They’re all the rage. You can’t walk more than a hundred metres without seeing a cockapoo or labradoodle where we live but what should you know before you fall for their sweet teddy bear faces? What are the downfalls of poodles crosses? What do you need to be aware of before you commit to the next ten to fifteen years (possibly even more) of being owned by a poodle cross? As the human responsible for a little doodle myself I thought I would share some of our personal highs and lows of doodle life.
1.Find a good breeder. First thing’s first. Do. Your. Research. Poodle crosses are very popular in the UK (and around the world) at the moment and this makes them big business for puppy farms. Ask to see the puppies with their mother (and father if possible), ask to see proof of health testing for both parents, ask the breeder plenty of questions – a good breeder will welcome questions and will also have lots of questions for you. This is a good sign, it means they are making sure their puppies are going to the best homes possible. Good breeders will usually have you sign a contract, terms to look out for are a neutering clause (run a mile if this is suggested before the puppy is 6 months old) and a clause that says that if for some reason you can no longer look after your dog it will be returned to the breeder. A good breeder will take one of their dogs back at any time. A good breeder will also be preparing your puppy for the future, grooming training (more on this later), exposing their puppies to lots of different sensations, car training, the list goes on! Always visit the puppies at least once beofre you plan to take one home. Never agree to meet somewhere to hand over the puppy and do not be afraid to walk away if you don’t think something is right. You would not be saving that puppy, you are funding a puppy farm! Go home and report the person to the RSPCA. Also research the pros and cons of different crosses, they’re not all exactly the same!
2. Your poodle cross puppy will not be cheap however a good breeder will not be charging in the thousands either. A quality pedigree miniature poodle puppy would cost a minimum of £600, a well bred poodle cross will probably be a similar price. Any cheaper and alarm bells should be ringing!
3. They will probably shed. I’m yet to meet a poodle cross that does not shed at all. Your breeder should not be saying that their puppies are hypoallergenic or non-shedding. If you want a dog that does not shed then get a poodle. Or one of the other dozen breeds that do not shed! Some poodle crosses, like Colin, shed a very small amount but they still shed. To reduce the likelihood of shedding you should look for a backcross or multigeneration poodle cross. A backcross (breeders may use the terms F1b or F2b) is where one of the parents is a cross and the other is pedigree. Colin is a F1b, his mother was a miniature poodle crossed with a border collie (she was a first generation cross known as an F1) and his father was a miniature poodle. A multigeneration poodle cross is where both the parents are crossbreeds and they are known as F2, F3 etc. It is much easier to predict the coat type (and therefore how much the puppies will shed) in a F2 or F3 puppy than in a cross where both parents are different pedigree dogs. Essentially what it boils down to is that the more poodle in your cross, the less likely it is to shed! Some of Colin’s siblings, although 75% poodle, have an undercoat and shed – proof that it is not an exact science!
4. Grooming is important and potentially very expensive. Most poodle crosses will need a hair cut every 6-8 weeks just like a poodle to keep their coat in the best condition. You can expect this to set you back between £30-£45 a time. Some groomers actually charge more for a poodle cross than a pedigree poodle due to the fact that lots of poodle cross owners do not take care of their dogs’ coats in between appointments and they become seriously matted. To prevent matting, a poodle cross will need brushing at least twice a week and you’ll need a metal comb to get through their coats properly. A slicker brush will only get the top layer and you will still get matting! Troublesome areas for matting can be behind the ears, under the arms and on the inside of their back legs. Matts are seriously uncomfortable for your dog, if Colin ever gets any bad ones I simply cut them out rather than trying to brush them out, much less stressful for both of us. It is also very important to make sure your puppy is used to grooming from as early as possible, ideally this training would start at the breeders but if not then you need to start as soon as you get your puppy home. Get them use to their ears, feet and faces being touched and if possible get the used to the sound of the clippers. If you don’t fancy grooming yourself then make friends with a local groomer, many of them will do special appointments for puppies. If you leave it until your dog is a year old not only will their coat be in terrible condition but grooming will also be a traumatic experience for both your pup and the groomer! Same goes for trimming nails, the earlier and more often you do it the less stressful it’ll be for everyone involved!
5. They are high energy dogs. If you cannot commit to at least an hour of walking every day, a poodle cross is not for you! The most popular cross breeds we see around us are poodles combined with some kind of spaniel, spaniels (especially cockers and springers) and poodles are almost always high energy, slightly nutty dogs so the combination of both is a bundle of craziness if not exercised! They make great agility dogs, flyball dogs, trick dogs, give them a job and they’ll do you proud. Do not expect a poodle cross to be happy lying around the house all day. If you work full time then you’ll need to find yourself a good dog walker or doggy daycare to meet the exercise needs of your pup.
6. They will need mental stimulation. The poodle is the second most intelligent breed according to studies, a bored poodle cross is not a happy poodle cross.You will need to find ways to exercise their minds as well as their bodies. This can be combined with the physical exercise, agility or flyball are great for this or it could be activities like teaching your pooch new tricks or hiding treats around the room for them to find. Colin enjoys his weekly agility sessions and loves to learn new tricks. When you leave them make sure they have something to do. A bored poodle cross left alone has the potential to be seriously destructive! Leave a Kong full of yummy treats (or peanut butter!) or a nice big pizzle to chew on to keep them entertained and happy while your out.
7. They like a good swim. If you’re precious about your car then I’d suggest a waterproof lining of some sort as almost every poodle cross I’ve ever met loves water. The muddier and stinkier the water the better, in Colin’s opinion anyway! If you’d prefer your pup to stay out of the water then a solid “avoid” command is well worth teaching! If, like me, you’re happy to accept their love of water then a drying robe is a must (we love ours from Dogrobes UK).
8. They LOVE people. Like water, I’ve yet to meet a poodle cross that does not love people. Colin has a particular affection for children and babies who almost always love him back but we do occasionally come across children that are terrified of dogs. It is so important that if you have a dog that loves people that they have a seriously solid recall so they cannot just go charging up to everyone they meet. Not everyone appreciate the loving.
9. They’re almost impossibly friendly towards other dogs too. Not only do poodle crosses love people but they also love almost all other dogs in my experience. Again I cannot stress enough the importance of a good recall. Even though your pup is sociable little bean it doesn’t mean that all other dogs will love them back. Never let your dog run up to another dog, especially one on a lead, without checking with the owner. That’s how dogs and people get hurt. Being an intelligent little thing (as poodle mixes are!), Colin can usually tell if a dog wants to play or not and will leave nervous or aggressive dogs well alone but I would never rely on his intuition alone! In our experience most dogs love a quick game of chase, if they can keep up with Colin that is!
10. They are lovable goons. If you decided you can deal with the grooming, the exercise needs and the mud-loving, ever enthusiastic nature of a poodle cross then get researching and find yourself a puppy! Getting Colin was the best thing I ever did. He gets me out of the house being active every day, he makes me laugh on an hourly basis (if not more!) and he’s always there to greet me with love and kisses when I come home, even if I only took the bins out! Every poodle cross (and pedigree poodle) has their own totally unique personality, they are quite unlike any other dogs, in my humble opinion! They definitely think they are human not dogs and make a fantastic member of the family!
Follow all of our gorgeous poodle crosses featured in this post:
- Goose (@goosethesheepadoodle)
- Pepper and Archie (@cockapooduo_)
- Spirit (@spirit_the_labradoodle)
- Vincent (kidmerle)
- Millie (@millielabradoodle)
- Rodney and Mabel (@rodneyandmabel_the_cavapoos)
- Wilma (@thecotswoldspaniels)
- Rubix and Logan (@rubixdoodle)
- and of course, Colin (@adventuresofdoodles)