Labradoodles, Goldendoodles, Cockapoos and other hybrid dog types that involve one poodle ancestor in their genetic mixture are often referred to collectively as “doodle” dogs, and dogs of this type are hugely popular in the UK, surpassing many pedigree dog breeds in terms of their numbers.
There are a great many good reasons for this and dogs of the doodle type have a broad and wide-reaching appeal to many different types of owners, and when you take into account all of the various well-known hybrid dog types that involve a poodle parent, there really is something for almost everyone.
Every year, tens of thousands of dog lovers consider choosing a doodle dog to join their families, and begin their research into the core traits of the different doodle dog types and the individual hybrid crossing they are considering.
However, there is quite a lot of misinformation surrounding doodle dog types and hybrid crossings as a whole that can catch the unwary by surprise, and so this article is dedicated to busting five of the most common myths about doodle dog types that all prospective buyers need to know.
Read on to learn more.
The poodle ancestor that is common to doodle breeds has a distinctive coat that is wiry and densely curled, and which means that when hair is shed, it tends to remain tangled up in the rest of the coat rather than being dropped prolifically around the home.
However, to say that doodles don’t shed is untrue; first of all, even purebred poodles shed to an extent, and secondly, just because a dog has a poodle ancestor doesn’t necessarily mean that they will inherit the poodle coat.
The coat of any hybrid dog type can be very variable from dog to dog, and even across puppies from the same litter in some cases. Some doodle dogs will inherit a coat that is somewhere between the average norms for the two parent breeds, whilst others will lean more towards that of the non-poodle parent.
This means that some doodles don’t just shed, but they tend to shed a lot – particularly in the case of some Goldendoodles who inherit a more golden retriever coat, which is in itself a very heavy shedding breed.
One of the most widely spread myths about doodle dogs is that they are hypoallergenic, and will not trigger allergy symptoms in people sensitive to them. However, this is a myth – there is absolutely no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog.
This myth originated from the above-mentioned non-shedding myth, as many people wrongly assume that it is dog hair that causes allergies, and that if the dog doesn’t shed hair, the hair cannot go on to trigger allergy symptoms.
However, there are no dogs that simply don’t shed at all – and also, it is not actually dog hair that triggers allergies, but protein chains that are found in things like dog saliva and skin sebum. Shed hair helps to spread these allergens around more prolifically, and so dogs that don’t shed a lot may be less of an issue for allergy sufferers – but not always.
Additionally, the nature of allergies can be hugely variable, and many allergy sufferers find that some dogs trigger their allergies and some don’t, and that this doesn’t always correlate to the amount of shedding involved.
Doodle dogs are referred to as dog types rather than dog breeds, because they are not pedigree and aren’t recognised by the Kennel Club. There is no formal breed standard in place for doodles, and this means no universally accepted norm for their appearance or temperament.
Whilst some breeders and doodle clubs and organisations produce their own breed standards and guidance on what makes for a desirable dog, this is not a rule, just a guide, in the opinions of the body producing it.
Individual dogs of any named doodle type can be hugely variable – depending on things like the size of poodle involved in the mixture, the type of coat they inherit, the health and quality of both parent dogs, their temperaments, and virtually anything else you can think of.
Virtually all pedigree dog breeds (including all of those used in doodle crossings) have some hereditary health issues that are considered to pose a threat to the breed as a whole, and that are spread throughout the breed population by virtue of the limited gene pool of prospective breeding stock available.
Outcrossing two dogs of unrelated breeds (as is the case for doodles) brings with it the benefits of hybrid vigour, which means that the chances of a doodle inheriting two copies of the same genetic mutation (one from each side of their parentage) that causes a specific health issue to occur is lower than if breeding two pedigree dogs of the same breed.
However, this does not necessarily translate to superior health or a longer lifespan for doodles compared to their parent breeds, for a number of reasons.
First of all, health testing schemes in pedigree dog breeds are widely used to permit breeders to identify and remove dogs from the breeding pool who many pass on health conditions. Health testing for specific conditions is much less widely performed in doodle crossings and in some cases, breeders of pedigree dogs who find that their pedigrees carry the markers for health conditions that will make them riskier to breed with the same breed will use them to produce doodles instead.
Additionally, every doodle isn’t bred from the crossing of a parent dog of the two original breeds, and second and subsequent generations are generally produced by breeding two doodles with each other, and/or a doodle back to one of the original parent breeds.
This means that the spread of genetic mutations within doodle gene pools is just as much of a potential issue as it is in pedigree breeds!
Whilst hybrid dog types like doodles do have a genetic advantage in many respects, the issues mentioned and the tendency of breeders to breed to reinforce desirable traits like a poodle-style coat and dogs that look a certain way means that a long life free of hereditary health issues is no more guaranteed for a doodle than it is for any other type of dog.