Why are Doodles so Popular? Our Fact-Finding Mission

In recent years, poodle mixes have become hugely popular, but the resulting breeds are not without their critics.

In this article we’ll explore the doodle craze. We’ll look at how it all started and how it’s evolved. We’ll find out why some are against poodle mixes and towards the end, share our views on doodles and how they’re bred and promoted.

Doodles are so popular because of how desirable the traits of a Poodle are in combination with the looks and complimentary traits of the other breeds that they’re mixed with. Doodles are also considered to be hypoallergenic, so they have become highly sought after by allergy sufferers.

Let us first answer a few fundamental questions about the breed which a lot of people have come to love.

Why are Poodle Mixes Called Doodles?

When somebody decides that they want to get a dog in 2020, a Doodle is just as likely (or even more likely) to be on the list as any pedigree dog. The word ‘Doodle’ in a canine context is becoming so common that a lot of people probably haven’t stopped to consider how the name came to be.

Sure, it’s obvious that the ‘oodle’ part of the word originates from the poodle which is used to breed the various types of Doodle dogs we see today but why Doodle, where did that ‘D’ come from?

Well, it comes from the first Doodle ever produced (in itself a controversial statement but we’ll get onto that…) which was a Labradoodle and very simply, the ‘D’ in the name has just stuck. I’m sure you’ll agree that in many of the Doodle breed names, it does sounds better. A Berne-oodle for example just doesn’t have the same ring to it as Bernedoodle, does it?

Other names for Doodle breeds have been adopted though which don’t contain the word Doodle. A Cavapoo for example uses the beginning part of the word ‘Poodle’ as opposed to the ‘oodle’ part of it. There are also a few outliers, for example the Rottle (Rottweiler/Poodle mix) and a Schnoodle (Schnauzer/Poodle mix). In the vat majority of cases though, xDoodle or xPoo will be used when naming the breed.

We just mentioned that the Labradoodle was the first Doodle breed to be produced. Let us now find a bit more about that – for history nerds like us, this stuff is always interesting to learn.

Who Invented the Doodle Dog?

It is widely believed that the Labradoodle which was the first Doodle breed was invented in 1989 by Australian Wally Conran.

However, we said earlier that there is some controversy surrounding this. That’s because there were references to poodle mixes in the US as early as the 1950’s. In fact, the Get Smart TV show which started to air in 1965 featured a dog called Fang which was a Poodle mixed with a Labrador (so would today be known as a Labradoodle).

Want to see what it looked like? Here you go!

In 1989 after a request from a blind Hawaiian lady for a guide dog which wouldn’t aggravate her husband’s allergies, Wally Conran who at the time worked for the Royal Guide Dog Association of Australia set to work. He eventually bred a Poodle with a Labrador to achieve the working properies of the Lab with the non-shedding coat of the Poodle.

The trouble is these were hard to shift. Everybody on the waiting list wanted a purebred dog, as a cross breed at that time was simply considered ‘a mutt’. This is where a branding exercise took place and the name Labradoodle was born. From then on, demand has soared.

More recently, Conran has publicly said that he regrets this decision, going as far as saying that he released a ‘Frankenstein’s monster’. Many disagree with his comments and that’s reflected in the popularity of the breed today.

Why are Poodle Mixes so Popular?

The traits of a poodle are highly desirable. They’re known for being intelligent, easy to train, playful, family friendly, adaptable and are considered to be hypoallergenic.

The truth is though that a lot of people don’t like the way that Poodles look and crossing them with another breed of dog can lead to litters which are desirable from an aesthetic point of view.

Some may argue that the choice of pet shouldn’t all be about the way it looks. Others would argue that you wouldn’t buy a car you considered to be ugly… The truth is, people rightly or wrongly do care about aesthetics.

Other breeds of course bring other desirable traits to the table which extend beyond their looks. Take the Cavapoo for example, because the King Charles Spaniel is known as a fairly laid back, relaxed and affectionate breed of dog, crossing them with a Poodle brings these things to the table and when combined with the traits of a Poodle mentioned above, it’s not hard to see why they’re so popular. They’re also beautiful, come in a range of different colours and are generally a healthy breed which all adds to the attraction.

Another example is a Bernedoodle. With the Bernese Mountain Dog being a sturdy yet affectionate and loyal breed and are regularly described as somewhat goofy. Combined with their dashing good looks, the Bernedoodle has become one of the most popular of all the Doodle breeds.

In total, there are almost 50 known breeds of Doodle at the time of writing so the possibilities in terms of temperament and looks are huge which is why Doodles have become so popular.

Another big contributing factor of their popularity is the fact that they’re considered to be hypoallergenic which is a trait of the Poodle. They have a non-shedding coat which allergy suffers generally do much better with than dogs whose coats do shed.

It’s worth pointing out though that just because a Doodle is a Poodle mix, there are no guarantees that it will not shed.

What’s Wrong with Doodles?

We spoke earlier of Wally Conran’s comments about him creating a ‘Frankenstein’s monster’. He made those comments because of a concern over health problems of Poodle mix breeds.

Doodles in some circles have been branded as ‘designer dogs’. Doodle puppies can command large sums of money and that can attract unscrupulous breeders who may not put the health of their dogs first getting involved in the Doodle world.

This is a valid concern. Please please always research the breeder you’re thinking of using and ask them lots of questions to establish that the health of their dogs and litters are at the forefront of their breeding programs.

Some people, particularly those who are fans of the purebred Poodle can be quite vocal about Poodle cross breeds. Everyone is of course welcome to their opinion…

Summary and Our View on Poodle Mix Breeds

Despite Wally Conran’s comments about Labradoodles, the Australian Labradoodle Association of America speaks of the Labradoodle as “…generally considered healthy dogs…”

All dogs can suffer with health issues regardless of the breed and it is true that cross breeds can inherit health issue from both the dam and the sire. It is however the case that the incidence of some genetic disorders is greater in purebred dogs and ethical breeders aim to breed the more desirable traits into their litters. By choosing a breeder who is reputable and acts responsibly, you can reduce the chances of ending up with a dog which has been bred unethically and with no concern to its health.

In our view, Doodle breeds are popular for a reason – in the main they’re beautiful, loving and are generally good for allergy sufferers.

Related Questions

Why do People Love Goldendoodles?

Goldendoodles are a friendly, playful breed that are intelligent and athletic. This makes them good guide and therapy dogs as well as pets. People who love them talk of their lovely temperaments and their teddy bear like appearance tends to melt the heart.

Because of their non-shedding coat and how good they are as family pets, the Goldendoodle has become one of the most popular Doodle Breeds.

What is the Most Popular Doodle Dog?

What better way to answer this than to look at how many people were searching Google for each of the Doodle breeds. At the time of writing (July 2020), the top 10 Doodle breeds in terms of monthly search volume were:

  1. Labradoodle
  2. Bernedoodle
  3. Goldendoodle
  4. Maltipoo
  5. Cavapoo
  6. Cockapoo
  7. Aussiedoodle
  8. Sheepadoodle
  9. Shihpoo
  10. Schnoodle