The search for a dog brings you to all kinds of websites detailing all sorts of breeds. You’ve probably seen everything from big to small breeds, but if you’re looking for a larger dog, the Shepadoodle is a unique option you may want to consider.
The Shepadoodle is both adorable and loyal, just like its two parent breeds. Before you pick one up though, let’s look a little closer at this breed so you’ll know what to expect.
What is a Shepadoodle?
You might have already guessed based on the Shepadoodle’s name, but this breed is a cross between the Poodle and the German Shepherd. These large dogs get their size from the German Shepherd, but usually end up with the fluffy coat of the Poodle.
Also known as the Shepapoo, Shepherdoodle, or Shepherdpoo, expect this breed to live as long as 14 years. Moreover, expect those years to be full of fun with this outgoing and amusing companion. No matter what happens, this social pooch will be there to protect you.
Compared to many breeds that usually originate in Europe and England, the Shepadoodle is actually one of the more recent breeds. This younger breed was said to have been created during the 1960s to be used as a military police dog in the army.
Moreover, they have also been desired, thanks to the hypoallergenic quality of their fur. It’s a little strange to have Poodle crossed with a German Shepherd as a work dog, but both of them have unique histories of their own that make them perfect for work.
The German Shepherd has actually been used as a police dog for generations, since these pups are loyal, intelligent and courageous. They were bred somewhere around the 1800s in Germany by Captain Stephanitz to work, since they were very smart and capable.
It’s not hard to see why people fell for the German Shepherd, which is why they eventually came to the US in 1906. By 1912, they were registered in the American Kennel Club.
Even though people shied away from them during World War One thanks to their name, the German Shepherd has proved to be a loyal and popular breed.
The Poodle, on the other hand, has also been a renowned breed and was usually known as an elegant friend and companion. These dogs have been bred to be large and small over the years, but regardless of the size, Poodles are loyal, clever and make great partners.
They began as work dogs used by hunters and could get into the water without their fur weighing them down. Initially, the Poodle was used both in hunting and in the circus and as they became more popular in France, eventually came to the US to become a loved family pet.
You are probably able to guess some of the temperaments of the Shepadoodle based on how their parents usually act, but these pups are fairly relaxed. Like their parents, the Shepadoodle is loyal to its owner and becomes attached very quickly.
They’re well-mannered, warm, loving and generally play well with others, even including cats. They become very used to being in a pack, so they seek to please their leader and will respond well to your instructions.
If you have a Shepadoodle, expect it to follow you around the house at times. These loving pooches love to be around you. In fact, they bond to the people they care about. They might end up being a little overprotective, so be sure to train them properly when they’re still young.
They can even be used as work or protection dogs to keep an eye on things, or act as an alert watchdog. Let them interact with other dogs and people without worry, since these dogs love to be social and are very happy when they’re outside and active.
Even around other pets or people, the Shepadoodle remains calm, brave, reliable and warm and will love to play around and have fun.
As you already know by now, the Shepadoodle is a large dog. This makes sense of course, since the German Shepherd is pretty large and Poodles can be both large and small.
Usually, the Shepadoodle tends to weigh about 50 to 80 pounds and can reach from 22 to 28 inches in height. You’ll see them in all different colors - from black, sable and cream, to tan and gray. You may also notice markings, or a blend of sable, chocolate, chalk, apricot, silver, or blue.
That said, the Shepadoodles that look more like German Shepherds will tend to have markings on the front of their legs and head. The Shepadoodle is a designer breed though, meaning that they can resemble either parent very closely and don’t necessarily look like a mix all the time.
Expect to see a coat that’s either straight or wavy and which can be dense or thick too. The fur can even be hypoallergenic, thanks to the Poodle genes.
Those Poodle genes are lifesaving when it comes to shedding, since even though the Shepadoodle might look like a German Shepherd, they’re unlikely to become heavy shedders.
A Shepadoodle can have a wide variety of appearances and characteristics from both breeds. No matter what though, they do usually have a proud build and tend to have either a long Poodle muzzle or a wide Shepherd muzzle.
The head might appear bigger if they look more like their Poodle parent, but with a smoother coat, you’ll see their average-sized head. You will notice their large ears that will fold forward, a trait you’ll see on the Shepadoodle no matter which parent they look like.
On top of that, expect a curved and somewhat fringed tail as well.
The hybrid does need constant grooming in order to stay healthy and happy. As mentioned previously, Shepadoodles don’t shed as much as German Shepherds do. However, there are specific grooming requirements you have to stick to.
One of the main concerns you have to address is whether your pooch is hypoallergenic. In other words, before stocking up on shampoos and conditioners to make him or her smell like strawberry, make sure that your vet gives you his or her approval.
Once you’ve sorted that out, it’s essential to realize that the mix will require some loving brushing sessions to prevent any matting or tangles. With periodic baths to soften out the hair follicle, the task will become even more accessible.
Alternatively, you may have your pooch’s hair trimmed into a buzz cut during summer days – allowing it to cool down more easily. By contrast, during winters, you’ll have to keep its fluffy side on and maybe even lather its skin with oil (i.e., cod liver oil) to avoid it from getting too dry.
Another important thing in the grooming process is inspecting the dog’s ears once every few weeks. Ear infections are quite common in dogs and you are able to avoid it as much as possible by cleaning it with a clean cotton bud.
As the job is best left to a professional, only clean the outer area in order to avoid potential damage on the inside. When it comes to clipping his or her toenails, avoid doing it yourself, unless you’re absolutely confident that you won’t cut the quick.
Otherwise, a trip to a dog groomer is a much-welcomed guarantee for peace of mind. Brushing your dog’s teeth a few times per week is also recommended, or instead, buy dental chews or raw bones which help with that too.
Living with a Shepadoodle is bound to keep you in shape, as this active dog requires regular walks each day. Capable of running over five miles while maintaining a reasonable energy level, this breed will need a decent amount of space – both outside and in.
In other words, the pooch is not best suited for small condos or city apartments, although life with children and dogs isn’t of great concern. Instead, this dog thrives on space, with the idea of the more, the better.
They feel a sense of energy rush through their bodies once outside and enjoy long trips in the woods – for as many hours per day as possible.
Because the breed might give in to the temptation of chasing hunting stock or herding sheep, it’s best to enclose your property if animals are prone to running around.
Nonetheless, you won’t need to worry about them being too sensitive during cold winter mornings, as low temperatures don’t make them lose sleep. In fact, they might be busy chasing down squirrels and other wild animals during that season.
Possible Health Problems
As a general rule of thumb, the Shepadoodle is a relatively healthy breed. However, there are some concerns to bear in mind when adopting one, including:
The genetic issues associated with the Shepadoodle concern the eyes, skin and hips. As previously mentioned, preventing the skin from drying in the winter is a good measure.
On the other hand, a proper and nutritious diet, along with regular exercise and frequent grooming, will mitigate other health concerns.
Similar to their parents, Shepadoodles can, at times, suffer from Von Willebrand’s disorder - a blood disease that prohibits natural clotting. Similarly, another common problem is being prone to ticks and flea bites, provided that their long hair is not properly groomed.
As mentioned earlier, this dog is quite energetic and thrives in the outdoors. Whether we’re talking about your garden, a vibrant green forest, or a field, the Shepadoodle will be quick in adopting an agility routine that will last for hours.
In fact, should the hybrid not be appropriately entertained, it can become increasingly irritable and impatient, which can lead to adverse behaviors. Moreover, inactivity can also result in obesity. Thus, it’s your responsibility to achieve a healthy diet-exercise balance.
Is This Breed a Good Family Dog?
German Shepherd Poodle mixes are excellent with young families, making an adorable addition to any home. Of course, experts recommend eight to ten weeks training in order to allow for a child-pup friendship.
It will also be a case of teaching your little ones not to antagonize the pooch. In addition, it is significantly advised that you don’t ever raise your hands towards your loved ones. This is due to the fact that Shepadoodles are highly protective of their family.
In other words, there is little denying that they are one of the best dogs to have around families. Mainly since they have loads of energy and love to play, having an energetic kid will mean more exploration and treats.
Curious and friendly, they are quick to glue themselves to the love they’re being offered. However, as a mere precaution, don’t ever leave children and dogs unattended.
Often trained for service, the Shepadoodle responds incredibly well to training – following an instinctual desire to please their owners. In fact, the breed makes use of impressive agility and loves learning any new tricks you have to show them.
In other words, they do exceptionally well in obedience training and readiness. However, as with any other breed, it’s vital to start training, socialization and outside exposure as early as possible.
The process is gradual, but it will build trust towards humans and other animals - ideal if you have small children in your home. A smart breed by nature, the Shepadoodle will genuinely be pleased to learn instructions and commands from you.
You will need to be firm to mold his or her behavior, maybe even opting for professional training to begin with. Teach your pooch how to socialize by familiarizing it with visitors and friends and how to not respond aggressively.
This will offer you and others a guaranteed peace of mind for now and the future.
The search for a great dog breed is not always easy, since there are many breeds to research and choose from. If you’re looking for a large, loyal, adorable dog that doesn’t shed all that much, the Shepadoodle may just be the best dog for you.
Consider whether the Shepadoodle will fit in with your lifestyle and if you’d like to pick one up as your new companion.
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