Energetic, smart, affectionate, and adorable, the Aussiedoodle (also known as the Aussiepoo or Aussiepoodle) makes a great pet for an active family. Aussiedoodles can range in size from 25 to 70 pounds and come in many different colors and patterns, just like their parent breeds. Learn more about these clever, fun dogs below.
The parent breeds
The Aussiedoodle is a cross between a Poodle and an Australian Shepherd, usually a Miniature Poodle or Standard Poodle (the medium and large Poodle varieties). All Poodles, regardless of size, have the same breed standard but Toy Poodles https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/poodle-toy/ are the smallest (up to 10 inches tall at the shoulder). The Standard Poodle https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/poodle-standard/ is the tallest (up to 24 inches tall at the shoulder). The Miniature Poodle https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/poodle-miniature/ weighs 10-15 pounds and stands 10-15 inches tall.
All Poodles are known for being exceptionally intelligent. Poodles are easy to train, friendly, outgoing, and they love to be the center of attention. They are also very versatile. Don’t be fooled by the Poodles you see at dog shows in frou-frou hairstyles. Poodles were developed as hunting dogs. They were water retrievers hundreds of years ago in Germany and France. Some people still hunt with Poodles. They are also great at obedience, agility, and other dog sports.
Poodles also have a single-layer, non-shedding coat that makes them popular with people with allergies to dog hair and dander. The breed comes in a wide variety of colors and color patterns – something that they can pass along to doodle puppies.
Australian Shepherds https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/australian-shepherd/ aren’t really an Australian breed at all. The story goes that the Basque people in the Pyrenean Mountains between France and Spain were outstanding shepherds and used Pyrenean Shepherds for herding. Migrating to Australia, they took some of their best dogs with them in the 19th century to herd sheep. With crosses to Collies and Border Collies, the Basque shepherds developed a dog suited to the terrain. But they were looking for greener pastures and moved, with their dogs, to the United States. There California ranchers took up the dogs and started using them for herding, making further changes to the breed to produce the Australian Shepherds we have today. The breed is often found herding on American ranches today. Smart and versatile, Australian Shepherds appear as rodeo performers, therapy dogs, drug detection dogs, service dogs, and do search-and-rescue work.
Australian Shepherds stand between 18 and 23 inches tall and weigh between 40 and 65 pounds. This breed has a strong herding instinct that is often passed along to doodle puppies. Aussie coats have many different looks including merle – a mottled pattern with contrasting shades of blue or red.
Temperament is always part nature and part nurture. Some of the Aussiedoodle’s temperament will come from his parents’ genetic contribution and some will come from the way he is raised. It’s also important to consider the temperament of his mother since she will have the most influence on him for the first few weeks of his life.
Both Poodles and Australian Shepherds are considered to be extremely intelligent dogs. They also tend to be playful and affectionate – traits that should be passed along to an Aussiedoodle puppy.
You should be aware that Aussiedoodles often inherit a strong herding instinct from their Australian Shepherd parent. Your dog may try to herd or round up children by bumping their legs or even nipping at their heels. This is not aggression. Your Aussiedoodle is following an instinct that has been bred into him for thousands of years of working with humans. Australian Shepherds feel like they have a job to do and they really like to herd things. If you have other pets, your dog will probably want to herd them together. It can be hard to stop this behavior but you can teach your dog a “Down” command or “Leave it,” or tell him to “Sit-Stay.” Then play with your dog or throw a ball for him to chase. If you don’t correct this behavior from a young age it becomes harder to change it. Work with a professional trainer if necessary.
You can expect your Aussiedoodle to be very affectionate. Despite the possible herding behavior, they are very good with children. They make very good family dogs. They can be very eager and excited as puppies, however, so it’s always a good idea to supervise when children play with puppies and dogs.
This is not a dog that does well being kept outdoor in a kennel. Nor should you leave this dog alone in the house for hours without anything to do. If you have to leave your Aussiedoodle to go to work during the day, be sure to provide good toys to keep him busy. A crate is recommended for puppies until they are trustworthy being left alone in the house. Otherwise you could come home to a disaster.
Plenty of exercise is a must for Aussiedoodles.
According to the sources we checked, most Aussiedoodles range in height from 14-23 inches tall. They can weigh between 25 and 70 pounds. This is a wide range but the size usually depends on the size of the Poodle parent and whether it is a Miniature Poodle or a Standard Poodle. Even when you know the size of the parents you can sometimes be surprised. It’s always important to talk to the breeder about the puppies and what they expect since they know their dogs better than anyone. Ideally you can see some of the breeder’s previous dogs as adults (or at least see pictures of them). If the parents have produced a previous litter together, seeing some of their older offspring would be a good way to estimate how large their puppies might grow.
Combining the Poodle and the Australian Shepherd can produce doodle coats that are curly and non/low-shedding. Other puppies can be shaggy and fluffy but shed more. Some puppies can have coat that is somewhere in the middle. Even in the same litter, various puppies can have different coat types. Again, talking to the breeder is the best way to help you know what kind of coat a puppy is likely to have as an adult.
Aussiedoodle coat colors can include blue merle, red merle, black and red tri-color, black and tan (“phantom”), parti-color, sable, and in some cases, solid colors.
Poodles have a reputation for being hypoallergenic, meaning that they can be tolerated by people who have allergies to dogs. Some people may claim that Aussiedoodles and other doodles are hypoallergenic but there really are no “hypoallergenic” dogs. Allergies to dogs are not due to dog hair or coat type. They are related to the dander and saliva from dogs. Dander https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dander is the dead skin cells that all dogs shed. Some people may react less severely around some dogs but that can be because the dead skin cells become caught in the dog’s low-shedding coat instead of falling to the floor. No reputable breeder will guarantee that their dogs are hypoallergenic. If allergies are a concern for you, ask to spend some time with the puppy or dog you are interested in and see if the dog’s dander bothers you.
Aussiedoodles generally prefer to be near people instead of being alone. This is not a dog that does well in a kennel or dog house for a long time. However, Aussiedoodles are very active, energetic dogs so they need to spend time outdoors everyday. They just want you to be outside with them.
Since Aussiedoodles are so active, this is not a dog that we would recommend for apartment living. You might be able to make it work if you tried very hard and gave your dog a good run everyday, but it could be difficult to make it work. Australian Shepherds can be vocal barkers and this is something that can be passed along to Aussiedoodles which would make you and your dog very unpopular in an apartment building.
This might be a “doodle” but the working instincts of the Australian Shepherd are often very strong in these dogs. Many Aussiedoodles do well living the country life. They are good around livestock and other large animals and they like having a job to do. If you have horses, this would be a good dog to take to the stable with you. An Aussiedoodle would be in heaven in any ranch-like setting.
Socialize your Aussiedoodle while he is young so he accepts new situations and people without any fuss. This is a dog that is easy to train and loves to learn. An Aussiedoodle should be a good dog for an intermediate owner with some dog experience. These dogs are so intelligent that they really need to have an owner that will spend a lot of time with them and do some training or perhaps get involved with some dog activities or sports. If you’re a novice dog owner, you can still make it work but don’t be afraid to ask for some help from a good professional dog trainer if you need it.
If you plan to buy an Aussiedoodle, select a breeder who health tests to ensure that her puppies won’t carry the genetic diseases common to both Australian Shepherds and Poodles. It’s not possible to avoid all health problems (for dogs or humans), but health testing the parents is one way to try to minimize risks.
Health problems shared by both Poodles and Australian Shepherds:
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy
- Canine Hip Dysplasia (Miniature, Standard Poodles)
Australian Shepherds and Poodles both have other health issues that are not necessarily shared but which might crop up (or might not) in puppies. You should ask a breeder about the other health testing they have had done for their dogs. One issue that is particularly important is the Multidrug resistance gene (MDR1) found in some Australian Shepherds (and many breeds). The presence of this gene means that antiparasitics such as Ivermectin can be toxic to the dog. There is a test for this gene. Epilepsy is also a serious problem in Australian Shepherds. At this time there is no test for epilepsy http://www.ashgi.org/home-page/genetics-info/epilepsy-other-neurological-issues/epilepsy/canine-epilepsy in Australian Shepherds but it can be passed along to their offspring, including doodles.
Recent health surveys https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poodle in the UK found that Standard Poodles in the UK, Denmark, and the U.S./Canada had a median lifespan of 11.5-12 years. The most common cause of death was cancer, followed by old age, bloat (gastric dilation-volvulus), and cardiac disease.
Toy and Miniature Poodles in these surveys had a median lifespans of 14-14.5 years. In Toy Poodles the leading cause of death was old age followed by kidney failure. In Miniature Poodles the leading cause of death was old age.
Both the Poodle and the Australian Shepherd have relatively long lifespan. Poodles often live into their teen years. Australian Shepherds can live 12-15 years. With good care, you should expect an Aussiedoodle to live at least 12 years unless the dog has an unexpected health problem.
Poodles and especially Australian Shepherds are both very energetic dogs. You can expect your Aussiedoodle to be a bundle of energy even after he is an adult dog. Plan on letting him spend at least a good half hour per day running and racing around. Good play time with him each day is a must. An hour’s walk – plus some running time – is even better.
Aussiedoodles also need mental stimulation. These are very smart dogs. If they don’t have things to do that keep their minds busy they will find ways to get into trouble.
Aussiedoodles love to have a job to do. Along with herding things, they love being in the water, like their Poodle ancestors. Water retrieving is a favorite activity for many Aussiedoodles.
Aussiedoodles can excel at nearly any dog sport or activity. Agility, working as a therapy dog, playing flyball, learning obedience, and doing rally are all great fun for these dogs.
Aussiedoodles are usually super smart and easy to train, especially if you use positive reinforcement. Praise and a treat work wonders. They are eager to please and love having a job to do. If you are the kind of person who can keep up with an Aussiedoodle’s energy level, this would be a perfect dog for you.
We do recommend good socialization from an early age so your Aussiedoodle is accustomed to new places, people, and things. A good puppy kindergarten class or beginning obedience class is also a good idea to help get you started with your puppy’s training. You will probably be amazed at how fast your puppy learns. He might be the start pupil in class with just a little bit of practice at home.
According to our sources, Aussiedoodles are not considered to be a low-maintenance dog. Dogs with a wavy or shaggy coat need combing or brushing a couple of times per week. However, dogs with a curly coat will need to be groomed more often. Aussiedoodles with curly coats usually need to have their coats clipped every 8-12 weeks to keep them looking tidy. Your dog’s coat type will largely determine how much grooming he needs so talk to the breeder about how much time you have to care for the coat.
The Bottom Line
Aussiedoodles are exceptionally smart, friendly, loyal dogs that make very good family pets. They are also a good dog for a single person looking for an intelligent, affectionate companion. These are very active dogs and they need a job or some fun training so it’s best if you have time to devote to the Aussiedoodle’s exercise and training.