Doodles

Fluffy lil nugget, Abbie. She’s 3/4 poodle and 1/4 cocker spaniel.

In the dog world, there is a lot of hate for doodles. They are popular and in huge demand. The public wants them and loves them. Yet just the mere mention of a “doodle” will raise many dog people’s hackles.

Mention you want to get a doodle and you’ll find people scoffing at the thought. Why not just get a poodle instead!? Well, first off, a doodle and a poodle are not the same thing. Implying that centuries of careful pedigree-based inbreeding to create a specific type in both looks and ability creates a dog that is the exact same as itself outcrossed to any other breed is a bit of a stretch. Though goldens and Labradors are the most common crosses and are also retrievers, not all doodle crosses double up on retriever. Regardless, doodles are not the same as poodles any more than a malinois is the same as a German shepherd despite similarities in appearance and behavior.

Then they recoil at the price and usually add some disbelief about paying that sort of money for a mixed breed dog. As if being able to trace a dog’s lineage back to the same ancestor(s) on both sides of the pedigree is the only indication of a dog’s value.

The most common rebuke over doodles, however, is that they’re poorly bred. This is not completely untrue; there are plenty of unscrupulous breeders of these so-called hybrid dogs. But this same problem exists in purebred circles, too. Plenty of breeders and/or puppy mills will mass-produce purebreds and “hybrids” alike; dogs bred just to turn a profit not for any betterment of breed or concerns about health. Just like in purebred dogs, there are also reputable breeders breeding doodles. Breeders who know the dogs in their lines, perform extensive health testing, interview prospective puppy buyers, and will take back dogs if circumstances change and the family can no longer care for the dog.

As much as doodles are ridiculed in the dog fancy, they are adored by the general public. There’s a reason these dogs are popular. They fill a niche that many purebred dogs don’t: they make good pets for the average family. I know people will argue there is a whole group of dogs bred for companionship and they’re shown in the toy group. However, not everyone wants a small dog. There is a huge lack of purebred dogs that are medium to large in size and make ideal family companions. Let’s face it, the goal of most purebred dog breeding is to maintain the working ability of the breed. Keep in mind that most of us no longer need dogs to fulfill that purpose. Most of us aren’t working large flocks of sheep, coursing hare for our next meal, or need help flushing game. The modern world doesn’t need dogs who can do things; we just want dogs who can fit in with our mostly sedentary lifestyle. While I’m a huge advocate for maintaining dogs’ ability to do jobs, I also recognize it’s mostly irrelevant these days.

Labradoodle (photo by Michelle Osborne).

There are also plenty of dog breeds that are known for not being good first dogs or a good fit for the average owner. Doodles, however, are pretty adaptable. They’re friendly and people like their look. Whether you are a doodle fan or not, these dogs are more suitable for our modern life than many purebred dogs. That is the purpose of breeding them and there’s a huge market for it.

At the end of the day, I think we need to step back and stop all the hate. You don’t have to like doodles but accept that lots of people do. (There are plenty of purebred dogs I don’t like either but I don’t go around hating on them just because they don’t suit my needs.) If you’re concerned about people buying dogs from unscrupulous places, work on educating people on how to choose a good breeder. Allow people to like what they like. We advocate so much for people making educated choices regarding the dogs they choose to live with. If a doodle is the right match for a family, why should that be considered such a bad thing?

About Jamie

I'm just a traditionally-trained artist with interests in dog training. I currently teach classes at the local obedience training club (tricks, freestyle, and Rally-FrEe) and I also teach classes professionally for an organization who helps veterans train their own service dogs.
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