As long as I can remember, I have loved animals. In my childhood we had horses, bunnies, cats, hermit crabs, and my favorite of them all, dogs. Our beloved Retrievers were not allowed in the house because of our severe allergies. This is not a problem that only my family encountered. In the early 1990s, a blind woman in Hawaii needed a service dog, but her husband was allergic to all dogs that shed. Because they most commonly use Labradors and Golden Retrievers as service dogs, this was a dilemma for them. Her friend, Wally Conron, decided to help her out by breeding a Labrador Retriever with a Standard Poodle.
Poodle mixes are the most popular mixed breed, or “designer dog” as many call them, in the world. They are considered a designer breed because both parents are a pure breed but differ from the other. These hybrids are intelligent, happy, fluffy, and most are hypoallergenic. This makes them ideal for people like me with allergies. Doodles are energetic and love to be around people, which makes them a perfect dog for families.
These dogs are crossbreeds, so there is no guideline on their appearance or temperament. My two dogs, Leo and Teddy, are very different. Leo is intelligent, loves children, is very sweet, and enjoys swimming with my boys. On any given summer day, you can find him sliding into the pool or jumping off the rocks amongst all the kids playing at my house! Teddy, on the other hand, likes to chill inside our house in his favorite chair. He is docile, obedient, and captures the hearts of all who meet him. These dogs take the phrase “puppy dog eyes” to a whole new level. Leo and Teddy spend their days following me around the house, often greeting my friends when they stop by. When nighttime comes, they are the first to hop into our bed and make themselves comfortable. Have you ever seen a dog sleep on his back? Teddy snuggles between us on his back with his head on our pillow.
My dogs are Goldendoodles, a mix of a Poodle and a Golden Retriever. They both have hair like a Poodle and shed very little, but their demeanor is that of a Golden Retriever, sweet and playful. These crossbreeds have become so popular in the past few years that there are now sixty-one different Poodle mixes. Some of the most common ones are Labradoodles (Labrador Retriever/Poodle), Goldendoodles (Golden Retriever/Poodle), Aussiedoodles (Australian Shepherd/Poodle), Bernedoodles (Bernese Mountain Dog/Poodle), and Sheepadoodles (Sheep Dog/Poodle). This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are even Bassetdoodles (Basset Hound/Poodle) and Great Danoodles (Great Dane/Poodle).
My first encounter with a doodle happened one day as I drove down Moore’s Lane. Hanging out of a car window with her gorgeous white fur blowing in the wind was Duchess, Larry Sims’ Goldendoodle. Since he is the Associate Pastor at First Baptist Church, Duchess would attend occasional church events. At these gatherings she was sweet, gentle and adored by the children. It made me curious about the breed, so I started researching. With their increased popularity, it was easy to find loads of information about doodles, and more specifically, Goldendoodles, which was the one I wanted. Since there is no outline on what size, color or type of hair the dog will have, it is important to find a reputable breeder or rescue group. We have two Doodles from different backgrounds, and although they are opposites in so many ways, they both have a gentle temperament. Even when Leo lies on the dining room table and Teddy eats two of our chairs, life is simply better with them in it. These dogs are interwoven into every facet of our lives. So many of my friends have doodles, and we are like giddy parents sharing the newest trick they have learned. Since Leo is an avid swimmer, Teddy had to discover his own talent: tetherball player. He can beat me, which isn’t a huge feat, but he also gives my three boys a run for their money. When you open your home and heart to a doodle, it’s comparable to opening a present on Christmas morning; it’s intriguing, exciting, and you never know what you are going to get! Although my love for doodles is clear, every dog owner feels a special bond with his/her dog. Life is simply better with a dog (or two) in it.
A thought from Dr. Randy Murray, a local Veterinarian at Westridge Animal Hospital...
The doodle rage has certainly taken Texarkana by storm over the last five years. For the most part, they are a fabulous breed in temperament and trainability. They are very kid friendly; they don’t shed (or rarely), and they tend to be very adaptable and highly intelligent. From a health standpoint, my greatest concern lies in how wildly popular they have become. Almost every breed has been “doodled” at this point. Unfortunately, it is frequently forgotten that Standard Poodles, at least, have an above average inheritance of structural issues such as hip and elbow dysplasia and certainly an above average manifestation of skin allergies. At a minimum, all doodle breeds should be certified by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals as having healthy hips and elbows. Couple this with thorough questioning of breeders as to allergy issues of the puppy’s parents, along with multiple references that can be spoken to with dogs over three to four years of age. After this due diligence, pick your adorable puppy and enjoy!"