The popularity of Poodle crosses has exploded in recent years and now it can feel as if there is a Doodle variation for just about every breed out there. Be it the tiny Chihuahua to the hulking great Newfoundland, adding a smidge of Poodle makes a Doodle.
Obviously, there are variations depending on the breed that a Poodle has been crossbred with and indeed how many generations of crossbreeding has occurred. For the most part, the Poodle has been introduced primarily for its unusually low shedding coat and traits of intelligence and easiness to train.
It does beg the question, however, if adding just a bit of Poodle is a good thing why aren’t people just going all-in with a pure-bred Poodle? Read on to discover is it a case of all good things in moderation or is the purebred Poodle the best-kept family dog secret? We will compare and contrast the Doodle and Poodle to help you weigh up which may be best for your household.
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Purebred vs Crossbreed
If you are new to the world of dog breeding or owning, you may be startled by some of the extremes of opinions out there. While many dog lovers may have a leaning towards certain breeds, the rise of so-called “hybrids” or intentional crossbreeds can split opinions. Some breed purists can see the crossing of breeds as diluting the lineage of the parent breeds.
This is particularly important to breeders or owners who rear dogs for show competitions where they have to avoid variation in their dog’s physical and behavioral characteristics in order to meet the show or club standards. You may find some (not all) look unfavorably on Doodle crosses.
On the other side of the fence, you may find those who wholeheartedly promote cross-breeding as a way of mixing the gene pool and a means of mixing the best of both worlds to create a healthy, robust dog. There is a whole Doodle movement full of those who are besotted with this little offshoot of the Poodle family tree.
As always, these days most people keep their most extreme opinions confined to the internet, but I do recall one occasion where a lady excitedly greeted me and rushed to fuss my black Bernedoodle who had just had her summer trim, advising she “adored Standard Poodles”. She looked positively crestfallen when I advised her that my dog was in fact only half Poodle before muttering “what a shame”.
I’m not sure why but I felt mildly insulted and I think so did my pooch as right on queue she summoned up some of the wonderful Bernese Mountain dog drool that she inherited and shook her head perfectly to fire some well-deserving slobber onto that woman. Now I dare say a fully-fledged Poodle would never be as trashy!
Colors and Coat Types
When chatting Doodles many fans and prospective owners speak of their hopes that their pooch will inherit the Poodle curls and propensity to shed minimally. But if the Poodle coat is the holy grail of the hypoallergenic, so to speak, why not just go full Poodle? What happens to Poodle coats when they are crossbred that makes them so in demand?
Poodle Coat Type
When asked to think of a Poodle’s coat many people instantly summon up images of a show Poodle, clipped to perfection in an elaborate cut of part shaven, part poofed, and tail and leg pom poms. Coifed to within an inch of itself the coat can take on the appearance of curly candy floss.
While some people do still adopt traditional Poodle cuts, many Poodles who are kept as family or companion dogs will have a much less “low key” look. A paired down Poodle cut normally entails a short to mid-length all-over clip with only muzzle, feet, and base of tail shaved. Of course, some may choose not to shave any part of their Poodle leaving an all-over curly coat.
Poodles’ low shedding attributes come from the fact that they are single-coated in that they do not have a fluffy undercoat like, for example, a Golden Retriever. They have one single coat that is more akin to slightly coarse human hair. In a good quality purebred Poodle, it will be uniformly curly and dense all over. They will need regular brushing to prevent matting and maintenance grooming visits.
In some cases, Poodles may have been bred haphazardly with other Poodles who have perhaps expressed genetic abnormalities. The result can be Poodles with mixed, sometimes referred to as improper, coats. This means they may not be densely curled all over and instead have patches of waves. Although this may make them easier to brush, they would not be considered good examples of Poodle coats. It would not stop them from being great pets though.
Poodle Coat Colors
Sorry to burst your bubble they do not actually come in pink as we discover in our sister article are pink Poodles real?. Any pink Poodle you see in person or online is usually a white variety that has been subject to some creative grooming.
Do not be disheartened though, the Poodle comes in a whole variety of colors. In terms of solid colors they come in:
While Poodles are predominantly single-colored they can also come in the main color with secondary color markings or even tri-colored.
Doodle Coat Types
Now we know that even amongst only Poodle lineage there can be some discrepancies in coat uniformity so as you can imagine adding a completely different breed into the mix makes it even harder to firmly say what type of coat a Doodle dog may have.
Doodles are often instantly recognizable for their soft teddy bear-like, shaggy coats. Think of the Cavapoo or Maltipoo where a longer, silkier hair breed softens up those Poodle tight curls. The result is a coat that can be a bit easier to get a brush through (if it is done regularly) while inheriting some of the low shedding Poodle qualities. In terms of grooming styles, there is nothing to stop a Doodle from getting a Poodle style cut however most owners tend to leave them a little longer and shaggier.
That being said, genetics can be a funny old game, and just because you bought a Cavapoo there is no guarantee that they won’t still have more Cavalier King Spaniel coat traits and be smooth and prone to shedding. In fact, even in the same litter coat types can vary.
One option to up your chance of a curly Doodle is to increase the ratio of a Poodle. Think taking a 1st generation Labradoodle, it’s a straight 50% Labrador, 50% Poodle mix. If you take that Labradoodle and cross it with a Poodle the resultant pups will be 75% Poodle and only 25% Labrador making the likelihood of Poodle appearance more likely.
Doodle Coat Colors
The possibilities can feel endless. A Doodle has the potential to be any of the Poodle base colors listed above but can also incorporate any possible combination of the other parent breed. They can keep all the parent breed colors but take on some Poodle curls.
Not sure what I mean? Just run Dalmadoodle through your internet search bar to find images of a dog that frequently maintains the Dalmatian trademark spots but also a healthy dose of Poodle curls. The Bernedoodle is another who can inherit the instantly recognizable Bernese Mountain tricolor but instead of being long and silky can be full of shaggy curls.
The advantage of the purebred Poodle is that there is only one breed of parent to contend with. Although temperament is more than just genetics, ensuring too well-matched parents in terms of energy level and confidence can pass on a good basis to pups.
Matching a Poodle with another Poodle matches their two working dog histories. Over time certain characteristics have shown through in the Poodle. They are famed for their intelligence which when not adequately challenged can swiftly turn to mischievousness.
They are known as being faithful and trainable however positive reward-based training works best as their intelligence means they can become easily stressed if they don’t succeed. They come from a working history so even the smaller varieties are active dogs.
As the Poodle has such favorable base temperament traits, Doodles are often highlighted as intelligent and trainable. This crossbreed was designed primarily as a companion dog so is often paired with other lap or companion dogs such as the Maltese and the Pomeranian for example. This can create double the devotion but also can make a dog that is doubly needy!
Likewise pairing a high-energy Poodle parent with another high-energy working breed such as Cocker Spaniel and you can have a veritable pocket rocket.
Ultimately though it is the intelligence, trainability and loyalty often inherited from the Poodle that makes Doodles of all variation’s good family pets. A positive of introducing another breed is that it can counteract some of the anxiety and aloofness often seen in the purebred Poodle.
Health and Life Expectancy
Poodle Age and Health
Purebred Poodles from reputable breeders are generally considered healthy and long-living dogs. A rough guide to life expectancy is:
- Standard & Medium Poodles – 12 to 14 years
- Miniature & Toy Poodles – 13 to 15 years
Poodles are predisposed to some common health complaints such as hip dysplasia, eye problems, epilepsy, Addison’s disease, thyroid issues, and diabetes.
The larger Standard Poodle with their deep chest is more predisposed to bloat and also has a higher incidence of some cancers and heart disease. Many of these conditions can be managed with medication and ensuring breeders undertake health screening increases the likelihood of healthy pups.
Doodle Age and Health
Adding a Poodle into the mix results in a breeding phenomenon known as “hybrid vigor”. This happens when two breeds are crossed which allows for the potential to breed out certain health complaints present in both parents.
Take the Bernese Mountain Dog, which is one of the shortest-lived large breeds, living on average only 8 years. Adding Poodle genetics can significantly improve lifespan but reducing the risk of a Bernedoodle pup inheriting two faulty cancer-causing Bernese genes.
Generally speaking, the Doodle lifespan will vary dependent on the breed mix and quality of the breeder however a general rule is to go by the size of the Poodle parent. Those crossed with a Standard or Medium Poodle will generally live in the region of 12 years while Miniature and Toy Doodles may live in excess of 15 years.
A Doodle cross can be susceptible to all the health issues faced by Poodles or the other parent breed however generally they benefit from mixing genetics and in the early generations at least may be healthier than their parents.
There are so many variables to consider from breeder credentials, local demand, size preferences, and trends that it is near impossible to definitively compare prices between Poodles and Doodles.
A purebred show Poodle from a well-documented lineage will cost significantly more than a part-time local breed who breeds Poodles primarily as companion dogs. Generally speaking, Miniature Poodles are the most expensive size of Poodle given their appeal to people with smaller living spaces and desire for a dog they can easily take everywhere.
The Doodle market has exploded with certain crosses being in significantly higher demand than others. Costs for Labradoodles, Cavapoos, and Cockapoos generally remain high however these may be more available. Large Doodle crosses such as Newfypoos and Great Danadoodles may attract an even higher price due to their rarity.
Poodle Exercise Needs
A purebred Poodle is a straight descendent of a working dog line. Even the Miniature and Toy varieties which were bred primarily as lap dogs retain a good streak of Poodle energy. The biggest predictor of exercise needs will relate to the size of your Poodle. The Standard for example will need 1 to 2 good long walks a day and will also benefit from mental stimulation. The Toy variety may only need one short walk a day, but you can guarantee they will play plenty at home in between.
Doodle Exercise Needs
While there will be some variation depending on if your Doodle is crossed with an extremely large breed (Newfoundland) or small breed (Chihuahua) generally using the Poodle size it was crossed with is a good indicator of the exercise requirements it will need.
The Poodle has such variety in size that fortunately most people can pick a Poodle to complement their space. Massive yard? Big House? Kingsize bed to share? Go get yourself a Standard Poodle. Apartment living? Limited outdoor space? Think Miniature or Toy.
The wealth of Doodle combo’s out there means you can go for any one of the general Poodle sizes but also can go for the more extreme ends by reputably crossing an even larger breed with a Standard or even smaller breed with a Miniature. This makes the Doodle even more accessible for a whole variety of living situations.
Poodle Family Match
The Poodle is often an under-rated all-good-round family dog. When socialized early the Poodle is an intelligent, faithful dog who forms strong attachments with their humans. They make good alert dogs however they are not inherently predisposed to aggression making them safe around youngsters.
The Poodle will not do well with a yard or outdoor living preferring to be close to and fully enveloped in their family unit. Many Poodles experience anxiety and do not tolerate long periods alone. Poodles can exhibit a bit of prey drive which means they may need to be desensitized early to any feline or rabbit companions, however, have been known to live happily with both other pets and dogs.
Doodle Family Match
The wealth of Doodle options out there means there is effectively a Doodle to meet any family configuration. Doodles are often heralded as great family pets however it is worth remembering that all dogs need training and support to become well round canine family members.
The teddy bear appearance of the Doodle pup can sometimes encourage small family members to treat them like a toy and it must be remembered that both children and puppies need encouragement on how to behave around each other to have a harmonious home life.
The good thing about adding another well-matched breed to the Poodle is that it can sometimes dilute some of the Poodle’s anxiousness. Think adding a spoonful of that laid-back Golden Retriever style to mellow out the often, highly-strung Poodle.
Ultimately the Poodle and Doodle crosses share a lot of similarities in terms of temperament, exercise needs, and coat care. Doodle traits maybe a little bit more unpredictable without the benefit of purebred lineage however is that worth trading off for some health benefits.
However, it’s down to personal choice yet it’s always worth keeping an open mind especially if your intention is to rescue or rehome rather than shop. Giving either a Poodle or a Doodle a second chance would be extremely rewarding indeed.