Woodle

Linda Simon
Dr Linda Simon (MVB MRCVS, University College Dublin)
 
Photo of adult Woodle
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The Woodle designer dog is composed of the smart and biddable Poodle, as well as the courageous and independent Welsh Terrier. The Woodle should not be confused with the Whoodle, which is bred with the Wheaten Terrier rather than the Welsh Terrier. Woodles are often quite ‘Terrier-like’ in their temperament and can be strong-willed, requiring consistent rules and a routine from the get go. They need to be kept active and are highly intelligent.

Physically, Woodles are little fluff balls that seem to always look like puppies, regardless of their true age. They have beautifully crimped fur, which comes in a wide range of colours and shades, including creams, browns and reds. Their small, circular eyes are quite close together and lend these dogs an inquisitive expression.

About & History

The Woodle is an unpopular crossbreed that has yet to establish itself within the designer dog world. This is likely due to the scarcity of the Welsh Terrier, as other Poodle mixes are relatively common worldwide (such as the Labradoodle and Goldendoodle).

The Poodle

Poodles make for wonderful additions to any canine gene pool thanks to their good nature, charm and versatile appearance. Not only can they be bred in a wide range of colours, there are also three distinct sizes of Poodle (the Miniature, Toy and Standard). Their intelligence means they should be easy to train but can make for a head-strong dog that tests its boundaries.

While Poodles are synonymous with France, they originated in Germany and were originally used to seek out truffles and hunt waterfowl. Once exported to France, they became popular amongst the elite as fashionable pets and would be paraded on the streets as ‘accessories’. Nowadays, Poodles are widely seen in competitive dog grooming competitions where they are preened to perfection and may even have their fur dyed different colours.

The Welsh Terrier

The Welsh Terrier is one of the least common Terriers and descends from the Black and Tan Terrier (now extinct), Border Terrier and Lakeland Terrier among others.

They were employed as hunters and would pursue medium-sized prey, such as foxes and badgers. This job required determination, tenacity and also a quickness of foot and athleticism. Nowadays, the Welsh Terrier is a frequent participant on the show circuit, where it is admired for its interesting coat and handsome face. Despite their high energy levels and need for near constant entertainment, they can make good pets in active households and are well suited to country life.

Appearance

Woodles are an attractive little crossbreed that have that cute teddy bear appeal. They have a small, rounded skull, circular brown eyes and a black, button nose. While their muzzle is not particularly long, they are not a brachycephalic breed and should have an obvious stop. Their delightful ears are medium in length, hanging to the side of their face and reaching to about the level of their nose. The Woodle has a sturdy body that belies its size and is surprisingly well-muscled. Their limbs are straight and neat and they have a short tail that they carry high when happy.

As most Woodles are bred using either the Toy or Mini Poodle, they tend to range in height from 32cm to 38cm and will weigh somewhere in the region of 6kg to 9kg. Its crowning feature, the coat of the Woodle is thick and can grow quite long, falling in either crimps or curls. Fur is thickest (and softest!) on the ears. Coats can be a solid brown, black, apricot white or cream but many dogs will have the black and tan coat typical of their Welsh Terrier parent.

Character & Temperament

Not as laid back or as ‘cuddly’ as some of the other recently developed hybrids, the Woodle is part Terrier and wants you to know it! Some individuals can be a challenge and will quickly become destructive if not kept sufficiently stimulated. Energetic and brazen, these dogs will be running around your home as if they own it from the first week.

The Woodle is said to make a good family pet as they do get on well with both people and animals. As the Woodle is quite robust and tolerant of being handled, they can do well even with young children. However, it is not generally suggested that they are homed with smaller animals, such as rabbits, as they can have a well-developed prey drive.

Trainability

The Woodle is a breed with brains to spare and it usually finds training a doddle. Owners need to become inventive, varying training session and challenging both their minds and bodies. They relish figuring out puzzles and will solve them even quicker if food is involved.

A dog that can try to dominate and rule the roost, training from a young age is essential. They are smart enough to make an effort to seek out the person who spoils them the most in order to get away with mischievous behavior, so it is vital that all owners are on the same page when it comes to their training.

Health

With most individuals living well into their teens, the Woodle is generally accepted to be a rather healthy dog. Even so, there will be certain diseases that we should be vigilant for within the population.

Patellar Luxation

More often than not, it is the smaller breeds that are affected with kneecaps that can move in and out of place. A diagnosis can be made from a combination of an orthopaedic exam and an x-ray. Some dogs tolerate this orthopaedic condition well and need minimal intervention, while others find it hard to get around and benefit from surgical correction.

Addison’s Disease

Addison’s is a somewhat rare disorder that can be difficult to diagnose in some due to the waxing and waning nature of the symptoms. Dogs may seem ‘under the weather’ or have minor stomach upsets every so often. Blood tests can be used to confirm the diagnosis and affected patients will take daily medicine to keep the condition under control.

Glaucoma

Increased intraocular pressure is a painful condition that can result in blindness if not treated. If the pain is uncontrollable, it is sometimes best to remove the affected eye.

Atopic Dermatitis

Allergic skin disease causes itchy and red skin. As the dogs scratch, rub and lick they often introduce secondary bacterial and yeast infections that complicate things further. Intradermal skin tests and blood tests can be used to determine what a dog is reacting to, whether it be in the environment or their diet.

Exercise and Activity Levels

Though small, the Woodle is quite an energetic dog and they need an opportunity to blow off some steam if we are to prevent them from developing nuisance behaviors, such as garden digging or furniture chewing. At least an hour of walking, hiking or running should be provided each day and owners should make an effort to visit new locations and allow their Woodle to explore and sniff off the lead if possible (and if their recall permits it).

Grooming

This is a dog that looks best when professionally groomed and, in between, should be regularly combed and brushed if we are to prevent mats from developing.

Poodle crosses are notorious for having bad teeth, so we should aim to brush their teeth a few times a week if we are to prevent (or at least delay) the onset of periodontal disease.

The pendulous ears of the Woodle have limited airflow and can have fur within their canals, contributing to a moist and damp environment within the ear canal. If wet after a bath or a swim, it is important to thoroughly dry ears using cotton wool. Those that have excessively furry canals might benefit from plucking, which can be done at the vet clinic.

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