We have all heard the tale of the legendary hypoallergenic dog: the poodle mix. A furry friend that doesn’t shed that we can bring into our home without the worry of runny noses, itchy eyes, and constricting airways. For those of us that suffer from allergies associated with man’s best friend, this can sound like the holy grail of pets. Unfortunately, with poodle mixes, it is not as cut and dry as one may have thought.
Not every poodle mix is hypoallergenic. Generally speaking, poodle mixes are less likely to shed hair and dander which causes allergic reactions in people However, there are no truly hypoallergenic dogs. The non-poodle parent’s breed will have the most influence on whether your poodle mix is hypoallergenic or not.
Thankfully for all of us that love dogs, poodle mixes might just be the right choice for those that are allergic. While there is no guarantee that a poodle mix is hypoallergenic, there are a lot of reasons why this type of dog is worth looking at if you are thinking of expanding your furry family.
In this article, we will take a more in-depth look at poodle mixes and how they might be the right choice for those looking for a pet that won’t have them reaching for the antihistamines.
What Does it Actually Mean to Have a “Hypoallergenic” Poodle Mix?
First off, let’s clear something up. There is a common misconception that anything that is deemed “hypoallergenic” is wholly and one hundred percent incapable of causing an allergic reaction. This is, unfortunately, not the case. (Bummer!)
Hypoallergenic means that something is relatively unlikely to cause a reaction in those that are allergic. So, if you are very sensitive to dog allergens, like dander, saliva, and shed hair, it is still possible that you can suffer symptoms even around animals that might be considered hypoallergenic. Even the best groomed, least shedding, expensively bred dog could cause an allergic reaction.
Fortunately, for those of us that suffer from canine allergies, there have been some advances in dog breeding that have produced some crossbreeds that are much less likely to present a problem in those with allergies.
In the 1950s a new type of dog emerged and quickly grew in popularity due to tales of its hypoallergenic properties.
Though these claims may have been a bit exaggerated, it certainly did not slow the growth in popularity of the poodle mix, commonly referred to as a doodle.
Which Poodle Mixes are Hypoallergenic?
First came the poodle. First bred in Germany, or possibly France, as a hunting dog used to retrieve waterfowl, the breed has been around for a long time. Considered to be one of the most intelligent breeds, they are also highly energetic, and very sociable, playing well with other dogs and people alike.
Their intelligence lends well to obedience training and loyalty, making them one of history’s most popular breeds. Their curly coat is low-shedding as well. The hairs instead of shedding, curl around each other instead of dropping off completely.
The poodle was the perfect ingredient for a new type of dog. A cross-breed, or poodle mix, is formed when a poodle parent mates with a dog of another breed. The most sought after poodle mixes tend to be the ones that maintain the trademark curly coat and lack of undercoat.
Enter the doodle, the common term used for poodle mixes. While there is no truly hypoallergenic dog breed, doodles are considered to be the most hypoallergenic dogs. They come in all shapes and sizes with all manner of incredible names. Here we have some of the most popular hypoallergenic Poodle mixes with their non-poodle parent breed.
Here are seven of the most popular hypoallergenic poodle mixes:
- Cockapoo – Cocker Spaniel Mix – The original doodle. Small, sweet, and smart.
- Goldendoodle – Golden Retriever Mix – known for its large size and playfulness.
- Yorkipoo – Yorkshire Terrier Mix – A unique small doodle with luxurious hair.
- Schnoodle – Schnauzer Mix – Popular for its low shedding, shaggy coat.
- Labradoodle – Labrador Retriever Mix – Currently the most popular doodle.
- St. Bernadoodle – St Bernard Mix – Universally loved, this is a Big Dog with a Big Name.
- Sheepadoodle – Old English Sheep Dog Mix – Distinctive coat and colorations.
And the list goes on. The mixed breeds are endless. Endlessly adorable and widely variable depending on the combination. All with what makes poodles the great dogs they are. There are a plethora of reasons that poodle mixes have become the couture breed of dogs in recent times. Depending on what size, shape, and temperament of dog you are looking for, there should be a doodle for you.
Are Doodles Better For People With Allergies?
The answer is, possibly. Doodles can be a great choice for someone who is allergic to dogs but just can’t resist the thought of bringing one into their life. These dogs are not guaranteed to be hypoallergenic, but they are less likely to cause a reaction, or at least a milder one. It is important to remember this and to weigh all options before you bring a dog into your home.
Is Any Dog Mixed with a Poodle Hypoallergenic?
There are a few pieces of anecdotal evidence that may show why any poodle mix is the choice for people who are allergic. The biggest factor in why these dogs are often considered to be hypoallergenic is in their curly, silky hair.
Curly Hair Is Better
Another misconception about Doodles is that they do not shed. Every dog sheds, it is just a matter of how much. If a doodle gets its hair type from its poodle parent it is less likely to be a heavy shedder. The curly hairs do not drop as easily as they wind around each other.
This is definitely a benefit and helps to keep allergies at bay and keep the house clean, but it also means that they need regular grooming in order to stop mattes from forming in their curls.
The most common source of allergens comes not from the hair itself, but in dry skin cells that shed from the animal called dander. In breeds that shed a lot, the dander flakes off with the shed hair follicles and can hitch a ride, spreading the potent allergen far and wide.
Doodles have a secret weapon when it comes to helping them deal with their dander, and it has been shown to help those with allergies better tolerate these breeds. Here are some ways their special hair type can help allergy sufferers. As well as your rugs, clothes, and bedding.
A doodle naturally controls Dander because:
- They Shed Less: Shed hair can act as a vehicle to spread allergens throughout the home. It can also be unsightly. Those of us with white animals can attest to this whenever we try to wear black. Doodle breeds tend to have silky, curly hair that sheds far less than most other breeds, though it is not guaranteed that every pup in a doodle litter will have this quality.
- They Lack An Undercoat: Most dogs have two coats of hair, to help them regulate seasonal temperature changes. Doodles lack this secondary coat or undercoat. This means that they are less likely to shed the softer, finer hairs that can irritate someone with allergies.
- The Curls Catch Dander: It is thought that because of the shape of a doodle’s curly hair, and the fact that it is less likely to shed hair, is the reason why poodle mixes can sometimes be more tolerable for people with allergies. The curly hair may catch the dander so that it doesn’t disperse as easily.
- They Are Easier To Groom: Since the curly hair traps dander and shed hair, it is easier to manage a doodle’s hair with regular grooming. Without that pesky undercoat, you won’t be left with a dog-sized pile of hair afterward either.
Can a Hypoallergenic Poodle Mix Still Cause Allergic Reactions?
Even if your doodle has curly hair and sheds very little, there are a few other things that you can still be allergic to. Unfortunately, it’s not just the dander and the hair that you could be allergic to, and no matter the breed, these could still cause problems in some people.
These are some other things you should rule out before considering owning a poodle mix:
- Saliva: Some people can have allergic reactions to proteins present in dog saliva. Because dogs groom themselves with their tongue this can make shed hair in the home a potent source of allergens.
- Urine And Feces: Similar proteins to those found in saliva can also be found in a doodle’s waste. Even in trace amounts, this can cause a reaction in some people. Regardless of breed or hair-type, this can present a problem.
Reducing the Risk of Allergic Reactions Caused by a Hypoallergenic Poodle Mix
Fortunately, there are some simple home remedies that can help to further eliminate any stubborn allergens. Thankfully, these are mostly cheap and easy routines that can save you a lot of headaches, literally, and even be beneficial to your dog’s health. Doing these things will not only reduce allergens, but they will help you and your dog live a happier healthier life as well.
Reduce the risk of allergic reactions by:
- Give Your Dog A Bath: Giving your dog frequent baths can help to make sure that their dander does not spread willy nilly throughout your home. Bathing your pooch with a moisturizing shampoo weekly can significantly cut down on your chances of feeling ill.
- Give That Dog A Brushing: A daily brush can help keep their skin and coat healthy and vibrant by spreading their natural oils evenly. Do this outside to eliminate any chance of dander getting in the house. And, if you are sensitive, wear a mask.
- Purchase High-Quality Food: Fido deserves the best, and by feeding them high-quality food, they can more easily maintain healthy skin and hair. Look for something with naturally occurring omega fatty acids and a brand that doesn’t use grains.
- Get A Good Vacuum: There are a lot of vacuums on the market that specifically aimed at homes with pets. They have special filters that help to reduce allergens, and piles of hair, keeping your home free of dander and other allergens.
- Get An Air Purifier: Having an air purifier in your home can help with pesky airborne allergens and irritants, as well as keeping the air in your home cleaner overall. It can be especially effective to have it in the bedroom, doubly so if you make the bedroom a no pet zone.
What Makes a Poodle Mix Unique? The Positives and Negatives
First, a little doodle history. In the 1950s the first doodle was born. From a Cocker Spaniel and a Miniature Poodle, came the Cockapoo. A small, quiet fluffball that loved everyone and was an instant sensation.
Then, in the 80s, Wally Conlon bred a standard Poodle with a Labrador Retriever, creating the most well known of the doodles, the Labradoodle. Since then, the doodle craze grew, and as word of their hypoallergenic nature grew demand for the dog spread worldwide.
Now that we’ve gotten past all of the hypoallergenic hullabaloo, we can take a look at what makes poodle mix dogs so popular. It’s not just their propensity to be low-shedding and easily tolerated by those of us who are allergic. The different crossbreeds of the doodle stand out on their own for a number of reasons.
- Fabulous Hair: Probably the most sought after quality of the mixed breed is in their soft and curly hair. They get that from the poodle parent. Their coat is actually a lot closer to human hair and isn’t actually considered to be fur. Their single coat and ringlet curls give them their trademark look and their propensity for being tolerated by those with allergies.
This mostly comes from the poodle parent but when the breed is mixed with other curly-haired breeds you can get even more dramatic curls. Cockapoos, Goldendoodles, and Yorkipoos can all have long, luxurious locks that could give their human’s hair envy.
- Healthy & Happy: Purebred dogs can suffer from hereditary and congenital defects that can run quite rampant through breeds due to inbreeding. Since poodles are already a relatively healthy breed, when we crossbreed we get a healthier pup, thanks to the mixed genetics.
Because of this, poodle mixes can be expected to have less health problems and live longer, happier, lifespans. Their usual life expectancy is between 10 to 15 years, giving them a longer life than a lot of their non-poodle parent breeds.
- Highly Intelligent: Another trademark quality that is mostly inherited from the poodle parent is a high degree of intelligence. Some of the most popular cross-breeds involve other intelligent breeds, like Border Collies, Labradors, and Golden Retrievers, which results in some very smart pooches with a lot of personality. Because of their level of intelligence, they are quick learners and take well to puzzle games, obedience training, and tricks.
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- Sweet Disposition: The poodle namesake produces a dog that is loyal, quiet, affectionate, and an excellent family dog, tolerating children and other animals well. It is a rare trait for doodles to inherit any sort of aggression from either parent. This makes poodle mixes an excellent option for families. Because of their high intelligence, they are prone to boredom and need routine stimulation for a happy healthy dog.
- Born Athletes: Doodles love to be active and have boundless energy when it comes to playing. They are great for active lifestyles, playing with kids and other dogs, and they relish exploring nature or splashing in the water.
Since poodles were originally bred as duck hunting dogs, doodles share their proclivity for swimming and water-bound activities. While they are great adventure dogs, and always ready to go, they are rarely opposed to a good lazy cuddle.
- Size Matters: Because poodles come in three sizes: Standard, Miniature, and Toy, their crossbreeding options are vast. This means that you can get the best of both parents in a tailor sized dog.
Goldendoodles, when bred with a standard-sized poodle parent can grow to over one hundred pounds, whereas the mixes using Toy Poodle parents can be just a couple of pounds.
- Aesthetically Pleasing: Well-bred doodles are truly a pinnacle of canine breeding. They are not only engineered to be a perfect family companion, they are beautiful dogs. Though not recognized as a true breed, they turn heads as easily on the sidewalk as noble breeds like Afghans and Shar Peis. Owning a doodle, to some, is akin to owning a fine piece of art.
So, you can see that there are a lot of great qualities that set poodle mixes apart from other breeds and hybrids. Like most things in life, there are some downsides, even with the beloved doodle.
Poodle Mix Negatives
- They Are Expensive: Don’t expect to find a doodle pup from a reputable breeder for under $1200. Don’t be surprised to see pups from well-respected breeders in the $2000 – $3000 dollar range.
Since the best hybrid dogs come from the parents of two well-bred dogs of pedigree, the cost of maintaining a healthy breeding program can be steep. But you get what you pay for and for that price you get an intelligent, low allergy dog, with a low likelihood of developing diseases common in breeds of equal price.
- Grooming Requirements: The curly hair that doodles inherit from their poodle parents is not considered to be fur, but hair. Because of this, it needs a little bit more maintenance, just like your own head of hair. They need a lot of brushing to prevent mattes and chording as well as skin problems. And let’s not forget that brushing and bathing help to cut down on allergens in the home.
Also, their hair does not stop growing like fur does, which means that they might need to go in for a trim now and again if their hair becomes unmanageable. This may just be that you need to snip their hair to keep it out of their eyes, or you might need to trim it all down at the groomers to keep them looking and feeling their best.
- They Aren’t The Best Guard Dogs: Poodles are not big-time barkers and they aren’t overly territorial. While this is great for those looking for a quiet friendly dog, it doesn’t make for the greatest home security system.
This trait is common in their doodle offspring as well, seemingly even breeding out the guard dog traits of the other parent. A loyal doodle will defend its family if it feels that they are in danger, but that doesn’t mean it won’t calmly watch as a burglar ransacks your home while you’re out.
Any aggressive or territorial behavior is considered a fault in both poodles and their hybrid offspring. So, don’t expect a junkyard dog, though that’s probably not the case if you’re reading this article.
- They Require Attention: Intelligent breeds need a lot of stimulation. If left to their own devices they can be destructive and develop mental and physiological issues. If you’re looking for a low energy dog that will be content to lay around the house, a poodle mix hybrid might not be the right dog for your household.
Because they are so smart they need a lot of interaction with their humans and other animals. Mental stimulation in the way of games, toys, and exploration as well as physical stimulation to burn off those kibble calories, is required to have a happy healthy doodle.
Some smaller doodle breeds are more inclined to smaller apartment living, though they should still get a good daily dose of fun and exercise.
- They Can Be Theft Targets: Around two million dogs are stolen in the United States every year. And only around ten percent of those dogs that were taken were ever returned to their homes. Dog thieves steal dogs to sell at half their price or to enroll in their own breeding programs.
It is unfortunate but it is one of the hard truths of the world we live in. Owning any sort of purebred dog or designer dog can put you at a higher risk of dog theft. While this isn’t necessarily something that should dissuade you from getting a dog, it is something to consider if you plan on bringing a doodle home. It would be wise to make security changes to your yard and home to protect your pup.
- Hybrids Can Be A Gamble: When doodles are puppies, which is most likely when you will pick your dog from the litter, it can be impossible to tell what traits, if any, they inherited from their poodle parents. You could still end up with a dog that sheds quite a bit or even has an undercoat.
You can lower your chances of this by choosing a hybrid with another low shedding parent breed like a Schnauzer or a Bichon. And remember, even if this is this case, you could still get a dog that sheds, after all your due diligence. Since no dog is truly hypoallergenic, there is always that chance that you could gamble with your allergies and lose.
- Adopt Over Designer: This topic comes hand in handy with purchasing a designer breed dog. There are over three million dogs adopted every year from shelters who otherwise would not have a happy home.
And the numbers aren’t going down. It is something to keep in mind when looking for a dog. An adoption is a great option where you not only spend less money, but you save a dog who otherwise might not have such a great life or future.
There is a chance that you could find a low shedding dog that needs rescuing as well. Just something to keep in mind in your hunt for a hypoallergenic dog.
Poodle Mixes: In Conclusion
We’ve learned that no dog is truly hypoallergenic, and that applies to poodle mixes. It is true that you have a higher likelihood of finding a poodle hybrid that is less likely to cause a problem with your allergies but it is a case by case scenario.
By doing your research with a breeder, as well as examining all of the different categories of doodle mixes, it is likely that you can find a dog that will work for you if your allergies are not too severe. It is worth noting that even after all that, you could still have an allergic reaction to the saliva or even the urine of a dog. That is definitely something to check before you commit to purchasing, or adopting any dog.
We learned what makes poodle mixes such great dogs, as well as what might make them not the right choice. Doodles truly are incredible animals. They are beautiful and intelligent animals that anyone would be lucky to have as part of their family.