Traits, Personality and Behavior
The Doxipoo's grooming needs will vary depending on his coat, but all Doxipoos need regular, even daily, brushing. Those with the curlier Poodle coat require grooming every 4-6 weeks. Some owners learn to use the clippers and do the job themselves, but most rely on professional groomers. Either way, it's essential to take proper care of the coat, because without regular grooming it will quickly become a matted mess that can cause painful skin infections at the roots of the hair.
The Doxipoo's ears need to be kept clean and dry -- of particular importance if your dog goes swimming. Trapped moisture in the ear canal can lead to bacterial and fungal infections, and repeated infections can cause so much damage to the ear canal that the dog will lose his hearing. Severely affected ears may require surgery to control the infections.
He's very likely to be a particularly active dog, and will need more than just a romp around the backyard to keep him out of mischief. He's not a good choice for life in the backyard, no matter his size -- unless you like the idea of a dog that barks and digs all day long.
At his best, he should be friendly, people-oriented and easy to train. Considering that this mix seems to have developed from the idea that the name was cute and marketable by puppy-mills and pet stores, this dog will more likely be a mess of the combined genetic problems of his ancestors, without the benefit of the kind of health and temperament testing done by good breeders. And don't take that lightly: The Poodle and the Dachshund suffer from a number of serious genetic problems, and the Doxipoo is at risk of all of them. That risk may be slightly less in a mixed breed dog than in a purebred, but it's still present.
It can be extremely difficult to find an ethical breeder who is dedicated to producing healthy, temperamentally sound pets from genetically tested backgrounds. There are a number of reasons for this, but the main one is that almost no ethical Dachshund or Poodle breeders will allow their dogs to be used in breeding Doxie/Poodle mixes, and it can be quite difficult for Doxipoo breeders to continue to find Poodles and Doxies to use to produce new generations of Doxipoos.
However, there are rare Doxipoo breeders who are genuinely trying to produce healthy companions and family dogs, who want to combine the intelligence, trainability and non-shedding coat of the Poodle with the bold nature and distinctive looks of the Dachshund.
Variations of the Doxipoo
Even more than most "designer dogs," the Doxipoo's looks are unpredictable. Even littermates can vary a great deal in size, color and coat type. Doxipoos are also very diverse in temperament, activity level and health risks, depending on which traits are inherited from his parents. The words "crap shoot" come to mind in describing this mix.
Both Dachshunds and Poodles come in a variety of sizes, and the Doxipoo can weigh anywhere from under 10 pounds to 30 or more. His coat might be the curly Poodle coat, or it might be fluffy, scruffy, long, short, or pretty much anything you can imagine other than hairless, thanks to the influence of a variety of coat types from the Dachshund side.
Health Issues Common to Doxipoos
Doxipoos are susceptible to the health problems of both the Dachshund and the Poodle, although possibly at a lower rate than purebred dogs. Unfortunately, both the Dachshund and the Poodle suffer from more than their fair share of genetic disorders.
The Doxipoo can suffer from back problems inherited from his Dachshund parent. Because of the breed's long spine and low-slung frame, normal canine behavior like jumping off the sofa can result in a slipped, pinched, herniated or ruptured disc. Dogs can be injured or left paralyzed even in relatively mild play. Even when mildly injured, such dogs can sometimes show defensive or what seems to be aggressive behavior at other dogs -- or children. It can be a challenge to give a Dachshund or a Dachshund mix that has inherited the "weiner dog" look enough exercise to keep him mentally stimulated and physically fit without also harming his back.
Back problems are made considerably worse if you allow your Doxipoo to become overweight. Keeping your dog on the lean side will help, as will training him when young to use ramps to access sofas, beds and other high surfaces. If your dog seems stiff, reluctant to move, or as if he's in pain, seek immediate veterinary attention.
Like all breeds with floppy ears, the Doxipoo can suffer from an increased risk of ear infections. And both the Poodle and the Dachshund are prone to a condition known as "bloat and torsion," which is a life-threatening emergency where the stomach twists around, trapping air inside. Dogs that bloat need immediate surgery to save their lives.
Don't rely on a breeder's assurance that your puppy will be free of these or any other problems; ask to see written documentation that his parents were tested for them, which good breeders will be proud to show you. Tests include Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) certification of hips, knees and elbows; Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) clearance; a history of spinal x-rays on the Dachshund parent.
Make sure to have your Doxipoo's eyes examined once a year by a board certified veterinary ophthalmologist, and seek veterinary care immediately at any signs of cloudiness, redness, itching or irritation of the eyes, or if the dog is squinting or pawing at them.
8 Tips to Bring Home a Healthy Doxipoo Puppy
Do not under any circumstances buy your Doxipoo puppy from a pet store, nor from a breeder who sells puppies to a pet store or through any kind of third party retailer.
Make sure you seek a breeder who is less interested in the capitalizing on the fad of designer dogs with cute names and is more interested in crossbreeding for the sake of reducing the incidence of certain hereditary problems. Careless breeding, or the idea of that "crossbreeding" somehow magically eliminates genetic disease, can result in puppies with serious genetic problems.
Before you buy a Doxipoo, take a look at the Code of Ethics of the Poodle Club of America and that of the Dachshund Club of America and see if the breeder or seller can live up to its standards.
Since temperament is a particular concern in the Dachshund, spend time with the Doxipoo breeder's dogs, and if possible, with your puppy's mother or father. Very often the father won't be on the premises -- good breeders look for the best possible male for their females, not just the best one they happen to own -- so don't view that as any kind of red flag. But if the breeder won't let you meet the mother of the puppies, and won't let you meet any of her dogs, consider that the worst of all signs and look elsewhere.
Don't accept excuses and lies like, "I know my dogs are healthy because the vet checked them," or "I don't have those problems in my lines," or "Those problems only affect purebred dogs." Those are the standard lines of a bad and irresponsible breeder. Wishful thinking is no substitute for genetic testing and ethical breeding practices.
Consider an adult dog from a shelter or a rescue group. Many of the health and behavior problems in Dachshunds, Poodles, and Doxipoos aren't apparent in puppyhood, but by adopting an older dog, most of them can be ruled out.
Puppy or adult, take your Doxipoo 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, particularly thyroid, skin, ear, back and other problems common to the Dachshund and Poodle.
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 Doxipoos
Even if you find a responsible breeder, your Doxipoo is still at risk of accidents and various illnesses. There is no guarantee that the puppy will be free of the hereditary conditions common in the breeds of its parents, so it is always a good idea to insure your pet.
While Doxipoos are not purebred dogs, these hybrids or crossbreeds are more likely than mixed breeds to make claims for some hereditary conditions that are expensive to treat. Therefore, their insurance will cost slightly more than for mixed breeds, but as much as for purebreds.
Embrace dog insurance plans offer full coverage for all conditions (excluding those that are pre-existing) to which Doxipoos are susceptible. The best time to get pet insurance for your Doxipoo 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.