I try to write this blog with an open mind; honest I do. I know mix-breeding isn't the problem, the people doing the breeding are. I know there are muttpuppies out there whom I'd be sad to see go if they were suddenly wiped off the earth a la the dinosaurs*, like Goldendoodles and Labradoodles and cockapoos. I don't blame you if you want a schnoodle; I think they're cute, too. (But then, I'm a weirdo who loves a dog in a beard.) What I CANNOT figure out, though, is why some people breed poodles to certain other breeds of dog. Is it because people want the other breed of dog, but are allergic? Is it because they can't handle Breed B's temperament and would prefer a watered-down version?
The Weimardoodle, for example. You heard me. The Weimardoodle. People are breeding Weimaraners to poodles. For real. Why??
Some mixes stump me because they seem so utterly superfluous, like Maltipoos (small, "hypoallergenic" lap dogs) or Newfie/Labs (they both like water and kids and are big enough to wrestle with, which is important if you're a little kid - or maybe a big dog - at heart, like me). On the other end of the scale are these mixes so unnaturally suited it fairly boggles the mind. I just can't put an independent, aloof, territorial "dog-savvy owner only" dog together with a poodle, in my head. It doesn't make sense to me. Even when I think, okay, maybe a watered-down version of a Weim wouldn't be so bad, why can I still picture half these dogs ending up in shelters?
Like most of the working breeds that wouldn't automatically make you think "family dog", Weimaraners have their devotees and fanbase, and that's where the majority of them go. The devotees and fanbase know how to handle a Weimaraner. Unfortunately, most would have no interest in a Weimardoodle. And Weimaraner genes can make for a difficult dog, trust me. Looking on Petfinder in my province, there are an awful lot of Weims out there, the majority of them young, and I can see eight on the first page alone are mixes. (Mostly Weim/Labs, to be fair.) So I'm a little baffled.
Then there's Shepapoodles; German shepherd/poodles. When we know (don't stone me for this) in the wrong hands German shepherds can develop an aggressive streak. And BOTH breeds are among the world's top three most intelligent dogs (both second to my dog who walks into doors. Go team!). Remember my rule of thumb: The smarter a dog is, the more of a moron it thinks you are. "Smart" does not always mean "trainable". I sense the Shepapoodle would sit firmly in the "smart" camp, and not come out right away if you called it.
Same thing with the Min Pin/poodle mix - and the Pekingese mix we looked at last week. God, I hope none of these mixes ever take off. Let's face it, dogs should only ever be crossed for two reasons:
1) To have a function (go low-shedding service dogs!)
2) To be, as Linny said, happy, healthy family pets.
The Weimardoodle is not the average dog, and the odds are good that it won't make such a happy family pet. The Shepapoodle, "Pinschoodle" and Pekeapoo are looking pretty iffy too. If you want an independent-minded dog and can handle one, you're looking at a GSD or Weimaraner. If you want a family pet who will romp with the kids, you're looking for something tried and true (and predictable).
Decidedly NOT a GSD or Weimaraner (or poodle mix thereof).
Poodle genes are not a magic cure for a strong temperament, people. WHEN WILL THESE BREEDERS LEARN? (Worse still: what will they think of next??)
*I'm willing to bet the dinosaurs' problem was that they decided to form nation-states and establish boundaries and trade their natural resources, and considering dogs' thought processes mostly revolve around how to steal that tempting little snack off the kitchen table**, these muttpuppies are reasonably safe for now.
**If you're an aging (but sprightly, when it suits you), crafty beagle who's getting tired of raiding the garbage, you've figured out how to leap onto a pushed-out chair and then onto the table in order to snarf an entire loaf of bread which was going to be lunch the next day, and it wasn't even your owner's bread because she's on vacation; no, it was your dogsitter's, and now you're lying in the corner groaning because you have a bellyache and may require a visit to the vet, I hate you, Duchess.