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Poodle mix dogs have risen greatly in popularity around the world and are being called by all kinds of cute-sounding names. A Goldendoodle is one of the most popular but you are probably well aware of some other ones including Labradoodles, Schnoodles, Maltipoos, Bichpoos, Borderdoodles, and plenty more. If it’s mixed with a Poodle, you can bet it will have a “doodle”, “oodle”, “poo” or “ood” somewhere in the name.
A Goldendoodle, with its teddy bear like features, is a super adorable dog that is made up of a Poodle and a Golden Retriever. So, since they’re a mix of two different breeds, should they be considered mutts?
By definition, mutts are dogs that are not associated with a formally recognized breed and are not intentionally bred. “Intentional breeding” is the key term here. While Goldendoodles are not purebreds, they are the result of intentional breeding and as such should not be considered mutts.
More accurately, Goldendoodles are referred to as crossbreeds, hybrids, or “designer dogs”. They end up with the best qualities of their parent breeds and make excellent family dogs.
The parents of a Goldendoodle are a Golden Retriever and a Poodle. Both of these are established breeds but when mixed, they produce offspring that share the characteristics and traits of both parents. Due to the dilution of the gene pool, they are no longer considered purebred dogs. Regardless, this does not change the fact that they are exceptionally adorable, intelligent, and an absolute joy to be around.
As a Goldendoodle owner myself, I prefer the term crossbreed to describe my dog. Although many will just call them mutts or mongrels, those terms have a negative connotation and, as I pointed out above, are not quite accurate in reference to Goldendoodles.
Of course, it’s all debatable. Yes, in the broadest sense of the definition they are a mix of breeds and as such could be considered mutts. However, breeding was done with human intervention by artificial selection and was intentional and therefore, the term mutt doesn’t truly apply to a Goldendoodle.
What Makes a Dog a Mutt?
Mutts, also referred to as mongrels or mixed-breed dogs, are the product of natural selection or unintentional breeding of oftentimes unknown or undefined breeds. Unintentional breeding happens all the time in the natural world and with no human intervention at all. Sadly, animal shelters are overcrowded with mutts of all types.
This type of random breeding frequently results in offspring that is less prone to the types of genetic health issues often seen with inbreeding. Mutts make excellent pets but temperament and other traits can often be a surprise without knowing their ancestry.
If you have a dog that is mixed with many different breeds and you are curious about its ancestry, there are a variety of reputable DNA tests on the market that can provide further insight into your pet’s genetic history. The Embark Dog DNA Test is a great option.
A distinction has to be made in the case of “designer dogs” on the market. These dogs may technically be mutts but since they are intentionally bred this way, they are more properly referred to as crossbreeds.
Key Characteristics of a Mutt / Mongrel / Mixed-breed dog
- Product of natural selection – unintentional breeding
- Are not a part of an officially recognized breed
- Parentage often unknown
Key Characteristics of a Crossbreed (also referred to as “designer dogs”)
- Product of artificial selection – intentional breeding by humans
- Are not a part of an officially recognized breed
- Purebred parentage of two different breeds or varieties
I grew up around all types of mutts as they would regularly wander up onto our porch, wanting food. Seems that there was always a new dog and each one of them was a mixture of different types of breeds. For most of them, you could only make an educated guess at what they may have been mixed with.
Unlike the intentional crossbreeds that result from planned breeding from reputable breeders, these mixed-breed dogs were likely the result of people allowing their unneutered dogs to roam free which allowed male dogs to find other female dogs in heat.
Are Mutt Dogs Smart?
Dogs that have been bred between different purebreds are often highly intelligent. This is certainly true of dogs that result from two highly intelligent breeds. Speaking with the Goldendoodle in mind, this dog comes from two of the smartest breeds on the planet. The Poodle and Golden Retriever have both proven how smart they are throughout history and are highly regarded as two of the most intelligent breeds.
This article lists the Poodle and the Golden Retriever within the top five of the smartest dog breeds. It’s hard to go wrong with a dog that is crossbred between these two breeds.
The genes of the parent dogs are passed on to their offspring and the result is a dog that has the intelligence of both along with many other desirable qualities.
However, this may not always be the case depending on the parent breeds of the dog. There are many accidental mutts that just aren’t very bright. Of course, this is to no fault of their own and they have no say in the matter but they won’t have the thinking capacity that dogs with higher intelligence will have. Nevertheless, a dog doesn’t need to be the smartest fella on the planet to make an excellent member of your family.
All dogs are smart in their own way and even those who display a lack of intelligence likely have other noteworthy and endearing qualities.
Are Doodles Bad?
Goldendoodles and other Poodle mix dogs that have been bred intentionally don’t always get praised by everyone. While they are highly loved by their owners who see how awesome they are, others shy away from any type of dog that has been bred this way. One of the main put-offs about a doodle is the cost.
In the case of a Goldendoodle, you may pay a breeder upwards of $3000 and with the rise in popularity, being placed on a waiting list is not uncommon. We purchased our Mini Goldendoodle for $1000 in 2006 and the price has gone up considerably since then. We thought this was an outrageous price back then but we got a deal compared to today’s pricing.
Purchasing a dog for an expensive price like this will turn people off to the idea since animal shelters are filled with similar mixed-dogs that are all deserving of a good and loving home.
However, the same could be said for any dog whether it is a Doodle or not. Even purebred dogs sell for a steep price with some being in the $10k range or more. Goldendoodles are awesome dogs and mine has been the best dog I have ever had in my life. One of the other best dogs in my life has been my mother’s dog who is also a Poodle crossbreed.
Both of these dogs are extremely smart and loving companions that make our houses more like homes.
It’s not that Doodles are bad but the concept of breeding designer breeds and then selling them for such a steep price can be concerning to many. However, there is a market for it and people are willing to pay a steep price for these gentle, loving creatures.
Doodles of all types are gaining more and more popularity as people are taken in by all the desirable qualities that they possess. The hypoallergenic nature of these dogs is a huge selling point and one of the reasons that many have fallen in love. It’s one of the reasons I became interested in Goldendoodles and our miniature one hasn’t disappointed me in this regard.
I have always suffered from severe allergies and owning our Goldendoodle has allowed me to own a dog without worries of any allergic reactions. I have never been bothered one bit as far as allergies are concerned.
Like it or not, Doodles are being bred at record pace and breeders are getting better and better at breeding a consistent dog and they are likely here to stay. These different types of crossbreeds may be expensive “mutts” but they are worth every penny for those who own them and have experienced the goodness they bring to the world.
Goldendoodles are considered a crossbreed and are distinguished from a mutt or mongrel by being bred intentionally between two purebred dogs of different pedigrees. However, a pedigree or lack thereof is certainly no indication of a dog’s worthiness and says nothing about the actual loving qualities of the dog and how awesome of a pet they are.
I have seen a vast difference in the popularity of this crossbreed over the years. When we first brought our Goldendoodle into our lives, it seemed that we were the only ones in town who had one. Most people we encountered on our dog walks had never even heard of the crossbreed. Now you see these cute little (or big) teddy bears all over the place, not just around town but also in print ads, catalogs, and TV commercials.
While opinions vary on Goldendoodles and other designer dogs, it’s hard to say anything negative about them once you’ve had the chance to be around them. Their kind and gentle nature will win your heart over and their level of intelligence will impress you time and time again.