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If you’re interested in dogs, unless you live under a rock you’ve probably heard of a doodle. Goldendoodle, Labradoodle, Mini-doodle, Sheepadodle, Great Danoodle (that one was new for me), Bernadoodle, Dalmadoodle, Schnoodle, the list goes on and on and on. It seems like every breed of dog that has ever existed has now been bred with a poodle. But why? There’s two main reasons: Poodles are hypoallergenic and they don’t shed.

The first doodles were created to make it possible for people with allergies to have a guide dog. If you haven’t read it, check out this article from the inventor of the doodle. But what it has become today is far from the original goal…

We’ve now gone beyond the allergies and added the nuisance of dog hair to the list. Having dog hair all over your house is annoying. A doodle can solve that. Doodles take the hypoallergenic and no shedding characteristics of a poodle and pass them on to another breed. This is great, right?

The problem is not all doodles are created equal. Many breeders will tell you their doodles are hypoallergenic but no dog is 100% hypoallergenic. Allergens are carried in dead skin cells, saliva and urine making it impossible for any breed to be completely allergen free.

The generation of the dog also matters because it affects the Poodle mix. This article does a great job of explaining the generational differences. F1B generation doodles are generally the best for allergies. This is a first generation doodle bred with a poodle creating a dog that is 25% original breed and 75% poodle.

Shedding will vary but all generations have at least light shedding. First generation doodles can vary greatly in coat length with some very shaggy and others very curly. As you go down multiple generations the coat will be more predictable.

The other thing to consider is the quality of the breeder. Doodles are now notorious for puppy mills. Once people realized they could get a lot of money for a doodle puppy all kinds of breeders popped up. Unfortunately many do not practice responsible breeding causing inbreeding and false paperwork.

In the end, the best thing to do with any doodle is spend time with the puppy before buying. Visit the breeder, play with the puppies for a while and see if your skin gets irritated, watch for loose hairs and get to know the dog. Even an hour or so will tell you a lot.

Breeders will tell you what you want to hear. Many will go so far as to lie and tell you their dogs are 100% hypoallergenic but that’s just not true. Full pedigree helps but the in-person time is priceless.

What other options do you have?
While doodles have become very popular for those suffering from allergies, there are other options. Bichon Frise, Schnauzers, Yorkies, Shih Tzus, Maltese, Portuguese Water Dogs, Scottish Terriers, Westies, Havanese, Afghan Hounds, Cairn Terriers and Lhasa Apsos are all just as hypoallergenic and, as an added benefit, they also shed very little.

And if you’re looking for all of the characteristics of a Poodle…get a Poodle.

Update: check out Your Dog Advisor’s extensive article on labradoodles for more detailed information regarding the breed and doodles in general.