The Reading Corner

Poodle Hybrids - Are They Superior Pets?

Excerpts from Article by Janice Biniok
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It's so adorable and fluffy you can't tell if it's real or stuffed. The breeder says it will be small, intelligent, shedless and have a temperament to please everyone in the family. It's a poodle hybrid puppy and you think you've finally found the perfect pet.

Poodle hybrids are produced by crossbreeding a purebred poodle with another breed, and they come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors. Breeders of hybrid dogs claim the right combination of purebreds can produce superior temperaments as well as other desirable traits without sacrificing intelligence and irresistibly cute looks.

Poodles in particular have been used to create a great variety of hybrids for several decades. They have a number of desirable traits, which they pass on to their offspring, most importantly their intelligence, non-shed hair and medium to small size.

The non-shed hair is definitely a big seller. Although there really is no such thing as a shedless dog, some breeds do tend to shed less or retain shed hair and dander in their coats. This makes Poodle hybrids very appealing because there is less dog hair in the house to clean up and less source of allergens for those who are sensitive to dog dander.

To add more frosting to the cake, there is a distinct genetic advantage of crossbreeding purebred dogs. Combining two breeds from unrelated gene pools results in what breeders refer to as "hybrid vigor" and geneticists call "heterosis." "Not only is heterosis related to a decrease in the incidence of genetic defects, but also to an increase in traits like fertility, survival, and growth rate," says Denny Crews, Jr., Ph.D., genetic research scientist.

If a poodle hybrid now sounds like an even better idea and you're ready to let your heart get carried away with that teddy-faced little puppy, you need to consider the following:

  • Predictable offspring can only be obtained in 1st generation hybrids.

  • Second-generation hybrids can have an unpredictable variety of traits tending anywhere from one purebred ancestor to the other purebred ancestor, due to the greater number of gene combinations that are produced.

  • A shedless coat doesn't always mean hypoallergenic. All dogs produce dander and other secretions that are the main sources of human allergies to dogs. An allergy sufferer's tolerance to any dog depends on the severity of the allergy, whether the allergy sufferer is willing to take steps to avoid allergic reactions, and what type of coat a hybrid has inherited from the parent breeds, which can tend anywhere from non-shed to moderate shed.

When purchasing a hybrid dog, it is just as important to evaluate the breeder, as it is the breeding. Responsible hybrid breeders will offer a health and temperament guarantee, just as responsible purebred dog breeders do, and they should have a neuter/spay requirement for puppies sold as pets. The parent dogs that were bred to produce the puppies should have AKC registration.

Whether or not they make superior pets depends on the same criteria that apply to any breed or species, that is, an animal's physical characteristics, temperament and care requirements need to be acceptable to a particular pet owner. Any dog can become a superior pet if the dog and owner are a good match for each other.