So, you’ve heard about Bernedoodles. Your interest is piqued. They don’t shed much, they’re unique and pleasing to the eye. But what about their personalities? Will they get on well with visitors, and with your kids or other pets? Will they be loyal and bonded to you? Are they particularly bright? This breed is relatively new, but the data is in. Keep reading to see what those who’ve owned and trained Bernedoodles have to say.
The Bernedoodle is very intelligent indeed. Just look at its parent breeds! Poodles are some of the smartest dogs around, with genes that make them great hunters and agility dogs. And Bernese Mountain Dogs were bred as working dogs in the Alps, protecting farms and pulling dairy carts. They’re not quite as bright as Poodles in general but are still up there. They do have a bit of a reputation for being goofy, docile, and a bit stubborn. However, most say that this trait is particularly prevalent only in puppyhood, that they can certainly be trained, and that they are ultimately eager to please. According to a popular doodle blog, “Bernedoodles are very smart, thanks to the Poodle side of the family tree. After they get over their adolescent Bernese stubbornness, they are quick to learn basic commands and eager to please, because after all, they want to be your closest friend.”
So how about these two breeds’ combined progeny? How does the Bernedoodle actually measure up? Near the top of the class! While they are likely to be stubborn in their early days (but let’s face it—which puppies aren’t?), they can get past that with training, structure, and discipline. The breed is a satisfying combination of the Poodle’s smarts and the Bernese Mountain Dog’s affectionate nature.
The silly and people-pleasing DNA of the Bernese Mountain Dog tends to be strong in Bernedoodles. In a survey of Bernedoodle owners, 100% of those asked said in the category of “Affectionate With Family,” their dog ranked “excellent.” They tend to be accommodating social butterflies also when meeting new people and dogs, with proper introductions. Their Bernese Mountain Dog ancestors can be wary around strangers, so always monitor and be discerning about introductions. And it’s important to socialize them as early as possible (ask your breeder and/or veterinarian at what age they’d give their blessing on this, but you’ll typically want to keep them out of parks and public places until after they’ve gotten all their initial vaccines). The first 16 weeks of any dog’s life are critical for getting them adaptable and friendly with new people, settings, and situations—this is also the time in which they’ll learn who their “person” is. If you take advantage of the time in that 16 week “imprinting” window also to spend as much time with your pup as possible, they’ll be bonded to you for life.
In the aforementioned survey of Bernedoodle owners, when asked about friendliness toward other dogs, 75% answered “excellent,” and the other 25% answered “very good.” When asked about friendliness toward strangers, 50% said excellent, and 16.7% each said very good, satisfactory, and fair.
Bernedoodles are very much people-dogs. They prefer to be with people, and don’t like to be left alone. Even as adults, they shouldn’t be left alone for more than a couple of hours at a time. They are generally very affectionate and sociable, but do need to be properly socialized. If you put in the work there, you’ll be golden.
Are Bernedoodles Good Family Dogs?
In a word, yes! If you have little kids who haven’t been taught proper dog etiquette and boundaries, you always run some risks. So some say Bernedoodles are ideal for families with older kids. But the general consensus is that they’re patient and loyal family companions.
And “working-breed doodles,” of which the Bernedoodle is one, are actually considered among the best doodles for kids, because they’re gentle and tolerant, especially if they’re the bigger standard size. Herding breed doodles (Aussiedoodles and Sheepadoodles) may nip and herd your small humans. And sporting breed doodles (Goldendoodles and Labradoodles) are generally great family dogs, but can be mouthy when playing, startled, or provoked. Bernedoodles, on the other hand, tend to be gentle and tolerant.
Now with that being said, keep in mind that the smaller Bernedoodles, the Mini and Toy varieties, are often more energetic, and therefore more prone to be excitable and high-strung, and, in worst-case scenarios, reactive. So while the furry little ones are more kid-sized, they may not be as patient or gracious with children as the Standard.
But Bernedoodles in general are gentle dogs, and the Standard Bernedoodle in particular tends to be a sturdy, gentle giant that will tolerate lots of petting and hugging from children, and will have more patience for their energy, running, playing, and noise.
When asked how good Bernedoodles are with children, 92% of owners surveyed answered “excellent,” and 8% answered “very good.”
Have a cat in your home already? Just half of those surveyed said their Bernedoodle is “excellent” with their cat(s). So enter at your own risk! But in all seriousness, still a third of respondents said their Bernedoodle is just the next tier down of “very good” with their cat, while 16.7% said “satisfactory.” So all will probably be well, but it does vary case by case. Bernedoodles, again having inherited very agreeable, gentle, and loving genes from the Bernese Mountain Dog, are generally considered to be just fine with all members in the family home. But, taking your own felines into consideration, use your best judgment, keep the comfort and quality of life of all pets in the home in mind, and if you do bring home a Bernedoodle, give proper introductions, and closely monitor all parties until they’ve proven they can happily coexist.
The Bernedoodle personality is a very, very pleasant one. The breed is generally thought to be smart and very affectionate. Their behavior can be a mixed bag, so consistent and early training is key, as is proper socialization. And do make sure they are well-bred.
If you bring a Bernedoodle into your home and do your best to abide by what we’ve covered, you’ll find that he’s more than just a pretty face—he’s a bright, considerate, pleasant gent who will get on nicely with the other members of your household.