This article is going to give an in-depth discussion about the Sheepadoodle and its coat colors. Sheepadoodles typically come in a black and white mix but can occasionally be grey or solid black. They are a cross between a Poodle and an Old English Sheepdog. Genetics play a crucial role in determining the coat color and texture of each generation. Depending on whether the Poodle genes are more dominant determines if the dog is hypoallergenic or not. Breeders often strive for the typical black and white wavy or curly-haired hypoallergenic standard Sheepadoodle.
A fun fact is that the Poodle comes in over 10 standard coat coats and the Old English Sheepdog comes in over 5 different coat colors. Typically, a Sheepadoodle will inherit the Old English Sheepdog genetics. The standard coat colors for Old English Sheepdogs are Blue & White, Blue Gray & White, Blue Merle & White, Gray & White, and Grizzle & White. Thus, you’ll see Sheepadoodles with various multi-color coat colors. We will go more in-depth on the most common Sheepadoodle coat colors.
What is a Sheepadoodle?
The Sheepadoodle is a cross between the Old English Sheepdog and a Poodle. It is not a purebred dog but instead considered a Doodle or designer dog. These dogs are intelligent, energetic, and fun-loving. They inherited the best traits from each parent – the athleticism and obedience from the Poodle and the sturdiness and temperament from the Old English Sheepdog. Sheepadoodles make wonderful emotional support dogs because they have a natural ability to read human emotions.
Wonderfully obedient, these dogs are great for families as well as single-person households. The Sheepadoodle has a sturdy and solid build for a medium-sized dog. They usually have a soft thick furry coat that is either straight, wavy, or curly. Their coat is considered mostly hypoallergenic and doesn’t shed as much as other dog breeds. The standard sizes typically weigh 60-80 pounds, but there are also toy and mini Sheepadoodles. This dog breed typically lives between 12-15 years and cost between $1000 to $3000.
Although this dog breed may have existed naturally, it was likely crossbred and gained popularity in the 1980s. They became popular among allergy sufferers due to their low shedding. This dog originally got its start in the 1960s as an experiment for the U.S. Army. They wanted a military dog that had the athleticism and intelligence of a poodle but the sturdiness of an Old English Sheepdog. They then became more popular among households for their family-friendly temperament and allergy-friendly coat.
Old English Sheepdog Coat Colors
A Sheepadoodle is half Old English Sheepdog and half Poodle. This means it has the potential of inheriting its color from the Old English Sheepdog side of the spectrum. Old English Sheepdogs come in blue merle, blue, grizzle, or gray. Their coats are usually straight-haired and shaggy. They are not hypoallergenic and shed quite a bit.
Poodle Coat Colors
Since a Sheepadoodle is half Poodle, it can inherit its coat color from the Poodle genes as well. Poodles come in a variety of colors such as black, white, sable, apricot, cream, black and white, grey, brown, blue, silver, and red. The Poodle coat is typically curly and known to be hypoallergenic. Therefore, most breeders want more Poodle in their ‘doodle’ genetics so that the offspring can potentially have the Poodle coat.
Sheepadoodle Coat Colors
The main colors of a Sheepadoodle are a mix of black and white. They also come in solid black and occasionally grey. Most Sheepadoodles fade to grey as they age. There is the occasionally solid white Sheepadoodle as well.
Sheepadoodles can be all black in color, including their face, chest, body, and paws. The black coat is typically inherited from the Poodle. Most Sheepadoodle breeders that breed an Old English Sheepadoodle with a solid black Poodle will usually get at least one black Sheepadoodle in a litter. Typically black Sheepadoodles will also have a wavy or a curly coat since the genes are mostly inherited from the Poodle. All black Sheepadoodles are considered relatively rare since they would need to inherit all the Poodle genes.
Black and White Sheepadoodle
Black and white Sheepadoodles are the most common coat colors that you will see. This type of coat color typically comes in two different forms: mostly white or mostly black. In most cases, the white color tends to dominate the black color on their body. However, in almost all cases, a black and white Sheepadoodle will have a white nose, white chest, and white paws. This coat color and genetics are inherited from the Old English Sheepdog.
It should also be noted that black and white Sheepadoodles can also be called Parti Sheepadoodles. A Parti Sheepadoodle is when over 50% of their body is white. The other 50% of their body is usually a combination of black or other colors. Some breeders will also call them Tuxedo Sheepadoodles. A Tuxedo Sheepadoodle is a variation of the Parti Sheepadoodle. In order to be a Tuxedo Sheepadoodle, there has to be white colors on the chest, neck, and feet area of the dog.
All white Sheepadoodles are very similar to a black Sheepadoodle. Typically, breeders will use a standard white-colored Poodle and breed it with a lighter-colored Old English Sheepdog. In this case, Sheepadoodles can inherit the Poodle colors and be all white. Since the white color also tends to dominate the coat color of an Old English Sheepdog, it’s no surprise that you will see all white Sheepadoodles. Solid color Sheepadoodles are still considered more unusual than multi-colored Sheepadoodles since they tend to inherit the genes from an Old English Sheepdog.
Black, White, and Brown Sheepadoodle (Tri-Color)
In some cases, you’ll see black, white, and brown Sheepadoodles. In these particular cases, the brown and black will blend together. Black is a more dominant coat color when compared to brown, but you will sometimes see brown fades in the black. Brown tends to show up when breeders use an apricot or red Poodle that is bred with an Old English Sheepdog. You might also see brown show up when breeding a parti, merle, or brindle Poodle together with an Old English Sheepdog. Tri-color Sheepadoodles are highly sought after and breeders will sometimes charge a premium.
Merle Sheepadoodles are rare, but they do exist. For those that don’t know, merle is a genetic pattern that causes patches of colors on a dog’s coat. Most Australian Shepherds will possess either the red merle or blue merle pattern. Both the Poodle and the Old English Sheepdog can be merle-colored. However, merle Old English Sheepdogs are quite rare.
Since the Poodle can be a merle color, it is possible to get Sheepadoodles that inherit this coat color. However, in order for this to happen, the Poodle would need to be a dominant carrier of merle, or the Old English Sheepdog would at least need to be a carrier of the M Locus gene (merle gene). Old English Sheepdogs are generally not carriers of the M Locus gene, which makes merle Sheepadoodles quite rare. If you’re looking for a Merle Sheepadoodle, you’ll want to find a breeder who is genetic testing their dogs or has had merle puppies in the past.
A gray Sheepadoodle is quite common because they specifically take after several common Old English Sheepdog colors. If you recall from our introduction, Old English Sheepdogs can be blue-gray and white, and gray and white. Thus, gray Sheepadoodles do exist, and it’s usually a mix of other colors, including blue, white, and black. It’s extremely uncommon to have a solid gray Sheepadoodle just based on genetics. Most of the gray Sheepadoodles also contain the tuxedo pattern mentioned earlier, where they have white on their chest, neck, and paws.
Sheepadoodle Coat Style
The Sheepadoodle coat ranges from straight to curly. This thick fur needs to be maintained with daily grooming and monthly bathing. The benefit to this fur type is that it rarely sheds and is hypoallergenic. If there is more Old English Sheepdog in the genes, then there is a possibility that the offspring will have a shaggy shedding coat.
Sheepadoodle Generations and Genetics
Genetics are important in determining the Sheepadoodle coat color. The amount of Poodle or Old English Sheepdog bred in the puppies can determine what their coat color is going to be before birth. Many breeders use genetics to breed a certain color of dog. This section is going to go over the different mixes or generations of Sheepadoodles and which parent dog the puppies are likely to gain their coat color from.
- F1 Sheepadoodle: These dogs are 50 percent Poodle and 50 percent old English Sheepdog. Meaning it is split equally down the middle. The puppy has a likelihood of gaining color from either parent. This is the same with coat texture and density. Breeders do not favor F1 genetics because there is so much variety, and they cannot single out a specific gene.
- F1B Sheepadoodle: These dogs are 75 percent Poodle and 25 percent Old English Sheepdog. The puppies resulting from this mix are more likely to receive the color of the Poodle. The coat tends to be wavy or curly and is hypoallergenic. This is a favorite among breeders due to the dogs being allergy-friendly.
- F1BB Sheepadoodle: These dogs are 87.5 percent Poodle and 12.5 percent Old English Sheepdog. They are more likely to have the qualities and characteristics of the Poodle. This generation is the most nonshedding of the Sheepadoodle mixes.
- F2 Sheepadoodle: These dogs are 50 percent Poodle and 50 percent Old English Sheepdog. The difference between the F2 and F1 is that the F2 is bred from two Sheepadoodle parents rather than a Poodle and Sheepdog parent. Like the F1, this mix is likely to produce unpredictable coat colors and textures.
- F2B Sheepadoodle: These dogs are 62.5 percent Poodle and 37.5 Old English Sheepdog. These dogs are a cross between an F1 and F1B. This generation has mostly poodle genes of which give the dog a wavy or curly coat. The curly coats tend to be more hypoallergenic.
- F2BB Sheepadoodle: These dogs are 81.25 percent Poodle and 18.75 percent Old English Sheepdog. They are a cross between an F2B Sheepadoodle and a purebred Poodle. This generation retains most of the Poodle qualities with a curly hypoallergenic coat.
Genetics boil down to a gamble. However, breeders attempt to produce a certain gene by introducing it repeatedly. There is a level of risk with this game. One can never truly tell what the offspring will look like unless actual genetic testing is done. Even then, it only gives variants. For example, although the F1BB is mostly Poodle, there is still a small chance the Sheepdog genes could be more dominant.
Grooming your Sheepadoodle is important to maintain their coat health. Although they do not shed, they need to be regularly brushed to maintain a long coat. Whether your dog’s coat is curly or straight it still requires an occasional trim, especially around the eyes. Other grooming duties include nail trimming and ear cleaning. Most dogs should be bathed once a month as well. Whether you are up for the challenge of grooming your Sheepadoodle yourself or want to pay a groomer your dog will thank you for a trip to the salon!
Conclusion for Sheepadoodle Coat Colors
In conclusion, there are very limited coat colors in the Sheepadoodle. Most are black and white, gray or even solid black. You can also get some rare colors like solid white, solid black, or a tri-color Sheepadoodle. Genetics play a key role in determining the Sheepadoodle’s coat color and texture! The F1 and F2 generations are the most unpredictable and are unfavorable by breeders due to the fact they cannot determine the coat color or texture. Meanwhile, the F1B and other generations take on more genetics from the Poodle side. This allows for a curly/wavy coat that is hypoallergenic!
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Dr. Sabrina Kong graduated from the Royal Veterinary College in England in 2016 and has been working at a small animal clinic in Northern California since then. She grew up in the Bay Area and got her bachelor’s degree from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. She also became a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner through a program at the University of Tennessee.
When she isn’t in the clinic taking care of her four-legged patients, she enjoys traveling and trying new foods with her friends and her three-legged dog, Apollo. She adopted Apollo from her clinic when he was a puppy with numerous health issues. Dr. Kong truly cares about taking care of animals.