The Doodle world has produced Poodle mixes of all sizes. From Micro to Giant, there is an ever-increasing variety.
One recent addition to this world is the Giant Sheepadoodle. We already know Sheepadoodles to be large dogs, but the term “giant” is reserved for the big guys (or girls)!
The Giant Sheepadoodle has grown increasingly popular – and if you’re unfamiliar with these gentle giants, their huge, heartwarming personalities are just as big in stature as their extra-large frames.
What is a Giant Sheepadoodle?
A Giant Sheepadoodle is a variant of the Sheepadoodle breed that’s larger than the standard size. This is likely a result of the breeder using a larger-sized Sheepdog or Poodle as the litter’s mother or father (or both).
It’s relatively unknown who coined the term “Giant” Sheepadoodle, but breeders in various parts of the United States are beginning to specifically market Giant Sheepadoodle litters. I have found that it is simply a larger version of the Sheepadoodle.
The Giant Sheepadoodle is also referred to as an extra-large Sheepadoodle.
While many of the Doodle and Double Doodle breeds have complex, multi-breed DNA makeups containing three and four different dog varieties, the Giant Sheepadoodle is one of the simpler offerings, existing as a straightforward blend of the Poodle and the Sheepdog.
History of the Parent Breeds
The Giant Sheepadoodle contains a double dose of the Poodle and the Old English Sheepdog. One-half of the genetic makeup belongs to a Sheepadoodle, a 50/50 mix of the Poodle and the Old English Sheepdog.
The other half is either another Old English Sheepdog or another Poodle. In most cases, the popular decision seems to be another dose of the Old English Sheepdog, which puts a stamp on the “Giant” part of the dog’s namesake.
Believe it or not, the Sheepadoodle was initially bred in the 1960s for use with the United States military. It’s unknown what their intended use was.
It wouldn’t be until the 1980s that these dogs would be formally named and rise to popularity. Like many original Doodle breeds, the Sheepadoodle was created for its assumed hypoallergenic benefits.
“These lovely dogs are best known for their easy-going nature, impressive intelligence, and affectionate temperament”
The Sheepadoodle, a combination of one-half Old English Sheepdog and one-half Poodle, inherits the best traits of each breed.
You get the high-energy, worker-like traits of the Old English Sheepdog, as well as their loving personality, combined with the smarts and class of the Poodle. It’s worth noting that these breeds require a double dose of attention.
It’s important that they get plenty of exercise, and keeping them well-groomed is a must. Their long, thick coat requires constant brushing to keep shedding at bay, and it’s also necessary to keep knots from forming.
These gentle giants are extremely friendly to new humans and great with children. The Sheepadoodle is an excellent watchdog because of its herding abilities and affinity for vigilance. However, they’re not much for barking, which avoids over-reactivity in public.
Unlike most Doodle breeds, the Sheepadoodle is primarily held to one color pattern. Almost always exclusively black and white, there’s no denying the Old English Sheepdog DNA in these beautiful dogs.
As mentioned before, these are one of the most sizeable Doodle breeds on the market. It’s not uncommon for standard Sheepadoodles to reach weights upwards of 70 pounds! rover.com/blog/breeds/sheepadoodle
There are some threads out there that mention Toy Sheepadoodles, but I am not convinced that’s a healthy breeding practice… There are even Mini Sheepadoodles. They are the product of breeding a Sheepdog down in size and crossing it with a Miniature Poodle.
Don’t even get me started on the Micro Sheepadoodle or the Micro Mini Sheepadoodle. This mix likely involves the Toy Poodle, but Old English Sheepdogs are a large dog breed; there must be many shady breeding practices to produce a teeny-tiny Sheepadoodle successfully.
The Poodle is a breed that often receives an inaccurate depiction in popular culture. One of the more popular opinions is that the Poodle is a spoiled, high-maintenance breed with a pretentious demeanor.
Originally bred in Germany in the 15th century, the word “Poodle” roughly translates to “splash about.” however, this couldn’t be further from the truth! In reality, this breed is hard-working by nature and, surprisingly, is a form of a water retriever.
As early as the 17th century, the Poodle was documented as a companion and helper to bird hunters, helping them retrieve ducks and other variations of water birds.
Owners have the option for diversity when choosing the Poodle: sizes come in toy, miniature, and standard. The specific size of the Sheepadoodle heavily depends on the size of the Poodle parent.
An extremely easy breed to train, the Poodle is a loyal, fun-loving dog with a sense of playfulness. They’re not necessarily one-owner dogs, as they thrive in family situations, but they tend to lean toward one owner or the other in terms of companionship.
It’s essential to be mindful of the health of the Poodle, as they are known to have several common challenges. Addison’s disease and hip dysplasia are the two most common afflictions – but they seem to be manageable with the proper preventative measures.
One of the more unique traits of the Poodle that often goes unnoticed is their keen sense of smell. Poodles are trainable as service animals for their ability to smell the presence of allergens in foods!
A former Poodle owner offered the following memory regarding their beloved pet:
“I had a standard poodle named Ajax who saved my life. My roommate accidentally knocked over [an] oil lamp in the basement and it set fire to everything.
He started barking and whining, and he grabbed my hand in his mouth, not hard or anything, and led me to the door. He saved my life. He lived to be ten. He was my best friend.”
This is the perfect way to summarize the loyal, intelligent, and hard-working side of the Poodle that sometimes gets lost in translation when this breed is depicted in popular culture.
What does a Giant Sheepadoodle look like?
On one side, the Giant Sheepadoodle’s parents have a standard set of traits that are prominent with mostly all Old English Sheepdogs.
These dogs have a long, extremely thick black and white fur coat that must be brushed at all times. They are famous for having bangs that comically cover their eyes!
On the other side, you have the varying look of the Poodle. Poodles carry trademark curls, often a short length.
The wide range of colors gives the Poodle a unique versatility, as they can potentially exhibit white, black, grey, brown, rust, blonde, and even blue fur.
One trait worth mentioning is the head shape of the Giant Sheepadoodle. The Poodle and Old English Sheepdog have noticeably different head contours. The latter generally displays a block or boxy-shaped head underneath their trademark fur.
In the case of the Poodle, they usually display a more rounded or oval-shaped head. The Giant Sheepadoodle has about an equal shot at receiving either of these characteristics from the gene pool.
The OES has long, thick fur, while the Poodle has a shorter, tightly-curled coat. A Giant Sheepadoodle’s fur can range from mid to long, with varying degrees of curliness, depending on the parents’ genetics.
Ultimately, the final length depends on whether the second parent is an OES or a Poodle. However, they almost always inherit an extremely thick coat, regardless of the length.
The Poodle is low shedding which influences the Sheepadoodle’s coat to be low shedding as well.
Sheepadoodle coats are almost always black and white, thanks to the OES.
On the other hand, the Poodle has the potential for various coat colors. It is possible for a Sheepadoodle to have the following colors:
Their coat may be one solid color or a mix of colors. There is the potential for unique coat patterns such as tuxedo, phantom, and merle.
Giant Sheepadoodle Pictures
How big is a Giant Sheepadoodle?
The Giant Sheepadoodle has the potential to be a towering breed with long legs and equally as long length. They can also grow to be pretty hefty – sometimes crossing the 100-pound mark.
However, this weight is likely attributed to their overall frame, as they’re not particularly beefy dogs. Although it’s worth noting, they’re either far from frail or lanky. Given the traits they’ve inherited from the Old English Sheepdog, they’re highly energetic and in great shape.
If the second parent is an OES, they’ll likely be closer to the 80-pound mark and possess the height mentioned above. However, if the second dog is a Poodle, it could be slightly smaller – somewhere around 60 pounds.
The best way to determine your Sheepadoodle’s size is to compare it against the parents of the litter.
Traits & Characteristics
Temperament & Personality
Although the Giant Sheepadoodle is almost always a high-energy breed, there’s some room for variation regarding their personality.
If their genetics come more from the Old English Sheepdog parent, they’ll likely be a little more restrained, with a more relaxed but extremely loving and friendly disposition.
When the pendulum swings toward the way of the Poodle, they’ll still be friendly, although chances are high they are a bit more outgoing. Regardless of the minor tweaks in their disposition, they’re still most likely to possess above-average intelligence.
Giant Sheepadoodles are great with young children. Their gentle and caring temperament allows them to get along with every family member.
Common Health Issues
The Giant Sheepadoodle has a fair shot at having a clean bill of health. There’s a chance for the common hip dysplasia from the Poodle side and potential loss of eyesight as they age.
There’s always a chance for unexpected health problems with any breed, but for the most part, you can expect a fairly healthy and extremely happy life from the Giant Sheepadoodle.
Considering the life expectancy of their parents, depending on the overall genetic makeup, it’s fair to expect a lifespan of anywhere from 9 to 12 years from the Giant Sheepadoodle, giving you plenty of time to spend with these loving companions.
Further reading: Ultimate Guide to the Sheepadoodle