- The Shepadoodle’s Appearance
- History of the Shepadoodle Breed
- The Shepadoodle’s Behavior & Temperament
- Caring for Your Shepadoodle
- How to Begin Training a Shepadoodle
- Shepadoodle Health & Grooming
- Adopting a Shepadoodle
The German Shepherd/Poodle mix, known as a “Shepadoodle,” is an intelligent, loyal, and affectionate designer dog breed. These dogs are also sometimes known as “Shepapoos,” and like most other doodles, were originally bred as companions for people who are allergic to most other dog breeds. If you’re considering adding a Shepadoodle to your family, here’s everything you need to know!
The Shepadoodle’s Appearance
As you would probably expect from a mixed breed dog, the Shepadoodle’s appearance can vary based on which parent it most resembles. Typically, Shepadoodles will have a thick, curly coat, similar to that of a Poodle. Their coloring usually resembles a German Shepherd, with many having a black/brown combination coat. In some instances, however, Shepadoodles may have a tri-color or white coat.
Their long fur often gives them a “scruffy” appearance that many owners find adorable! They also often have a softer appearance than a purebred German Shepherd or Poodle.
How Big Do Shepadoodles Get?
Shepadoodles have a few different size variations: micro, mini, and standard. As the name suggests, Micro Shepadoodles are the smallest! Full-grown, they’ll typically weigh anywhere between 25-35 lbs.
Mini Shepadoodles are a bit larger than their Micro counterparts, weighing around 35-45 lbs. Any dog of this breed that weighs more than 45 lbs is known as a Standard Shepadoodle, the most common variation.
Before you adopt a Shepadoodle, make sure to ask the breeder how big they will grow. The size of the dog you adopt will directly correlate to the amount of exercise they will need, and this is one dog you definitely do not want to under-exercise!
History of the Shepadoodle Breed
People began breeding German Shepherds with Poodles in the United States around the 1960s. Surprisingly, they were originally intended to be military police dogs! You may not expect this combination to be particularly good for a high-intensity job like this, but the origins of both the German Shepherd and the Poodle created the perfect conditions for this breed to become a working dog.
Most people are aware that German Shepherds are one of the top choices for police and service dog work, but once upon a time, Poodles were used as working dogs as well! They were very popular for hunting, and that innate behavior is still active in their biology.
Shepadoodles became more popular as household pets later on, as most doodle brands are considered to be hypoallergenic for people who love dogs and want to own one, but suffer from an allergy to either dogs or dog dander. Poodles are known to be light shedders, and more often than not, Shepadoodle coats resemble this parent instead of the German Shepherd parent.
The Shepadoodle’s Behavior & Temperament
German Shepherds and Poodles have extremely different personalities, but they blend wonderfully to create a mixed breed dog that’s highly intelligent, affectionate, and fiercely loyal to their owners.
Since both Poodles and German Shepherds are very active breeds, Shepadoodles tend to have a lot of energy and need to be exercised regularly. They love spending time outdoors, and will often work hard to earn their owner’s praise. Inside of the home, they’re very affectionate and love snuggling up to their people. When properly socialized, they’ll also love to be the center of attention!
Ideal Living Situations for Shepadoodles
Since they’re so friendly and easy to train, Shepadoodles make great family dogs and are often a good choice for first-time dog owners. They’re great with children, and even get along well with other pets (including cats!) when introduced and socialized properly.
Because Shepadoodles are a very active and energetic breed, they’ll need a large home with plenty of outdoor space in order to thrive. If you live in a smaller home or an apartment, or if you don’t have access to a lot of outdoor areas, consider adopting a Micro Shepadoodle. They’re much smaller than Standard and even Mini Shepadoodles, so naturally, they don’t have quite as much energy.
Shepadoodles will need to be in a home with owners who have a relatively active lifestyle, and they enjoy going for walks at least once per day. If you like to go jogging every morning, take your Shepadoodle with you! This early morning exercise should be enough to keep them satisfied if you work during the day.
Common Bad Habits to Look Out for
Shepadoodles have a lot of great qualities, but there are a couple of habits to keep in mind and nip in the bud if you notice popping up. These dogs have a tendency to get bored without physical or mental stimulation, so it’s crucial that they get enough exercise and have plenty of toys to play with. Otherwise, they may get destructive with things around the house!
Another thing to keep in mind is that Shepadoodles don’t really like to be left alone for long periods. As mentioned, early morning exercise before you leave for work can help, and chew toys also work well at keeping them distracted.
Socialization with both people and other dogs is important early on in your puppy’s life. Shepadoodles are very protective of their families, and may be wary of strangers in their home. Make sure to introduce your puppy to a lot of different people to prevent this protectiveness from turning into aggression!
Caring for Your Shepadoodle
Every dog breed is different, and knowing how to care specifically for your Shepadoodle is essential to their wellbeing. To make sure that your puppy grows into the best dog they can be, always make sure to feed them a proper diet and give them as much exercise as they need.
Foods & Feeding Schedules for Shepadoodles
Like with any dog, you should only feed your Shepadoodle a high-quality kibble. You may want to ask your vet for recommendations at their first check-up! Otherwise, look for food specifically formulated for either German Shepherds or Poodles, whichever your dog most resembles. If you have a standard-sized Shepadoodle, you can also choose a high-quality food formulated for large breed dogs.
Look at the food’s ingredients to make sure it has a low carb, high protein content. It should also offer a good portion of calcium, phosphorus, fat, and Vitamin D to keep their joints and bones strong and healthy and prevent some of the issues that can affect Shepadoodles later in life.
How much food your dog will need per day depends on their size. Smaller Shepadoodles should eat around two cups of food per day, while larger dogs will need approximately four cups per day. They should eat between two and three times each day, with plenty of time in between to prevent bloating.
Exercising Your Shepadoodle
It cannot be overstated: Shepadoodles need at least one hour of exercise per day. This can be done in any way that works best for you, whether that be walking, running, or playing out in the yard. As long as they get enough exercise each day, Shepadoodles are easy to manage and respond well to commands.
How to Begin Training a Shepadoodle
Luckily, Shepadoodle’s intelligent nature and German Shepherd heritage make them very easy to train and eager to please. With lots of positive reinforcement (a treat-based reward system usually works best!) and clear directions, you should have no problem training your Shepadoodle with housebreaking, crate training, and various commands.
Since they’re active, high-energy dogs, make sure to break up training into short intervals. Start off slow, and show them you’re happy with the progress they’re making after each training session.
Housetraining Your Shepadoodle
Potty training is one of the most important things to teach your new Shepadoodle puppy, so it should be the first thing you focus on. The easiest way to begin potty training any dog is by establishing a schedule, and Shepadoodles are no different! Here’s an example schedule you might like to follow:
|7:00 AM||Take your puppy outside as soon as you wake up. Stay outside until they do their business.|
|7:30 AM||Give your puppy breakfast and water.|
|7:45 – 8:00 AM||Take your puppy outside again, stay outside until they go to the bathroom.|
|8:30 – 12:00 PM||Playtime and rest, indoors or outdoors, until it’s time for lunch.|
|12:00 PM||Lunch and water.|
|12:15 PM – 12:30 PM||Take your puppy outside, staying until they go again.|
|1:00 PM – 5:00 PM||Playtime or rest, indoors or outdoors.|
|5:00 PM||Dinner and water.|
|5:15 – 5:30 PM||Time to go potty again!|
|6:00 – 10:00 PM||Rest until you’re getting ready for bed.|
|10:00 PM||Take your puppy out one last time for the night.|
Adjust this schedule to your time needs, but always make sure to go outside with your Shepadoodle soon after they eat to prevent accidents. This routine will likely establish the fact that they need to go to the bathroom outside, and not on your carpet!
Try to remain consistent with the times you’re taking your pet outside, and always praise them when they do their business as directed. You may want to consider using a command such as “time to go potty!” when you get outside so they begin to associate the term with the action. It may also help to have a specific area in your yard where they go to the bathroom so they begin to associate the space and the scent with the action.
Accidents inside are bound to happen, and the important thing is to correct them as soon as possible. If you catch your dog in the act, say “No” in a firm voice, but not so firm that you scare them. Immediately afterward, take them outside and tell them to go with the same command you use every time. Always clean up any indoor accidents immediately and thoroughly so your dog doesn’t recognize the smell and repeat the action.
Sleep Train Your Shepadoodle with the Crate
You want your Shepadoodle to get on the correct sleep schedule as soon as possible, and crate training is an excellent way to ensure this happens. The crate should be a comfortable place for your puppy, so avoid using it as a punishment so they don’t mind going in at night.
You want your puppy to be familiar with the crate before putting them in it at night, so try making it comfortable with a blanket and their favorite toy. Leave it open during the day so they can explore if they’d like, or place their food and water dish close by so they’re comfortable with the area.
For the first few nights that your Shepadoodle is home with you, you may want to place the crate right next to your bed. They’re likely missing their mother and feeling a bit of separation anxiety, so they may feel more comfortable if they’re right next to the person they consider to be their new parent.
Avoid petting or talking to your dog while they’re in the crate. If they start to whine or bark during the night, a quick “Shh” or a gentle “No” is the only thing you should say, as any other interaction can only worsen the anxiety they feel.
Shepadoodles are highly intelligent dogs that love to learn new things, so teaching them tricks like “paw,” “spin,” and “play dead” should be easy! This breed consistently does well in both obedience and agility training, and they’re famously easy to train.
When teaching your Shepadoodle tricks, consistency and positive reinforcement is key. Make sure to always use the same commands so you don’t confuse them, and reward them when they get something right! As mentioned, Shepadoodles are eager to please their owners, so make sure to let them know you’re happy when they do something correctly.
Shepadoodle Health & Grooming
Shepadoodles are relatively easy to manage and care for, although there are a few things to keep in mind and keep an eye out for. Here’s everything you need to know about grooming and caring for your Shepadoodle’s health.
Shepadoodle Grooming Needs
Due to their Poodle genes, most Shepadoodles will have a coat of hair instead of fur. Because of its finer texture, Shepadoodles will need to be brushed at least twice per week to prevent matting. They’ll also need regular haircuts to remove any tangles and keep them feeling fresh.
Shepadoodles were bred to be hypoallergenic, meaning they’ll shed significantly less than purebred German Shepherds. Although some shedding should be expected with any breed, you won’t have to worry much about using a shedding brush on your Shepadoodle.
Potential Health Concerns
Like any breed, there are a few health problems that Shepadoodles are prone to. With the proper diet, exercise, and grooming, however, most of these problems can be avoided.
They’re Prone to Obesity & Bloating
Shepadoodles gain weight and become bloated easily, so it’s essential to feed them a balanced diet of high protein, low carb dog food. Make sure to allow for at least a few hours in between meals to prevent both of these problems, and make sure they get enough exercise to burn off any excess calories that they consume.
They Often Have Dry or Sensitive Skin
Shepadoodles often suffer from dry or sensitive skin, from either the weather, allergies, or a combination of the two. While you give your dog their brushing twice a week, take time to examine their skin and check for any signs of abnormalities. If you notice any dry or red patches, let your veterinarian know.
There are also some preventative measures you can take to combat dry skin before it starts. For example, consider getting some cod liver oil and rubbing it on your dog’s skin after brushing them in the winter. This should keep them moisturized enough to go outside without any problems.
They May Experience Bone and Joint Issues
Because they are such active dogs, Shepadoodles are prone to developing conditions including hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and osteoarthritis. Make sure to watch for any signs of discomfort or pain, and contact your veterinarian immediately if you notice any.
How Long Do Shepadoodles Live?
Everyone wants their pup to live a long, healthy life. Fortunately, Shepadoodles tend to live relatively long lives between 12-14 years. To ensure that your Shepadoodle lives as long as possible, make sure to follow all of the proper care tips listed above.
Adopting a Shepadoodle
Shepadoodles are excellent dogs to adopt. They’re very loyal and affectionate, and they are the perfect choice for families that enjoy going for walks, hikes, or runs. They’re generally easy to care for and very easy to train, so they’re even appropriate for first-time dog owners! As long as you care for your Shepadoodle properly, they should live a long, healthy, and happy life.