All About The Shepadoodle Or German Shepherd Poodle Mix
The Shepadoodle is an interesting mix.
He combines two breeds that seem as different as night and day — the German Shepherd (GSD) and the Poodle.
Then again, the GSD and Poodle have more in common than you think. (For example, did you know that Poodles were once used to help hunt waterfowl? Those puffy coats aren’t just for show.)
Also, the Shepadoodle isn’t just the GSD and Poodle rolled into one. He’s a special pooch in his own right, as you’re about to find out.
Without further ado, let’s get into what you need to know about the Shepadoodle.
What Is a Shepadoodle?
The Shepadoodle has many names, including German Shepherd Poodle Mix, Shepherd Doodle, German Doodle, and Shepdoodle.
Some people also call him the Shepopoo or Shepherdpoo. For obvious reasons, we’re not going to use either of those.
As his name suggests, the Shepadoodle is a cross between the German Shepherd and Poodle. He’s not a “mutt,” though. He’s what’s known as a crossbreed or designer dog.
Crossbreeds or designer dogs are the offspring of two purebred dogs of different breeds. Often, they’re bred to inherit the best traits of both their parents. Mutts, on the other hand, are usually born by accident and have one or more mixed breed parents.
Being hybrids, Shepadoodles aren’t officially recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC). Instead, they’re registered with the American Canine Hybrid Club (ACHC).
What Does a German Shepherd Poodle Mix Look Like?
Unlike purebreds, hybrids don’t have a uniform appearance.
For example, a Shepadoodle may look more like a German Shepherd or more like a Poodle. He can have straight or wavy hair, colors that range from black to cream, or markings that may or may not be there.
That said, Shepadoodles do share a few things in common.
Size is probably the most obvious one. On average, adult Shepherd Poodles stand between 22 and 28 inches at the shoulder and weigh between 50 to 90 pounds.
Also, their ears tend to be large and fold forward. And their tails are curved with a slight fringe.
Apart from the above, there’s plenty of variety in how Shepadoodles look.
The only way to know for sure whether you’re dealing with a Shepherd Doodle is to ask about his parents. If they’re a GSD and Poodle, and they’re both purebred, then their pup is probably a Shepadoodle.
To understand the German Doodle temperament, you need to look at GSD and Poodle temperaments first.
As you know, German Shepherds are working dogs. They’re smart, strong and brave, which makes them suitable for military and police work. They can make good family pets, as long as you give them lots of space and exercise.
Poodles, on the other hand, have a more regal air about them. They’re the sort of dogs that celebrities like to show off to the world. And why wouldn’t they, when Poodles are so cute and spunky?
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Luckily, Shepadoodles combine the best of both. They’re playful and fun-loving like the Poodle, and protective and loyal like the GSD. They’re perfect family dogs, especially when they have ample room to move around.
There shouldn’t be too many problems with the Shepadoodle temperament. If he’s been socialized with people and pets early on, he’ll grow up to be an affable, lovable pooch. But if he’s been neglected or mistreated as a puppy, training him will be a bit more challenging.
Grooming Your Shepadoodle
No two Shepdoodles are exactly alike, so you’ll have to tailor your dog’s grooming regimen based on his unique needs.
Some Shepherd Doodles are hypoallergenic, meaning they don’t shed a lot. If they do, chances are they’re going to have tangled or matted fur.
Removing tangles and matting is important since these irritate your dog’s skin and cause infections. The best way to remove tangles is to brush him at least once every other day. It also helps to use shampoos that soften his fur and make it easier to untangle.
Also, make sure his coat is appropriate for the weather. If it’s hot, give him a professional buzzcut. If it’s cold, let his hair grow out, while making sure to keep it tangle-free.
Don’t forget to give him the full body treatment. While you’re bathing him, look out for signs of infection like red skin and smelly discharge. Clip his nails once they’re long enough to clack on the floor. Brush his teeth at least once every other day.
In case you don’t have time to groom your Shepdoodle, or you’re just not comfortable with grooming dogs, don’t fret. You can always take your dog to a professional, preferably someone who’s experienced with grooming German Shepherd Poodle Mixes.
If your groomer is worth his salt, he should be able to give you a primer on the do’s and don’ts of keeping a Shepadoodle clean.
How to Train a German Shepherd Poodle
Since GSDs and Poodles are smart, it follows that Shepadoodles are smart too. They learn best when you start training them as early as possible — i.e., when they’re old enough to walk on their own.
Let’s say you want to teach your Shepdoodle to “Sit.” One way to go about this is to take a treat, get down in front of your dog, and let the treat hover just above his nose. He’ll try to reach it by sitting down to make himself taller.
Don’t let him nibble the treat until his bottom touches the ground. Repeat these steps a couple more times.
Then, instead of a treat, hover your hand above his nose like a traffic enforcer signaling cars to stop. He’ll do the same thing with the treat: Try to make himself taller by sitting on his hind legs.
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Again, don’t let him touch you until he sits. Once he does, pat him on the head as a reward. Rinse and repeat two more times.
Now you can progress to verbal commands. Do the same hand signals as above, except start saying “Sit” before you give out the signal. Keep doing this until your dog learns to associate your hand gesture and the sound “Sit” with letting his bottom touch the floor.
Because you consistently made it clear what “Sit” is supposed to look like, your Shepadoodle will know exactly what to do whether you use verbal or nonverbal gestures.
That’s the essence of dog training: Start with a method your dog understands, then gradually progress towards something that’ll make it easier for you to communicate with your dog.
When it comes to Shepadoodles, positive reinforcement is important. Reward your dog when he does what you want, but don’t hit or yell at him when he doesn’t. It’s one thing to make him believe you’re the pack leader and another to make him afraid of you.
Be like professional dog trainers who are kind but firm towards dogs. If your German Doodle knows that you respect him, he’ll respect you in turn and will be more likely to obey you.
How to Exercise a Shepherd Doodle
Much like his parents, the Shepadoodle needs to be always on his toes (or should we say paws?).
At the minimum, he should be able to get one or two hours of exercise each day. Otherwise, he’ll get bored and destructive — two things you don’t want an 80-pound dog to be.
If you’re going for a walk, why not take your German Doodle with you? Find a safe destination that’s an hour away on foot, and briskly walk towards it with your dog.
Since he’s a big pooch who can get a little too excitable at times, you’ll want to put a leash on him.
If you prefer to exercise within the safety of your home, that’s also fine. Get your kids to join in the fun, and let them play hide and seek with your dog. Considering how eager to please Shepadoodles are, he probably won’t mind.
If you have any hobbies that involve hiking, running or any other physically demanding activity, all the better. You get a cute exercise buddy, and your dog gets to let out steam. Everybody wins!
Health Concerns for the German Shepherd Poodle Mix
Generally, Shepadoodles are healthy. But there are a couple of health issues you need to be aware of when it comes to this dog.
One is hip dysplasia. Hip dysplasia is when the ball and socket in your dog’s hip joints fail to develop properly. It usually happens in large dogs, because their added weight puts extra pressure on the joints.
Other risk factors for hip dysplasia are obesity and lack of exercise, so make sure your Shepadoodle is always a healthy weight.
The other is Von Willebrand disease. Basically, it’s a genetic disorder that causes your dog to bleed longer than normal when he gets injured. Since loss of blood can lead to weakness and even death, it’s a good idea to consult a vet if you suspect your dog has the condition.
Apart from the above, most health issues in Shepadoodles can be prevented or minimized by a healthy lifestyle. Give him a balanced diet, regular exercise and a safe place to be, and you’ll have a dog who can live up to 14 years old. (On average, Shepherd Doodles live between 12 to 14 years.)
How Much Is a Shepadoodle Puppy?
We’re going to be honest: Shepadoodles aren’t easy on the bank account.
GSDs and Poodles are pricey pooches, so you can expect their offspring to be just as pricey.
On average, a German Shepherd Poodle costs around $800 to $900. You can get puppies for much lower prices; however, there’s no guarantee that you’ll get a quality dog.
If you get an adult from a shelter or a puppy with questionable lineage, you might end up spending more for any problems that might crop up down the road.
Also, remember that dogs need annual upkeep. For food, toys, supplies, training, grooming, visits to the vet, vaccinations and the like, expect to budget an additional $1,000 to $2,000 a year.
Those figures may be even higher if your Shepadoodle has special needs, like regular treatments for a medical condition.
Where to Buy A Poodle German Shepherd Mix
Google “German Shepherd Poodle Mix,” or any of his other names, and you’ll find hundreds of sites claiming to sell only the “best” puppies. While there are breeders who have an online presence, it might be a good idea to check out your local neighborhood first.
Breeders are a dime a dozen, but the reputable ones will take time to find. When you’re looking for people to buy Shepadoodles from, ask the following questions:
Does the breeder seem knowledgeable about Shepadoodles? Or do you feel like he doesn’t really know what he’s talking about?
Is the place where the dogs are being raised sanitary? Or do you feel like the place could use a visit from the local health inspector?
Does the breeder go out of his way to tell you exactly how to care for Shepadoodles? Or does he make you feel like he just wants to make a profit off you?
Finding a good breeder can seem like a lot of effort. But if you take time to get to know your breeder, your chances of getting a quality dog will go up too.
Is this the breed for you?
Shepadoodles aren’t for everyone. They’re big, they take up a lot of space, and they have special needs that not all people can, or will, meet.
Still, if you have enough room in your home (and in your heart) for this cute, loyal and friendly dog, he’s sure to bring you nothing but happiness, laughter, and warmth.
If you have questions about the Shepadoodle that haven’t already been answered, or if you have your own heartwarming story to share about this pooch, sound off in the comments below!