Have you been wondering how this doodle craze started and when? Me too! Doodles are everywhere. Who is behind all of these doodles? 🤷 What is the history here?
We will take a look at the doodle craze, how it started and who is responsible.
Cockapoo or Cockadoodle?
Two of the most popular dog breeds in the United States in the 1940s were the Cocker Spaniel and the Poodle. 🐩 The Cocker Spaniel really was the rockstar 🤘 dog of that time. This outstanding popularity was partially due to the Disney movie “The Lady and the Tramp”. Lady was portrayed by the cutest most mild mannered Cocker Spaniel who stole America’s hearts. ♥️ This explosion in popularity resulted in the Cocker Spaniel being named “The Dog of the Decade” during the 1960s. With all of this fame and popularity it was kind of inevitable that one of these Cocker Spaniels would end up mating with a Poodle and creating the first doodle. There doesn’t seem to be one documented breeder that takes credit for this doodle creation and it probably just happened naturally by dogs being dogs. 😉 But after people realized how amazing this newly created doodle was, breeders started to breed them intentionally. The first record of intentional breeding was documented in the 1950s. Unfortunately they were named the Cockapoo and someone completely missed the golden opportunity to name this hybrid the “cockadoodle”. 🐔
Today’s Cockapoos are usually a result of breeding an American 🇺🇲 Cocker Spaniel and a Miniature or Toy Poodle. If the Poodle is bred with the English Cocker Spaniel the doodle is referred to as the English Cockapoo. 🏴
By the 1960s the cockapoo had developed a whole lot of fans. To help protect and promote this hybrid the Cockapoo Club of America was formed in 1998. The cockapoo has remained popular since its first litter of puppies. This popularity has been further increased by the recent surge of doodle fans to be introduced to doodles over the last decade due to social media. 👏
What we know about Monica Dickens
Charles Dickens the author 📚 and his family should be known for more than just amazing literature, they also have ties to doodle history. Charles Dickens’ great-granddaughter is known for breeding the first goldendoodle in 1969. Monica Dickens was attempting to create a shed free service dog 🐕🦺 using a Golden Retriever. Not a lot is written about Monica Dickens and this first Goldendoodle, but we can assume that she was attempting to combine the Golden Retrievers’ helpful nature and the Poodles intelligence and less shedding qualities.
Wally Conron’s marketing miracle!
In the 1980s the third type of doodle emerged out of Australia 🇦🇺 . A man named Wally Conron who worked as a service dog trainer for over 25 years was the breeder. He was attempting to solve a problem for a client. He needed a service dog for a visibly handicapped woman in Hawiaii who also has a spouse with a dog allergy. At this time service dogs 🐕🦺 were only using 2 breeds of dogs, the Labrador and the Golden Retriever neither of which would work for the client due to the spouses allergy.
The first solution that Wally Conron tried was to train a Poodle 🐩 to be the service dog that the client needed. He tried this approach with over 30 Poodles. None of the Poodles that he used fit his service dog criteria. Wally’s next strategy was to breed his best Labrador service dog with a Poodle. In 1989 that litter resulted in 3 doodle puppies, one of which had the service dog traits that he wanted. What Wally had created with this new hybrid was a dog capable of service dog tasks that was also more allergy friendly. 🤧
This all seemed like good news but at the time no one wanted these new hybrid dogs. These new dogs were considered by the general public and breeders alike to only be “mutts”. Wally had to change tactics again to find a solution. What he accomplished is every marketer’s dream. He came up with a catchy new name, pitched it to the media. And Boom, instant success! 🎉 The new label for these dogs was “new hypoallergenic service dogs” called Labradoodles.
Wally’s phone started ringing off the hook 📳 for this new “breed” of dog. And now Wally had a new problem. He needed more doodles to keep his customers happy.
By creating the doodle Wally had made a lot of enemies in the breeding community. The breeders did not agree with this new “mutt” and they would not let Wally use their Poodles to breed. Eventually he was able to convince some breeders to let him use their male Poodles as long as Kennel Clubs did not find out. 🤫 Wally went on to breed and train many Labradoodles and even created multiple doodle generations being named double and triple doodles.
Wally still struggled with issues from the purebred breeders who would harass and threaten him for breeding “mutts” as service dogs. He eventually retired being too tired to continue to argue with other breeders over the validity of his Labradoodles. His retirement occurred prior to him successfully having his new breed recognized by any Kennel Club. 😞
Wally has expressed some regrets of having initially created the Labradoodle. He continues to express concerns about how their extreme popularity pushes illegitimate backyard breeders to breed and sell low quality doodles to an uneducated public.
⚠️ Soon to be doodle parents need to always do their research into the background of the doodle that they are wanting to rescue or buy. ⚠️
Doodles have many amazing characteristics usually combining the best qualities of both breeds that are being combined in the doodle. They can have any combination of colors, personalities and sizes for every doodle owner’s preference. Poodles have now been crossed with over 4o other purebred dogs to make some amazing doodles. 👍
Side note regarding “Hypoallergenic”
Let’s quickly go over the “hypoallergenic” topic. The AKC asserts that “there is no such thing as a completely hypoallergenic dog”. Unfortunately people with dog allergies are usually allergic to the dog dander 🦠, not the dog’s fur. Granted the dog fur can be a carrier for the dog dander it is not the cause of the allergen. The old school of thought was that less dog hair = less allergen. So breeders would attempt to have as many Poodle genes in a dog breed to lessen dog hair shed. Unfortunately, this does not change the level of dander. Please be cautious regarding the labels of “hypoallergenic” if you have dog allergies. If you would like more info on this please read 22 Hypoallergenic Doodles. ◀️
So now you want a Doodle….
If you are thinking about getting a doodle you must make sure that you are in love with any combination of traits that a doodle surprise could offer. 🎁 Your doodle may look exactly like their non-Poodle parent breed but act exactly like a Poodle. Would you be ok with that? What about the other way around? If you can love 💗 ALL of the traits of both parent breeds then DO IT! Doodles are the best!
I would check at Poodle rescues and also at a non-Poodle parent breed specific rescues, they may have a mixed breed/hybrid there as well. Also check regular rescues. Just realize that if you want to rescue you may have to wait to find your dog or travel to pick it up. But there are great benefits to rescuing instead of buying. 👍👏
If you decide to buy a puppy please do your research on the breeder and don’t be afraid to ask the right questions. And good luck to you! I hope you find your forever puppy! 🥰