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Do Doodle Dogs Shed and Cause Allergies?

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Whether doodle dogs shed is an important question perspective doodle owners should ask before investing in this mixed breed. Doodle dogs have been filling up new homes with their presence for many years now, and unfortunately, as it happens with the hype associated with many designer dogs, so are their numbers in shelters and rescue associations. Many doodle dogs are surrendered in shelters nowadays either because of behavioral problems or because they failed to meet certain expectations. One of the biggest expectations is whether doodle dogs shed and whether doodle dogs are truly hypoallergenic as they are often portrayed to be.

Picture of a labradoodle specimen.

Picture of a labradoodle specimen.

Different Types of Doodle Dogs

Nowadays, a vast assortment of different types of doodle dogs are available, but what are doodle dogs exactly? In the most basic sense, doodle dogs are purebred poodles that have been bred with some other type of dog breed.

Also known as poodle crossbreeds or poodle hybrids, doodle dogs have been on demand for quite some time.

There are many types of doodle dogs on the market nowadays. The most popular nowadays encompass the goldendoodle which is a cross between a Golden Retriever and a poodle, the Labradoodle which is the crossing of a Labrador and a poodle, the schnoodle which is a cross between a schnauzer and a poodle, the shihpoo which is the crossing of a Shih Tzu and a smaller breed of poodle, the Maltipoo which is the crossing of a Maltese and a small breed of poodle and the cockapoo which is a cross between a cocker spaniel and a poodle. These are the more common types of doodle dogs, but there are many others that are far less mainstream.

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As seen, what all these doodle dogs have in common is the fact that they are mixed dogs that all share a common factor: they are the final product of different purebred dog breeds bred with poodles. The fact that poodles are so much represented in the making of mixed breed dogs, suggests that poodles must be gifted with some appealing traits which makes them very desirable. The numbers of doodle dogs have been on the rise for quite some type, so what is all the hype about?

The Poodle Factor

poodle

Poodles are popular dogs because they are considered smart, easy to train (they were once used as circus dogs!), get along well with other pets, and make great family dogs.

Another advantage that a poodle has to offer is the coat. Unlike many dogs who have double coats made of two layers, poodles have a single layer coat which means they lack an undercoat. The poodle's coat is composed by individual hair follicles known for having an active growth period that is longer than several other dog breeds. On top of this, shed hairs tend to get trapped by the curly coat rather than ending up on the carpet, couch, upholstery and people's clothing.

The fact that a poodle's coat is prone to shed minimally is a great advantage, but it's a double-edged sword, for the fact that, any hairs that are shed, end up being trapped in the curly coat and will eventually form mats which may be difficult to remove. This means that poodles need to be brushed with religious regularity so to prevent all those trapped, shed hairs from turning into tedious and almost impossible-to-remove mats. This is why poodles are often listed among the most difficult dog breeds to groom.

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Because of the low shedding (well at least the perception of it, as the breed does shed, you just don't notice it much because it's all trapped), the poodle has been often described as being an hypoallergenic breed. This in great part has contributed to the great demand of poodle mixes for those folks who suffer from allergies. However, just because poodles don't shed much, doesn't mean this breed is allergen free! Sure, less shed hairs may mean less sneezing, but dog allergies aren't always caused by exposure to stray dog hairs around the house.

According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, allergies to dogs may be caused by exposure to allergens such as hair, dander, saliva and urine, (not to mention, indirectly by the dust and pollen that can collect on the dog's coat) and studies have shown all dogs produce allergens despite the hype about some dogs being "hypoallergenic."

do doodle dogs shed

Do Doodle Dogs Shed and Cause Allergies?

The poodle's reputation for being smart, easy to train and the misconception about the coat being perfectly suitable for people with allergies, is the main reason why doodles are so popular today, but do doodle dogs shed?

This is where things get tricky. While a poodle's coat is known for shedding minimally, there is no guarantee that this trait will be passed down when the poodle is crossed with other dog breeds. When crossing different breeds, traits passed from one generation to another are not as predictable as when breeding a poodle to a poodle. For this reason, mixed breed dogs are often considered to be wild cards genetically, meaning that unlike purebred dogs,they don't breed true.

It is very possible therefore for a doodle dog to extensively shed, cause allergies and even inherit other undesirable qualities from the parent breeds. There is ultimately no such thing as a dog that doesn't shed or a dog breed that is hypoallergenic, all dogs shed to some extent and all dogs have the potential to cause allergies.

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What the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology says in the following quote goes a long way: "While poodles, Portuguese water dogs and a number of other breeds (including several types of terriers) have a reputation for being hypoallergenic, a truly allergy-free breed does not exist."

There was even a 2011 study to prove this. In the study, dust samples from homes with dog breeds reported to be hypoallergenic were compared to samples from homes with other dogs. The results revealed that the levels of dog allergen in homes with dogs considered to be “hypoallergenic” were not different from the levels found in homes with other breeds.

However, despite this notion, when producing doodle dogs, it's the breeder's hope that the offspring will inherit all the good qualities of the poodle. Poodles have therefore been crossed with other breeds in hopes of passing down the desirable traits (and associated myths!) resulting in a mass production of doodle dogs often on behalf of puppy mills and unethical breeders. As much as these dogs can be adorable, whether doodle dogs shed is an important question and it's important to know the truth before buying: All dogs shed to a certain extent (some more, some less) and all dogs have the potential to cause allergies.

"The hybrid breeds are very attractive for the puppy mills to produce. They really cash in on the whole ‘hypoallergenic’ sales pitch that there are some dogs that don’t shed and that won’t aggravate some people’s allergies. Puppy mill breeders try to sell the notion that anything mixed with poodle is going to be hypoallergenic."~Kathleen Summers, director of outreach and research for Humane Society’s Stop Puppy Mills Campaign

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