Linda Simon
Dr Linda Simon (MVB MRCVS, University College Dublin)
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Another Poodle hybrid, the Terri-Poo is a mixture of the popular Poodle and the feisty Australian Terrier. Good fun to be around, this dog likes to be the life and soul of the party and has a confident nature. Most contented when surrounded by its loved ones, the Terri-Poo dislikes being alone and would not be suited to owners that work during the day.

The appearance of the Terri-Poo can vary from individual to individual but most are small and sturdy little dogs with a shaggy coat. While many are cream in colour, there are lots of different colour possibilities, including grey and black. Their round, intelligent eyes are dark brown and are one of their most endearing features.

About & History

The Terri-Poo, or Terridoodle, is a mixture of the obedient and intelligent Poodle and the cheeky yet sensitive Australian Terrier. As with the vast majority of designer dogs, it is difficult to know when or where this breed was first created, as there are no records to speak of. As the Terri-Poo has not been around for very long, when considering their history, we should look to their parent breeds.

The Poodle

The Poodle is a German breed whose name comes from the word ‘pudel’, which may be linked to the word ‘puddle’; a nod towards their love of water! While we generally think of the Poodle as a pampered pet dog with perfectly groomed fur, its fur was first trimmed in that way to assist them when they hunted in water and not so that they would look a certain way at a dog show.

There is no doubt that this breed was originally a working dog and they were most often used to retrieve water fowl. As is so often the case, through the years they were used to work less often and are now usually kept as companion animals. As they are a smart breed that are easy to train, many also compete in canine activities, such as obedience and doggy dancing.

The Australian Terrier

The Australian Terrier was the first ever native dog breed developed within Australia. They were created by mixing a number of imported dogs, such as the Yorkshire Terrier and the Skye Terrier, in efforts to create the perfect vermin and snake hunter. To be able to work in the Australian climate, it was essential that they developed a wiry coat that offered protection from the elements.

To be able to perform its job, it was not only required for the Australian Terrier to be agile and hardy, but also fearless – traits that they have retained to this date. The first Australian Terriers were exported to Britain in the early 1900s and the breed was recognised by the Kennel Club within their Terrier group in 1933.


Inheriting both Terrier and Poodle features, the Terri-Poo is a unique looking dog and there is a good degree of variation from pup to pup. They typically have a domed skull, square muzzle, alert brown eyes and medium-sized ears that flop down to the side of their face. Their bodies are lean and compact with a rectangular shape. Their tail is relatively short and typically stands straight up.

The height and weight of the Terri-Poo will vary and depends on which Poodle type they were bred from (Toy, Mini or Standard). The average fully-grown Terri-Poo will reach heights of 23cm to 38cm and weights of 4.5kg to 7kg, making them a small breed.

As the Poodle has a thick, curly coat and the Australian Terrier has fur that is more coarse, the Terri-Poo’s fur is often quite shaggy and unkempt looking. Some will be noticeably curlier than others. There are a number of possible coat colours, including white, grey, brown, black, cream and red. Some will have coats of a solid colour, while others may be bi-colour or have white patches of fur.

Character & Temperament

The Terri-Poo may be more ‘terrier’ than ‘poodle’ with a spunky attitude and a confidence that belies its size. Or, they may take after their Poodle parent and be more laid-back and biddable. Predicting the nature of a mixed-breed can be difficult, though with time and successive matings, a definite personality will start to develop.

Generally, Terri-Poos are fun-loving and affectionate, happiest when in the company of their owners. They dislike being left alone and are known to suffer from separation anxiety if consistently left behind in the home. While the Terri-Poo is sweet with its family members, it can be cautious around strangers and takes a while to warm up to a new person. This trait does make them good watch dogs, as they will yap loudly at any new person that dares enter their territory.

Many speak of the ‘intuition’ of the Terri-Poo, with owners convinced that their hybrid can feed off their own feelings and react accordingly. So, when an owner is tired and needs some down-time, their Terri-Poo should head off to bed (at least, in theory!).


With the tenacious attitude of the Australian Terrier and the brains and patience of the Poodle, the Terri-Poo has the potential to be an A grade student. As they can be wilful and attention-seeking, having a consistent training programme in place from day one is critical. Dogs that know their place in the family and are bound by a set of rules tend to be content and well-rounded.

It is important that the Terri-Poo is socialised well from a young age, particularly with young children. Older Terri-Poo dogs that are not used to being around small people can be anxious and should be monitored in their company.


A small dog with a lifespan of 12 to 15 years, the Terri-Poo tends to enjoy good health. There are a number of conditions that they can inherit from each parent and owners should educate themselves in order to be prepared.


Consistently high blood sugar levels in a dog is indicative of a diagnosis of diabetes. Symptoms can include a ravenous hunger, weight loss and an excessive thirst. Once diagnosed, a dog will usually require life-long insulin therapy. Controlling the disease can be tricky and dogs will need frequent check-ups.

Mitral Valve Disease

The mitral valve is the valve in between the left atrium and ventricle in the heart. In Mitral Valve Disease, the valve does not work as it should, allowing some blood to flow back. Over time, this disease progresses and symptoms become worse. Dogs may cough and get out of breath easily. Imaging studies, such as chest x-rays and echocardiograms, can diagnose the condition. In many cases, dogs will live for several years after diagnosis, thanks to the effective medicine available today.

Legg Calvé Perthes Disease

Experts are not entirely sure what causes Legg Calvé Perthes Disease, but they suspect it is due to a poor local blood supply. The head of the femur bone will begin to disintegrate and dogs will experience varying degrees of lameness and pain. While there is no cure, surgery is often performed to remove the affected bone and dogs typically respond well.

Exercise and Activity Levels

While small, owners should not underestimate the exercise needs of the Terri-Poo, who comes from a working background. This is a dog that likes to keep active and can get easily bored if not brought out at least a few times each day. They do not need a large amount of space but do appreciate the freedom provided by a fenced-in back garden.

As well as basic exercise, Terri-Poos will be your best friend if you play with them! They absolutely love to play ball and could play fetch for hours on end without tiring of it. To keep them stimulated, try to vary their routine and introduce new activities whenever possible.


A relatively high maintenance breed, the Terri-Poo’s coat should be brushed every two days or so to prevent tangling and keep it in good condition. Some individuals will need to have their ears plucked regularly, particularly if they are prone to infections.

Owners should get into the habit of brushing their teeth, which will go a long way towards preventing periodontal disease in later life. ‘How to brush a dog’s teeth’ videos are available online, and owners can ask their veterinarian for a demonstration during a routine health check.

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