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Discovering the Best of 2 Worlds: The German Shepherd Poodle Mix

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Elaine Navajo

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German Shepherd Poodle Mix

The first time I heard of a German Shepherd Poodle mix, I said, “Wait, what?” I have never imagined a masculine German Shepherd dog would be bred with a fluffy poodle, so I quickly searched what they looked like, and boy, were they cute!

I admit I knew next to nothing about the Poodle German Shepherd mix before. I quickly set about researching this new dog breed to know more about them, and now I am sharing all of the information I found out with you.

What Is A German Shepherd Poodle Mix?

German Shepherd Poodle mixes are known by many names. There’s the Shepadoodle, Shepherdoodle, Shepherdpoo, Shepdoodle, or my personal favorite, the German Doodle. Take your pick. 

As their name suggests, German Shepherd Poodle mixes are a cross between the German Shepherd dog and the fancy poodle. Both are known to be quite intelligent dog breeds so you can imagine that this mixed breed dog will be quite smart too.

This designer breed has become increasingly popular in recent years due to their unique appearance and positive personality traits. Although the German Shepherd Poodle mix is not recognized by the American Kennel Club (only a purebred dog can be registered with the AKC), it is registered with the American Canines Hybrid Club (ACHC). 

You may also check with the International Designer Canine Registry for registration and to get the same privileges that purebred pups benefit from.

Fast Facts About the German Shepherd Poodle Dog Breed

  • Pedigree: Mixed breed
  • Parent Breed: German Shepherd and Poodle
  • Breed Group: Working/Watch Dog
  • Breed size: Small to large size
  • Height: 22 to 28 inches tall
  • Weight: 60 to 90 pounds
  • Energy level: Moderate to High energy
  • Lifespan: 11-14 years
Discovering the Best of 2 Worlds: The German Shepherd Poodle Mix 1
Image from Alpha Paw

What Do Poodles Crossed With German Shepherds Look Like?

Since Shepadoodles are a mixed breed, they can come in a variety of shades and sizes. Even the shape of their heads can vary, depending on the parent breed they take after. Some will have a dome-shaped head typical of a Poodle, while some may sport a square face.

For example, here are ways they can differ:

  • Fur length – can be medium to long
  • Fur texture – flat to curly
  • Fur color – black to cream
  • Size – toy to standard

Designer dogs aren’t standardized, which is why they don’t have a single uniform look. But they can be somewhat categorized as you can see below:

Size

Poodles come in all sizes so when bred with a German Shepherd parent, their offspring will also range in size as the puppies will most likely take after the size of their poodle parent.

  • Toy German Shepherd Poodle Mix – Also called micro or petite Shepadoodles, these hybrid dogs are the smallest type of German Shepherd Poodle mixes. The toy Shepherd Poodle mix comes from breeding a small male Poodle with a medium-sized German Shepherd dog.
  • Miniature German Shepherd Poodle Mix – This is kind of a misnomer because these dogs aren’t actually what you’d expect from a mini. They’re about 35 to 35 pounds, far from being your typical mini-sized dog. 

But you see, these German Shepherd Poodle mix pups are small for the breed when you consider that a German Shepherd and your Standard Poodle can reach 90 pounds and over.

  • Standard German Shepherd Poodle Mix – This is the largest size for the Shepadoodle breed. Any dog over 45 pounds falls under this category. 

Coat Color And Texture

Many German Shepherds Poodle mix pups are black in color, but they can also be tan, gray, cream, white, or fawn. They also typically have coarse and dense coats but some are curly, depending on how much Poodle they have in their lineage.

The coat can also have unique markings, such as patches of color on the face, chest, or paws.

They’re not truly hypoallergenic but the risk of allergies is lower with these pups, especially the ones with a higher percentage of Poodle in their background. Shedding is also minimal, and there is even less with pups who have more Poodle in them.

Other Physical Characteristics of This Beautiful Mixed Breed

While other physical traits of the German Shepherd Poodle mix vary, there are some remain constant. The eyes of the German Doodle are brown, their ears are floppy, and they have long tails. 

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Image from Daily Paws

The Two Types of Shepadoodles

There are basically two types of German Shepherd Poodle Mixes. These are the:

1. F1 Shepadoodle 

The F1 Shepadoodle is a first generation crossing of the dog breed. It will be the product of a 100% German Shepherd parent and 100% Poodle parent. Since it’s a first generation German Shepherd Poodle mix, it will be kind of hard to predict the traits this line will have, although looking at the poodle parent may help you predict coat color.

2. F1B Shepadoodle 

The B here means that the Shepadoodle has been back crossed with a Poodle to create a Shepadoodle puppy that has curlier and wavier hair. An F1B German Doodle mix will be 75% Poodle dog and 25% German Shepherd. 

Some pet owners prefer the F1B because it will be more non-shedding and hypoallergenic than the typical F1 type.

Personality and Temperament

Shepadoodles are known for their affectionate nature. They are playful, energetic, and love interacting with their family members. They’re gentle and well-mannered, which makes them ideal as pets for households with children. 

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The Shepadoodle dog doesn’t bark much or incessantly, but he will do it if he’s excited or needs to bing your attention to something. This quiet but watchful nature coupled with intelligence and protective nature makes pups from breed this excellent as guard dogs. 

Some people say that this breed is not for first-time dog owners, but this Poodle German Shepherd mix only needs regular play time and exercise (physical and mental because you don’t want this smart dog bored out of his mind) to be happy. Unlike other dog breeds, you don’t have to fully wear it out to stop it from being destructive.

One thing to note. German Shepherd Poodle mix pups do not like to spend lots of time alone. They thrive on companionship and lots of affection, so be prepared to get loved on a lot by your Shepadoodle pup and to love back in return.

Intelligence

German Shepherd Poodle Mix dogs are highly trainable. And no wonder, because these are supremely intelligent dogs. Poodles are ranked number 2 in the list of the smartest dog breeds, and German Shepherds come in at third place. Put them together, and you have one amazing, extremely smart dog that is quick to adapt to any occasion.

In fact, the Poodle German Shepherd mix was developed to be a working breed that will display increased mental capacity and trainability. As such, this breed has worked in the military, law enforcement, and as companion and service dogs.

Health

The German Shepherd Poodle mix is generally a healthy breed, but like all breeds, it can be prone to certain health issues. As such, they will be prone to the same health issues as their parents.

Some of the most common health issues that this breed may face include bloat, hip and elbow dysplasia, and Von Willebrand’s disorder. Just like with any dog, a regular checkups with a veterinarian can ensure that any potential health issues are addressed and treated as soon as possible.

But overall, these pups are hardy and robust. With plenty of care, they should be able to live a long and healthy life.

History of the German Shepherd Poodle Mix

The German Shepherd Poodle mix is a relatively new breed, and its exact origin is unknown. However, some people believe that the breed originated in the United States during the 1980s, as part of the trend towards designer dogs. 

It started with the development of the Labradoodle, which took the public by storm. The demand for the Labradoodle spawned an intense interest in crossing the Poodle breed with other dog breeds, which later included German Shepherds.

The aim in combining both the Poodle and German Shepherd breed was to produce pups that combined the loyalty of the German Shepherd with the hypoallergenic coat of the Poodle, and of course, the intelligence of both.

They were extremely successful. German Shepherd Poodle Mix dogs were used — and continue to be used — as military police dogs. Officers with allergies preferred German Shepherd Poodle mix dogs as their K-9 partner because of the supposed hypoallergenic characteristics of these dogs’ fur.

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Image from The Dog Snobs

The Rich History of the German Shepherd and Poodle Breeds

While the Shepadoodle may be a recent breed, its two parent breeds have fascinating histories that have contributed to its development.

The German Shepherd, named for its birthplace, was bred in Germany in the late 19th century as a herding dog. The breed was prized for its intelligence, loyalty, and trainability. 

The popular dog breed gained traction in the United States during World War I when German Shepherd pups were used as sentries, messengers, and rescue dogs. Today, the breed is still widely used in many fields, including search and rescue and law enforcement.

The Poodle, on the other hand, has a long and distinguished history that dates far back to ancient times. It also originated in Germany and was initially bred as a water dog to retrieve ducks and other waterfowl for hunters. 

Over time, the Poodle's unique coat and intelligence made it a popular choice among the European aristocracy, who groomed the dogs into elaborate and ornate styles that are still seen in dog shows today. 

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Caring For Your German Doodle

German Shepherd Poodle Mix dogs are more low maintenance compared with several purebred dogs and other hybrids. However, they still have a few requirements that you should take note of.

Exercise Requirements

Physical

Shepadoodles are moderate to high energy dogs that require regular exercise and mental stimulation. A 60-minute walk/run through your neighborhood or the dog park each day should be enough for this doggo. You can also split up the 60-minute exercise into two half hour routine — 30 minutes in the morning and 30 at night.

They make great running and hiking companions and also enjoy playing fetch and other interactive games. It really doesn’t matter what kind of exercise your hybrid pup does as long as he has enough playtime every day.

Mental

Give your pet plenty of toys to keep him engaged and stimulate his mind. This dog breed is eternally curious and needs to know how things work. Plenty of interaction with you, such as games of hide-and-seek, will provide him the mental challenge he needs for his bright mind.

Maintenance And Grooming

While marketed as hypoallergenic, these dogs will shed. It’s just a matter of how much and which of the parent breeds it takes after more. If your German Shepherd Poodle mix inherits more of the Poodle genes, it will shed just a small amount of hair. If it takes after the German Shepherd side more, then expect more loose hairs. 

Many Shepadoodles have wavy or curly coats that require regular grooming to keep them looking their best. Poor grooming habits can lead to tangles or mats. It is recommended to brush them at least twice a week (four times is better!) with a slicker brush to remove loose hair and tangles from their coats. 

When brushing your pup, start from his head down to his tail because it’s best to move the brush in the natural direction of hair growth. 

Trim their coat every three to 4 months. For some pups, this may be more often. It is also important to keep their ears clean and to brush their teeth regularly to prevent dental problems.

Training

Shepadoodles are highly trainable and eager to please their owners. Early socialization and obedience training are recommended to ensure that the dog becomes well-behaved and obedient. 

These smart dogs respond well to commands and tricks and can be trained to perform a variety of tasks. They actually enjoy it! 

Food

The diet you feed your pet will have a big impact on his health. This is true for all pups and not just the German Shepherd Poodle breed. From Shepadoodle puppies to adults and senior dogs, diet is the single most important thing to focus on if you want to head off any potential health problems later on.

Every dog is different so it’s best to consult your vet first before feeding any type of dog food to your pup. What I can recommend is a diet that is high in good quality protein (because these dogs need plenty to sustain their active lifestyle). 

Since these dogs are prone to bloat, you have to take care that they feed slowly. A slow feeder bowl may be in order for canines that love to gulp down their whole meal in one go.

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Image from Pinterest

Pros And Cons of Owning a Shepadoodle

We’ve discussed all the facts about the Poodle German Shepherd mix breed, now let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of owning one. 

Pros

  • These dogs rank really high on the intelligence scale. Shepadoodles are known for their intelligence and are easy to train. They are highly obedient and can be taught a variety of commands and tricks.
  • They’re pretty affectionate. Shepadoodles are affectionate and love to cuddle with their owners. They are great family pets and make excellent companions.
  • They love playtime and children. Shepadoodles are energetic and playful, making them great playmates for children.
  • They don’t shed much. Shepadoodles are a low shedding breed, making them a great choice for people with allergies.
  • They make excellent watchdogs. Since these pups have a protective nature, they are always on alert for anyone unfamiliar who enters their family’s property.

Cons

  • Hybrid dog breeds cost a lot.  Shepadoodles can be expensive due to their popularity and high demand.
  • Poodle German Shepherd mix pups are quite energetic and not lazy at all.  This can be a pro or a con depending on how you look at it. Shepadoodles are moderate to highly energetic dogs that require regular exercise and mental stimulation. On the other hand, if you have an active lifestyle, this dog would be perfect.
  • They can be quite clingy and won’t do well left alone for extended periods. Shepadoodles are social dogs and can develop separation anxiety if left alone for extended periods of time. 
  • They need lots of space. These are German Shepherd crossbreeds and we know German Shepherds are quite big. Because of their size and energy levels, standard size Shepadoodles won’t be suited to small apartments and spaces. 

Conclusion

Known for their intelligence, low-shedding characteristic, affectionate nature, and playful personality, German Shepherd Poodle mixes are some of the best kinds of dogs to have (but then, all dogs are the best kind). 

Some would advise that these are not ideal for first-time owners, but I would have to disagree. These dogs are not high maintenance and as long as you’re willing to put in some work (like giving them daily exercise, providing healthy dog food, and taking them for regular checkups), these pups are quite easy to take care of.

Of course, it goes without saying that they need lots of love too. But then which dog doesn’t? They may not come cheap, but these dogs more than make up for their price with loyalty and devotion. And I, for one, am glad that I got to know about them.

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