Dr. Mark is a veterinarian. He works mostly with dogs and also spends time training and caring for his own canine family.
Should You Get a Poodle Crossbreed?
Are you interested in getting a new dog and think that one of the Poodle crossbreeds will be the best match for your family? Poodle designer dogs sound great in theory. Cockapoos are bred to be better with families than Cocker Spaniels but have less of that breed's negative traits (like excessive shedding and poor ear health).
Labradoodles and Goldendoodles are bred to have the retriever personalities without the excessive shedding that makes those dogs so hard to keep for some people. Shepadoodles are for those who want the drive of a German Shepherd but do not want to put up with all of the hair. Lastly, Bernedoodles and St. Berdoodles may live longer than their giant parent.
But these breeds come with a lot of disadvantages, too. So, is one of these crossbred dogs really what you need? Be sure to look into all of the pros and cons before stepping into the “designer dog” world.
Many new dog owners are not aware of the cons, and some end up regretting their choice and spending a lot of time and money dealing with a dog with behavioral and health problems.
Pros and Cons of Poodle Crossbreeds
Less Shedding Than Some Parents
Puppies do Not Always Get the Best From Each Parent
Crossbred Dogs May Come Without Genetic Testing and Have Serious Health Problems Later
The Parents May Have Many Defects
Easier to Train
Designer Dogs May Be Very Expensive
Advantages of a Crossbred Poodle
- Oftentimes, Poodle crosses shed significantly less than their non-Poodle parent. Some puppies, however, are born with shedding almost as bad as the non-Poodle parent, so it's more of a gamble than most people realize. A site that shows all of the puppies born of a Shepadoodle litter reveals a lot of variation in the coat, and many of them have loose German Shepherd Dog coats.
- Hybrid vigor is a trait that is inherited when genes of a different type are placed together, so the crossbred puppies may be healthier than purebred dogs. (This has never been proven, but crossbreeders are adamant about this advantage; many purebred dog breeders that I know are interested in improving their breed by doing genetic testing to eliminate congenital diseases.)
- Hybrid vigor may also allow the offspring to have more stable personalities than a purebred dog. (This too is not proven; if the parents are overbred and not selected for personality, the puppies may end up inheriting the worst of the personalities from both father and mother.)
- These dogs can be a lot larger than the Poodle. Especially if crossed with a breed like the Bernese Mountain Dog (a Bernedoodle), the crossbreed may be almost as large as a giant dog. Labradors, Goldens, German Shepherds, and Giant Schnauzers can all produce dogs much larger than the purebred Standard Poodle, which usually weighs only about 50 pounds.
- A crossbred dog may be easier to train than one of his parent breeds. (Poodles are intelligent dogs, so if the other parent is on the low end of the intelligence scale, the pups are sometimes easier to train.)
- Crossbreeds may also have a longer life than one of the parents. (Although the puppies may not live as long as the Poodle, some breeds of dog have very short life spans, and crossbreeding with a Poodle may make that life a little longer. There are no statistics available to prove this.)
Disadvantages of a Crossbred Poodle
- There is no guarantee that the parent´s best quality (like non-shedding and a “hypoallergenic” coat) is going to be passed on to all of the puppies. Some dogs will end up shedding a lot.
- The crossbred dogs may have been produced by a puppy mill or backyard breeder looking to make a fast buck, and thus the litter was bred from overbred dogs with many personality defects.
- Crossbred dogs can be produced from parents without genetic testing, and puppies may end up with all of the health problems from the parents. (If both parents have hip dysplasia, the offspring usually will too, but there is no reason that crossbred puppy breeders cannot provide these tests; if you are buying a “designer” dog make sure that the parents have had their hips certified free of defects and their eyes certified by a veterinary ophthalmologist.)
- Crossbred Poodles may be sold as “designer dogs” at a very high price. (If you want a crossbred dog though you can usually find what you are looking for at a shelter for only a fraction of what the original “designer” breeder is asking.)
I think that the purebred Maltese is smart enough for me!
What About a Purebred Standard Poodle?
Many of the new potential owners for Goldendoodles, Labradoodles, Shepadoodles, and other large Poodle crosses are worried about the looks of the Standard Poodle and want something a little more sturdy. This is understandable since most of us are used to seeing Poodles in the rather effeminate haircuts used in dog shows. Put aside your preconceptions for a moment and take a look at some of the photos on this page.
Here are some of the advantages of getting a purebred Poodle instead of choosing one of the crossbred dogs.
- Poodles do not shed much and are almost hypoallergenic. They do take a lot of grooming, however, which is normal for a dog that does not shed. (The “hypoallergenic” and low shedding quality of the dogs is what a lot of crossbred owners are looking for. If grooming is a problem your dog can be given a “puppy cut” or sporting clip where he is clipped close to reduce grooming; a full body clip still has to be done every couple of months.)
- Poodles are a very smart breed. (This is not always a good thing, since a very smart dog will get bored quickly and is much more likely to look for something to do when sitting around. Most dogs do well in advanced obedience classes.)
- Poodles are easy to housetrain and obedience train.
- Most Standard Poodles are good watchdogs but are not excessively aggressive.
This breed has been around for a long time—some sources think they are as old as the Romans. Breeding and improvement continue, and most Standard Poodle breeders do not believe that those crossbred dogs are a good idea.
Bringing Home That New Dog
No matter what you have decided to do, there are certain steps you should take when looking for that new dog, be he purebred or designer.
First, go to your local shelter. New dogs come in all of the time, and they may have just what you are looking for.
If you did not find the dog you are looking for, enter the type of dog and your city into your search engine along with “breed rescue.” You might find a rescue close or willing to deliver.
Some breeders will have purebred and hybrid dogs available. They might be more expensive than what you would find at the shelter, and most purebred breeders are not going to give you a health guarantee and an agreement to take back the puppy if he does not work out. Be sure to look into it, though, and ask a lot of questions before making a decision.
DO NOT buy your new purebred or crossbred puppy from a pet shop. Even if you find a cute puppy when looking around, the pet shop is going to sell it to anyone so they can only purchase their pets from puppy mills. The cute little puppy you bring home may have serious health or behavioral problems, all of which you will have to deal with later. One of the most serious problems that these cage-raised puppies have is the ability to learn proper housetraining. If your new puppy continues to soil your carpet months after arriving in your new home, do you think he will always be forgiven?
Questions & Answers
Question: On average, which is larger, a shepadoodle or bernadoodle?
Answer: The size of mixed-breed puppies will depend on the parents. Bernese are usually larger than German Shepherd dogs so Bernadoodle puppies will grow up larger.
Before deciding to take home one of these dogs, you should also consider the adult weight of the parents.
© 2017 Mark dos Anjos DVM
Be sure to leave a comment about your choice
Mark dos Anjos DVM (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on June 19, 2020:
Denise, it has nothing to do with the breed mix. Here is an article on dog-dog aggression. https://pethelpful.com/dogs/dog-to-dog-aggression
Denise on June 19, 2020:
Chihuahua Shih-Tzu Poodle. When it gets to playing it start to fighting everybody around him and I mean a serious fight. What do I do about this
Mark dos Anjos DVM (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on November 29, 2017:
Marisa, I really hope you find a Poodle, but make sure the breeder lets you take him home for a "test drive". There is no such thing as a truly hypoallergenic dog, and even with a clean animal like a Poodle there is a chance that you will have some skin flaking, which is what people are allegic to. And, as you point out, they are intelligent so very interesting dogs to have around.
Kate Swanson from Sydney on November 28, 2017:
I had a "duh" moment reading this. I'm asthmatic and allergic to many dogs. I've often thought that if I ever get the chance to own one, I'd get a designer poodle cross of some kind. Believe it or not, it never crossed my mind to just go and buy a poodle! I don't know why not, as every poodle I've ever met has been good-natured and very intelligent. In fact, one owner once said to me his poodle's intelligence was a problem - the dog was smart enough to analyse each command and decide whether it was appropriate or necessary to obey it...
Rachel Koski Nielsen from Pennsylvania to Minnesota on August 29, 2017:
This is a great article Dr Mark and I'm glad you're shedding some light on this trend! I've even seen people selling "border poos" claiming they will be the smartest dogs alive. Obviously I have nothing against crossbreeding and do it all the time with my sheep, but what bothers me is these breeders making potentially false claims about the traits of their hybrid puppies, and then those dogs ending up in shelters later because they weren't exactly what their owners were looking for. It's not the dogs' fault they won't all be able to live up to the hype.
Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent from Mississauga, ON on March 18, 2017:
This is a very informative hub. The more I see designer crossbreeds, the more I say no thank you I don't want any of those. All cockapoos, labradoodles and goldendoodles in my neighbourhood are energetic hyper lots. I simple can't see how their humans cope with them.
Or perhaps it is my lifestyle. I only want big, sturdy dogs that are couch potatoes inside, but capable of being great companions for hiking and trekking outside.
Suhail and my dog K2.
Mark dos Anjos DVM (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on March 09, 2017:
Hi Sakina thanks for taking the time to read this. You probably noticed from this that I am a fan of those purebred large Poodles!
Sakina Nasir from Kuwait on March 09, 2017:
Great hub DrMark1961. This is going to be very helpful to dog owners and those who wish to buy them. :) Very informative and detailed.
Mary Wickison from USA on March 07, 2017:
Hi Dr. Mark,
Although we still have some tilapia in the lakes, we are no longer farming fish. We have now planted dwarf coconuts, for coconut water. We have +/- 400 trees. Plus we also have some tall coconuts which are harvested quarterly.
I hope things are going well for you.
Mark dos Anjos DVM (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on March 07, 2017:
Hi Blond Logic, hope all is going well for you all up there in Ceara. Are you all still raising Tilapia? The good thing about that is people still need to eat, even in this terrible economy.
I have had many "random bred" dogs through my life and do think they are healthier, just like your little Cockapoo. The problem with some of these dogs is that they are crossbreds with two unhealthy parents, and so the puppies end up inhereting the problems for both. Pretty sad for them.
Mary Wickison from USA on March 07, 2017:
I never considered that there would be problems with a crossbred dog, as people generally consider them healthier because of a larger gene pool.
Now I can see where people assume that crossbreeds may have the traits they want but don't. You've mentioned crosses which I have never heard, so this was an education.
When I was young we had a cockapoo and she proved to be an ideal dog, except for the need of grooming. We didn't research into the breed, it was an impulse decision of three young girls and my mother who couldn't say no.
Mark dos Anjos DVM (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on March 06, 2017:
Hi Bob, it is pretty sad. I looked at a Shepadoodle site the other day and was amazed that they described the perfect dog, then showed about 1/3 of them that looked just like Poodles, 1/3 or them that looked like GSDs, and only about 1/3 or them that came out like they wanted, looking and shedding like Giant Schnauzers.
Bob Bamberg on March 06, 2017:
Great hub, Doc. This is a real serious look at the "designer dog" and very helpful to people inclined to enter that market. I think most believe they'll be getting the best traits of each breed...so what could possibly go wrong?
A lot of these dogs are the product of backyard breeders who are just in it for the money. The vets around here have lost their confidence in breeders now because everyone is in it. They tell me that years ago, breeders were reliable resources, but not so much anymore.
With no licensing, minimum competency standards or continuous education requirements it's easy for anyone to call themselves a breeder and jump into the market.
I hope that if people surf the net to learn more about designer dogs, they'll click onto this hub. It's important information they need to know.