A List of the Pros and Cons of Cockapoos, Shepadoodles, and Other Poodle Hybrids
Are you interested in getting a new dog and think that one of the Poodle crossbreds 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 there are 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.
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
- Less shedding than some of the parents. (Some puppies however are born with shedding almost as bad as the non-Poodle parent. A site that shows all of the puppies born of a Shepadoodle litter reveal 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 a purebred dog. (This has never been proven but crossbreeders are adamant about this advantage; many purebred dog breeders that I know are willing and 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.)
- 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.)
- Crossbreds may also have 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 were 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 to, 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 ophthamologist.)
- 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 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.
Are you ready to go out and find a perfect dog? Which do you want?
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 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 to anyone so they can only purchase their pets from puppy mills. The cute little puppy your 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
On average, which is larger, a shepadoodle or bernadoodle?
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.