Let’s begin by immediately noting that Shepadoodles are not to be confused with Sheepadoodles (Old English Sheepdog and the Standard Poodle).
Shepadoodles are a special type of dog created by mixing a German Shepherd with a Poodle. This mix combines the German Shepherd’s smart, loyal, and protective nature with the Poodle’s traits of being unlikely to cause allergies and not shedding much hair.
The result is a delightful, adaptable companion, clever, energetic partner, or loving and gentle family member. In this guide, we’ll explore different aspects of Shepadoodles, including how they look and how big they can get. We’ll also talk about their exercise requirements and what kind of grooming they need to stay healthy and happy.
Let’s dig deeper into this wonderful large breed we call The Amazing Shepadoodle.
What is a Shepadoodle?
The Shepadoodle is an intelligent and athletic dog that brings together the best traits of both parent breeds. Far from being a strange and mysterious mix of dogs, Shepadoodles are developing a broad reputation for being outstanding family dogs.
What is a Hybrid Dog?
A hybrid dog is not considered a specific breed. It is created by breeding two different purebred dog breeds to create a mix or “designer” breed. The resulting puppies can inherit a combination of traits from both parent breeds. Unlike purebred dogs, which have predictable traits, hybrid dogs can vary in appearance, size, and temperament.
There is no absolute guarantee that the puppies will inherit specific traits from either parent. However, if the parents and grandparents are generally healthy and have good temperaments, their offspring will likely have similar qualities.
Remember that each hybrid dog can still be unique, so it’s essential to approach their traits with an open mind and embrace the surprises that come with mixed breeds.
8 Things Owners Need to Know about the Shepadoodle
1. Exploring the Shepadoodle’s History
Understanding the history of the Shepadoodle breed can provide valuable insights, especially when considering its origins and parent breeds. In the case of Shepdoodles, both of their parent breeds hail from Germany and share remarkable qualities of being large in size and dynamic in nature.
Image by lancegfx from Pixabay
Parent Breed: German Shepherd
The ever-popular German Shepherd originated in Germany during the 19th century. It didn’t take long for people all over the world to come to adore this magnificent breed. Around 1906, the first German Shepherds arrived in the United States.
The breed gained recognition and popularity when the American Kennel Club officially registered it in 1912. During World War I, the German Shepherd faced a setback as they became associated with the enemy. They played vital roles as delivery dogs and scouts, fearlessly navigating dangerous territories, including detecting landmines.
Following the war, however, German Shepherds experienced a resurgence in popularity, aided by their heroic reputation earned as military dogs. Since then, German Shepherds have remained a beloved breed, excelling as loyal companions, show dogs, and even continuing as military and police working dogs.
Parent Breed: Poodle
Poodles come in three sizes – miniature, toy, and standard – and make exceptional companions.
Originally hailing from Germany, Poodles were initially bred as water retrievers for hunters. Their unique appearance, including the iconic haircut, served a practical purpose in their working days. It was found that if the poodles had their fur trimmed short, but their joints and torso were kept furry and warm, Poodles could navigate cold water without being weighed down.
The miniature and toy Poodles even found employment in the forest, where they skillfully sniffed out truffles or entertained audiences in the circus.
Poodles also have a pleasant temperament when it comes to human interaction. As they gained popularity worldwide, they found a special place in the French people’s culture, hearts, and minds. King Louis XVI was particularly fond of the Miniature Poodle, which helped elevate their status as companion dogs.
Since then, Poodles have become show dogs, recognized by the American Kennel Club, and cherished family pets adored by people all around the globe.
Image by David Mark from Pixabay
2. Breeding the Shepadoodle
One of the main reasons behind breeding the Shepadoodle was to produce a dog that possesses the desirable traits of both parent breeds. This includes the intelligence, trainability, and protective instincts of the German Shepherd, along with the “hypoallergenic” coat and adaptability of the Poodle.
Some also believe that the Shepadoodle was specially created in the 60s to be a dog that works with the military and police.
Today, Shepadoodles have gained popularity beyond military and police work. They have become beloved pets for families and individuals seeking a loyal, intelligent, and versatile canine companion.
3. Shepadoodle Appearance
Just like any other mixed breed, Shepadoodles inherit traits from both parent breeds, making each dog unique in terms of size, weight, appearance, and temperament.
For example, Shepadoodles can have different coat variations. Some may have the classic German Shepherd look with coarse, dense, black, and tan fur. Others may showcase their Poodle parent’s influence with low-shedding, curlier coats, which is a distinct feature of Poodles. It’s fascinating to see how the characteristics of both breeds come together.
Image by Tanya from Pixabay
Coat Color and Grooming
Black Shepadoodles are popular, but you might come across Shepadoodles with coats in shades like white, cream, or fawn.
To make sure your Shepadoodle’s fur stays healthy and doesn’t get tangled, it’s a good idea to brush them every day. Surprisingly, Shepadoodles seem to enjoy baths and playing in water. During the summer, consider giving your Shepadoodle a short haircut so its skin can stay cool.
For more tips, apply some of the same approaches you’d use to groom a Goldendoodle.
If you live in a colder place, dry skin can sometimes be a problem for your Shepadoodle, especially in winter. Some people have found that giving their Shepadoodle a daily drop or two of cod liver oil can help prevent this issue.
While they are often considered hypoallergenic, Shepadoodles do shed a minimal amount of hair. It’s important to note that if a Shepadoodle takes after the Poodle’s coat, it will shed a small quantity of hair.
Side Note on “Hypoallergenic” Dogs
There is a debate among scientists about whether dogs can be considered hypoallergenic or not. People believe that hypoallergenic dog breeds are better for individuals with allergies compared to other breeds.
But top researchers who study allergens have not found any proof to support the idea that certain breeds are hypoallergenic. While allergen levels may differ among dogs, the breed itself is not the main factor determining how allergic someone might be to a dog.
While some studies indicate the potential existence of breeds that are at least less likely to cause allergies, it’s important to note that there is still a lot of variation, making it difficult to definitively say that such breeds exist.
Researchers believe that claims about hypoallergenic dog breeds may have been influenced by unverified articles found online. It’s worth noting that the main culprits for allergies are proteins found in a dog’s saliva and dander.
4. Shepadoodle Size
Shepadoodles are large dogs, similar in size to German Shepherds and standard Poodles. When fully grown, they typically stand between 22 and 28 inches tall and weigh anywhere from 60 to 90 pounds.
However, it’s important to note that the appearance of Shepadoodles can vary greatly from one dog to another. Their physical traits depend on which parent they take after more.
5. Shepadoodle Personality
German Shepherds and Poodles are both energetic and smart breeds, and the Shepadoodle is no exception. This dog requires plenty of exercise and regular training. And since Shepadoodles come from two breeds of working dogs, they thrive when they have a purposeful task.
German Shepherds and Poodles may look different, but they share some similar personality traits. They were both bred to be working dogs and are known for being smart, athletic, easy to train, and needing mental stimulation. The Shepadoodle may display all of these characteristics.
Shepadoodles enjoy playing with children and other pets and generally get along well. While they bark when they need to communicate or are excited, they are not the type of dog that barks excessively.
Don’t underestimate their quiet nature, as Shepadoodles make excellent watchdogs. Their intelligence and loyalty to their family make them protective without being aggressive, and they will be quick to alert you if they sense anything suspicious.
Although Shepadoodles have a playful and energetic side, they don’t require intense exercise every single day to burn off their energy. They will be perfectly happy spending time indoors and enjoying the company of their owners, with occasional playtime for exercise. Because of this, they can adapt well to most different living situations.
Playing and Being Together
Poodles and German Shepherds are known for forming close connections with their human families and enjoying companionship, play, and love. The same goes for Shepadoodles, who also prefer not to be left alone for extended periods of time, so it’s important for their families to be ready to fulfill their social requirements.
A Quick Note on Positive Reinforcement Training
Training is important for any domestic dog, but especially large ones. Positive reinforcement training is all about using rewards like treats, praise, toys, or anything that your dog finds enjoyable when they exhibit desired behaviors.
By providing a reward, you increase your dog’s likelihood of repeating that behavior. It’s like giving them a thumbs-up for doing something right!
Timing is important when it comes to positive reinforcement. The reward must happen immediately, within a few seconds of the desired behavior, so your pet can connect their action and the reward.
So, to make positive reinforcement effective, remember to give the reward immediately after your dog does what you want them to do. This way, they’ll understand what behavior you’re praising and will be more motivated to repeat it.
6. Shepadoodle Diet
A Shepadoodle’s diet is ideally high-quality and high protein. To break it down further, here’s a quick guide by age:
Puppy food: Good-quality protein-based puppy dog food helps Shepadoodle puppies develop strong muscles, tendons, and cartilage. Fat in their diet provides the energy they need for their playful nature. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps keep the immune system strong. Glucosamine and chondroitin are nutrients that promote healthy joints and bones in these puppies.
Adult dogs: For an adult dog, providing high-quality protein like chicken or fish is important, as it helps keep their bones and muscles healthy. They don’t need too many carbohydrates in their diet, as that can make them gain extra weight.
Omega fatty acids are great for their skin and coat, making them look healthy and shiny. Vitamin A is important for their muscles and nerves. And don’t forget about calcium! It’s crucial for strong and healthy bones, especially if your dog is prone to Patellar luxation.
7. Ideal Space and Home Requirements for Shepadoodles
As mentioned, Shepadoodles are fairly adaptable to most living situations. But ideally, the more space, interaction, exercise, and training you can provide, the better it is for your furry friend. They thrive when they have ample opportunities to run, play, and stay active. The top prize is having a fenced-in yard where your Shepadoodle can freely run and play.
There’s another reason why raising a Shepadoodle puppy in an apartment may not be the best idea. Poodles are famous for their barking abilities, and German Shepherds have a protective nature, meaning they may bark in response to deliveries or noise from neighbors.
Even if you have a yard, it’s important to understand that Shepadoodles require active engagement. They are energetic dogs that love activities such as running, hiking, and swimming.
Plan to spend a few hours each day engaging in activities that help your Shepadoodle burn off their energy and stay mentally stimulated. This investment of time and effort is essential for their overall well-being.
8. Shepadoodle Health Concerns
Shepadoodles are generally a healthy breed, but there are certain health issues that they may be more prone to. These can include bloat, joint problems, and other conditions associated with large breeds.
It’s important to note that mixed breeds like Shepadoodles are often considered to be healthier than their purebred parents. This is because their diverse gene pool can lead to fewer inherited health conditions.
However, it doesn’t mean that Shepadoodles are completely immune to health concerns. They still can inherit health issues from either the Poodle or German Shepherd. So, it’s important to know the potential health problems that can affect Shepadoodles.
Bloat (or gastric dilatation-volvulus) is a serious condition that can be fatal if not treated promptly. It happens when a dog’s stomach becomes filled with gas, food, or fluid and then twists. Bloat can happen suddenly and progress rapidly, so it’s always an emergency.
Sometimes, the stomach can become distended without twisting, which is called “simple bloat” or dilatation. This bloating can occur on its own and may go away without treatment.
However, it’s still important to be aware that even simple bloat can be life-threatening, although the risk depends on how severe and how long it lasts.
In certain cases, simple bloat can persist for several hours without becoming immediately life-threatening. Remember, if you notice any signs of bloat in your dog, it’s crucial to seek veterinary help as soon as possible.
Tip: To prevent bloat, here are some simple tips. First, try giving your dog smaller portions of food so they don’t eat too much too quickly. This can help reduce the chances of bloating. You can also mix wet and dry food when feeding your Shepadoodle. This mixture can slow down their eating pace, giving their digestive system more time to process the food properly.
Degenerative Myelopathy (DM) is a condition that affects a dog’s spinal cord, leading to gradual muscle weakness and coordination problems. It’s similar to ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, in humans. Unfortunately, there’s no known cure for DM, but regular physical therapy can help slow down its progression. DM can affect various dog breeds, including German Shepherds.
Hemophilia is a genetic condition that affects the blood’s ability to clot properly. Dogs with hemophilia experience unexpected bleeding that lasts longer than usual. They may bleed from places like wounds, the cord that connects them to their mother after birth, as well as their nose, mouth, and eyes.
Bleeding may also happen on its own and last for a long time. Sometimes, internal bleeding can happen in areas like the chest or abdomen, which can cause swelling and even lead to death.
Hip dysplasia is a common problem in dogs’ bones, especially in big dogs, but sometimes in smaller ones too. It happens when the hips don’t develop properly.
A few things can make it more likely for a dog to have hip dysplasia. One of them is genetics, so it’s good to know if either parent suffered from this. This condition is seen a lot in big breeds like Great Danes, Saint Bernards, Labrador Retrievers, and German Shepherds.
Other things that can make hip dysplasia worse are growing too quickly, doing certain types of exercise, being overweight, and not eating a balanced diet.
Pannus, also called chronic superficial keratitis (CSK), is a condition that impacts dogs’ eyes. It makes certain parts of the eyes become cloudy or hazy or change color gradually. Usually, both eyes are affected.
Pannus typically occurs in German Shepherds but can also affect other breeds like Rhodesian Ridgebacks, Siberian Huskies, Border Collies, and Greyhounds. It is more common in middle-aged to older dogs, usually between 5 and 8 years old.
Certain medications like cyclosporine, dexamethasone, prednisolone, tacrolimus, and pimecrolimus have shown to be very effective in treating these types of eye lesions. If the lesions are mild, using topical steroids is often successful.
Panosteitis, also known as growing pains, is a painful swelling of the outer surface or shaft of the long bones in a dog’s legs. It can affect one or multiple bones, and the pain can move around, causing a shifting lameness from one leg to another. This condition usually comes on suddenly and without any obvious cause, like an injury or excessive exercise.
Panosteitis mainly affects young dogs that are still growing rapidly. While it can happen to any breed, larger breeds like German Shepherds (most common), Great Danes, Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers, and Basset Hounds are more susceptible to developing this issue.
Although this disease usually gets better on its own, it can be very painful for your pet to experience lameness. During these times, the main goal is to provide support and alleviate the pain. This is done by using pain medications called analgesics and/or anti-inflammatory drugs like meloxicam, as needed.
When your pet is going through episodes of lameness, it’s best to limit their exercise. However, engaging them in light to moderate exercise is encouraged between episodes. It’s best to avoid intense or strenuous exercise as well as very long walks.
Some dogs with this condition may have a decreased appetite.
Sebaceous adenitis is a condition that affects the sebaceous glands in the skin. These glands are responsible for producing a substance that keeps the skin healthy and the hair soft. In sebaceous adenitis, the immune system mistakenly attacks these glands, leading to inflammation.
This condition usually occurs in dogs that are young adults or middle-aged. There are two types of sebaceous adenitis: one that affects dogs with short hair and another that affects dogs with long hair. Some breeds that are more prone to developing sebaceous adenitis include the Standard Poodle, Akita, Samoyed, and Vizsla.
Frequently Asked Questions About Shepadoodles
Some common questions are often asked about these wonderful pups. Here are the answers to a few of the most frequently asked questions.
Are Shepadoodles Good With Kids?
Shepadoodles are wonderful companions for families with children. They are kind and loving pets who get along well with kids. They love being around other dogs, too. They have a sweet and affectionate nature.
What’s the Difference Between a Sheepadoodle and a Shepadoodle?
A Sheepadoodle is created by breeding an Old English Sheepdog with a standard-sized Poodle. On the other hand, a Shepadoodle is a mix between a German Shepherd and a Poodle. Even though their names sound alike, they are two distinct and separate breeds.
What Is the Lifespan of a Shepadoodle?
Typically, Shepdoodles live between 10-14 years, assuming they are in good health.
What Do Shepadoodles Cost?
Shepadoodles aren’t the most common breed in the United States, which means that finding a Shepadoodle puppy may come with a higher price tag (some report prices for pups at around $800 or more). However, the good news is that there are a few options available to you.
If you opt to buy, find a reputable breeder who specializes in Shepadoodles. Although they are few in number, these breeders are dedicated to producing healthy and well-socialized puppies.
Animal shelters can sometimes be a great resource for finding Shepadoodles. It’s worth checking local shelters and rescue organizations in your area to see if any of these wonderful dogs are available for adoption.
Additionally, you might consider exploring breed-specific rescues. Both German Shepherd and Poodle rescue organizations may occasionally have Shepadoodles in their care.
Final Thoughts on Shepadoodles
If you’re considering adopting a Shepadoodle, know that it is a remarkable breed of dog. You get to combine German Shepherds’ intelligence and trainability with Poodles’ hypoallergenic qualities.
They make incredible companions and working dogs, excelling in various roles such as therapy dogs, search and rescue, and service dogs. Their friendly and adaptable nature and protective instincts make them ideal for families and individuals seeking a loyal, versatile canine companion.
I covered all of the costs associated with this shepadoodle post. However, it does contain affiliate links. That means if you click through on some of the links in this article and end up making a purchase, I may receive a small commission. It won’t affect the price that you pay. Just wanted to let you know.
Amanda O’Brien is the owner of The Dog Snobs website. She is dog mad and dog aunt to Clover in London and Poppy in Sydney. She can’t wait to have a schedule that allows her to have a dog of her own (for now it is two Siberian cats) and loves learning about dog breeds and dog behavior.