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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everybody!
I‘m curious to what everybody here thinks about designer breeds (specifically doodles), as me and my family has been planning on purchasing one once we move to a bigger house with a backyard. I know that it’s really hard to find a reputable breeder for these mixes, but we’re up for a challenge! Basically, I’m just wondering if these mixed breeds are worthwhile, if you’re willing to put in the effort of finding a good breeder for them.
Thank you for the help!
 

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First, pretty much every purebred dog association has a code of ethics that forbids deliberate crossbreds. Therefore, the purebred dog clubs would say there is no such thing as an ethical doodle breeder. The question, then, becomes what flavor of bad you consider acceptable.

One thing to consider is whether the breeders health test their breed stock. Every dog breed has issues. Crossing two breeds doesn't guarantee hybrid vigor, despite the claims of unscrupulous breeders, and in fact might give you the health problems of both parent breeds. Therefore, it is extremely important for the breeder to do health screenings appropriate to both breeds before pairing the dogs. You want to see those results. Not, "Oh yeah, we took them to the vet and they passed everything with flying colors." No, you want to see the actual genetic (from a company such as Embark) and orthopedic (OFA.org, Pennhip, etc.) results.

Another thing is whether the pairing of the two breeds actually makes sense. Look at the purpose for which the parent breeds were developed. Standard poodles were originally bird hunting dogs. Their purpose was to go out in the field, wait patiently until told to go flush a pheasant or duck, then find the downed bird and bring it back. They needed to be smart, good tempered, and trainable to do their job. Miniature poodles were used for a similar purpose and were also used to locate truffles underground. If you are going to cross poodles to another breed, it makes sense to cross them to another breed that was used for a similar purpose. Labradors, Goldens, Cockers, were also bird hunting dogs. They have somewhat similar drives. Chances are the cross of an excellent poodle with an excellent Labrador or excellent Cocker will at least give you a good tempered and biddable dog.

However, these days a lot of doodle breeders are crossing breeds with completely unrelated origins. Yorkshire terriers were originally ratters. Unlike bird dogs, they were bred to work independently without input or direction from their masters. Sheep dogs were bred to work closely with their masters, but they were also bred to tirelessly push livestock around. Crossing in a terrier has the potential to dilute the biddability of the poodle, and crossing in a sheepdog has the potential to dilute the patience of the poodle. Therefore, I can't see the point of creating Yorkiepoos, sheepadoodles, bernedoodles, and all the other weird crosses happening today.

Unfortunately, yet another factor to consider in getting a doodle is whether the parents were excellent examples of their breed. In many cases they aren't. Right now I have a really nice tempered poodle and one who is a bit anxious. Of course, the anxious one is the one with the pretty color. If I were breeding to make money he is the one I would breed, because his pups would look great posed in a cute little basket on my web page. His offspring would also stand a high chance of having poor temperaments.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
First, pretty much every purebred dog association has a code of ethics that forbids deliberate crossbreds. Therefore, the purebred dog clubs would say there is no such thing as an ethical doodle breeder. The question, then, becomes what flavor of bad you consider acceptable.

One thing to consider is whether the breeders health test their breed stock. Every dog breed has issues. Crossing two breeds doesn't guarantee hybrid vigor, despite the claims of unscrupulous breeders, and in fact might give you the health problems of both parent breeds. Therefore, it is extremely important for the breeder to do health screenings appropriate to both breeds before pairing the dogs. You want to see those results. Not, "Oh yeah, we took them to the vet and they passed everything with flying colors." No, you want to see the actual genetic (from a company such as Embark) and orthopedic (OFA.org, Pennhip, etc.) results.

Another thing is whether the pairing of the two breeds actually makes sense. Look at the purpose for which the parent breeds were developed. Standard poodles were originally bird hunting dogs. Their purpose was to go out in the field, wait patiently until told to go flush a pheasant or duck, then find the downed bird and bring it back. They needed to be smart, good tempered, and trainable to do their job. Miniature poodles were used for a similar purpose and were also used to locate truffles underground. If you are going to cross poodles to another breed, it makes sense to cross them to another breed that was used for a similar purpose. Labradors, Goldens, Cockers, were also bird hunting dogs. They have somewhat similar drives. Chances are the cross of an excellent poodle with an excellent Labrador or excellent Cocker will at least give you a good tempered and biddable dog.

However, these days a lot of doodle breeders are crossing breeds with completely unrelated origins. Yorkshire terriers were originally ratters. Unlike bird dogs, they were bred to work independently without input or direction from their masters. Sheep dogs were bred to work closely with their masters, but they were also bred to tirelessly push livestock around. Crossing in a terrier has the potential to dilute the biddability of the poodle, and crossing in a sheepdog has the potential to dilute the patience of the poodle. Therefore, I can't see the point of creating Yorkiepoos, sheepadoodles, bernedoodles, and all the other weird crosses happening today.

Unfortunately, yet another factor to consider in getting a doodle is whether the parents were excellent examples of their breed. In many cases they aren't. Right now I have a really nice tempered poodle and one who is a bit anxious. Of course, the anxious one is the one with the pretty color. If I were breeding to make money he is the one I would breed, because his pups would look great posed in a cute little basket on my web page. His offspring would also stand a high chance of having poor temperaments.
Hello Curls, and thank you for replying to my post!
One thing I’d like to point out is that a lot of the things you pointed out could also apply to purebreds. For example, if I were to get a purebred Golden Retriever, I’d still want those certified documents proving that they passed their health screenings. I’d also want the parents to be the best ones possible. Of course, these things apply especially for designer dogs, since most of the sources that will sell puppies are either puppy mills or backyard breeders. However, I still definitely agree with the things you said, at least everything except the first paragraph. That confused me a little.
Of course purebred breed clubs wouldn’t want their breed mixed with, since they want their breed staying as intact as humanly possible. Saying “The question, then, becomes what flavor of bad you consider acceptable“ makes me think that you stand by this opinion. I want to clarify one thing: I’m not criticizing you or anybody else who shares your opinion, I’m just a little lost to where your intentions where for this paragraph.
Thank you so much for your extremely in-depth response to my question, and thanks again for replying in the first place!
 

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Remember you asked. No, I don't think they're worthwhile. I think they're another marketing type thing driven by knowing people are always wanting new and different. So -- giants of breeds that aren't giants, teacups of small dogs that shouldn't be that small. Strange colors in breeds that don't have those colors without a secret cross to another breed. No one can convince me there aren't purebred dogs to satisfy any particular needs, and while a lot of mixes are great dogs, if that's what you want, why not adopt from a rescue or shelter instead of paying thousands to someone who is by definition a BYB.
 

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The replies above explain very well why you will struggle to find an ethical breeder.

But what do you think one of these crosses will offer you that you can't find in a well bred poodle, or maltese, or cocker? What is it that draws you to them? If it is the look, a poodle left in a shaggy clip is indistinguishable from some of the crosses (I say some, as a crossbreed dog's coat is unpredictable).

If you can tell us what you are looking for in a dog we may be able to make suggestions.
 

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The issue major issue I have with the modern doodle craze is that it starts with many false assumptions and makes many false promises.

Poodles are neurotic
Poodles are mean
Poodles are wimps
Doodles don't shed
Doodle coats are easier to maintain
Doodles are healthier

The better of my two poodles once had a kid unexpectedly run up to him and grab his ear hair while he was suffering from an ear infection. My cocker spaniel would have bitten the kid's face off. Heck, I would have bitten the kid's face off. My poodle merely whined, lowered his head, and made it very obvious he would be grateful if the kid let go. That's a dog with a good temperament. The same dog has the endurance to hike all day and the obedience to leave a dog in heat and return to me.

The original labradoodle was bred to meet the need for a non-shedding service dog. The breeder had tried training full standard poodles and was not satisfied with the results. Consequently, he took a SUCCESSFUL SERVICE DOG and bred her to a poodle. After working with the cross for a bit he ended up with a dog with the right temperament and size to be a service dog. My poodles have all been too smart for their own good. They want to solve problems their way; they detest micromanagement. They think constantly and come up with unusual solutions to problems I didn't think needed solving. It's like having Sheldon Cooper in a dog suit. They are also fiercely loyal; I think they would have difficulty recovering emotionally after being repeatedly moved from a puppy home to a service training home to their working home. Therefore, I can see why a service dog trainer might want to dilute the poodle intellect with the chill and optimism of a service bred Labrador. I have no problem with that.

However, I keep encountering doodles in training classes that could never cut it as a service dog and are even having trouble cutting it as a pet. It's like they got the worst of the cross instead of the best. About 3/4 are too small to perform guide or mobility support. (Yes, a smaller dog could still be a diabetes or epilepsy alert dog, but most are at the awkward size of being too large to carry and too small to handle most physical tasks.) About 3/4 are so anxious, hyper, or overly social that their pet owners struggle to keep control of them. As I mentioned in my earlier post, I think one of my two poodles is a bit anxious and reactive; I don't consider him good breeding material. Yet, in a room full of barking bouncing doodles, he's the one keeping his head together. Clearly whatever these doodles have been bred for, it's not temperament.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hello! Thanks for the replies :)

The replies above explain very well why you will struggle to find an ethical breeder.

But what do you think one of these crosses will offer you that you can't find in a well bred poodle, or maltese, or cocker? What is it that draws you to them? If it is the look, a poodle left in a shaggy clip is indistinguishable from some of the crosses (I say some, as a crossbreed dog's coat is unpredictable).

If you can tell us what you are looking for in a dog we may be able to make suggestions.
To answer this, I’m looking for a dog that‘s…
  • Relatively allergy-friendly, as two somebody in the home have mild to medium dog allergies
  • Flexible about exercise; probably will receive a 15-30 min walk most days with lots of indoor and outdoor playtime!
  • Content with chilling out on your lap after getting some exercise
  • Not too difficult to train
  • Doesn’t bark too much (we‘re okay with a little to medium barking, but not anything crazy!)
  • Is good with older children (ages 11 and 13)
If I remember anything else, I’ll add it! ;)
 

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I would look into adult rescue dogs if cuddling is important and you are only able to walk 15 to 30 minutes a day. Poodle and poodle cross puppies tend to be very high energy for the first year or two. They have two modes: play and sleep. Cuddling tends to be something they grow into later.

There are some Cobberdog breeders I would consider buying a puppy from. They are trying to stabilize the cross into a registrable breed, so some of them are putting quite a bit of thought and health testing into their programs.
 

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I agree that sounds like it's a bit light on exercise for most dogs. Could that be increased?

The crosses you suggested are not guaranteed to be non shedding, if a poodle is crossed with a dog that sheds. But some people are allergic to dander or saliva, and all dogs have these. Do you know what your family member is allergic to?
 

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While I have concerns for example, with the "hybrid breeding" of dogs of substantially different sizes (i.e. Pomsky) whereby the larger dog for example must be a female, the same could be said of Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann. His namesake's ancestry is believed to include, a small terrier ... same with the Miniature Pincher (+German Pincher / Italian Greyhound / Dachshund). Many of the ancestor breeds from this time have been lost to time.

AKC started in 1936 with 13 member clubs... now it includes over 150 breeds, subsets of the breeds have been developed to obtain desired results such as varying coats. This past January, AKC recognized two new dog breeds, the Russian Toy and the Hungarian Mudi. The Mudi has also been an internationally "recognized breed" since since 1936, the Toy since 1988.

It is certainly a controversial issue but I don't think it's what you are doing as much whether you are doing it responsibly and ethically. It could be argued that breeders of designer dogs at least have the advantage of today's science where as in the 1800s and before, they were just shooting from the hip. And it's not as if every one of today's breeders is bothering to to breed responsibly. Have to wonder how much of the anti hybrid animosity comes from the high price tag associated with many hybrid breeds.

As to the "moral superiority" claim, how does one make a determination that members of the American Canine Hybrid Club (ACHC) are any less professional and serious about their breeding programs than Breeders of Purebreds affiliated with the AKC ? Frankly, I have the same concern, even more so, w/ certain AKC breeds with high instances of genetic problems.

A business associate has a Labrador - Weimeraner mix. As a previous Lab Owner, her new arrivals came home 1-2-3 (breeder recommendation, phone call, visit to see the parents, pay the cash, take dog home). With the "Labmaraner" she was surprised at the process, though I imagine some of this is due to the high demand, breeds can afford to be more selective. She had to fill out an application, get "evaluated", allow a home visit and be interviewed ... she also received test results on both parents and (clear eye test, hip and elbow scores, PRA and DNA tests). Not exactly what you see happening in the pet store at the mall or even with many breeders who advertise online. Morally, I'm more comfortable with this hybrid, than I am with the Pug for example w/ hip displaysia found in 2/3 of those tested in a 36 year study as well as high incidences of breathing and other problems.

It's generally accepted that mixed breed dogs have less genetic disorders than purebreds ... for most genetic disorders this does not bear up under statistical analysis. However this does not hold true for many of the more common disorders such as dilated cardiomyopathy, dysplasia, cataracts, trachea related problems and hypothyroidism.

While it's certainly a worthy goal to have a dog that was bred to provide desired and behavioral traits desired or needed by the owner, it should always be done within the confines of a result where the quality of life for the dog is paramount. In short, while I can see the argument from both sides, the high incidence of genetic issues associated with various purebred breeds, doesn't exactly provide a platform to point fingers.
 

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I don't think any of us are pointing fingers. You won't get any argument that a truly responsibly bred cross is better than a poorly bred pedigree.

But, good breeders of crosses are rare. After going to the time, trouble and expense of doing the tests, it would be far easier to find a suitable pairing from within the breed, one that complements the dog you have. And to cross, you would need to find another owner who had not only done all the tests but who also was prepared to allow their quality dog to cross.

Your associate did well to find the dog that she got. Although I wonder how the competing breed traits manifested.
 

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I'll admit some of my prejudice has to do with the prices. Why exactly would anyone pay as much or more for some of these crosses as for one of the purebred parents? Why are some of these crosses being done? Not all of them have anything to do with allergies, and I doubt the percentage of the population that needs or wants a dog supposedly better for allergic people is high enough to provide homes for all these puppies.

A friend of mine recently found a stray female, 4-5 years old, in heat. From appearance, she thinks the dog is a Sharpei-pit cross. To her surprise when she did some internet searches on Sharpei she found there are people deliberately doing this cross. Why? Do you think there are people standing in line for pit crosses? The shelters are full of them. And if there is a market for this cross, which there must be, what kind of homes are they? Probably the kind who turn a 4-5 year old female in heat out on the city streets, no microchip, no identification.

My second prejudice is where the breeding stock comes from. It's true there are more irresponsible breeders of purebred dogs than good ones. And the irresponsible ones, with inferior breeding stock, are the ones who will knowingly sell a puppy to someone who plans to breed it to produce mixes. Alternatively, to acquire dogs to breed, the prospective breeder of designer dogs lies to a decent breeder, violates contract provisions requiring them to spay or neuter, and/or goes ahead and breeds in spite of having received limited registration papers -- after all they can't register the offspring anyway.

So as far as I'm concerned, no matter what health tests they do to represent themselves as responsible, these people are not. They're liars and cheats who've set out to make easy money off dogs. Not that there aren't people who do the same with purebreds. They do. They're called BYB and puppy mills and greeders. So the parent dogs are healthy. What about the grandparents, great-grandparents? What happens to the Goldenpoo that ends up with a Golden coat but was purchased by someone with an allergic kid who didn't even understand in the first place that even actual poodles aren't really hypoallergenic?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I would look into adult rescue dogs if cuddling is important and you are only able to walk 15 to 30 minutes a day. Poodle and poodle cross puppies tend to be very high energy for the first year or two. They have two modes: play and sleep. Cuddling tends to be something they grow into later.

There are some Cobberdog breeders I would consider buying a puppy from. They are trying to stabilize the cross into a registrable breed, so some of them are putting quite a bit of thought and health testing into their programs.
It probably is pretty low for most dogs, honestly. However, I believe we would have 30 mins+ of playtime, outdoors or indoors depending on weather. So, long story short, it isn’t just that! And for the cuddling, although it would be nice, we’re mostly just expecting the dog to be okay with some pets once the dog’s tuckered out. After all, how can you resist petting an adorable puppy??
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Oh, I forgot: size! My ideal dog would be from 10 to 20 inches tall, or from Bichon Frise height to roughly the height of a Portuguese Water Dog. For example, both a Maltese and a Yorkie would be too small, and a standard labradoodle would be too big :)
 

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Both a miniature poodle and a Lagatto Romagnolo fall into that size range. Both might be a bit high energy for your needs. Unfortunately, a lot of mid sized dogs are somewhat energetic, as their original purpose was hunting, verminating, or companionship to active people.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I think we could adapt and change for the dog; for example, I could do a 30 min walk daily instead of a 15 minute dog. Do you think a Bichon would work for us? It’s a little on the lower end of the size range, but with their sweet temperaments, I don’t think anybody in our household would mind :)
 

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Bichons are adorable. I think Bichons are truly the package people want when they go searching for miniature goldendoodles- affectionate, cheerful, sociable, non-shedding, smart but not over the top smart. They are just a bundle of joy and enthusiasm. It's important to get one from a good breeder, however, one who screens for things like patella problems.
 

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A Bichon does sound like a good fit.

Can I ask you to please read this thread about spotting puppy mills and buying safely?

 
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