It seems that everyone has or wants a Doodle. For the past 15 years, the Doodle craze has been explosive – Labradoodles, Goldendoodles, Bernedoodles, Aussie Doodles, Schnoodles, Cavapoos, cockapoos and more. 

It seems that any breed can – and is – crossed with a poodle. These designer mixes are popular for many reasons. Mostly it is due to the belief that they are hypoallergenic, or don’t shed and don’t produce dander.

This is not always true. A litter is more likely to get a non-shedding Doodle if both of the breeds crossed are non-shedding, or if the progeny, such as a Labradoodle or Goldendoodle, are bred back to a poodle producing a 75% poodle, which is a non-shedder. Or if a doodle is crossed with another doodle. You can get lucky and get a non-shedding doodle, but there’s no guarantee.

So why all the fuss about hypoallergenic dogs? The crosses give a family with allergy concerns many more options than just going with a straight non-shedding, non-dander-producing breed like terriers, poodles, Schnauzers, bichons, Portuguese water dogs and such. 

In addition to allergy concerns, some people just like clean homes. Poodle crosses have hair, not fur, and – in addition to producing less or no dander and fur around the house – they tend to smell less.

There are other options these crosses offer, such as breed sizes. Poodles come in three sizes: toy, mini and standard. The cross to another dog breed can give you anywhere from petite dogs (under 17 pounds) to minis (25 to 35 pounds), mediums (40 to 55 pounds), and large (60 and larger into the 100’s of pounds).

Given the size options, you can find the right one to fit your family, lifestyle and age. And if you have always wanted the personality and traits of a Lab or Golden or Bernese mountain dog but didn’t want the size or fur, then these crosses give you options.

You can see all the reasons for popularity. Breeders make lots of money selling these mixes. Some breeders specialize in one or two of these mixes, while others are more like backyard breeders and glorified puppy mills.

It is an industry that should make you do your research and be wary. Some breeders might seem like good people but don’t always expect the truth with this booming industry. Because of overbreeding, these dogs can often be found in rescues and shelters. They are turned in just like any other dog or because of who bred them. Be prepared to pay a bit more in adoption fees even if in rescue or a rehoming.

Downside? Mostly they are barkers. The poodle side or even the other side can be a barking breed but poodles are noisy dogs in general. They might not do well in apartments or condos. They are jumpers and high energy, and slow to mature.

Poodles are sweet and smart – and training is a must! Many like the water, but being wet is not good for a poodle-type coat in terms of matting. Brush or comb these dogs daily to remove pin knots.

Also, they need scheduled grooming every 5 to 6 weeks. Make sure you budget for it.

By the way, I train lots of doodles and have now joined the masses. I recently adopted a Newfie doodle – at 135 pounds!

Abby Bird is owner of Alphadog Training Academy.