Updated: Sep 3
This blog post was last updated on September 3rd, 2023.
This Article is All 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 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 discover that this breed is ideally suited to your lifestyle!
But remember, that's NOT why I'm writing this article...
Our mission with Rebecca Creek Retrievers is to educate the public about Aussiedoodle puppy ownership and training. I am not fulfilling this mission without being completely transparent about the breeds and types of dogs we produce.
So why am I "dogging" on Aussiedoodles? I obviously like the breed since they are an integral part of my program.
I have come to appreciate, respect, and love the cross between the Standard Poodle and Australian Shepherd.
I have carefully procured breeding dogs of each pure breed that complement each other in temperament and structure.
Many breeders will take a Poodle and an Aussie (Australian Shepherd) and breed them together without consideration for structure or temperament. These breeders might be focusing on pretty merle coats or striking blue eyes.
Be Careful With Mini and Toy Aussiedoodles
There, I said it.
Oftentimes, miniature dogs are created simply by breeding only the smallest dogs from every litter. These small dogs are coupled, and the smallest pups are kept and bred. And the cycle continues.
Sometimes, no consideration for health, structure, or temperament is taken into account because the main focus is size.
I'm not saying that all miniature dogs are poorly bred.
I would love to have someday miniature varieties of my well-bred poodles and hybrids (doodles). Still, I've yet to find breeding dogs that exemplify their standard counterparts in structure, temperament, and health that are owned by breeders who will share them with me.
If you want a mini doodle (Aussiedoodle mini size), please consider finding a breeder who rigorously performs health and temperament tests.
Pedigrees Are Important
Please look for a breeder with registered dogs or one who can provide, at minimum, three-generation pedigrees for every breeding dog.
Registration is not as important as having honest pedigrees. A dog can be unregistered, but the breeder can still have access to quality pedigrees that show that dog's lineage. This is important to prevent inbreeding.
Without a pedigree, a breeder cannot be sure if they are inbreeding. Because "mini Aussies" are not registerable, while Miniature American Shepherds are, many breeders of mini and toy Aussies do not have pedigrees. They cannot effectively prevent inbreeding in their programs.
An ethical breeder will be willing to furnish a copy of pedigrees for their dogs upon request. A pedigree is not the same as registration papers.
A dog's pedigree refers to the lineage or family tree of the dog, including information about the dog's ancestors and their characteristics. On the other hand, dog registration papers officially register a dog with a particular organization, such as the American Kennel Club (AKC) or United Kennel Club (UKC).
The Miniature American Shepherd
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. His owner called him a "miniature Aussie." We proceeded with caution. We met the dog, and he wasn't miniature at all! He was a slightly smaller-than-normal Aussie. We interacted with him over a weekend vacation and just knew that Chet (the Aussie) and our small Standard Poodle, Chloe, needed to have puppies.
Please notice a few things about Chet, the Miniature American Shepherd pictured above. He is much smaller than an Australian Shepherd; however, he looks identical to one in structure and other physical features. He does not have short legs and prick ears. He looks like an Aussie, only smaller!
This proper structure indicates sound breeding decisions by his owner and we are so proud to have Chet at the foundation of our Aussiedoodle lines.
Chet comes from the foundation Miniature American Shepherd stock. Many dogs from this original breeding stock are not registered with large pedigree databases such as the AKC.
The Miniature American Shepherd was created by carefully breeding small Australian Shepherds together over many generations. The Miniature American Shepherd is now an AKC-recognized breed thanks to the hard work of hundreds of focused breeders!
DNA testing when we bred Chet & Chloe showed that Chet was Australian Shepherd.
We recently DNA-tested a litter of Chet's descendants, and the results came back with "Miniature American Shepherd" present in place of Australian Shepherd! Genetics are so interesting, and the companies that offer these testing services are constantly evolving to keep up with changes in the registries, such as the AKC.
We made a calculated but great choice to pair Chet & Chloe together back in 2018. The puppies were not only gorgeous, but they were sweet, intelligent, and entertaining. They remain to be one of our most popular litters to date.
We learned a lot from the first litter of Aussiedoodles. We knew that we would need to continue to carefully select breeding pairs based on structure, health, and especially temperament. These Aussiedoodle puppies displayed a very balanced mix of herding and protection traits from the Australian Shepherd (or Miniature American Shepherd), as well as the enhanced intelligence and composure of the Standard Poodle.
Three Generations in the Making
We kept one of the pups from that very first litter of Aussiedoodles out of Chet and Chloe, born in 2018, so we could someday breed back to a Standard Poodle to create even more predictability in coat type and temperament.
The puppy we kept from that first litter of Aussiedoodles is named Opal. She is a red merle Aussiedoodle. She whelped three outstanding litters for our program and has helped us grow our Aussiedoodle lines.
Opal matured to be one of the most amazing dogs we have been privileged to own. She was raised in a Guardian Home and spent a lot of time here with us, too.
Opal displays minimal herding behaviors but is fiercely loyal and quietly protective of her family. She finished her training at just 1.5 years of age to become an Aussiedoodle service dog for her owner.
We are so proud of Opal and her breeding and training accomplishments!
Here is a video of Opal the F1 Aussiedoodle:
We bred Opal to a black poodle named Otis two times. We kept a puppy named Sadie from one of Opal and Otis' litters that was whelped in 2020.
Sadie is cream in color. When we chose to keep Sadie, we considered things like health, structure, and temperament.
Sadie had a curly coat and did not test positive for merle. This is important because the cream coat color can hide a merle coat pattern, and all cream Aussiedoodles should be tested for merle before breeding!
Sadie is now of breeding age and has matured into a phenomenal Aussiedoodle. Sadie represents our second generation of Aussiedoodles! She is considered an F1b Aussiedoodle.
Sadie does not display any herding behaviors. She is fun to train, spunky, and active like the Australian Shepherd. She is witty and uber-smart, like the Standard Poodle. Her Guardian Home raised Sadie, and her favorite thing is to go squirrel hunting with her owner.
We hope Sadie will make her debut as a mother in 2023! Sadie's puppies will represent our third generation of Rebecca Creek Retriever Aussiedoodles!
Here is a video of Sadie the F1b Aussiedoodle:
For Opal's third and final litter in 2021, we bred her to our Goldendoodle stud, Duke. We called these puppies "Golden Aussiedoodles."
These puppies were particularly impressive! We DNA-tested every puppy. Most were perfect combinations of all three breeds, composed of 25% Miniature American Shepherd, 25% English Golden Retriever, and 50% Standard Poodle.
We chose to try this cross because we wanted to bring in some of the English Golden Retriever sturdiness (structure) and add even more genetic diversity to our Aussiedoodle lines.
Remember, an Aussiedoodle is a mixed-breed dog. Why not add a bit of Golden Retriever to enhance this fantastic cross even more?
Here is a photo of one of Opal's Golden Aussiedoodle puppies:
We decided to keep River from this 2021 litter and add her to our breeding dog lineup for our Aussiedoodle lines! So far, River is maturing to be a beautiful dog and a well-behaved, loyal, intelligent, and trainable Aussiedoodle.
We hope River will make her debut as a mom in 2024! River's puppies will also represent our third generation of Rebecca Creek Retriever Aussiedoodles.
The same year we bred Opal to Duke (2021), we bred Opal's mom, Chloe, a Standard Poodle, to a small Australian Shepherd named Oakley. Oakley is a registered, purebred Australian Shepherd who belongs to an Australian Shepherd breeder in Texas and his breeder is terrific!
This litter of F1 Aussiedoodles born in 2021 was another excellent example of this famous doodle cross! We kept a puppy from this litter and placed her in a Guardian Home. We named her Oakley, after her sire.
Oakley displays some herding characteristics and many retriever characteristics! She lives with her Guardian Home on a 100-acre farm in Missouri! It's a little far from our home here in South Texas, but her owners are family members, and we couldn't be happier about the extra-special life she lives.
Oakley enjoys herding and protecting her flock of chickens! Sometimes she is even caught eating a few of their eggs. I guess it's fair payment for such quality guardianship!
We hope Oakley will make her debut as a mom in 2024!
So, we have been working through several generations to continue producing the best Aussiedoodles!
Look For a Discerning Breeder
Between 2020-2023, I retired three purebred Australian Shepherd puppies & dogs that I had purchased from other ethical breeders. I withdrew all these dogs from my program before I bred them!
I am sharing the following information without photos or identifiable information regarding the breeders of these puppies and dogs. The breeders I worked with were responsible and ethical, and in every one of these situations, these breeders made ethical decisions to help me place these puppies and dogs in loving pet homes.
Ethical breeders understand that despite our best efforts in health testing and selecting compatible breeding pairs, many things like genetics can still be out of our control.
That is why looking for a breeder with health testing and temperament testing practices is imperative. It is also essential to purchase a puppy with a very sound purchase contract and comprehensive health warranty.
One puppy that we purchased in hopes of him becoming a stud for our program was diagnosed with congenital eye defects at just a few months of age. This was discovered through my routine but rigorous health testing practices. Thank goodness I opted for eye certification through a board-certified opthalmologist! This defect would have most certainly been passed on to offspring.
I spent thousands of dollars on purchasing and testing this puppy, only to have to retire him early from my program. This puppy was placed in a loving pet home that understands his condition.
Another puppy that we purchased with hopes of him becoming a stud for our program was diagnosed with elbow dysplasia at just over a year of age. We raised this puppy for an entire year from 8 weeks of age and fell in love with him! We discovered his elbow dysplasia right before we officially began his orthopedic testing. He started limping one day, and we proceeded with radiographs of the joints. We were saddened to learn that we could not breed this beautiful puppy.
I spent thousands more dollars on purchasing and health testing this puppy and a full year of raising and training him in our home, only to have to retire him early from my program. This puppy was also placed in a loving pet home that understands his condition.
We purchased a 1-year-old dog from a breeder to breed her someday to produce Aussiedoodle puppies. After owning her for an entire year and watching her fully mature into a 2-year-old dog, we decided that her temperament was not the right fit for what our customers look for in an Aussiedoodle puppy. This dog was very healthy and sound! She was also very sweet and loyal. But she had way too much energy and herding drive for our comfort.
This decision was particularly difficult. It's one thing to retire a puppy or dog early because of health issues. It's especially difficult to retire a friendly, beautiful, healthy dog due to minor temperament nuances.
However, this is where Rebecca Creek Retrievers and other very discerning Aussiedoodle breeders stand apart from backyard breeders. We select only the very best of the best to breed and propagate our lines!
Look for an Aussiedoodle breeder with these same standards.
Look at the Combination of Breed Specific Traits
Poodles are retrievers. Australian Shepherds are not. Aussies are herding dogs. So the thought of crossing the two breeds made me cringe before I carefully tried it myself. And the practice of crossing these two breeders together 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!
I am experienced in owning, raising, training, and breeding breeds: the Australian Shepherd (and similar Miniature American Shepherd), and the Standard Poodle. I'm also experienced in owning, raising, training, and breeding the Aussiedoodle!
Here is the potential problem with pairing an Aussie and a Poodle. Two breeds with conflicting instincts (retrieving vs. herding) will not always complement each other as a breeding pair.
Please ask your breeder how they choose their breeding pairs and how those pairs will complement each other. Ask to see photos and videos of past puppies and pictures and videos of how these puppies have matured into functional adult family pets.
An ethical breeder should be more than willing to answer questions like these about her dogs and their breeding choices.
Are You Ready to Become a Dog Trainer?
Aussiedoodles can be phenomenal dogs when bred using careful calculations and scrutiny from breeders.
Selecting complimentary breeding pairs will result in puppies that are intelligent, sweet and charming and that have appropriate energy levels and impulse controls.
Health testing all breeding dogs thoroughly helps us choose breeding pairs with a high chance of producing puppies without inherited health issues.
We have found that our Aussiedoodle puppies often display both instinctual behaviors of herding and retrieving very well.
These herding behaviors are not usually apparent until 10-12 weeks of age and sometimes much later. 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 clothing or body parts while you or your children are walking (attempting to herd people)
Jumping up and nipping at the face in an attempt to get your attention
Chasing, barking and biting moving household objects such as brooms, mops, etc. (attempting to herd these items)
Chasing, barking, or nipping small children and/or small animals
High-pitched, incessant barking triggered by movement or excitement
Trying to suppress these instinctive behaviors forcefully or simply ignoring them will create a very naughty dog with uncontrollable neurotic urges and behaviors.
These instinctive behaviors require intense obedience training and proper daily stimulation to relieve 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 to keep your Aussiedoodle happy and well-behaved.
We send all of our puppies home with a FREE 6-week online puppy training course because we believe in early obedience training and proper socialization. We highly recommend starting your obedience training with Baxter and Bella's Online Puppy Training School if your breeder does not offer free training for your puppy. Once you have completed your training units with Baxter & Bella, we recommend meeting with the trainers to evaluate how you will manage your Aussiedoodle moving into adulthood.
Color or Health?
I want to address another aspect of the Aussiedoodle: coat color and markings.
Australian Shepherds are a breed built around recessive color genetics and susceptible color gene mutations. These include the recessive "tan point" (phantom) genes and the dominant merle mutation. That's right--the merle color gene results from a mutation.
When breeding dogs are selected and paired with a primary focus on color traits, other essential characteristics such as health, structure, and temperament are de-prioritized or ignored.
We select our breeding pairs for health, structure, and temperament first. Our litters include various colors and patterns: 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 complement each other in health, structure, and temperament, with little regard for color or pattern except for the merle mutation.
Merle dogs attract a lot of attention. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so I can't say that merle dogs attract attention simply because they are beautiful. However, there is no denying the fact that they are indeed very unique in appearance!
Merle is a color mutation that does not behave the same as other color traits. Two merle dogs should never be bred together, as this can result in blind and deaf puppies. When two merle dogs are bred together, the puppies are known as "double merle." Double merle puppies often have severe, life-altering health problems, as described above.
All merle dogs should undergo extensive health testing before breeding to ensure that they do not have any health problems related to this mutation.
Some dogs are genetically merle (they carry the merle mutation) but do not have a merle coat pattern. They are known as "cryptic merles" or "hidden merles." This trait can be especially dangerous because these dogs do not look like merles but have the potential to pass on the merle mutation to offspring. If a cryptic merle is bred to a merle, the resulting offspring can be double merle, meaning they are at a high risk of being born with severe congenital defects.
This is why finding a breeder who thoroughly health tests their breeding dogs and understands how genetics work is crucial when looking for an Aussiedoodle puppy.
Your dog's color will not affect your lifelong relationship with the dog.
It is crucial to keep the above statement in mind when looking for an Aussiedoodle puppy for sale because it's true! The color of your puppy will not determine the puppy's temperament or personality. But the color of your puppy might affect his health. Take all of this information into account when interviewing breeders.
We subject all our breeding dogs, including our merle dogs, to rigorous health testing to ensure that breeding pairs will produce puppies with a low risk of being born with health issues.
So, Are You Ready to Adopt an Aussiedoodle?
Do you think an Aussiedoodle is the right breed for you and your family?
I recommend having a family meeting and writing down all the things important to you in a brand-new puppy for your family.
Remember that your new puppy might live 10-15 years, decide what traits or attributes may affect your long-term relationship with him.
Keep reading to find a checklist to help you make this critical 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. Your Aussiedoodle puppy's eye color will not be a reflection of his adult temperament and personality.
I want an Aussiedoodle because they are merle! Not all Aussiedoodles are merle. Color and coat pattern will not affect your lifelong relationship with your Aussiedoodle.
I want an Aussiedoodle because they don't shed! Aussiedoodles are not hypoallergenic. The Aussiedoodle is a mixed breed dog; unless you DNA test each puppy, you will not know their coat genetics or whether they will shed. Most Aussiedoodles will shed a little bit. If you have severe allergies, proceed with caution. Also, keep in mind that lower shedding equals 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 mixed breed dog resulting from two very different pure breeds. While your Aussiedoodle may remind you of your past Aussies, it will remain a very different type of dog and should not be compared to a purebred Aussie or a purebred Poodle. Remember, lower shedding equals more grooming. Your Aussiedoodle will need regular grooming by a professional, whereas an Australian Shepherd would not.
I want a more miniature doodle. I don't want a big dog! The Aussiedoodle is a mixed-breed dog. Predicting adult size based solely on your puppy's parents is an uphill battle. Adult size and weight depend on many generations of genetics. Your breeder needs to be knowledgeable about their parent dog's 3-4 generations back to accurately predict adult size and weight.
I want an Aussiedoodle because they are so smart! Aussiedoodles are easy to train if you are an experienced trainer or follow a structured training program such as Baxter and Bella. Aussiedoodles are more intelligent than you can prepare for, which means without training, they will create their own rules (and you will NOT like the rules they come up with!).
Why We Love our Aussiedoodles
We LOVE our Aussiedoodles! After our first litter was such a success, 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 are unique to the breed:
Aussiedoodles are lower-shedding dogs than their purebred Australian Shepherd counterparts. The level of shedding will vary significantly between puppies and puppies in the same litter. However, we appreciate that Aussiedoodles shed less than Aussies and are typically 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 hands-on with your dogs and love to train, this breed is for you! Aussiedoodles thrive with constant engagement and stimulation. The sky is the limit regarding what you can teach these dogs. Our Aussiedoodles outsmart and outperform even our purebred Poodle puppies and consistently surpass them in training classes.
Aussiedoodles are HILARIOUS! 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. Like the Australian Shepherd and the Poodle, 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?
What About Aussiedoodle Rescue?
Typing "Aussiedoodle rescue near me" or even "mini Aussiedoodle rescue near me" may heed a few pages of confusing and sporadic search results. There are no rescues to date that specialize in the Aussiedoodle. In other words, no Aussiedodle Rescues offer Aussiedoodle puppies for adoption. There is no Aussiedoodle Rescue organization in Texas.
Adopting a rescue Aussiedoodle can be risky and may not be a good decision for a beginner dog owner. Oftentimes a rescue Aussiedoodle has behavioral problems that make the dog difficult to own as a pet. The rescue Aussiedoodle may also have health problems that caused it to be surrendered.
Ethical breeders require their customers to contact them before rehoming their Aussiedoodle. If you find a rescue Aussiedoodle chances are it did not come from an ethical breeder. Please do your due diligence in considering the possible implications of adopting a rescue Aussiedoodle.