Updated: May 15, 2021
Mini Sheepadoodles are incredibly adorable with beautiful non-shedding coats, but what are their temperaments like? We are glad you asked! We often come across people who are interested in “any kind of doodle” or only care about getting a doodle that looks a certain way.
As breeders of a number of different types of doodles, we can say based on experience that not all doodles are created equal. Yes, all doodles will be part poodle so will have some temperament similarities, but the “other breed” specific to each kind of doodle will definitely impact their temperament as well!
So let’s take a look at the personality of the Old English Sheepdog to understand more about the Mini Sheepadoodle!
Mini Sheepadoodle's Background & Original Purpose
The Old English Sheepdog emerged from England in the 1800’s as a herding breed. Herding breeds were originally bred to help farmers herd sheep and cattle. The job required a courageous, athletic dog that did not tire easily. In particular, the Old English sheepdog (OES) was often used as a drover — driving a herd of cattle from the farm across miles of dusty roads to the market.
You can imagine this job required a lot of energy and a bit of independent thinking. The OES soon became known as an all-around farm dog who could do a bit of everything from herding to being large and independent enough to guard his livestock as well. This is the kind of dog that would not shy away from any task he was given!
While today most Old English Sheepdogs are simply kept as family pets, you can still sense the root of their original purpose in their intelligence and energetic, adventurous personalities! The OES is trainable, but also at times has a mind of his own. The American Kennel Club adds that the Old English Sheepdog has a “clownish energy.” This description fits so many Sheepadoodles that we have known!
Mini Sheepadoodle Personalities are Agreeable and Happy
This dog loves to have fun (no matter the cost!) and is a naturally agreeable, happy dog who is up for a game of fetch or a romp in the yard at a moment’s notice. The breed is known for being amiable and non-aggressive with children, other pets, etc.
However, they can be “a lot of dog” for the average owner/family. In general, this is not a dog who is well-suited to apartment life, nor the kind of dog who hangs on his owner’s every command — instead preferring to create a little of his own adventure at times! Still, its overall friendly and people-oriented nature have made the OES an iconic dog in America for more than a century!
Now let’s consider the other half of the Sheepadoodle — the poodle! When it comes to Mini Sheepadoodles (and other mini doodles), Miniature or Toy Poodles rather than standard sized poodles are typically used to achieve a smaller adult weight. Miniature and toy poodles are related to their standard size counter parts and are equally intelligent, but can possess more of a spunky, opinionated side.
While the standard poodle was bred for sporting purposes, the Miniature Poodle was bred down from the standard size to achieve a smaller companion or lap dog. Bred for companionship, the Miniature Poodle tends to be more demanding of attention and can be more excitable and less laidback than their standard counterparts.
They definitely fulfill their original purpose of companionship by being incredibly devoted and attached to their owners- typically following them from room to room all day long! Miniature poodles tend to be extremely intelligent, trainable, and incredibly affectionate!
Miniature poodles often excel in obedience competitions and agility exercises. They are also incredibly people-oriented and sensitive. This means they are often easy to train, but also that they require a lot of affection to be at their happiest and reach their full potential. In other words, the miniature poodle is not the type of dog that will be content alone in the backyard all day!
Mini Sheepadoodles Have a Smart Personality & Make Good Companion Dogs
So when combining the miniature poodle and the Old English Sheepdog, you can be sure you are getting a highly intelligent and highly active companion! Both poodles and Old English Sheepdogs are energetic, social, and playful. These traits have their advantages and disadvantages. As an exceptionally people-oriented dog, the Sheepadoodle will insert himself into all the activities of the household and likely bond with all members of the household.
Despite being small, the Mini Sheepadoodle will still be up for any adventure—he still has a lot of energy and wanderlust packed into a smaller stature! If you want a smaller dog who can still keep up with you on family hikes, then look no further than the Mini Sheepadoodle!
Their small size is attractive to many owners as they are easy to bring with you to different places as well as manageable when it comes to pulling on the leash, picking them up to put in the bath or car, etc. However, they are not a “frou-frou” dog—despite being smaller, the Mini Sheepadoodle is definitely still up for lots of fun and adventure.
Unfortunately, the Mini Sheepadoodle’s intelligence and active nature can also be a downside to some families. This is a dog that must be exercised and provided with ample mental stimulation to keep from becoming destructive or overly exuberant in the house. Mini Sheepadoodles also need firm, consistent boundaries when it comes to training them not to jump, pull on the leash, etc. Their naturally exuberant personalities will take over if not appropriately redirected from a young age.
One of the main factors to consider when it comes to whether this breed is right for you is the Old English Sheepdog’s herding roots. Similar to other herding breeds, Old English Sheepdogs often carry a strong instinct to chase and nip at fast-moving things.
This instinct is crucial to keep a herd of cattle in line but can be an obnoxious behavior for owners, particularly families with young kids. In some cases, crossing the OES to the poodle can help to minimize these herding instincts, but in many cases, the Sheepadoodle still has a drive to chase and nip at anything that runs by.
Which Mini Sheepadoodle Personality Traits to Look Out For
In particular, families with children need to be aware of this herding instinct. Kids obviously fall into the category of “fast-moving” so a Sheepadoodle may nip at their ankles or bump into them while kids are at play. This behavior can result in broken skin, torn clothing, falling down, etc. so is often a source of frustration for the children.
Being young and enthusiastic, a Mini Sheepadoodle puppy can bite hard! Many families and children interpret this as aggression and become startled or react by yelling or other sharp sounds and movements, which tends to only exacerbate the Sheepadoodle’s herding instincts. As you can see with young children this herding behavior can quickly turn into a vicious cycle! The natural wild play of young children sets off the natural herding/nipping behavior of the OES which in turn provokes more high-key behaviors from the child, and in turn drives up the excitement of the Sheepadoodle!
If you have children or grandchildren, but are still set on this bubbly, affectionate breed, then we would recommend an F1b or other later doodle generation that has a higher percentage of poodle parentage to help mitigate the herding instinct.
To give an overall perspective on what living with a mini Sheepadoodle is like, we turned to some of our owners. Owners described jumping and nipping as common frustrations and admitted their Sheepadoodles can be “stubborn” at times. But they also described their Sheepadoodles as having “incredibly big hearts” and making them laugh often. “They are just so happy that it’s hard not to be happy when you are with them!” described one owner.
So, in conclusion, if you are up for a pet who has a lot of pizazz and love inside of a smaller designer dog breed, the Mini Sheepadoodle may be right for you. But be prepared to put in consistent effort with training and make sure you have the time to devote to exercising and providing enough mental and social stimulation for your devoted companion. Your Mini Sheepadoodle will repay you with all the love and joy in the world!
Jenna and the JLDD Team