Written By: Steffi Trott, a professional dog trainer and the owner of SpiritDog Training. She specializes in providing game-based, bonding training to dog owners. In her free time, she competes in dog agility with her own four dogs.
Did you decide on a Poodle mix to add to your family? Doodles of all kinds are highly popular dogs these days - they are friendly, smart, cute and they do not shed much. You can get a Poodle mix in any shape and size - from huge Bernedoodles to tiny Maltipoos.
Which one should you pick for your family? Does the amount of time and dog experience matter when it comes to choosing your Doodle puppy? Let’s see!
The common denominator of all Doodles is that one of the parents is a Poodle. We often think of Poodles as dainty show dogs with poofy hair, but their original purpose was actually very different!
Poodles were once bred to be hard-working water dogs. They were retrievers helping their owners by fetching fowl after it had been shot. This is where the unique coat of the Poodle comes from. The curly and coarse texture lets the hair be submerged for hours and is easy to dry.
As working dogs, Poodles come with a high-strung personality. Many Poodle owners are surprised at how active and at times nervous their Poodles can be. In order to fulfill his desire for mental stimulation and physical exercise, it is crucial to train, exercise and play with a Poodle every single day.
When crossing the Poodle with a different breed, you need to consider that the Poodle parent already comes with a lot of energy and training needs. If Poodles are mixed with other high-drive breeds such as Australian Shepherds or Labradors, the offspring will be very active puppies. They also will have considerable training needs. If those are not met, the puppies often become destructive or reactive. In my work as a dog trainer, I see those difficult Doodle mixes (mostly Goldendoodles) every day!
Many Doodle owners struggle with the type of mix they picked. If you have a busy family life, you absolutely only want to choose a Poodle mix that is laid-back. The non-Poodle parent should be a very calm dog without high exercise needs. Let’s look at some Poodle mixes that would be a good fit.
Basset Hounds are very laid-back and calm dogs. Originally bred as a scent dog to hunt rabbits, they are popular low-key companion dogs these days. The relaxed temperament and tendency to sleep a lot makes them ideal pets.
When crossed with Poodles, the Bassetoodle offspring will get the calm disposition from their Basset Hound parent while inheriting the non-shedding qualities of the Poodle. Puppies will have the characteristic short legs and long ears, making them utterly cute!
Bassetoodles are not always easy to find. If you want to get a puppy of this cross, be prepared to search for a while. The wait will pay off however - these dogs are perfect for busy families.
If you are looking for a pocket-sized Doodle mix to add to your family, the Maltipoo fits the bill. As a cross of Maltese and Miniature or Toy Poodle, Maltipoos are very small dogs. They stand at around 8-13 inches tall and weigh no more than 18 pounds. Maltese are very friendly and social dogs that are easily trainable and do not require extensive amounts of exercise.
They are especially popular as apartment dogs in big cities as they do not need a yard.
Great Pyrenees are known for their very calm character once grown up. Originally bred to guard livestock in the Pyrenees (a mountain range in Europe), they are stoic giants with friendly temperaments. When crossed with Poodles, the offspring are fantastic guard and family dogs.
You should only decide on a Pyredoodle if you have a large yard. These dogs like to be outside and patrol their property. They do not require extensive training or exercise. While ready to protect their property from any intruders, Pyredoodles will be friendly and social with your visitors.
When visiting a breeder to pick out your new Doodle puppy, ask them questions about the puppies’ temperaments. Within one litter of puppies there can be many different characters. If you want a laid-back family dog, always try to pick the calmest pup. If one puppy is especially sleepy or likes to sit on your lap while the others play, this is a good sign.
Of course, you should only get a pup from a breeder who takes care to breed healthy parents. If the facilities, the puppy pen or the outside exercise areas are dirty and stink, find a different Doodle breeder! Due to the popularity of these dogs there are many different breeders you can pick from.
While all Doodle crosses look like custom stuffed animals, some of them can be rather high-strung dogs. The Poodle parent is a working dog, and if crossed with another working breed the offspring can have intense exercise requirements and training needs.
If you have a busy family life and not a lot of time to devote to daily dog training, you should not pick a dog such as a Goldendoodle. Instead, decide for a more laid-back (and lesser-known) Doodle mix such as the Bassetoodle.
Every puppy is a commitment! Always keep in mind that you will have to take care of him for 12-17 years. Talk to every family member before getting a dog. For kids, it works well to create a chore sheet outlining who feeds, brushes and walks the dog.
Only if everyone is on board and ready to care for the new puppy, he will grow up to be a great companion.
Related article: Which Doodle Best Matches Your Personality? (link)