We wish we had a simple one-size-fits-all answer to this question, but personal preference has a strong role to play!
Sometimes people know what look they love in a doodle but aren’t exactly sure how to articulate it to a breeder, which is why our application process allows buyers to upload photos if they need help determining what color or coat type their ideal doodle has! We hope this article will also help you sort out exactly what factors are most important to you when it comes to the look of a doodle.
Doodle Cuteness Factor #1: Coat Texture
Coat texture is one of the biggest determiners in how a doodle will look as an adult — a smooth, wavy coated doodle will have a very different look than a curly-coated doodle. And there are strong human advocates on both sides and everywhere in between! An experienced doodle breeder is generally able to tell coat type even when their pups are only a few weeks old.
Doodle Coat Texture - Other Considerations:
Besides the cuteness factor, there are other important considerations when it comes to coat type. Typically, the less curl a doodle’s coat has, the more shedding and less hypoallergenic it is. Generally, the curlier-coated doodles take after the poodle parent and have very minimal shedding. The tight curls also trap the dog’s dander beneath the coat resulting in a more allergy-friendly dog.
The downside of the curly coat is that it requires more maintenance. While all doodles do require regular grooming, the curlier the coat, the more likely it is to mat without regular combing. Because of this factor, most curly-coated doodles need to be bathed and trimmed a bit more frequently than their wavy-coated counterparts to avoid matting.
Finally, you may have an ideal in your head of the exact point on the spectrum from loose waves to tight curls that you would call the cutest doodle! We often get people asking for “teddy bear doodles” or otherwise trying to describe what we find typically boils down to something as simple as your doodle’s haircut! While coat texture does play a role in your doodle’s appearance, your dog’s haircut is an equally important factor.
Many doodle devotees want to avoid “the poodle look” and may be leery of getting a particularly curly dood. However, we have fooled many people with our full bred poodles by letting their hair grow out into a more typical “doodle cut.”
The typical poodle cut trims different areas of the face at different lengths (think poofy head and shaved muzzle), creating the appearance of what many people have come to associate with the Poodle breed. Cutting the hair all one length will definitely give your dog a rounder/fluffier appearance regardless of coat type, whereas grooming your doodle with a more traditional poodle cut or sporting clip will make him/her look much more like a Poodle.
Doodle Cuteness Factor #2: Color and Pattern
Another obvious factor in the look of your doodle is his/her color. Poodles, and therefore doodles, come in so many different coat colors and patterns! We have many owners get hung up on associated a certain color with a certain breed of doodle such as Blue Merle Aussiedoodles or Tri-Color Bernedoodles. But any breed of doodle can come in any of the colors or patterns mentioned below because of the poodle genetics.
Solid coats have a wide range but are black-based, brown-based, or cream-based. Within each of these colors, the level of intensity affects the exact shade. A lighter solid black doodle would be called silver. Similarly, doodles can also range from light cream to a rusty red and from a light café-au-lait brown to a deep chocolate.
Sable often gives the appearance of a solid brown coat but is actually a different color entirely. The base of the hair is typically lighter in color while the tip of the hair is black — giving the puppy a darker appearance.
The pattern of the coat is another striking feature of a doodle. Parti means that your doodle has at least 50% white on his coat plus another of the aforementioned colors such as black, chocolate or red. Tuxedo and abstract coats are variations of the parti coat—the doodle has some white splashes on his coat, but less than 50%.
Phantom is a coat pattern that involves a darker base coat with lighter markings on the eyebrows, muzzle, chest, under the tail and on the inside of the legs. Rottweilers and Doberman Pinschers are two common breeds that clearly display have this coat pattern.
When one combines the phantom and parti genes, the result is a tri-color doodle. A tri-color doodle will have the parti markings of at least 50% white plus another color, plus a third shade or color variation for their eyebrows, chest, and other phantom points. .
And if all these options were not enough, you can also pick if you want stripes or spots on your beloved pooch!
Brindle doodles have two colors that form a striped pattern. The brindle markings can be on part of the dog’s body such as in a brindle-parti or across his entire body. The merle gene creates mottled patches of color on a dog’s coat. The most common is blue merle – the dog’s base is a shade of silver with darker gray spots or patches.
Doodle Color/Patterns - Other Considerations:
We often find that owners are really set on a certain color. We also caution owners to choose temperament over color both because of the overall importance of temperament but also because your doodle’s color may actually fade or change over time! The fading gene is primarily seen in Poodles and can affect any color besides white.
A young poodle will typically gradually lighten in color. Most are their official adult color by the time they are around 2 years old. Many Poodles (and doodles) are subject to this fading gene, but how much they will fade is often related to what color they are and the exact genetics in their family tree.
The most obvious way to tell what a puppy will look like as an adult is by looking at his parents. For example, if a puppy is a dark red, but mom is a lighter shade of apricot, chances are your pup will fade into a similar shade as he ages.
The colors that typically fade the most dramatically are black and sable. A puppy who looks as black as midnight at birth can be a lovely light silver hue by his second birthday and look like an entirely different dog.
Similarly, sable puppies often look dark brown as puppies, but as mentioned previously, sable is actually a tricky color. A closer look at a sable puppy will reveal that each individual hair is actually two-toned. The base of the hair is lighter and the tip is black – resulting in the pup appearing a darker color on the surface.
As the pup matures and particularly after he gets his first big groom (cutting off the darker ends of the fur), he will take on more of a light brown or cream appearance while usually keeping some of his darker markings on the longer hair on his ears. This is the trickiest color to predict as both the fading gene as well as the pup’s haircut plays a role in the appearance.
Finally, while your pup’s overall coat pattern will not change, the fading can affect the appearance of it. For example, an apricot parti pup may have clear markings as a puppy, but if his apricot fades to a lighter blonde, he may look like an overall solid white/cream dog rather than a parti as he matures. If you have a phantom or tri-color pup, it’s possible that his/her tan points may fade and not be as noticeable as an adult.
Doodle Cuteness Factor #3: Size and Body Type
Size is a fairly obvious factor when it comes to a doodle’s appearance. The good news is that doodles comes in a huge variety of sizes. Smaller varieties of a poodles can be 4 lbs. or less while larger Standard Poodles can be around 80 lbs.! As a result, doodles of various types also come in this huge range of sizes!
Some people are simply more attracted to small dogs. They love the idea of a tiny dog poking out of a handbag and love the petite facial features of some of the toy doodle breeds such as the Yorkiepoo or Cavapoo. Small doodle people love that their dog really does resemble a stuffed animal! Other families naturally gravitate towards larger dogs. The ability to snuggle and hug their larger dog and take him on all kinds of adventures makes him all the cuter!
In addition to weight, a dog’s stature and body type has a lot to do with his overall look. Poodles are a tall and thin breed. Standard Poodles are often described as elegant due to their naturally thin and delicate body type. Many doodles take after this body type and are also tall and thin. This build typically results in an athletic and agile dog that owners love to watch run!
Other doodles take after the body type of their “other parent,” particularly in first generation crosses. Bernedoodles are a great example. The Bernese Mountain Dog is a much thicker, blockier dog than the poodle. They have a rounder head, wider muzzle, stockier build, and overall thicker bone structure than a poodle of the same weight. Some people are more attracted to this body type.
This body type was beneficial to the Bernese Mountain Dog breed (and many other working dog breeds) who needed to be strong to pull carts, protect livestock, or whatever other duties were needed! Many owners admire the thicker structure, strength, and overall bearlike appearance of their first generation Bernedoodle or other similar breed!
Size and Body Type- Other Considerations:
Not every small doodle is created equal. Naturally small dog breeds such as the Yorkshire Terrier or Cavalier King Charles Spaniel pair well with a toy or miniature poodle and will produce consistently small offspring. Dog breeds that are significantly larger such as the Bernese Mountain Dog must be bred with a poodle over several generations, slowly and carefully, in order to achieve a consistent and structurally sound smaller size.
Crossing a 4 pound toy poodle with a 100 pound Bernese Mountain Dog (or other large breed) can result in structural abnormalities; resulting offspring may have disproportionately long backs and short legs.
Furthermore, the larger the disparity between the two parents’ sizes, the more unpredictable the weights of their offspring. While most puppies will likely fall somewhere in the middle of the two parents’ weights, it is certainly possible that they could take after one parent such that a first generation “mini” Bernedoodle could end up being quite large like his Bernese Mountain Dog parent.
So, if size and body type is a big factor for you when it comes to the cuteness of a doodle, be sure to choose your breed and breeder wisely. Ask your breeder about both parent dogs’ sizes to gauge your pups’ estimated adult weight/height.
The closer the two parents are in weight, the more reliable prediction you can make about your pup! Also we generally recommend staying clear of first generation crosses of “mini” doodles that are bred with a much larger breed dog such as a Golden Retriever, Bernese Mountain Dog, etc.
The Ultimate Doodle Cuteness Factor #3: Personality
At the end of the day, we feel strongly that the biggest determining factor in the cuteness of a doodle is personality. These intangible, invisible qualities of your dog will have the biggest impact on how endearing he is to you as he grows up. On a similar note, it is very hard to find any doodle cute if they just ate your drywall!
Overall, doodles are known to be jovial, family-friendly dogs, but there are many specific traits to consider when it comes to how good of a fit your doodle’s temperament is for you. Energy level is a big one: are you an avid hiker and jogger who wants an active companion or are you a couch potato who is mostly interested in snuggling?
When it comes to trainability, some doodle breeds are known for their eagerness to please such as the Goldendoodle, while others may have a bit more of an independent or stubborn streak such as the Bernedoodle.
When it comes to determining your doodle’s personality, his/her specific breed as well as individual temperament will both play a large role. Make sure you thoroughly research whichever doodle breed you are interested in. Understanding the purebred breeds that make up each doodle cross is a very important factor in determining which is the best fit for your family.
We recommend researching the breed’s history and their original purpose for being bred to understand their energy level, trainability, and overall mindset.
Keep in mind that any breed of doodle can come in a variety of sizes, colors, and coat textures. So choose your breed first based on your needs and lifestyle and worry about these other “cuteness factors” second!
Once you have landed on a specific breed of doodle, there is still a lot of variability when it comes to each specific puppy! A reputable breeder knows their puppies well because of the amount of time they invest with them. Many breeders also temperament test their litters so can tell you the specifics when it comes to each pup’s personality.
It may seem hard to imagine, but your doodle’s personality really will make the biggest difference in how cute you think he is! The bond you form with him will make everything he does seem perfectly adorable. Doodles are a wonderfully expressive breed- their head tilts, ear perks, and all sorts of other antics will have you convinced that your doodle is officially the cutest!
We know a number of owners who did not get their first choice when it came to color or some other physical variable but relied on our detailed temperament analysis and matchmaking system to get a pup with the perfect personality for their family. Good luck convincing them now that they don’t have the world’s cutest doodle!
We do believe that personal preferences are important when it comes to choosing a doodle. Coat, color, and size preferences are all valid factors to consider when choosing your next puppy. But at the end of the day, the bond you have with your pup (which will be much easier to forge if your personalities naturally mesh!) will be the biggest key in enjoying and admiring your doodle for the next 12-15+ years!
Jenna and the JLDD Team