Sherri Smeraglia is a busy lady. She and her husband, Judge, run two businesses in Mobile and Fairhope. She’s also a mom to five kids, ranging from 27 to 9 years old. To say she has her hands full is an understatement. But if you ask what her passion is, she’ll tell you upfront that it’s raising teddy bear English goldendoodles — one of the cutest, cuddliest breeds you’ll ever see, a cross between an English golden retriever and a poodle. As if being adorable wasn't enough, they’re also some of the most allergy friendly dogs, with little to no shedding. They are intelligent, obedient and sociable dogs, so they make perfect family pets. Sherri recently published “Fletcher: The Very First Teddy Bear English Goldendoodle” to share with the world how the breed came to exist.
I started raising English golden retrievers about 20 years ago. I imported them from Europe, and they were a huge deal to me — the love of my life. They’re very different from the American golden. They don’t even really look like the golden retrievers that you would see in a Westminster dog show. They have the big, floppy head, and they’re almost stark white. They’re also built a little stockier, with a broader chest. They’re just amazing dogs.
When my third child was born, he developed a very severe dog allergy. We didn’t know what was wrong with him for several years. He stayed sick, had ear infections. We found out he was highly allergic to dogs, and that was really bad because that was my hobby, my heart. Outside of caring for my family, it was what I did. We had to find a solution.
My daughter Lauren had a schnauzer named Lexi, and our next-door neighbor had a poodle. The dogs were best friends. One morning, Lexi slipped out, and we had an accidental breeding. That little mistake is really what opened this door for us. (The Smeraglias also breed Schnoodles, which are a cross between a schnauzer and poodle.)
We also train the teddy bear English goldendoodles to serve as companion dogs and therapy dogs to help special needs children. We send them to many different parts of the world.
I plan on writing another book to share the training side of it. Fletcher is the character in my first book, and it’s written from his perspective. So Fletcher’s going to have to go to school.
The reason that we call them teddy bear English goldendoodles is because their dad was an English golden retriever. But, the teddy bear in the name comes from their appearance. When they were born, we used to say, “Oh my, they look just like little teddy bears!”
Smeraglia’s Teddy Bear English Goldendoodles, Robertsdale. 960-1311.
text by Mary Beth Lursen