1) What is the success rate of me choosing a puppy through internet pictures? Though we understand that this prospect can seem daunting, let us explain a little about Bernedoodles. If you could put a dog personality scale between 1 and 100, with 100 being a very active dog such as an Alaskan Husky that runs 5 marathons a day for 10 days straight while pulling a sled during the Iditarod and 1 being a Basset Hound that is too lazy to watch you with its eyes while you walk by, then we aim for about a 50 with Bernedoodles. We want ours to be alert, willing to play, happy and yet more than willing to sit at your side or on your lap while you read a book or watch TV. We feel like we have been exceedingly successful with this goal in our Bernedoodles. The vast majority of the end up from about a 49 to a 51. Most times it would take a keen eye to notice a temperament difference between any 2 puppies in a litter. Any that do exist, we’re happy to tell you about. A lot of people have the idea that they want their puppy to choose them. This is not realistic with Bernedoodles. The reason is that none of our Bernedoodles “have ever met a stranger”. In other words, they are extremely social and all will run up to a newcomer. If you let them choose you, you would be going home with the whole litter. 😊 Even if there was a puppy or two that didn’t run up to you, it would be more likely that would happen because the puppy just woke up and was groggy or it just ate and was full. We often tease people that you couldn’t go wrong with flipping a coin for your choice. Though we always say this in a teasing spirit, it is true. (Please see question 18 for further discussion) Also, when choosing time comes, a lot of people want videos of some of the puppies that they can choose from. We are happy to help with that but it is important to understand what you will be seeing. Most choices happen when puppies are between the ages of 5-6 weeks old. Realize that just 3 weeks before, these puppies were blind and deaf and crawled around on their belly. They are now only 3 weeks older and though they can see, hear and even lightly run, they are very infantile. Think of how capable an 8-month-old human is. Though cute, they are not very functional. Additionally, puppies go through a fear stage right around this time. Since they have just become aware of their surroundings, they have a healthy concern for what is around them and what it means to them. It is more the rule than the exception that at this age the puppies might cower in fear and shake due to their apprehension. It is certainly understandable and acceptable to us given what they are going through. In a few short weeks, usually by time they go home at 8 weeks, this stage has already run its course and the puppies are more proactive and playful. The bottom line though is that if you are not aware of puppy development, it could be shocking to you. Please check out Puppy Culture by Jane Killion for an extended explanation from a professional on this.
2) What is a Bernedoodle? A Bernedoodle is a cross between the beautiful, affectionate, Bernese Mountain Dog and the fun-loving, intelligent Poodle. The mix is an irresistible pal who will stick by your side and provide a confident addition to your family. Though most dogs have historically been bred for a functional purpose (i.e. Terriers for rodent control and Labradors for avian retrieving) the Bernedoodle is rare in that it is bred for a social purpose -- to be the perfect pet. A Bernedoodle should be alert, happy, ready to relax when you are as well as ready to have fun when you are.
3) Who would want a Bernedoodle? Anyone who wants a loving companion with a teddy bear personality. Since a Bernedoodle's coat can tend to be more hypoallergenic than some, there can be fewer allergy problems with this breed. Which also means less shedding, combing, etc.
4) How big do Bernedoodles get? Bernedoodles range in size according to what size Poodle the Berner has been crossed with (toy, miniature or standard). Therefore, they can vary from a small 15 pounds to a large 140 pounds. Technically, Bernedoodle sizes are based on the shoulder height and the breakdown looks something like this: miniatures are 10 to 15 inches and standards are greater than 15 inches. We are among a growing number of people that recognize the moyen size. Moyens are between miniature and standard and will stand somewhere from 14 inches to 19 inches tall at the shoulder. The corresponding weights vary but, generally speaking, a miniature will weigh in at less than 60 pounds and a standard will be above 61 pounds. You could expect moyens to range from 45 to 75 pounds. Of course, the size will also vary upon gender. Males are generally 5 – 25 pounds heavier than females.
5) Can you tell me about the coat characteristics of a Bernedoodle? It has long been believed that a dog with wavy hair is synonymous with hypoallergenic/non-shedding. As genetic testing is increasing in its ability to pin down dog coat characteristics, geneticists are learning that these two are not directly connected. They are distinct traits that, for reasons beyond the scope of this medium, are usually found together in purebreds. However, as breeds are mixed, the complexities of these genes are revealing that you can have a dog with wavy hair that is not hypoallergenic (does shed) as well as a dog with straight fur that is hypoallergenic (non-shedding). With that said, for F1s (a cross with a purebred Berner and a purebred Poodle) the coat has some variance. Usually the F1 will take 50% of its coat from the BMD and 50% from the Poodle. However, we have seen them go 60/40 (either way) and rarely 70/30 (again, either way). Most people want to know how to distinguish at puppy choosing time when puppies are 8 weeks old. Unfortunately, you cannot. Waviness of a coat can (indirectly) give you a small clue as to the characteristic of the coat but it is not the strongest indicator and will become less so as breeds continue to be mixed. The truest way to tell if a dog will have a shedding or non-shedding coat is their muzzle hair/fur. If a dog has short fur on their muzzle, they are a shedding dog. If they have long hair on their muzzle, they are a non-shedding dog. The difficulty occurs with puppies in that all puppies, even up to 10-12 weeks of age, have short muzzle hair/fur due to the fact that it has not grown out yet. Unfortunately, that means that you cannot determine if your puppy will have a shedding coat or not when it goes home at 8 weeks from visual indicators. The good news is that for those that are concerns about the hypoallergenic trait, there is a test that can help. This is why we do the T-shirt allergy test. This test is accurate 98% of the time and can be found under our “Adoption” drop down menu: T-Shirt Allergy Test.
6) How long can I expect my Bernedoodle to live? The mix of the Bernese Mountain Dog and Poodle will bring about what is called "hybrid vigor". Which means you can expect reduced health issues and greater longevity than you would in the pure breeds. Premier Bernedoodle breeders estimate that Standard Bernedoodles will live between 12-15 years.
7) How do Bernese Mountain Dogs and Bernedoodles do in the Texas heat? As with anything, acclimation is a help in hot climates. However, we feel the answer to this question is overwhelmingly rooted in care. We heavily encourage our adopting families to make Echt K9 pups “indoor” pets. As with humans, if they live inside with you in your air-conditioned home, the outside climate is a non-factor. I, myself, am from Idaho and have a very hard time in the Texas heat. I am extremely thankful for HVAC. Many people will give their dogs outdoor “breaks” a few times a day and/or in the night but for the short duration required for that, climate is not an issue. In other words, we feel like climate is a non-issue if you make your pet a part of the family.
8) What is the Breeder’s Choice Program? Due to the short duration of a dog’s breeding window, we continually need new breeding dogs. We generally plan to keep a puppy or two from each litter we have. We allow adopting families to adopt these “reserved” puppies if they desire. However, it is usually extremely cost prohibitive because it comes as a sacrifice to our breeding program. In order to recover some of the loss (not all), these puppies will have an adoption price approximately 2 - 3 times what a normal puppy would be from us. Two benefits the adoption family gets when they become a part of the Breeder’s Choice program is it usually means that the time it takes for the family to bring their puppy home is shortened and depending on timing you might be able to get 1st choice of a puppy in a litter. You can inquire via a phone call, text message, email or on the adoption form.
9) What should I feed my Bernedoodle? Any high quality, high fat, dry dog food is acceptable. Dogs are primarily carnivores and should not be fed a feed with an excess of grain products. A young Bernedoodle should be kept within a healthy weight range to ensure healthy growth to their bone structure.
10) What are the care requirements for a Bernedoodle? Due to the nature of the "doodle" coat, Bernedoodles, like many poodle hybrids, need regular grooming. Because of multi-layered fur, they are prone to matting especially around the ears and groin. It is very important to brush your Bernedoodle several times a week. Daily brushing is ideal for a healthy coat free of mats as well as a regular bonding opportunity between dog and owner. An experienced groomer can help you to understand how to properly care for their coat and nails.
11) Will a Bernedoodle get along with my other dogs? Dog's personalities are as varied as people. So, no one can be 100% certain. However, in general, Bernedoodles tend to get along great with other breeds. As is always the case with a new animal, take the time to closely supervise their introduction in the beginning to ensure the safety of all dogs involved.
12) Is a Bernedoodle good with children? Both Bernese Mountain Dogs and Poodles are considered excellent family dogs that adapt well to surroundings with children. Bernedoodles are frequently used as service dogs which espouses their good disposition and readiness to take tenderly to their human companions--both young and old. Also, we have 9 children in our family and our puppies get great socialization and exposure to kids. We often have people tell us that our Bernedoodles are very happy around children and often gravitate toward them. 13) Will you ship or deliver my puppy to me? Shipping is generally an option. It depends on your location and the time of the year. We can usually work with you to make the arrangement that will work best for you (and your new furry bundle). Some airlines and airports have limitations on shipping dogs in the summer months due to heat or the winter due to cold. Check with us to find other shipping options during limited airline shipping times. We do have ground delivery options available. Please read our transportation page for more information: Transporting. 14) How do I know I am getting a healthy, genetically sound dog for me and my family? Here at Echt K9, our goal is to breed happy, healthy canines that come from long lines of happy, healthy dogs. We have done our digging so that we can ensure you a wonderful companion. In addition, all of our dogs come with a 24-month health guarantee and, before going to their new homes, they are each looked over by a certified veterinarian.
15) Will my dog be registered? Though at this point Bernedoodles are still considered a mixed breed and can not be registered with AKC (American Kennel Club), sometimes they can be registered with the CKC (Continental Kennel Club) and you will be sent home with all of the necessary paperwork to put this in place if it is available.
16) How does the choosing process work when it comes time to choose a puppy? Please reference our web page Choosing a Puppy for an answer to this.
17) How do I get on your waiting list? It is an easy 3 step process:
Fill out the adoption form on our website (3-4 minutes)
I’ll send an email with the deposit information after the adoption form comes in
Initial and sign the personalized Sales Agreement
I’ll send an email with the Sales Agreement attached after the deposit comes in
18) Can I come visit? Yes, we do allow visits to our place to see our dogs. There are a few things to consider in so doing. They are: We almost never have Bernedoodles on site because that is what we sell. Our parents are mostly purebreds so you can see them. In rare times when we have Bernedoodle puppies, they go home at when they are 8 weeks old. A puppy that is less than 8 weeks old is not a good representation of the adult (of any breed) and the gender differences at this age are the same as the adults—almost non-existent. It is best if we keep other people’s puppies from outside visitors so as to minimize their chance of exposure to pathogens. If visitors handle our puppies, any puppy that is left here after you leave can transmit pathogens to the others so we have to quarantine them. That is not a good social option for puppies of that age. Also, we love talking about our dogs and are happy to discuss anything that you would like to. We do have some videos of Bernedoodle puppies (romping around) on our website. We have to be very cautious about Parvovirus which is a very unforgiving, fatal and contagious disease for young canines that is highly difficult and extremely costly to eradicate. Due to the extreme nature (on every level) of this threat and others (especially for vulnerable puppies), we do need to have a short 3-minute conversation with you on the phone before you come so that we can assess the interaction you’ve had with canines in the last 6 weeks and if you all seem clear, we ask that you not interact with any other canines for at least 6 weeks before visiting our place. We don’t like working this way but Parvo is very serious threat for us and for your puppy. We want to make sure we keep your puppy healthy. For people choosing a puppy, many people think that they might get a glimpse as to what their personalities are like. Unfortunately, this hopeful nugget to be gained is quite elusive. For example, what often happens is the one puppy that is asleep in the corner is there because it just ate and is tired. The one puppy that is walking around slowly is that way because it just got up and is groggy (puppies at this age still sleep most of the day). The one puppy that runs up to you does so because it did not just eat or wake up. In one hour time, all 3 of these puppies will reverse roles and then again another hour later. The one puppy that runs up to you does so because it did not just eat or wake up. In one hour time, all 3 of these puppies will reverse roles and then again another hour later. When their awake, they will all run up to any human. Fortunately, we select our breeding largely to get the stereotypical personality of its breed and it has worked well. Thus, 99% of your personality is selected when you choose your breed. If we notice anything in any puppy that might be different from the others, we're happy to relay that to you as those who have been around them a significant amount of time. COVID-19 Update: Generally, we’ve always had visitors in our living room and would have a nice time with puppies. However, due to the Coronavirus, we are moving all visits outside. This, combined with the fact that we homeschool, has made for less than desirable visit dynamics. We are still willing to have visitors, but we want to upfront with what to expect on a visit. Unfortunately, due to the overwhelmingly significant and numerous health risks canines pose to each other, we do not allow any other dogs to come on our property under any circumstance. If we can work through all of this, we would be happy to have you come visit.
19) What colors do Bernedoodles come in? Bernedoodles come in a variety of colors. These include; black, black and white bi-color and a variety of sable, phantom and the classic tri-colored (black, white and either brown or rust) markings of the Berner (which is the most coveted of the coats) as well as all cream.
20) Will a Bernedoodles coat color change? It can. We are not able to guarantee the color or coat texture of your dog. Poodles are complex and can yield varying shades of black, silver, brown and white. However, you won't have a black turn white or a brown turn black for example. The coat color changes typically become different shades of the same color. The most excessive we see are whites becoming silver or dark browns becoming cream. However, dare to say that given their personalities, you will not be disappointed with your dog even if they do tend to change some in color as they mature.
21) If I pay cash to adopt a puppy, can I not pay the sales tax? Though there are a lot of differing opinions on what is appropriate for government taxation and it can be quite a controversial subject, this issue for us at our juncture with the families who adopt puppies from us is simple due to a bigger picture issue. We want to maintain a clear conscious in all our relationships and governmental dealings and do not want to jeopardize our family in any way and so do not want to do anything that would put us on unstable ground. A wise man said years ago that the foundational role of government is to punish the evil doer. We want to be free from fear of that punishment as well as the punishment itself for the sake of everybody involved and so we do report all of our puppy/dog adoptions to the government and pay the appropriate taxes. Therefore, our prices are set for our function and we collect taxes as per government mandate.