Why you shouldn't adopt an Aussiedoodle
Updated: May 8
No, really--this blog entry is actually about why you should NOT adopt an Aussiedoodle!
This isn't one of those click-bait articles with an intriguing title that is meant to draw you in and then, WHAM--the article is actually about why you should adopt an Aussiedoodle.
That isn't what I'm doing here.
I want to talk to you about Aussiedoodles, and why they may not be a good fit for your family.
And in learning why they may not be a good fit, you may actually discover that this breed is absolutely perfectly suited to your lifestyle!
It is my mission with Rebecca Creek Retrievers to educate the public about retriever ownership and training. Without being completely transparent about the breeds and types of dogs that we produce, I am not fulfilling this mission.
So why am I "dogging" on Aussiedoodles? It is obvious I like the breed, since they are a huge part of my program. I have come to appreciate, respect, and love the cross between the Standard Poodle and Australian Shepherd.
I have also very carefully procured breeding dogs of each pure breed that compliment each other in temperament and structure.
Many breeders will take a Poodle and an Aussie, and breed them together with no consideration towards structure or temperament.
Be careful with "mini" Aussiedoodles.
Oftentimes, "miniature" dogs are created simply by breeding only the smallest dogs from every litter. These small dogs are bred together, and then the smallest of those pups are kept and bred. Sometimes, no consideration for health, structure, or temperament are taken into account. Because the main focus is size.
I'm not making a blanket statement that all dogs of the miniature variety are bad.
I would love to someday have miniature varieties of my well bred poodles and hybrids, but I've yet to find breeding dogs that exemplify their standard counterparts in structure, temperament, and health.
If you want a "mini" doodle, please consider finding a breeder that rigorously health tests and temperament tests.
Question a new Aussiedoodle breeder
It took me almost 10 years to finally cave in and attempt my first Poodle/Australian Shepherd cross. My husband has a family member with a phenomenal small standard Australian Shepherd. We met the dog and interacted with him over a weekend vacation, and just knew that Chet and our small Standard Poodle, Chloe, needed to have puppies.
We made a great choice. The puppies were not only gorgeous, but they were sweet, intelligent, and entertaining. They remain to be our most popular litter to date.
We are now breeding one of the pups from that litter back to a Standard Poodle to create even more predictability in coat type and temperament.
However, we learned a lot from that litter of puppies.
It was immediately clear that the personality and instinctual traits involved with crossing these two breeds was going to be a challenge in selecting good breeding pairs in the future.
Proceed with caution
Poodles are retrievers. Australian Shepherd are not. "Aussies" are herding dogs. So the thought of crossing the two breeds used to make me cringe. And it still makes me proceed with great caution and careful planning.
A new breeder is probably not experienced with owning and training both breeds, the Poodle and the Australian Shepherd. I wasn't, either!
Here is the problem. Two breeds with conflicting instincts (retrieving vs. herding) are not always going to compliment each other as a breeding pair. In fact, dare I say, most of the time they are not going to compliment each other.
Please be prepared to ask your breeder why they have chosen their breeding pair and how that pair will compliment each other. Any ethical breeder should be more than willing to answer questions like these about her dogs and her breeding choices.
Are you ready to become a dog trainer?
Aussiedoodles, when bred using careful calculations and scrutiny from breeders, are phenomenal dogs. Selecting complimentary breeding pairs will result in puppies that are intelligent, sweet and charming, and that have appropriate energy levels and impulse controls.
We have found that our Aussiedoodle puppies display both instinctual behaviors of herding and retrieving very well.
These herding behaviors are not usually apparent until 10-12 weeks of age. This is typically after puppies move in with their new families. These behaviors will surprise a family that is not prepared for them. Herding behaviors can manifest in the following (but not limited to) ways:
Nipping at heels while you or children are walking
Jumping up and nipping at the face in attempt to get attention
Chasing, barking, and biting moving household objects such as brooms, mops, etc.
Chasing, barking, and biting small children and/or small animals
High pitched barking triggered by movement or excitement
Trying to suppress these natural herding behaviors, or simply ignoring them, will create a naughty dog with uncontrollable neurotic urges and behaviors.
These herding behaviors require intense obedience training and proper daily stimulation in order to releave the pressure of these instincts . We encourage owners to provide an outlet for these behaviors (rather than attempting to suppress them) such as lure coursing, herding trials, or even just playing a nice long game of fetch every day! These instinctual behaviors need to be appropriately fed and nurtured in order to keep your Aussiedoodle happy and well-behaved.
We highly recommend starting your obedience training with Baxter and Bella's Online Puppy Training School. Once you have completed their Units, we recommend having a meeting with the trainers to evaluate how you will manage your Aussiedoodle moving into adulthood.
Color or health?
I would like to address another aspect of the Aussiedoodle-color and pattern.
Australian Shepherds themselves are a breed that was built around recessive color genetics, as well as highly sensitive color gene mutations. These include the recessive "tan point" (phantom) genes, and the dominant merle mutation.
When you select breeding dogs primarily for color traits, you are inherently ignoring other important traits such as health, structure, and temperament.
We select our breeding pairs for health, structure, and temperament first. You will find that our litters include a variety of colors and patterns, including black, brown, apricot, cream, merle, phantom, parti, and abstract. We embrace all of these colors and patterns.
We are breeding Aussiedoodles because we enjoy their personalities. We are selecting breeding pairs that compliment each other in health, structure, and temperament, with little regard for color or pattern.
The color of your dog is not going to affect your lifelong relationship with the dog.
So, are you ready to adopt an Aussiedoodle? Do you feel that an Aussiedoodle is the right breed for you and your family?
Here is a checklist to help you make this important decision.
Why you shouldn't adopt an Aussiedoodle
Remember how this blog post started? Let's get back to that. Here are the most popular reasons people adopt Aussiedoodles, and why you should not if these are your reasons:
I want an Aussiedoodle because they have blue eyes! This is a vain and insignificant reason to adopt a dog that needs specialized care and training.
I want an Aussiedoodle because they are merle! Not all Aussiedoodles are merle. Color and coat pattern will not affect the lifelong relationship between you and your Aussiedoodle.
I want an Aussiedoodle because they don't shed! If a breeder tells you that Aussiedoodles are hypoallergenic, they are either uneducated or they are lying to you. Purebred Poodles do not shed. Australian Shepherds do. Most Aussiedoodles will shed a little bit. If you have severe allergies, proceed with caution. Also keep in mind that lower shedding means more grooming.
I want an Aussiedoodle because I had Australian Shepherds growing up, and now I want one that doesn't shed. An Aussiedoodle is not an Australian Shepherd. It is a hybrid dog resulting from two very different pure breeds of dog. While your Aussiedoodle may remind you of your past Aussies, it will remain to be a very different type of dog and should not be compared to a purebred Aussie, or a purebred Poodle. Also, let me repeat: Lower shedding means more grooming.
I want a smaller "doodle." I don't want a big dog! Remember that brief discussion about miniature Aussiedoodles earlier in this blog post? Proceed with caution! First of all, the Aussiedoodle is a hybrid. Predicting adult size based solely on your puppy's parents is an uphill battle. Adult size and weight depends on many generations of genetics. Your breeder needs to be knowledgeable about their parent dog's 3-4 generations back in order to accurately predict adult size and weight.
I want an Aussiedoodle because they are so smart! Back up to our discussion about training earlier in this article. Aussiedoodles are easy to train if you are an experienced trainer or if you are following a structured training program such as Baxter and Bella. Aussiedoodles are smarter than you can prepare yourself for, which means without training, they will create their own rules (and you will NOT like their rules!).
Why we love our Aussiedoodles
We absolutely LOVE our Aussiedoodles! After our first "trial litter," we decided to work towards making the Aussiedoodle a permanent part of our program.
Here are some things that we LOVE about our Aussiedoodles that we feel are unique to the breed cross:
Aussiedoodles are most definitely lower shedding dogs than their purebred Australian Shepherd counterparts. The level of shedding is going to vary greatly between puppies, even between puppies in the same litter. However, we do appreciate that they shed less than Aussies, and are easier to groom than purebred poodles.
Aussiedoodles are SO MUCH FUN to train. This is a double-edged sword, as discussed earlier in this blog post. If you are not interested in becoming a dog trainer, this is not the breed for you. Aussiedoodles will develop very naughty habits quickly without training. However, if you are very hands-on with your dogs and love to train, this is the breed for you! Aussiedoodle thrive with constant engagement and stimulation. The sky is the limit in terms of what you can teach these dogs. Our Aussiedoodles outsmart and outperform even our purebred Poodle puppies, and always surpass them in training classes.
Aussiedoodles are HILARIOUS! The combination of the aloof and witty Poodle combined with the goofy and wiggly Aussie is magical. These puppies are just fun to sit back and watch.
Aussiedoodles are loving and loyal. Just like our other breeds and hybrids, these dogs love their people and are undyingly loyal to their owners.
Aussiedoodle Adoption Checklist
Are you ready to become a dog trainer?
Proper training requires time and money. Are you ready to invest both into your puppy?
Are you ready for the grooming requirements that low to non shedding dogs come with?
Are you ready to spend 4-5 hours a day training, caring for, and playing with your Aussiedoodle?
If your schedule does not allow for that time, are you ready to hire a qualified individual to step in and help?
Please feel free to contact us at any time with questions regarding this article! We are happy to help.
Happy trails and wagging tails,
Liza Marie Moon
Rebecca Creek Retrievers