The crossbreed is no longer considered an accident and dog owners are going crazy for these new versions. Emma Hughes sorts the schnoodle from the whoodle.
It used to be so simple. Owning a dog followed a well-trodden path. The likelihood was that you’d either end up with a labrador — friendly Monty, Oscar, Bertie, with waddling gait and operatic flatulence in old age — or a spaniel, named after something you’d find on a woodland walk (Bramble, Bracken, Teasel).
If you’re keen to try something different, here is our pick of the mixes.
Ubiquitous, and deservedly so. These are dogs as designed by Walt Disney, with sweet, eager faces, cuddly coats and galumphing gait. Keep an eye on them in the kitchen, however: when poodle guile meets labrador greed, no Sunday roast is safe.
Would suit… A big family. Labradoodles are never happier than when romping around the garden with children
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The labradoodle’s smaller, handier-sized cousin. Sprinkling a little spaniel into the mix makes for devotion on a Greyfriars Bobby scale: this is a dog that will follow you into the bathroom given half a chance.
Would suit… Dog-walkers looking for companionship. Cockapoos are very attractive, endlessly gregarious and love making new friends
Don’t be fooled by the Timotei-girl locks. This chihuahua-Yorkshire terrier cross is plucky to a fault — a Viking trapped in the body of a ballerina. Apt to go tearing after mice, rats and much bigger dogs.
Would suit… A landowner. No, really. Chorkies need masses of exercise and are surprisingly sporting
A powderpuff with paws, the peekapoo is blessedly free from the respiratory difficulties that plague Pekingeses, thanks to its longer poodle snout. A loyal and loving friend, but wary of strangers.
Would suit… The security-conscious or deaf — peekapoos make excellent, vocal watchdogs
Also known as the springerdoodle, this cheerful, obliging little cross is delightfully bouffant — picture a springer spaniel that’s spent all day with its coat in curlers. Has a fantastically keen sense of smell, as you’d expect.
Would suit… Multi-dog household — sproodles will fit happily into the pack
There are shades of Harry Potter in the name of this one. Better looking than a full-blown pug (less Serge Gainsbourg, more Steve McQueen) and bubbling over with eager beagle charm. Will yowl along to the radio.
Would suit… Parents of sulky teens. There’s something adorably clownish and winsome about a puggle that’s guaranteed to defuse domestic tension
Charming and urbane, this beagle-Cavalier King Charles spaniel cross is the perfect deal-sealing companion for a single man in want of a wife. Who could resist those enormous eyes and flopsy ears? (Another similarly appealing cross is the cavapoo or poodlier.)
Would suit… Gent about town
Like a corgi, but with an even lower-slung chassis, courtesy of those diddy dachshund legs. The Queen has two, Candy and Vulcan, who reportedly breakfast on toast and marmalade.
Would suit… A little princess
A gun’s best friend. Hardy, healthy and supremely trainable, they combine the stamina of a cocker spaniel with a springer’s size advantage. Will do everything apart from load for you.
Would suit… A nervous newcomer to field sports
With the schnauzer’s neat little goatee and bushy brows, schnoodles look rather like Parisian Left Bank intellectuals, although these dapper dogs are full of fun and frolics. Keep them busy — they need plenty of mental and physical exercise.
Would suit… Classic-car enthusiast. For some reason, schnoodles love feeling the wind in their fur
Blonde and bubbly like a young Barbara Windsor, this cross between a soft-coated wheaten terrier and a poodle is a looker, but unafraid of getting its paws dirty.
Would suit… A well turned-out dressage rider, as the coat needs frequent washing and brushing
A handy all-rounder in the field and, if you get it as a puppy, the sky’s the limit training-wise. Part labrador, so very focused on food — it will point meaningfully at your lunch as you’re eating it.
Would suit… A gun who wants to be different
Shorthand for any terrier-poodle mix, such as the jackapoo. All of them are bright as buttons, but, for sheer strokability, consider a Westie-poodle cross — a cloud in a collar.
Would suit… Old-school schoolmaster — they need kindly, firm discipline
This springer-beagle cross is busy, busy, busy and loves nothing more than having a really good nose around. Sharing your home with one can feel a bit like living with Sherlock Holmes on speed.
Would suit… A marathon runner — the spreagle will have no problems keeping up
Shih-poo or shittypoo
This teddyish cross between a shih-tzu and a poodle makes an engaging little companion. Registering it with the vet will be a nightmare, of course.
Would suit… Anyone who can say the name without smirking
An earlier version of this article appeared in 2017.
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