Becoming a dog owner comes with its many joys, but also some harsh truths. If you’re planning to adopt a Bernedoodle or already have done so, you probably want to know – how long do Bernedoodles live? In this guide, we discuss all about Bernedoodle lifespan and life stages, and take a look at the common Bernedoodle health issues. We’ll also dive deeper into the best ways how you can keep your Dood healthy and happy for as long as possible.
Bernedoodle Life Expectancy: How Long Do Bernedoodles Live
The gentle giant called Bernedoodle truthfully lives up to its reputation. The Bernese Mountain Dog-Poodle mix is a hybrid cross that combines the best traits from the loving and loyal Bernese and the highly intelligent and hypoallergenic Poodle. Bernedoodles have the biggest hearts and also the biggest, fluffiest coats. A real, true-life teddy bear!
What’s so great about Doodles is that they also inherit superior health thanks to their mixed breed heritage. Doodles and other cross-breeds benefit from hybrid vigor. What does it mean exactly? To put it simply, mixed breeds tend to have better health compared to their purebred parents. Thanks to their more diverse genetic pool, they’re less likely to inherit breed-specific conditions and hereditary diseases.
Of course, another key factor here is that ethical breeders very carefully choose their breeding dogs through rigorous health and genetic testing. If the pups don’t pass the health screening with flying colors, they won’t be used to produce new litters.
So, how long do Bernedoodles live? Luckily, the Bernedoodle life expectancy is much longer than that of the Bernese Mountain Dog. The average Bernedoodle lifespan is between 12 and 15 years, even up to 18 years for very small Doods. In contrast, the Bernese Mountain Dog only has an average lifespan of only 7 to 10 years.
Bernedoodle Life Expectancy: Comparing The Different Bernedoodle Sizes
It’s safe to say that most Bernedoodles have a life expectancy of around 12 to 15 years. However, some Bernedoodle pups tend to outlive others. Needless to say, their overall lifestyle, diet, and exercise have a key role here. But, a Bernedoodle’s size can also affect their lifespan.
Bernedoodles come in three sizes – Standard, Mini/Medium, and Tiny/Toy. The Standard Bernedoodle is the largest of them and usually weighs between 55 and 90 pounds. That’s one big Dood! The slightly smaller Mini Bernedoodle typically weighs between 25 and 55 pounds. And Toy Bernedoodle, the smallest of the bunch, weighs only 10 to 25 pounds.
As a general rule of thumb, smaller dogs usually have longer lives compared to their larger counterparts. That’s also true for the Bernedoodle lifespan. Toy and Mini Bernedoodles usually have a longer life expectancy compared to very large Standard Bernedoodles.
But why does it happen? It’s thought that since larger-sized dogs grow faster in their first months, they’re also more prone to premature aging. This in turn can lead to a variety of health issues sooner in life.
Standard Bernedoodle Life Expectancy
As we already discussed, larger Bernedoodles generally have a shorter lifespan compared to smaller Doods. Based on the average Bernedoodle lifespan estimates, we can guesstimate that a Standard Bernedoodle has a life expectancy of 12 to 14 years. Naturally, we can expect larger Standard Bernedoodles to fall on the lower end of the scale due to their bigger size.
That’s because the large Bernese Mountain Dog and the Standard Poodle (that’s used to create the Standard Bernedoodle) both have a shorter life expectancy compared to Miniature and Toy Poodles.
Mini Bernedoodle Lifespan
The Mini Bernedoodle lifespan is typically longer compared to Standard-sized pups. We can expect a Mini Bernedoodle’s life expectancy to be between 13 and 16 years.
Just like with any other breed, smaller sized pups usually have longer lives. The same goes for Miniature Poodles that typically have a life expectancy between 14 and 17 years. Naturally, the Mini Bernedoodle will also benefit from a longer lifespan thanks to its Miniature Poodle parent.
What’s more, as the Bernese Mountain Dog is such a large-sized breed, the Mini Bernedoodle version is much more common in F1b and later generations. We’ll cover the generations and how they can affect the Bernedoodle lifespan in a moment.
Tiny Bernedoodle Life Expectancy
As you might guess, the Tiny/Toy Bernedoodle has the longest life expectancy out of the three. The average Tiny Bernedoodle lifespan ranges between 14 and 18 years.
The Toy Poodle used in this mix has the longest lifespan out of the three Poodle sizes. As the Toy Bernedoodle is usually a backcross generation, the majority of their genetic makeup comes from the Poodle.
Effect Of Different Generations On Bernedoodle Lifespan
So, we briefly touched upon the Doodle generations and how they can affect the Bernedoodle life expectancy. But what does a dog’s generation mean in terms of cross-breeding? Simply put, Doodle generations tell us how a Doodle puppy was bred and how much of their genetic makeup roughly consists of either of the parental breeds.
Let’s now take a closer look at what each generation represents:
|1st Parent||2nd Parent||% Bernese Mountain Dog*||% Poodle*|
|F1 Bernedoodle (first-generation)||Bernese Mountain Dog||Poodle||50%||50%|
|F1B Bernedoodle (first-generation backcross)||F1 Bernedoodle||Poodle||25%||75%|
|F1BB Bernedoodle (first-generation backcross backcross)||F1B Bernedoodle||Poodle||12.5%||87.5%|
|F2 Bernedoodle (second-generation)||F1 Bernedoodle||F1 Bernedoodle||50%||50%|
|F2B Bernedoodle (second-generation backcross)||F1 Bernedoodle||F1B Bernedoodle||37.5%||62.5%|
|F2B Bernedoodle (alternate cross)||F2 Bernedoodle||Poodle||25%||75%|
|F3 / Multigen Bernedoodle||F1B Bernedoodle or higher||F1B Bernedoodle or higher||Varies||Varies|
F1 Bernedoodle Lifespan
Earlier we discussed hybrid vigor and how it tells us that cross-breeds like the Bernedoodle usually have superior health compared to their purebred parents. What’s interesting is that hybrid vigor is strongest in first-generation, or F1 Bernedoodles.
First-generation Bernedoodles have 50% Bernese Mountain Dog and 50% Poodle in their genetic makeup. Therefore, as they have an equal mix of both parental breeds, they are less likely to inherit any breed-specific diseases from either side of their lineage. As a result, we can expect them to live healthier lives for longer.
On the other hand, F1 Bernedoodles are most commonly Standard-sized pups, which means that the average Standard Bernedoodle lifespan can still be slightly shorter when compared to their smaller cousins.
F1B Bernedoodle Life Expectancy
As F1b Bernedoodles are crossed back to a Poodle, they also have a higher percentage of Poodle in their genetic makeup. Backcross generations like F1b, or even F1bb, are more commonly used to create Mini and Toy Bernedoodles. And as we learned earlier, smaller dogs like Mini and Toy Bernedoodles tend to outlive their Standard-sized counterparts.
But again, as F1b and other backcross generations have more Poodle in their genetic makeup, they don’t benefit as much from hybrid vigor as first-generation Doods. As a result, they may be more prone to certain health issues that are more common in Poodles.
On the other hand, since the Poodle has a longer life expectancy than the Bernese Mountain Dog, these pups will still benefit from the added years that come with the Poodle genes.
F2 Bernedoodle Lifespan
F2 Bernedoodles have again a 50-50 mix of the Bernese Mountain Dog and Poodle in their genetic makeup. As they have equal amounts of both breeds, they have a relatively diverse genetic pool, and thus, they are typically healthier than the purebred parental breeds.
However, although the generations tell us how a Doodle was bred, each puppy is still unique and will inherit a certain mix of genes. Some puppies will inherit equal amounts of Poodle and Bernese genes, whereas others lean on either side of the parental breeds. It all boils down to their own unique genetic makeup and how much they take after each of their parents.
Having said all that, it’s crucial that you choose an ethical Bernedoodle breeder that follows responsible breeding practices, including rigorous health and genetic testing. Above all, ethical breeders only produce new litters from carefully screened parents so there’s minimal risk of the puppies inheriting any genetic conditions that can seriously alter their lifespan and quality of life.
Life Stages Of A Bernedoodle
A Bernedoodle’s lifespan can be broken up into different life stages. Of course, each life stage can vary from dog to dog, depending on their size. But in general, Bernedoodle life stages are categorized as puppyhood, adolescence, adulthood, and the golden senior years. Let’s take a closer look.
Puppyhood (0-6 months)
From the moment your new puppy is born, they enter into their puppyhood. This typically lasts until 6 months of age – around the time they reach sexual maturity. During this life stage, puppies grow extremely fast. You should also support their mental development with early socialization and training methods.
It’s also important to note that very young puppies are extremely vulnerable to external factors. So, it’s crucial that your pup doesn’t come in contact with other dogs if they’re not fully-vaccinated just yet.
In addition to that, as growing little babies, puppies need lots of energy and nutrients to keep up with their extreme growth spurts. A puppy formula is a must, and for larger Standard Bernedoodles, you might want to opt for a specially formulated puppy food for large-sized breeds to support their fast growth.
Adolescence (6-18 months)
Once your pup reaches its sexual maturity, you know that they’re now entering their adolescence period. Around this age, it’s time to start thinking about a spay or neuter surgery.
By this time, some Bernedoodle puppies will already look like small adults. Smaller Mini and Toy Bernedoodles are closer to reaching their full size, whereas Standard Bernedoodles will likely look a bit lanky with their oddly sized paws and ears.
We can expect Toy Bernedoodles to reach their full size around 9 to 11 months of age, and Mini Bernedoodles will grow into their full adult size somewhere between 11 and 13 months of age. Standard Bernedoodles will take slightly longer, as they typically finish growing around 12.5 and 16 months.
Adulthood (1-10 years)
Now that your puppy has all grown up, their adulthood is just beginning. And as your puppy reaches its full adult size, you’ll also want to switch their puppy food to an adult formula.
For the first year or two, they may still act a bit silly and childlike. But, they’ll soon mature and start acting a bit more level-headed. They should also know how to behave and how to socialize with people and other animals, provided that you’ve laid the foundation in their earlier life stages.
Senior (10+ years)
After all those beautiful years, your pup will now enter its golden years as a dignified senior. Around the 10 year mark, you’ll likely notice that your Dood isn’t as active anymore – for Standard Bernedoodles, it can happen a few years even before that. They also may be packing on the pounds simply because they’re not moving as much as they used to.
During this life stage, you probably have to take your dog for more frequent vet visits to keep a close eye on their health. You’ll also want to make sure that you’re not overfeeding your dog, as obesity can drastically affect your Bernedoodle’s lifespan and quality of life.
Bernedoodle Aging Signs
Understandably, thinking about those final years of your beloved companion’s life are going to be excruciatingly difficult. However, the more you know about the typical signs of aging in dogs, the better you can cater to your pup’s needs during those last years.
As we mentioned above, one of the most common aging signs is that your Dood isn’t as active as they used to be. In addition to that, they may gain weight or lose muscle mass, develop eye problems, get bad breath, or have problems with hearing. Other physical signs of aging include difficulty moving around and getting up, lumps and bumps under the skin, or that they need to use the bathroom more often.
In terms of mental signs of aging, they may experience changes in their sleep patterns, or changes in their usual behavior, such as becoming aggressive. Moreover, some dogs can also suffer from canine dementia with the most common symptoms being confusion, unusual fear of familiar people and places, forgetfulness, or compulsive behaviors.
Common Bernedoodle Health Problems
Although Bernedoodles greatly benefit from hybrid vigor and they’re considered healthier than their purebred parents, it doesn’t mean that they’ll never experience any health problems. There’s still a risk of certain health conditions that are prevalent in Poodles and Bernese Mountain Dogs.
The most common Bernedoodle health issues are hip and elbow dysplasia – hip dysplasia is more prevalent in larger Bernedoodles, whereas elbow dysplasia is more common in smaller Toy and Mini Bernedoodles. As these conditions can cause a lot of pain and discomfort in your dog’s joints, it’s crucial that you keep your pup at a healthy weight throughout its lifetime.
Other common Bernedoodle health issues include skin problems and allergies, digestive issues and bloat, eye diseases like progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) and cataracts, and von Willebrand’s Disease. Some Bernedoodles are also at risk of thyroid issues and epilepsy.
Extending The Lifespan Of A Bernedoodle
Of course, genetics are what mostly determine the Bernedoodle life expectancy. As we’ve already mentioned a couple of times now, choosing an ethical breeder is the best way to go, as they’ve educated themselves on all things related to Bernedoodle genetics, and can therefore produce litters from extremely healthy and strong bloodlines.
However, there are also quite a few things you can do on your own to extend your Bernedoodle’s life expectancy and keep them healthy and happy until the very end.
With a healthy and balanced diet, you can easily extend your Bernedoodle’s lifespan and improve their quality of life. Look for nutritionally balanced, high-quality formulas that are made with real ingredients. Also, watch out for unhealthy filler ingredients and chemicals that provide no nutritional value and instead may harm your pup.
But keeping your dog on a high-quality diet can only do so much. It’s equally important that you feed your Dood the right amount of food. Underfeeding can lead to nutritional deficiencies, whereas overfeeding can lead to obesity. Not only will excess weight put a strain on your dog’s joints (remember, Bernedoodles are prone to joint problems!), it can also pave the way for other chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart problems, and even cancer.
If you do notice that your dog is carrying some excess weight, be sure to consult with your veterinarian to rule out any underlying health issues and find the most suitable diet for your Dood.
In addition to a good diet, you’ll also want to make sure that your Dood has plenty of opportunities to exercise and play throughout the day. Of course, just like for us humans, exercise is a great way to keep the heart strong, joints healthy, and prevent obesity.
As the Bernedoodle isn’t the most active breed out there, you probably don’t have to spend hours and hours each day vigorously exercising with your dog. These pups typically need an hour of exercise each day, which you can break up into two 30-minute sessions.
What’s more, for highly intelligent breeds like the Bernedoodle, mental stimulation is just as important as physical exercise. Get your puppy to play with interactive toys from an early age and keep their brain active up until those very last years.
Routine Vet Visits
Keeping a close eye on your dog’s health also has a key role in their longevity. You’ll want to start with routine vet checkups from an early age. First you’ll have to get your pup vaccinated against viral and bacterial infections, a few months later it’s time for a spay or neuter surgery, and then at least once a year have them examined by a veterinarian to keep track of your Dood’s health.
But of course, you’ll also want to closely learn your pup and their usual behaviors. If you notice anything unusual, such as changes in bowel movements, appetite loss, or sudden behavioral changes, it’s time for an urgent vet visit.
Lastly, don’t forget daily brushing and regular bathtime, hair trims, and other hygiene practices. Like other Doodles, Bernedoodles are high-maintenance and their coat requires constant care and attention.
Keeping a Bernedoodle’s coat nicely brushed not only makes it look all fluffy and gorgeous, but also prevents skin sensitivities and allergies that are bound to happen if the hair gets matted. You’ll also want to stay on top of their ear hygiene to prevent ear infections that can become serious over time.
Additionally, regularly grooming your Dood helps you detect any abnormalities like lumps and bumps, skin irritations, or injuries on your dog’s skin. Discovering them early on leads to a much better success rate in treatment.
Bernedoodle Life Expectancy: FAQ
What Is The Average Lifespan Of A Bernedoodle?
The average Bernedoodle lifespan ranges between 12 and 15 years. However, smaller Toy and Mini Bernedoodles can even live as long as 18 years. Typically, larger Standard Bernedoodles have a shorter life expectancy compared to their smaller counterparts.
Are Bernedoodles Generally Healthy?
Bernedoodles are generally considered healthy dogs and they tend to live long and fulfilled lives, provided that you feed them a healthy diet, provide them plenty of opportunities to exercise, and take them to routine vet checkups. As Bernedoodles benefit from hybrid vigor, they’re less likely to inherit genetic conditions that are more prevalent in purebred Poodles and Bernese Mountain Dogs.
What Health Issues Do Bernedoodles Have?
There are certain health issues that Bernedoodles are at risk of. These include joint problems like hip and elbow dysplasia, eye diseases, skin problems and allergies, and digestive issues. Additionally, thanks to their cute and floppy ears, they’re also prone to ear infections. However, ear infections are typically easy to prevent with a proper hygiene routine.
Bernedoodle Life Expectancy: Final Thoughts
If you’re toying with the idea of adopting a Bernedoodle, you’re probably glad to hear that these Doods tend to live long, happy, healthy, and fulfilled lives. Above all, you want to keep a close eye on your dog’s general health, food intake, and provide them plenty of exercise on a daily basis. And let’s not forget, all the cuddles and kisses that these social creatures need to thrive. If you’re doing all that, we can safely say that you and your pup are set up for success.
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The information on this page is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for qualified professional veterinary advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian or other qualified animal health provider with any questions you may have.