Doxiepoo

Stuart Fitzgerald
Dr Stuart Fitzgerald (MVB MANZCVS, University College Dublin)
 
Photo of adult Doxiepoo
Heather Kennedy / Flickr.com

None of the designer dogs demonstrate the randomness of cross-breeding quite so well as the Doxiepoo. Despite this Poodle and Dachshund cross being given its own moniker, there is very little consistency between individuals, even within litters. Both parent breeds come in a variety of sizes, and the Dachshund even sports three different coats, so one can never be sure how a litter of Doxiepoos will turn out. Like all hybrids, the aim in cross-breeding is to promote the parents’ virtues, while diminishing their less desirable attributes; however, the opposite can just as easily occur. Although the ideal Doxiepoo is a clever, courageous, and sociable dog, the reality is that many inherit the restlessness and sensitivity of the Poodle, and the stubbornness and dislike of strangers of the Dachshund, making them quite a handful to own.

In addition, both parent breeds suffer more than their share of health problems, with the result that many of their pups can develop issues of their own. My advice to anyone looking to buy a Doxiepoo is to carefully research both parents to confirm their own good health, and to spend plenty of time observing and handling the litter of pups before choosing one. Never buy a pup for the sole reason that they are the only one not yet sold, and aim to pick one that is outgoing without being a bully towards its siblings. The Dachshund’s long back is the source of many problems, and for this reason, I would also choose a pup without this exaggerated feature. Healthy Doxiepoos may live for 12–15 years, and it is important to choose a dog that will be a pleasure to live with for this long period of time, rather than being a burden.

About & History

Doxiepoos, also sometimes known as Doxiedoodles, have been around for the last ten to fifteen years, during a time when the demand for Poodle crosses seemed to know no bounds. Unlike some other hybrids, for example, the Pomsky, where the parents were selected because of similarities between the two breeds, the opposite seems to have been the case for the Doxiepoo, as the Poodle and Dachshund could scarcely be more different. In my experience, this crossing gives very unpredictable results, and it is often difficult to believe when looking at a litter of pups that they have all come from the same parents.

This is also one of the designer dogs that is often sold by unethical breeders who have developed a bad reputation for the quality and health of their pedigree stock. In this situation, they may elect to use their breeding dogs to produce hybrids, which are less closely scrutinised and whose defects can be passed off as normal features in cross-breeds. One might have more confidence when dealing with a breeder producing second- or third-generation crosses, but most Doxiepoos appear to be first-generation pedigree mixes.

Appearance

Doxiepoo Large Photo
Heather Kennedy / Flickr.com

No description of appearance can do justice to the range and variety of looks the Doxiepoo might adopt. It is invariably a small dog, and normally weighs 5–11 kg (11–24 lb). If more like the Dachshund in stature, it can be as little as 18 cm (7 in) in height, but most stand somewhere around 22–25 cm (9–10 in) tall. The ideal mixture of characteristics from the parents would give the Doxiepoo a sturdy, compact body and reasonably straight legs. The back should not be overly long, as the elongation seen in the Dachshund very commonly results in spinal pain and intervertebral disc protrusion.

The coat can take almost any form in terms of colour and texture: Some Doxipoos have the curled, dense coat of the Poodle, others have a long, wavy coat, and others still can have the harsh, wiry coat of the wirehaired Dachshund. The colours seen include:

  • Black
  • Brown
  • Grey
  • Tan
  • Apricot
  • Cream
  • White

In addition, you will find any combination of the above. Their appearance is often further modified by grooming, as many owners have a preference for a particular clipping style. The Doxiepoo is a master of disguise!

Character & Temperament

This is generally an enthusiastic and energetic hybrid that possesses a wide mischievous streak. Ideally, it has the independence and confidence of the Dachshund, while being as intelligent and affectionate as the Poodle, and should be an entertaining and good-natured pet that can tolerate older children.

Unfortunately, some Doxiepoos exhibit the undesirable combination of stubbornness, defiance, dislike of strangers, and being highly strung, but again, these traits can be identified in very young pups, and one should pay careful attention to how the puppies interact with their surroundings and each other. Most are very good watchdogs, though can be excessively yappy.

Trainability

Photo of Doxiepoo puppy
Ray Larabie / Flickr.com

If inclined to cooperate, the Doxiepoo should be reasonably easy to train, as it will certainly have intelligence in abundance. However, to labour the point, some are wilful and independent to the point of defiance, and each dog must be judged on its own merits. While a Poodle will respond best to effusive praise and wish to please its owner, Dachshunds can need a slightly more firm (not physical) approach, and savvy Doxiepoo owners will soon figure out which method works best for their own dog.

Socialisation is extremely important, and should be continued from puppyhood right throughout life to ensure the Doxiepoo will at least tolerate, if not welcome, strangers.

Health

While cross-breeding can ameliorate some of the physical deficiencies of the Dachshund, it is difficult to see how the Poodle’s offspring benefit from this choice of mating. The health problems seen in these two pedigrees are also reasonably common in the Doxiepoo, and include the following:

  • Chondrodystrophy – This describes the inherited cartilage abnormality that gives the Dachshund its characteristic shape, with its bowed legs. It is also the cause of disc calcification and intervertebral disc herniation (see below).
  • Chronic active hepatitis – Low-grade inflammation of the liver that may be clinically silent for months to years in young to middle-aged adult dogs before manifesting as overt liver failure. If detected incidentally on routine blood screening, can be managed with long-term medication, but often goes unnoticed until irreparable damage has been done.
  • Entropion – Deformity of the eyelid, causing it to rotate inwards and cause abrasions to the clear cornea at the eye’s surface. Normally quite obvious in young pups. Requires surgical correction, though definitive correction may have to be delayed until adulthood.
  • Epilepsy – Causing seizures or other less specific neurological signs, epilepsy may be diagnosed in dogs from six months of age. Despite its dramatic manifestations, can usually be well managed with medication in those animals needing treatment.
  • Intervertebral disc disease – Mineralisation and loss of elasticity in the shock-absorbing discs of the spinal cord can result in disc collapse and spinal compression, accompanied by severe pain and, potentially, paralysis. Common in Dachshunds, and seen in long-back Doxiepoos.
  • Mitral valve disease – Failure by one of the major valves of the heart to prevent backflow of blood. Can be either an inherited or acquired condition, with congenitally affected pups likely to have an audible murmur on their first veterinary examination.
  • Progressive retinal atrophy – Common cause of sight loss in adult dogs. Passed on by affected or carrier parents, so all breeding dogs should undergo the simple blood screening test to help eliminate this untreatable disorder.
  • Sebaceous adenitis – Inflammation within the hair follicles, causing varying degrees of hair loss and skin irritation.
  • Sudden acquired retinal degeneration syndrome – Seen in the Dachshund as a cause of abrupt and profound loss of vision. Associated with an excess of adrenal hormones (hyperadrenocorticism) in around one in six cases, but usually a primary disorder.
  • von Willebrand’s Disease – Often passed on from the Poodle, this is a clotting disorder caused by impaired function of platelets, which are the tiny white blood cells responsible for initiating the clotting cascade after injury. Results in heavy bleeding from minor cuts, or extensive bruising after blunt trauma.

Exercise and Activity Levels

The Doxiepoo’s need and ability to exercise will be determined largely by the length of its legs. Very short, Dachshund-like dogs will not require more than a few minutes’ walking several times a day, while those with more athletic proportions may be able for as much as one-hour of lead walking or running on a daily basis.

Grooming

There is no one-size-fit-all approach to grooming for this hybrid, though most will need their coats trimmed several times a year. Unless the coat is straight, it is likely to need brushing at least three times a week, but consulting a professional groomer is advisable to get the right advice for each individual dog. Like any dog, the Doxiepoo will benefit from having its teeth brushed every day.

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