Have you heard about the Whoodle? Admittedly, it’s not a common word you’ll hear in everyday conversation, but canine lovers might know it.
But what is a whoodle? It’s a dog breed. It’s actually a hybrid – a mixed breed that has been gaining popularity of late despite not yet being recognized by the official dog clubs of note.
Don’t let that deter you from looking into this dog. The Whoodle combines the Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier and Poodle breeds to create a unique dog with lots of unique aliases. The Whoodle is also known as the Sweatenpoo, the Wheatendoodle, the Wheatenpoo, or the Sweatendoodle.
Some of these names sound unfortunate, admittedly, but let’s take a look at what this pup is about. You’ll learn what it looks like, how to take care of it, and whether it’s a good dog to adopt.
- 1 What is a Hybrid Dog?
- 2 What is a Whoodle?
- 3 Breed History
- 4 Appearance
- 5 Personality
- 6 A Word on Positive Reinforcement Training
- 7 Whoodle Health
- 8 Space and Home Requirements
- 9 Kids and Other Animals
- 10 What Do Whoodles Cost?
- 11 FAQs – 5 Frequently Asked Questions About Whoodles
- 12 More Fun Facts About Poodles and Wheatens
- 13 Final Thoughts on Whoodles
What is a Hybrid Dog?
Ok, but quick question – what exactly is a hybrid dog? It’s not really that unique – it’s just another name for a mixed breed, technically. In the case of the Whoodle, it’s a Wheaten / Poodle mix that has one dog’s smarts and another dog’s soft coat.
What makes hybrid dogs what they are is that they are usually designed crossbreeds. Some toy dogs, for example, the Shi-Tzu Pomeranian or the Mini Goldendoodle, were specifically bred for certain traits.
Despite their existence, Whoodles are not recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC). There are, therefore, no breed standards to apply to the breed. Be wary when sourcing a Whoodle from someone claiming to be a confirmed Whoodle breeder – there’s typically no such thing to standardize.
That said, there are reputable breeders who do have lots of experience with Whoodles. The best advice is to do your research and go in well-informed. While we’re on the subject, perhaps consider adopting from a shelter first if you manage to source a Whoodle through one. There are lots of needy pups out there looking for a good home.
What is a Whoodle?
Whoodles are very friendly and personality-driven dogs. They are enthusiastic and love to be around people. They are also smart and quite affectionate, so they’ll always be up for playtime and a cuddle. Be prepared to spend a fair amount of time playing and walking with your Whoodle.
Poodles have been associated with France for several centuries. They were originally bred as duck retrievers for hunters – hence the long legs. Wheatens were originally herding and vermin-hunting dogs, used as early as the 1700s in Ireland.
Whoodles came onto the scene in the early 1900s, as far as records show. The original idea, it seems, was to have been an attempt to create a dog with intelligent Poodle genes and soft fur akin to the Wheaten.
Some experts insist that the Whoodle was only technically identified in the 1980s. According to them, it was the growing popularity of the Labradoodle, Goldendoodle, and other hybrids that led to the emergence of the Whoodle. Ironically, Wally Conron, who is largely credited with the creation of the Labradoodle, publicly expressed his regret at having done so.
Look past the terrier-like expression, and you’ll find a dog with a lot of interesting aspects to its look. Whoodles do look surprisingly muscular, despite not being a dog known for its bulk. They have strong back legs, too, which accounts for all that running and jumping.
This is considered a medium-sized dog, even if it does range significantly within that description. The smallest Whoodle can be as little as 20lbs, while the largest variation could tip the scale at 45lbs.
Interestingly, the size of the Whoodle will depend on which variant of a poodle it was bred from. Poodles typically come in three sizes: toy, miniature, and standard. By contrast, a Wheaten is a fairly consistently sized dog at 30 lbs.
The poodle side of the equation will typically also determine the color of a Whoodle. A poodle can be almost any standard canine color, so Whoodle will share the same characteristic.
Interestingly, Whoodle coats are like Poodle coats in that they shed very little. The length of the hair is average – so not particularly long or short. Call it a happy medium between a Poodle and Wheaten hair length.
The Whoodle sheds far less than most other dogs. Its fur is soft and silky. It is a good choice for households that may be allergic to heavy-shedding pets, although it must be noted that no dogs are completely hypoallergenic.
That said, Whoodles require a lot of care, especially when it comes to coats. The hair tends to matt and knot, so combing will be essential, as will more regular bathing. So – the good news, no lint remover tools or heavy sneezing for you and yours.
3. Coat Color And Grooming
A Whoodle puppy has a darker coat and fur when it is young. Its fur lightens as it grows up and matures. The variety of colors is almost limitless. Whoodles come in cream, black, gray, silver, brown, and even red. The coats are silky and soft and often make for wonderful pictures, resembling plush toy coats. As mentioned, they don’t shed very much, so they are considered hypoallergenic as dogs go.
A good dog brush to take care of matting is essential. You will need to invest some time every day to keep this coat free of front tangles.
It’s a good idea to find a trusted professional groomer in your area. Whoodle coats require some particular care in the wash, so to speak. Incorrect bathing may actually worsen the matting of the hair. A groomer will also be able to keep the Whoodle’s nails properly trimmed, which is important for this breed.
Something to note about Whoodles, perhaps related to coats: they do seem to do better in colder climates and don’t really enjoy hot weather very much. If you live in an especially hot climate, this might be an issue, as Whoodles may be more prone to heat exhaustion than other dogs.
So, we know what they look like, but what about their personalities?
The Whoodle parent breeds were both working dogs, so they are quite intelligent and used to lots of interaction. Whoodles learn tricks quite easily. They are best paired with families and owners who like to be active – either walking often or playing games.
All of this comes with a caveat. These dogs have strong personalities, so training is essential to their proper socialization. A positive reinforcement model is recommended. Think awesome doggie treats or some one-to-one love.
A note about attention span – when they are puppies, this breed can be easily distracted, but patience on your part will bring benefits. So, a fair warning, a Whoodle is not the ideal choice for a first-time dog owner, as they will indeed test your patience at first.
Play and Human Company
Whoodles need to be around people and be almost constantly occupied for good mental health. They are not the kinds of dogs you can leave alone for long periods of time. Separation anxiety occurs in many cats and dogs when they are left alone. Whoodles are particularly prone to this as they love to be around people, and need stimulation.
Take a walk with your Whoodle pup, and you’ll see it try to investigate everyone and everything on the path or in the park. They are curious little things. This is why training will come in handy – a dog left to its own devices may easily get into trouble, and learning to walk on a leash and/or obey commands and calls will be essential.
A Word on Positive Reinforcement Training
Positive reinforcement training is an approach that emphasizes positive rewards for desired behavior, as opposed to punitive action for unwanted behavior. In essence, the idea goes that the dogs begin to associate certain behaviors with rewards like treats, praise and attention. There are some additional considerations when adopting this approach:
Rewards must be clearly associated with the behavior in question. Therefore, the treat or praise must occur directly after the incident has occurred. In some cases, the reward must even occur while the behavior is engaged – for example, sitting. If the dog is sitting, reward it before it stands up again.
Employing Concise Language and Physical Cues
Dogs tend to react to body language as strongly – perhaps even more strongly – than spoken language. Try to employ proper physical posture and positioning during training. Also, use short vocal cues, as dogs will not likely remember long sentences.
It’s important to consistently follow the regimen and maintain it for as long as it takes to condition your pup. There are a number of specific strategies for employing effective positive reinforcement training. Much of it is borne from the notion that training can occur humanely and with minimal or no negative psychological effects for you and your dog.
On the whole, Whoodles are perfectly healthy dogs, living 12-15 years, with the breed showing no inherent illnesses or defects. However, as with all dogs and dog breeds, certain kinds of afflictions are worth looking out for. Many of them are inherited vulnerabilities from the parent breeds.
There is no guarantee that a Whoodle will suffer from any of these, but – at least statistically – they may be more prone to them than some other breeds.
Also known as Hypoadrenocorticism, this is an endocrine disorder. It basically means that there aren’t enough hormones produced to keep the body functioning properly. The symptoms can resemble a number of other problems, and without a blood test, there is no way of knowing if the condition exists.
Fortunately, the blood test can determine the presence of the condition early, which will allow it to be managed to some degree. Be aware that untreated Addison’s can be fatal.
Retinal Atrophy, Eye Infections, and Eye Diseases
Get your Whoodle’s eyes checked with every regular vet visit. Wheatens, in particular, bring a host of eye diseases and problems that might genetically progress to your dog.
One of these unpleasant conditions is called Distichiasis, which is when hairs grow inside the eyelid, pushing into the eyeball. Another potential problem is Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), which causes blindness. While not painful, it is not curable.
When a kidney or kidneys do not develop correctly in dogs (and humans), it is called Renal Dysplasia. The kidney begins to develop fluid-filled sacs. This is an inherited condition, so it can manifest in young puppies.
The condition results in stunted growth, noticeably too much water being drunk and excessive urination. Extreme Renal Dysplasia and its symptoms may not be treatable.
Nephropathy and Enteropathy
Wheatens have some association with protein-losing nephropathy and Protein-losing enteropathy. This is a disease of the intestinal system that results in protein being lost and not replaced by the system. The result is leaking of fluid internally, leading to issues like swelling, especially of the legs.
Diarrhea is common as a side effect of the condition, as is lethargy and sometimes difficulty breathing. Technically, treatment depends on an underlying cause, as PLE isn’t one specific disease.
Considering most Whoodles are classified as medium-sized dogs, a diet for that size dog with medium energy requirements is ideal. Because these dogs can vary somewhat in real size, though, choose a good dietary regimen based on a vet recommendation, if possible.
Space and Home Requirements
Although a Whoodle requires a decent amount of exercise (a mile a day of walking is ideal), it is perfectly happy to live in an apartment, provided it does get walkies time.
Whoodles love to be around people and are happy to move within apartment confines, as much as they would a large house and yard. To keep it mentally active, some dog toys and puzzles may be a good idea.
It’s not a good idea to leave your Whoodle alone for long stretches. They get anxious when not around people and company. Whenever you get home, you will notice lots of enthusiasm, and probably lots of jumping on you.
Kids and Other Animals
We mentioned socialization earlier, and this is where good training will benefit your dog. A well-trained dog will have no issue with kids and, in fact, will make for a great companion. But the opposite is also true. Children who don’t know how to manage this energetic breed may inadvertently cause some distress for both parties.
Supervise very young children or children interacting with Whoodles for the first few times. Whoodles are strong-willed and get their backs up easily.
As for other pets, with proper introduction techniques and some monitoring, there shouldn’t be any particular issue. Bear in mind that all dogs are different, and you won’t know for sure until you present a specific situation.
What Do Whoodles Cost?
Whoodles are surprisingly pricey, given that they’re not officially recognized hybrids. A top breeder may charge as much as $5000 for a prize Whoodle. On average, though, Whoodles can cost around $1500.
Something to note, because the Whoodle isn’t recognized by the AKC, there is no standardized practice for breeding them. This raises serious concerns about the ethics of unsupervised breeding. However, many Whoodles find their way into shelters, so once again, it is highly recommended you try to source one that way.
FAQs – 5 Frequently Asked Questions About Whoodles
Here are some additional questions about Whoodles you may need an answer to.
1. Do Whoodles Drool?
Whoodles do not drool very much. So your hands and clothes are relatively safe when it comes to slobbering.
2. Are Whoodle Personalities Difficult to Manage
Whoodles tend to inherit personality traits from their parents. If you’d like a preview of what your Whoodle puppy might be as an adult, and you have access to its parents, take some time to observe their personalities.
Whoodles will typically rebel against rules unless conditioned from a young age.
3. Do Whoodles Like to Run?
Whoodles are great runners and love doing so! If you are a keen runner, a Whoodle will be very happy to join you for your daily jog. It’s also a good way to exercise and tire them out, lest you have to deal with all that extra doggo energy when you’re trying to relax.
They love chasing games, too, so they will keep you fit and healthy! This probably comes from the parent breeds’ histories as retrieving and vermin-control workers. Poodles will not mind the water much either, which may carry down to your Whoodle Pup.
4. Do They Have Specific Dietary Requirements?
Whoodles do not have specific dietary issues or requirements. You can use a fair mix of dry and wet food. In training, standard treats will go down well and is suitable for the positive reinforcement needed.
5. Are They Good Family Pets?
A Whoodle makes for a great family pet, especially when properly trained and conditioned as a pup. They are strong-minded and tend to try to be the boss a lot of the time. If you can establish clear rules, though, they are excellent dogs for families.
They also happen to make great watchdogs (not guard dogs), as they are very aware of their surroundings and surprisingly alert. Plus, they’re cute as a button.
More Fun Facts About Poodles and Wheatens
Before we conclude, it’s quite interesting to look at a few fun facts about the Whoodle’s parent breeds.
1. Poodle Haircuts Are Not Random
The traditional Poodle haircut served a function. These are waterdogs, so less hair makes them more aerodynamic. But the hair around the sensitive joints protects from the cold.
2. Poodles are German, Not French
Although we always associate poodles with crazy haircuts and France (they were really popular there), Poodles actually originated in Germany. They were water dogs, hence the original name “Pudel,” meaning water dog. The actual French word for Poodle is “Caniche,” meaning duck dog.
3. Poodle Hair Doesn’t Fall Out
This makes it different from fur, which sheds. That’s also why Poodles and Whoodles do not shed as much as other dogs.
4. Wheatens Change Color
Wheaten Terriers (and therefore Whoodles) are born with darker coats that get lighter as they grow. Usually, the change is noticeable at around two years old.
5. There Are Two Types of Wheaten Coats
A Wheaten can have one of two types of coat: The fine, silky “Irish” coat or the perhaps appropriately named “heavy” coat, which isn’t that heavy at all.
6. Wheatens Are Irish Commoners
That might sound unfair. But it is true that certain dogs were reserved only for the upper class. Terriers like the Wheaten were ok for working-class people to own. In fact, they were once called the “poor man’s wolfhound”.
Final Thoughts on Whoodles
Should you get a Whoodle? There are very few reasons not to consider one, and for many, they make a perfect companion. Consider the following: They are not very large, they love people, and they have great personalities. They do not shed very much, they are silky and soft, and cute!
Beyond that, they are comfortable living in an apartment or in a bigger home, and they will be wonderfully alert as watchdogs. No one will enter your home without you knowing. The Whoodle is a great choice for an experienced dog owner and one that doesn’t mind the odd-spirited battle of wills. Keep life interesting and fun! Adopt a Whoodle.
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