are doodle owners for life now. Oh but he certainly has his flaws too – which I will get to!
Zion is now around 75lbs and we pretty much call him a giant sheepadoodle. That is SO much dog! If you’ve never owned a big dog before, large means large appetite, large amounts to groom, a large body to pull you on a leash, a large head that easily reaches food left out on the counters, and large poops left 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 average Sheepadoodle dog is between 50-80lbs, depending on the size of their parents.
But these dogs can also be medium and toy size. Think carefully before committing to the giant Sheepadoodle- a smaller sized dog is just as cute, 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?
Since people are willing to pay a high price for these puppies, a lot of people are breeding too fast and too often. You don’t want to support an operation that is treating the pregnant momma dog as a puppy mill- having her impregnated repeatedly without time to rest or be cared for. (Everyone will say they don’t do that- but ask the right questions and trust your gut).
Zion cost us a little over $2,000. This is about the average cost in our area for Sheepadoodle puppies as of 2019.
Look carefully for a true family 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 wanted a sheepadoodle breeder on the east coast. I didn’t want to fly or worry about stressful transportation for our pup. Zion came from a family breeder of Sheepadoodles called Grace Wood Farms, out of the tips of South Carolina. Luke and Brittney are a family with 6 kids of their own. We got on their list before Zion’s mom was even pregnant- they fill up fast!
Brittney posted long videos of the Sheepadoodle puppies as they were born, and as they grew on her Facebook page. We even got to see the day they opened their eyes!
I mean!! Can you handle that cuteness??
We spent almost an hour on FaceTime when it came time to pick out our pup, asking about specific temperaments in each puppy. With 4 kids, we were not looking for the hyperactive pup!
Training Sheepadoodle Puppies
We drove to pick up Zion at 8 weeks- and 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 (I highly, highly recommend for your own sanity!). He didn’t bark much the first night, but to be fair he was far from our bedrooms. We kept his puppy crate in our walk-in pantry with a blanket over it to make him feel cozy. I didn’t want his crate anywhere near our bedroom, so that we could train him right from the start to go to sleep independently!
I like that puppy crate because you can divide it in the middle, so when the dog is little he still feels cozy and safe! The bottom is actually a tray that slides out. This is important the first week when your dog will have no idea about housebreaking. We could clean accidents easily without a mess.
The crate helped set order, gave Zion somewhere safe to go, and made house training easier too. Zion was 100% fully housebroken around 13 weeks. I heard Sheepadoodle puppies are particularly easy to house train, and I found that to be fairly accurate. Either way, I’m so glad we were strict about the crate!
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.
Sheepadoodle Puppy and Crate Training Schedule
I recommend keeping your new sheepadoodle puppy sleeping far from your bedroom. The first few weeks we put him in his crate around 9:30-10pm, left him there all night, and took him straight out to potty in the yard around 6am, followed by breakfast and playtime. That schedule worked really well for him.
Zion’s biggest behavior issue was nipping- a behavior we trained out of him over time. Nipping usually doesn’t hurt – it isn’t actual biting – it’s playful and something most puppies do.
Sheepadoodles puppies nip more than other breeds because they are herding dogs – who 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. This was frustrating for us!
For the first few months, Zion would follow around our 5 year old Leo and nip at his clothes and hands all day. Leo loved to entice the dog to play and nip at first. He would race through the house laughing with the dog nipping at his clothes, but eventually, get sick of the game because the dog wouldn’t stop. All of Leo’s shirts started to get holes!
Thankfully, Zion no longer nips, but it was work to get him to stop that habit! 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 and I would recommend that too! I don’t really have any other tips except to keep consistently not allowing it.
Teething makes their instinct to nip even worse. But when they stop teething they will stop nipping if you’ve been firm over time! A few months before the year mark Zion stopped this obnoxious habit.
Learning the basic commands like sit and stay however, will be a breeze. These dogs are easier to train than their parent Old English Sheepdogs, who can be stubborn.
Sheepadoodle puppies live to please their owners!
Do Sheepadoodles Shed and Does Zion Shed?
No, if Sheepadoodle dogs are not supposed to shed. We have never seen any shedding on Zion. We don’t even see fluff balls on his 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? After planting some new landscaping, we let Zion out back for a few minutes. He was bored, I was gone, and my new plants looked like fun. He was about 4 months at the time. I was NOT pleased.
Even though Sheepadoodles do not shed, they DO require regular brushing to make sure their coat doesn’t mat.
We trim his hair frequently. If you want, you can just trim regularly above their eyes so the Sheepadoodle can see, and trim their body less often. We prefer regular trimming so he can keep that teddy bear look. Plus, I love how good he smells after the groomer!
He goes every 6-7 weeks to the groomer for a bath and cut, and every 2 to 3 weeks he goes in for just a bath. This gets expensive. In our area, for a full size Sheepadoodle a cut/bath is $75 plus tip, and a bath alone is $45 or so. If that scares you, I think we might go more frequently than the average doodle owner!
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 you guys, 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. It does an amazing job. You can go back and forth on the mats quickly and it untangles them without Zion even noticing them. The pet store brushes were getting stuck in the actual mat, creating an even bigger tangle sometimes.
Between those two brushes, you will never have to buy your dog another brush again! I figured I would rather 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 Must Haves For a 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! (I usually make him get off though – I’m afraid someone might land on him).
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. Throwing the ball for the dog is also part of my 11 year old’s summer chores before he gets his video games, which works out well for both of them.
Zion’s Chuck It Toy is hands down his favorite toy right now. 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 afternoon activity. He also loves his Nerf Dog as well, a smilier toy. We’ve gone through two of these!
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 you never have to mess with the poop itself. The poop is collected directly into the bag. We recently started attaching old grocery bags to the scooper, and they work just as well.
Shop The Scooper Here:
Currently we take him to doggy day care one or two times a week to make sure he’s getting adequate stimulation. He plays with other dogs for 6-8 hours straight, and we can watch him on a live cam. He comes back totally wiped out, albeit a bit smelly. It is a lifesaver on rainy days when we can’t get out.
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 more than anything else!
Years ago, we experienced a tragedy when a friend’s dog attacked our 1 year old baby in the face. As a mother, it was an absolutely horrific experience. It was a dark time for our whole family.
Because of that backstory, we are 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 simple rules, like not to wake him while he is sleeping, etc.
But okay…. the truth is, Zion really just wants to play with the kids at allllll times. This gentleness is a trait of Sheepadoodles and why we were so attracted to the dogs to begin with! We don’t ever take his gentleness for granted though – at the end of the day he is an animal, and you will want to teach your kids to respect and not touch his food and toys, and to avoid his space when he is sleeping.
Zion has attached himself to our 11 year old Robbie more than anyone. He looks for him as soon as he is let out in the morning, and he likes to come pick up the kids from school in the afternoons- mostly so he can sit in Robbie’s lap all the way home. His love for him is heartwarming stuff!
Overall Pros and Cons of a Sheepadoodle Dog
- Extremely social They love to interact and be near their owners. They make it obvious how much they love you.
- Smart This makes for easy training.
- Hypoallergenic, don’t shed or low shedders Old English Sheepdogs don’t shed, and Poodles are low shedders with their tight curls catching dander.
- Great temperament Playful, loving, gentle, fun, smart, confident, and obedient! No obnoxious barking, whining or anxiety.
- Longer lifespan of 12 to 15 years
- Extremely Social Since they hate to be left alone for long periods of time, this could be a con as well. If you or your family works full time out of the house, your Sheepadoodle could be sad, lonely and destructive left by himself. They suffer from social anxiety easily!
- Herding instincts The dog will have to be trained out of this instinctual behavior
- Some chewing issues – not a lot Our Sheepadoodle has been trained to leave our home alone, but he did go to town on my jute rug as a pup. We always try to make sure to 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.
- Extensive grooming and regular upkeep to keep the fur from matting