Yeah, not knowing what you will get from the cross can be difficult. Livestock hybrids are similar in that fashion.
And yes, different people love different dogs, so certainly doodles aren't for everyone. We live in a family of eight with six kids, seven dogs, and on 10 acres. The kids are home schooled so are home all the time, which means that we get constant interaction with our dogs. They have two acres with a pond fenced in for them and the temperature swings where we live are intense, so the variable coat is very helpful (below -0 F during the winter and above 100 F during the summer).
However, their personalities can be like night and day depending on the cross. Their coats also very a lot. All our retriever mixes have wavy to curly coats that only shed a little or not at all, but some doodles mixed with dogs that naturally have short coats may be more allergenic or prone to shedding (such as bulldogs, pugs, hounds, ect). These breeds seem to be greasier as well.
Some of our dogs don't really enjoy training or want it, my dog adores it like its the best thing in the world and can learn a trick in one day (oops, am I bragging? Lol
Our Maltese x Poodle is aloof, prefers not to be held or petted, disobeys a lot, and has TONS of attitude while our Australian Shepherd x Poodle puppy is about as smart as smart can be and always wants to be with you. He does, however, try to herd the other dogs during walks, which drives them crazy.
Our pure poodle isn't much one for training, he's a bit of a chicken actually, but he loves to cuddle all the time and loves to go on trips to friends houses, where he just sits next to them and helps keep them calm. He's really good at that, but he is also very selfish in that when you don't pet him, he taps you with his paw over and over and over! Even when you are trying to write!
Our mini Goldendoodle Cedar is sweet, funny, but suffers from anxiety. He developed it after his best friend and adopted father, Arby, passed. We thought he was having a seizure because he was shaking so hard (and another of our dogs has had them as well) so we held him and told him it was okay, which enforced the behavior. It took months for him to stop having panic attacks whenever something exciting happened.
Our oldest dog, our 90 lb goldendoodle, is very sweet but has arthritis in both his back hips, just like his brother. Because of this, he barks to ask us to help him stand up a lot (and barks for fresh water, and food and walks) but he is a very gentle, sweet, playful old dog that is completely a puppy at heart.
Our ****-a-poo has a curly, beautiful coat but tends to get slobber on her muzzle (from her big lips) so needs it shaved to keep her from growing bacteria in it and smelling terrible. She also doesn't like being held or snuggled (seems to be a girl thing with our dogs) and is the one who has fought with our other girl, the malt-a-poo. These two girls are the two that don't behave, use the bathroom in the house, sneak on the table, don't come when called, are bad on walks, and also they escape from our fence. This is our experience with girl dogs, but they are very aggressive around here. Esther (our ****-a-poos name) was fixed but unfortunately still goes into heat regularly, which affects her behavior. She is very gentle towards us, but tends to confuse the poor boy dogs.
Anyways, she is very sweet, even if she barks a lot at nothing (tends to more when we haven't walked the energy out of her).
We've also owned and pet-sat another ****-a-poo, a spaniel mix (perhaps part shih tzu?), a long-haired dachshund and pug mix, a labradoodle and the labradoodles daughter (both of her parents were labradoodles) among other dogs.
The ****-a-poo was an unfixed, teenage male puppy-mill dog that we took in and he had MAJOR behavior issues. Poor breeding, socilization, and being taken from his mother too early led to him not knowing how to behave around dogs or people, peeing in the house all the time, and acting like a total weirdo (such as jumping out of high windows and running into things) but I can't blame the poor guy, it was mostly how he was raised.
Same for the pug mix and spaniel mix, one was a puppy-mill dog bought at a pet-store by a friend and so he had no idea how to behave what so ever (still doesn't since he wasn't raised properly or exercised enough) and he trained the young pug mix (who was from the shelter) to behave like him.
The two labradoodles equally were not raised in a proper environment, the mother was raised in a barn I think, so she is terrified of being indoors and of loud sounds, strangers, ect, but is very out-going, hyper and even aggressive outdoors (she tired to kill one of our other female dogs before she found a new home). We had given her a home from our cousins, who had bred her once and found breeding dogs was not for them. Her daughter lives with her but is equally nervous, aggressive, and prone to barking, jumping on you, and all that. It drives me crazy, but again, this was how they were raised and exercised as well as behavior.
Don't get me wrong, their owners love them and walk them and train them well, they live in a home with an autistic child and do wonderfully with him, they just don't do so well when they come to our house where they suddenly feel the need to show our dogs who is boss.
We also pet-sit a tiny (tiny, tiny compared to our dogs at least!) yorkie mix, not sure what the other breed is, but it makes him hypoallergenic to some extent (at least with our family, who seem most affected by dogs with short, greasy coats). However, once more, not raised in a proper fashion originally. He is a rescue who lost half his teeth, has severe allergies towards foods and perhaps other things as well (he chews himself a lot) but he is still a sweet, lively little guy.
We've worked with pure pugs, a pure saint bernard, pure dachsund, pure shih-tzu and pure Irish setter. The pugs both had health problems (one didn't develop all the bones in its back legs and is on multiple medications) and the Irish setter was poorly bred, aggressive, and obsessive over flies and other insects she sees. She has fought with our dogs and likes to chase motorcycles. The pugs were very, very sweet but caused some allergies and could easily suffer breathing issues, over-heating, leg issues, and needed their face wrinkles cleaned.
The Saint Bernard is a wonderful dog at her own home, but she does seem to show some aggression, and because of gigantism likely won't live more than 6-8 eight years.
The Dachsund died early from bloating and had back issues from dwarfisim but other then that was actually a well behaved girl and very sweet.
The Shih-tzu is a tiny dog with dwarfisim, back issues, and is very delicate as well.
We have worked with other dogs as well. Many are mixes because we live in the country, so a lot of people adopt from friends, find lost dogs, or get shelter dogs. We've seen an old, arthritic lab that lived for a surprisingly long time and is very well behaved. We've seen a lab mix who is now blind and mostly deaf, but other then that was very well behaved (now he is easily frightened, as would be understandable). We've also met other labs, mixes, and pure dogs.
All in all, I guess the point is, we have never had a dog as healthy as you would see if people selected for healthy dogs and their behavior problems do come in part from their breed, but they only misbehave because the owners did not do research into proper dog keeping and often bought them at too young an age, which causes major behavioral issues in almost all mammals (our crazy, aggressive cat was an orphan that we raised. You don't dare touch him unless he asks for it). Okay, I'll admit it, it drives me CRAZY that people could breed a dog that dies in 5 years after living a painful life where the owner suffers and has to pay for expensive medication. That is pretty cruel to the poor owners to sell them a dog that can't live a natural, long, healthy life. There, I ranted some. I feel better.
So not all doodles are perfect, but then again, no dogs are. I just love dogs, and I love individual breeds, but because of the home we live in as long as the dogs don't shed a lot and aren't too aggressive, we can keep them.
Wow, that was a long post. I love talking about dogs though! Finally a place where people like to hear it too! Thanks guys for listening.