My neighbor just got a “doodle” puppy. I have never heard of that breed. It’s awfully cute! What is it?
Digging that Doodle
Dear Digging that Doodle,
Doodles started out as a cross between Labrador retrievers or golden retrievers and standard poodles. They are call Labradoodles and goldendoodles. When I first heard that name from my vet, I laughed! It sounds like a crunchy cheese snack. Although I am partial to the goldendoodle, having been the human companion to an 8-year-old goldendoodle named Scooby, breeders are crossing just about every type of dog with poodles:
- Cockapoo — poodle and cocker spaniel
- Maltipoo — poodle and maltese
- Yorkiepoo — poodle and Yorkshire terrier
- Snoodle — poodle and schnauzer
The list goes on and on. The idea behind the intentional crossing was to create a less “allergic” service dog. By crossing the Lab or golden to the standard poodle, you get a dog that is not only extremely smart but easy on people with allergies. The Labradoodle started in Australia and eventually the dogs made their way to North America. Crossing two different pure breed dogs decreases the bad genetic traits that develop over time. It is called “hybrid vigor.”
Doodle come in all shapes and sizes. Colors vary even within the litter because poodles come in black, white, brown, apricot and parti (mixed colors). In Scooby’s case, mom was a Golden retriever and dad was a black standard poodle. He was one of 12 in his litter; seven puppies were various shades of apricot and five were black.
Doodles range in size, weight, and color, so there is a dog for everyone. Breeders are now crossing "mini" poodles with the retrievers to create small doodles. In my grooming shop, mini doodles are becoming very popular. They are 15 to 25 pounds full grown, whereas Scooby is 80 pounds and very tall with skinny moose legs.
The best thing about Goldendoodles and Labradoodles are their personalities. They are sweet, fun-loving and intelligent. I can see that Scooby has truly inherited the best of his two breeds. I would highly recommend a doodle as a family dog. They love to play, are easy to train and are full of life.
When we got Scooby, I had no idea how much work maintaining his coat would be. Since doodles typically don’t shed or don’t shed very much, their coats tend to mat. I recommend that doodles be groomed at least every six weeks. Doodles also need regular brushing and combing to help remove their undercoat.
Doodles are extremely popular now. Since they are not recognized by the American Kennel Club, breeding standards do not exist. If you are interested in a doodle, do your homework. Talk to lots of owners. Check out breeders and get references.
There are great websites with a wealth of info. Two sites that I like are doodlekisses.com and IDOG.biz (International Doodle Owners Group). Check out my Holliston Patch article, "?" (5/20/11), to read about things to consider before adding a pet to the household.
If you would like to learn more about doodles or meet one in person, please send an email to Serena Keating at email@example.com.