The Bernedoodle was developed as a hybrid breed about 16 years ago by a Canadian dog enthusiast and breeder named Sherry Rupke, who crossed a Bernese Mountain Dog with a Standard Poodle. Her goal was to develop a dog that had a consistently non-shedding, hypoallergenic coat, high intelligence, freedom from purebred genetic illnesses (hybrid vigor), calm and gentle temperament, and stunning beauty. Her original crosses were standard in size and solid black. Today the Bernedoodle can range in size from giant to petite, comes in a multitude of colors and patterns, and is an extremely sought-after companion suitable for young and old alike.
Let's take a look at the parent breeds:
Bernese Mountain Dogs are one of four working Alpine breeds collectively known as Sennenhunds (Sennenhunden.) They are:
· Bernese Mountains Dogs
· Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs (click here for photos and information)
· Entelbuchers (click here for photos and information)
· Appenzellers - Also Known as Appenzell Mountain Dog or Appenzell Cattle Dog (for information and photos, click here.)
These dogs share many common characteristics, most notably their beautiful black, white and rust tri-color coat. As a group they tend to be more serious dogs, devoted to family but reserved with strangers.
Bernese Mountain Dogs are robust, heavy-boned working dogs with high intelligence and a calm demeanor. They are intensely loyal dogs and very devoted to their families. They are still used as working livestock dogs in more remote parts of Europe, and are particularly suited to a cold weather climate.
The Poodle, called the Pudel in German and the Caniche in French, is an ancient breed of water dog, and was originally bred to retrieve water fowl.
The Poodle breed is divided into four varieties based on size: the Standard Poodle, the Medium Poodle (Moyen), the Miniature Poodle and the Toy Poodle. Although the Medium Poodle variety is not recognized by the AKC, it is recognized by all European dog registries and is increasingly popular in the United States. Poodles are considered to be one of the most highly intelligent dog breeds, and are athletic, fun-loving dogs. The standard poodle is considered to have the calmest temperament of all the sizes, with the smaller varieties having a tendency to be more lively.
The hybrid offspring (Bernedoodles) have been shown to combine the best qualities of both breeds. Puppies have low to non-shedding coats, robust and sturdy body structure, athleticism, loyalty, intelligence and perhaps most importantly, hybrid vigor. This means that the puppies are healthier, more resilient, longer lived and far less likely to carry hereditary diseases than either of their purebred parents.
F1, F2, and all the rest – Generation notation
F1 - This results from a purebred Bernese and purebred Poodle cross. The "F" is a genetics notation which describes the degree of descent from the original cross. In F1, the puppies will be 50% Bernese and 50% Poodle. It does not matter which breed of dog is the mother/father. This generation is often considered to be the healthiest - meaning the most hybrid vigor and least likely to carry genetic diseases - because of the diverse gene pools from vastly differing breeds that are purposely combined in the breeding.
An F1b (The b stands for backcross) is a cross between an F1 Bernedoodle and a Poodle. The pups will be 75% poodle and 25% Bernese. Again, it does not matter which dog is mother/father. It also does not matter, percentage wise, what the size of the poodle is. This is the cross that is most frequently recommended for people with more severe allergies or sensitivities.
An F1B Reverse is the genetic notation for an F1 Bernedoodle being bred back to a purebred Bernese Mountain Dog. The resulting puppies will be 75% Bernese and 25% poodle. This backcross is not done frequently, as the puppies will have a greater tendency to shed, and only 25% of the puppies will carry the fluffy, proper Bernedoodle coat.
An F2 Bernedoodle is the result of breeding two F1 Bernedoodles together. The puppies are 50% poodle and 50 % Bernese (although due to the way genetic material combines, it's not an exact percentage.) It is a second generation breeding. After 7 consecutive generations, it is possible to apply for breed registry, but there are many good reasons not to do this – primarily because of the inevitable concentration of harmful recessive genes and the loss of hybrid vigor.
F3 or Multigen Bernedoodles encompass any breedings done after an F2. These are often referred to as “Teddy Bear” Bernedoodles.
This explanation is technically correct, but can be somewhat misleading. It correlates roughly with the percentages shown, but it is the lineage, and not the percent, that is the determining factor in the puppies. An F1 and an F2 are both roughly 50/50 in terms of percent, but their genetic profiles will be very different because the F2 will have gone through two rounds of genetic recombination, which opens the door to recessive traits that are effectively masked in the F1 generation.