Traits, Personality and Behavior
The Aussiedoodle is a cross between an Australian Shepherd and a Poodle, usually a Standard or Miniature Poodle. At his best, he is intelligent, friendly and affectionate. Depending on the size of the Poodle used in the cross, an Aussiedoodle's weight can range from 25 to 70 pounds.
Aussiedoodles have a moderate to high activity level. They need a good walk or active playtime each day, and they are athletic enough to participate in such dog sports as agility, fly-ball, obedience and rally. They can also be excellent therapy dogs.
Both of the breeds used to create Aussiedoodles are considered to be canine Einsteins. It's to your benefit to give the Aussiedoodle a job that will keep him busy, busy, busy. Teach him to find and bring you things, pull your gardening equipment around the yard, or anything else you can think of. Keeping him occupied will ensure that he doesn't go off and find his own (likely destructive) entertainment. But if you begin socialization and training early and use positive reinforcement techniques such as praise, play and food rewards, you will be rewarded with a wonderful companion.
Poodles have a reputation for being hypoallergenic, meaning that they can be tolerated by people who have allergies to dogs. Because they have the Poodle in their heritage, Aussiedoodles are sometimes promoted as being hypoallergenic. But allergies are caused not by a particular dog coat type but by dander, the dead skin cells that are shed by all dogs. There is no scientific evidence that any breed or cross breed is more or less allergenic than any other dog. Some people with mild allergies react less severely to particular dogs, but no reputable breeder will guarantee that her dogs are hypoallergenic.
Aussiedoodles can have different types of fur. Some have the long, straight hair of the Australian Shepherd, others resemble a Poodle with loose curls and some fall somewhere in the middle. They are not low-maintenance dogs when it comes to grooming. Depending on his coat type, plan to brush the Aussiedoodle at least every other day. If he has a curly coat, you may need to have him clipped every 8 to 12 weeks.
Aussiedoodles are companion dogs. They love being with people and need to live in the house, never outdoors. Aussiedoodle puppies are adorable, and it's one of the reasons they are so popular. Cute puppies sell, and that makes the Aussiedoodle a favorite of puppy mills and greedy, irresponsible breeders. But there's no need to pay big bucks for an Aussiedoodle. You can often find a wonderful example of this hybrid dog at your local shelter or through adoption organizations.
If you do choose to buy one, however, select a breeder who has done the health testing to ensure that her puppies won't carry the genetic diseases common to both Australian Shepherds and Poodles. And while there are no guarantees in life, it's also a good way to minimize the possibility of big veterinary bills in the future.
Health Issues Common to Aussiedoodles
All hybrid dogs have the potential to develop genetic health problems, just as purebred dogs can and just as all people have the potential to inherit a particular disease. Run, don't walk, from any breeder who does not offer a health guarantee on puppies, who tells you that the Aussiedoodle is 100 percent healthy and has no known problems, or who tells you that her puppies are isolated from the main part of the household for health reasons. A reputable breeder will be honest and open about health problems in the Aussiedoodle and the incidence with which they occur in her lines.
Aussiedoodles may develop health conditions common to both Australian Shepherds and Poodles, especially if you aren't cautious about whom you buy from. They include hip dysplasia, cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy, epilepsy, autoimmune thyroiditis and a skin disease called sebaceous adenitis.
At a minimum, ask the breeder to show evidence that both of a puppy's parents have hip certifications from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals and certification from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation that the eyes are healthy.
Do not purchase a puppy from a breeder who cannot provide you with written documentation that the parents were cleared of health problems that affect the breed. Having the dogs "vet checked" is not a substitute for genetic health testing.
5 Tips to Bring Home a Healthy Aussiedoodle Puppy
Finding a good breeder is more important than finding the right puppy. A good breeder will match you with the right puppy, and will without question have done all the health certifications necessary to screen out health problems as much as possible.
Consider an adult dog from a shelter or a rescue group. Many of the health problems in Aussiedoodles aren't apparent in puppyhood, but by adopting an adult dog, most of them can be ruled out. In addition, Aussiedoodles can live 10 to 13 years, so an adult dog will still be a part of your family for a long time to come.
Puppy or adult, take your Aussiedoodle to your veterinarian soon after adoption. Your veterinarian will be able to spot visible problems, and will work with you to set up a preventive regimen that will help you avoid many health issues. Ask specifically about dental care, as most toy breeds suffer from dental problems, as well as tips on dealing with tear staining.
Don't ever, ever, ever buy a puppy from a pet store. You're more likely to get an unhealthy, unsocialized and difficult to housetrain puppy and will be supporting the cruelty of high-volume puppy mills.
Make sure you have a good contract with the seller, shelter or rescue group that spells out responsibilities on both sides. In states with "puppy lemon laws," be sure you and the person you get the dog from both understand your rights and recourses.
Pet Insurance for Aussiedoodles
Pet insurance for Aussiedoodles costs more than for mixed breed dogs. This is because Aussiedoodles are much more likely than mixed breed dogs to make claims for hereditary conditions that are expensive to treat.
Embrace dog insurance plans offer full coverage for all breed-specific conditions (excluding those that are pre-existing) to which Aussiedoodles are susceptible. The best time to get pet insurance for your Aussiedoodle is when he's a healthy puppy. You can't predict what will happen in the future, and pet insurance is the one thing you can't get when you need it the most.