I might have a home decor blog, but our Sheepadoodle Zion is much more popular than anything I talk about here in my home. Considering he has a few magazine features under his belt now, he might as well be the face of my blog rather than me at this point! I am sharing all the details of what it’s really like- from the cost of Sheepadoodle puppies, the challenges he brings, and everything we experienced his first year.
What It’s REALLY Like To Own A Sheepadoodle:
You will be hard pressed to find another more perfect family dog than the 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.
My husband Jose and I have 4 kids, ages 4, 6, 8 and 11. We live on a half acre, with a good sized fenced in backyard.
We never owned any type of doodle before, but Sheepadoodles are better than I could have ever imagined! We are doodle owners for life now. Zion is SO incredibly smart, gentle, has no anxiety, never whines, and ADORES our kids. Oh but he certainly has his flaws too – which I will get to!
Zion at 5 months:
Zion at 8 months:
Zion currently is at his biggest weight at around 75lbs. Oh my gosh you guys, that is SO much dog! If you’ve never owned a big dog before, large means large everything. Large appetite, large amounts to groom, a large body to pull you on a leash, large bark, a large head that reaches everything on the counters, large paws, and large poops!
(Sheepadoodle dogs also can be medium and toy size – so if you don’t have room or time to exercise a big dog, that might be best for you.)
Sheepadoodle Puppies – Cost & Breeders
Since people are willing to pay a high price for Sheepadoodle 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. (And everyone will say they don’t do that- but ask the right questions and trust your gut).
Look carefully for a true family business that treats the dogs they breed as family pets. These breeders will take proper steps to handover healthy, happy Sheepadoodle puppies to you!
We found Zion right on the border of South and North Carolina at a family breeder called Grace Wood Farms. Luke and Brittney are a family with 6 kids of their own and they are incredible. We got on their list before Zion’s mom was pregnant- they fill up fast!
Zion cost us a little over $2,000. This is about the average cost in our area for Sheepadoodle puppies. They split up the payments after you put down the deposit.
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!
We spent almost an hour on FaceTime when it came time to pick which puppy we wanted. We asked so many questions about specific temperaments in each puppy. We wanted a dog that seemed calmer, quieter, mellow even if possible! With 4 kids already, we didn’t need the hyperactive or anxiety ridden pup!
Training Sheepadoodle Puppies
We drove to pick up Zion at 8 weeks- and quickly realized this was a like having a toddler again. He wanted to play all day every day, but he didn’t know the rules yet!
We crate trained him right away (I highly, highly recommend for your own sanity!). We kept his puppy crate in our walk in pantry with a blanket over it. He didn’t bark much the first night. (Or maybe I just didn’t hear it!) I like that puppy crate because you can divide it in the middle, so when he is little he didn’t feel like it was too big! The bottom is actually a tray that slides out. This is important because the first week when he really had no idea about house breaking, we could clean accidents easily without a mess.
The crate helped set order, gave Zion somewhere safe to go, and house training was easier too because of it! Zion was 100% fully housebroken around 13 weeks, and he has not had an accident since. 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:
But have you ever seen a crate big enough for a 75lb dog? (This is our current XL crate, which is great by the way). I didn’t want that giant XL crate sitting in the middle of my living room! Not that there is anything wrong with that, but this was kind of cramping my style!
A few months ago we got him his own dog bed and stored the XL crate away for when he stays over at my parent’s house.
Learning the basic commands is a breeze for Sheepadoodles. He now comes when called, and listens to us mostly. 🙂 Sheepadoodles want to please their owner!
Sheepadoodle Behavior Issues
Zion’s biggest behavioral issues we dealt with were herding the kids (still working on that one!), counter surfing (he can reach whatever’s out on the counter), and nipping. Nipping usually doesn’t hurt – it isn’t actual biting, and it’s playful. But nevertheless, it is not good behavior, and it’s something you need to train out of your dog right away.
For the first few months, Zion would follow around Leo and nip at his clothes and hands all day. Leo was 5, and loved to entice the dog to play, but it drove us crazy. It would start out the same way: at first Leo would think it was fun. He would race through the house laughing with the dog nipping at his clothes, and then eventually he would get sick of it but 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! A lot of daily training was involved with both Zion and the kids. If you have kids, expect to work with them to change their behaviors around the dog too!
Do Sheepadoodles Shed and Does Zion Shed?
No, f1 Sheepadoodle dogs are not supposed to shed. We have never seen any visible 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. This was a fun afternoon!
Even though Sheepadoodles do not shed, they DO require regular brushing to make sure his coat doesn’t mat. Truthfully I’m not the best at remembering to brush him often, and our groomer always reminds me to brush more. 🙂
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. But 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 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- for a dog Zion’s size a cut/bath is $80, and the 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!
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 to use this slicker brush. It is made from the same company and does an amazing job. You can go back and forth on the mats quickly and it untangles them in seconds, without Zion even noticing them. The pet store brushes were getting stuck in the actual mat, creating an even bigger tangle! What a nightmare.
Between those two brushes. you will never have to buy your dog another brush! I figured I would rather splurge on the good brushes once, than buy a lifetime of cheapies from the pet store.
Buy The Grooming Supplies We Love On Amazon:
How Is Zion With the Kids?
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. The experience affected every person in our family and it was a dark time for us. I carried around a lot of guilt and my child now has to carry a little scar.
Because of that backstory, we are hypersensitive to relationships between animals and our kids. We have 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 the 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. We feel totally confident leaving Zion alone with the kids while we are upstairs or preoccupied elsewhere. This gentleness is a trait of Sheepadoodles and why we were so attracted to the dogs to begin with!
Jose and I are 100% certain he likes the kids more than us at this point! He follows them around and wants to be a part of everything they’re doing. If he hears laughter or any type of ruckus from the kids in the next room, he instantly rushes over to be a part of their crew. He tries to herd them when they run through the house, which usually turns into a game of chase.
Zion has attached himself to our 11 year old more than anyone in the family. He looks for Robbie 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 obsession with him is heartwarming stuff!
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 will land on him). He brings them sticks and balls for them to throw for him, over and over.
He is all about that frisbee life! Any sort of high energy, running fast and retrieving – Zion lives for that. I think 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.
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 8 hours straight, and we can watch him on a live cam if we want. He comes back totally wiped out, albeit a bit smelly. It is a life saver on rainy days when we can’t play with him!
Despite Zion’s playfulness, he definitely knows how to just lay on the floor and chill with the family too. We are his people and he just wants to be in the same room as us. That is always his priority more than anything else!
Do Sheepadoodles Like To Swim?
Zion does, but I have heard from other owners that some do not. Zion loved when we blew up the plastic pool in the backyard – he liked to get a running start and jump into it. Who was surprised when the pool eventually popped?
We took Zion to the beach with us last summer. He had a great time in the waves the first day. He didn’t venture in over his head, but he played on the shore off leash, splashing in the water. But getting the sticky sand out of his hair was such an ordeal that we only let him put his paws in for the rest of the trip!
I can’t recommend the Sheepadoodle dog enough for the right family. That being said, I would never discourage anyone from adopting a sweet shelter dog! For us, after our history with the dog bite and our children, we were particular about the breed and the dog’s history for our family pet. Of course it’s a personal family decision, not a one size fits all!
I firmly believe the most important thing is that you commit 100% to being the owner for the life of the dog, and understand the amount of work there will be going in. Of course Zion is adorable, but he demands a ton of work, time, and money from us. In the beginning especially, it really was like we had a 5th child to raise.
Sheepdaoodles are extremely social animals, and hate to be left alone for long periods of time. If your family works full time out of the house, your Sheepadoodle will be sad, lonely and destructive left by himself daily.
I am an open book so feel free to send me a message on my Instagram, or a comment below!
If you liked this article you might like our coastal kitchen or take a tour of our playroom! Or you might be interested in my favorite mom hacks for big families. I would love to have you follow me on Instagram, where I share lots of home decor inspo and even more Zion!