By definition, a designer dog breed is a mix of two or more purebreds, and they’re growing in popularity among Americans. A designer breed may sound like a mutt, but there are breeders out there devoted exclusively to these new “breeds”. If you’ve never heard of a designer breed or you’re curious about the most popular ones, this list is a good place to get started.
Considered the original designer breed and the one responsible for the designer breed popularity, the Cockapoo is a mix between a poodle and a Cocker Spaniel. It dates all the way back to the 1960s, so it definitely isn’t a new breed. Cockapoos are extremely intelligent, friendly, and affectionate. If they’re well-trained and socialized from a young age, the dog will exhibit the best aspects of both breeds. They’re considered a medium sized dog, taking the size of the Cocker Spaniel and weighing around 19 to 25 pounds. Thankfully, they take after the poodle in regards to their lifespan; you can expect a Cockapoo to live anywhere from 12 to 15 pounds.
The Labrador/Poodle cross is one of the most popular designer breeds in the United States. Unlike the other designer breeds, the cross was actually planned for a purpose. The Royal Guide Dogs Association of Australia planned the mix and created a highly intelligent and easily trained mix that was perfect for people requiring guide dogs. They chose the poodle to create a dog that was low in shedding since they would be out in public a lot. Despite being considered a larger dog, they do have a relatively long lifespan for their size. The typical Labradoodle can live to be 12 to 14 years of age.
The second half of the doodle duo, the Goldendoodle is a hybrid between a Golden Retriever and a standard poodle. It was originally bred as a comparable mix to the Cockapoo, and it’s seen great success as guide dogs. Because they’re so friendly, happy, and outgoing, they’re not a good choice for families looking for a watch dog. They do best in homes with yards or active family members; if they become bored, they may become destructive. Their size will vary depending on the type of poodle they were crossed with; they can be as small as 50 pounds or as large as 100 pounds.
A merry mix of a Schnauzer and a poodle, this breed can vary widely in size. Some breeders use miniature Schnauzers and toy poodles while others will use standard poodles and Schnauzers, so a Schnoodle can be anywhere from 20 to 90 pounds. Lovers of the breed agree that these dogs are almost always sociable, playful, and extremely devoted to their family. Because they are part terrier, it’s important that a Schnoodle gets moderate exercise so they don’t become bored.
When you cross a Pekingese and a poodle, you get a soft coated, low-shedding dog that is content to curl up on your lap all day. You can find Peekapoos as tiny as four pounds, but they are usually between 15 and 20 pounds. Breeders of the Peekapoo agree that these dogs shouldn’t be bred to each other; each litter of puppies should be half Pekingese, half Poodle. Despite being a small dog, they do best in a home with a yard so they can get enough exercise. They are very loving towards their owner but highly suspicious of strangers. Socialize them well if you want to avoid having a dog that barks at anyone they don’t know.
This happy little breed is very popular because it exhibits the intelligence of the Beagle with the loving traits of a Pug. They live for 10 to 15 years, which is a fairly long life for a dog. They are medium in size and range between 18 and 30 pounds. Puggles are active dogs, preferring to be outside, although they do love a good cuddle with their owner. Unfortunately, Puggles are stubborn, inheriting the trait from both the Pug and the Beagle. You should handle them firmly from the day you bring them home to avoid having a disobedient dog.
Also known as the Mal-Shi or the Malti-Zu, this is a great breed for families with small children. They’re considered a low shedding dog which is a highly desirable trait in designer dogs. Malti-Zus are very intelligent and easy to train, but it’s important that you don’t treat them like a baby or they will quickly take over the household. They favor the size of a Shih Tzu, growing to about 10 inches in height and staying under 12 pounds.
Yorkipoos are a cross between miniature poodles and Yorkshire Terriers. They favor the intelligence of the poodle and the loyalty of the Yorkie. Their size varies depending on the size of their parents. You can find Yorkipoos that are as small as three pounds all the way up to 14 pounds. Unlike a lot of toy breeds, Yorkipoos aren’t aggressive or vocal if they’re trained well as puppies. The breed does have a lot of energy and will do best in a home with a fenced yard or an active family.
Two of the country’s most popular breeds, the Labrador and Golden Retrievers, have been crossed to create the Goldador. There isn’t anything negative you can say about this designer breed. They’re excellent family dogs because they’re gentle, trainable, and laid back. They make excellent service dogs and are often trained as bomb or drug sniffing dogs. Goldadors are very active and are not good dogs for sedentary families. They require at least 30 minutes of exercise every day, and they enjoy swimming, hiking, and retrieving games. Goldadors are quite large; they average at least 70 pounds and can grow as tall as 24 inches at the shoulder.
When you combine the Maltese and Poodle, you get a very loving and happy dog. Even though they’re active, Maltipoos are also content to simply lay on the couch and cuddle with their person. Their coats do require some maintenance, but they shed very little, if at all, and they’re a great choice for families with allergies. The breed ranges in size from small to medium and can weigh from four to 20 pounds.
Designer breeds are very popular because they combine the best traits from both breeds. No matter what you’re looking for, you’re guaranteed to find it in a designer breed.