We never planned to breed mini bernedoodles. I so adored the standard bernedoodles, that I couldn't imagine changing anything. However, as more and more people requested a smaller variety, we began considering our options.
Some people breed minis via several generations, including the F1b and F2 generations, to get the size "down." They breed first to a miniature poodle and then to a toy poodle, or first to a toy poodle and then again to another toy poodle, or mini bernedoodle to mini bernedoodle. Given my background in genetics, that was not an appealing idea for us, because the ensuing generations provide opportunities for the Bernese Mountain dog DNA to "double up" and cause a return of the diseases that so plague this breed. Too many crosses back to a poodle can cause loss of the Bernese Mountain dog LOOK that is so endearing, producing solid black dogs and spotted dogs. We have in fact, bred some smaller Bernese Mountain dog females to our precious little stud, Leroy, to produce mini bernedoodles. But we wanted to do more...
My biggest concern in the cross was the possible outcome of breeding together such disparate sizes. Female Berners can be anywhere from 60 to 100 pounds, and my little Leroy is only 20 pounds. Those size differences will have no bearing on whether the puppies produced will have brown eyebrows or white faces, but what about joints? bones? muscles? We thought we needed a small Bernese Mountain dog to be the mother for our minis, and to our knowledge, there was no such thing, so we set out to produce one by crossing our gorgeous Bernese Mountain dog Winston, with Lucy, our English shepherd. That cross produced three females that were marked identically to the Bernese Mountain dog and had the same squatty body, but in a smaller size.
We now have mini bernedoodles, done the standard way with a Bernese Mountain dog mommy and a little poodle daddy, and what we call mini English Bernedoodles, produced by breeding the females produced by the Lucy/Winston cross and our little poodle, Leroy. I have noticed that several kennels have been mixing some alternative breeds into their bernedoodles. We happen to think that this mix is a win/win combination! When you ask for a mini bernedoodle, you can let us know which mix you prefer.