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At their best, these dogs are undeniably lovable, people-friendly, enthusiastic, trainable best friends. While they may not look much alike, the Pug and the Poodle have a lot in common. Topping the list is a love of laughter – yours, at their antics.
People have been crossbreeding dogs for millennia. That’s how the Australian Shepherd, Doberman Pinscher and more, originally got their start.
The Pugapoo is a crossbreed. Opening your heart and home to a crossbreed is like opening a beautifully wrapped package on your birthday: you never know what’s going to be inside. It’s often assumed that a crossbreed will combine the best of two or more breeds, but genetics doesn’t always work that way. The way genes combine and express themselves is not always subject to a breeder’s control, even less so when two different breeds are crossed. That’s something to keep in mind before you lay down lots of money for a dog that you have been assured will be hypoallergenic or healthier than a purebred.
Crossbred puppies like the Pugapoo – even within the same litter – can look very different from each other, and can look the same as or different from their parents. The Pugapoo's size, color, coat type, temperament, activity level and health risks will vary depending on what traits an individual puppy has inherited from his parents.
Pugapoos are not very consistent in looks, and can have a curly Poodle coat, a short Pug coat, or anything in between. They can come in pretty much any color, have a tightly corkscrewed tail or one that flies high, and even come in a variety of sizes from around 10 pounds to as much as 30 pounds, depending on the size of the parents.
Because both Poodles and Pugs tend to be good with children, this can be a good mix to consider as a family pet. The smallest Pugapoos need to be protected from rough play, however. And because they are such affectionate, people-oriented dogs, never think for a minute that they'll adapt to life in the backyard or garage. These dogs need to live indoors as a member of the family.
Pugapoos are usually good with other dogs and cats, but can be barkers if they take after the Poodle side, so be sure to gently nip any signs of nuisance barking in the bud.
Pugapoos have a low to moderate activity level that is adaptable to their owner’s lifestyle. They need a nice walk or active playtime each day, and if you’re interested (and the dog is in good overall health -- check with your vet first), they are athletic enough to participate in such dog sports as agility, flyball, obedience and rally.
Both of the breeds used to create Pugapoos are smart and learn quickly, but if the Pug side is dominant your Pugapoo may have a bit of a stubborn streak. If you begin socialization and training early and use positive reinforcement techniques such as praise, play, and food rewards, you will be rewarded with a wonderful companion.
People have been crossing types of dogs for millennia in the attempt to achieve a certain look, temperament or working ability. That’s how many well-known purebreds, including the Affenpinscher, Australian Shepherd, Black Russian Terrier, Brussels Griffon, Doberman Pinscher, German Wirehaired Pointer, Leonberger and more, originally got their start.
But crossing two breeds over and over does not a breed make. A breed is a group of animals related by descent from common ancestors and visibly similar in most characteristics. To achieve consistency in appearance, size and temperament, breeders must select the puppies with the traits they want and breed them over several generations for the traits to become set.
Crossbreeds such as the Pugapoo have become popular over the past ten or twenty years as people seek out dogs that are different from the everyday Pug or Poodle or that they think will have certain appealing characteristics. For instance, it’s often claimed (falsely, by the way) that cross-breeds are hypoallergenic or have fewer health problems or will carry the best traits of each breed.
Unfortunately, genes aren’t quite that malleable. Genetic traits sort out randomly in each dog, so without selecting for certain characteristics over many generations, there’s no guarantee you’ll get the best of each breed. And no matter what his breed or mix, an individual dog may be more or less allergenic, intelligent, or healthy.
Whatever his breed, cross, or mix, love your dog for what he is: a unique, special and loving companion.
Because the Pugapoo is a blend of two breeds, it’s hard to say exactly how his personality will turn out, but most likely he will be outgoing, friendly, and affectionate. Pugapoos can be barkers if they take after the Poodle side, so be sure to gently nip any signs of nuisance barking in the bud. They usually get along with other dogs and cats.
To a degree temperament is inherited, which is why it’s always a good idea to choose the “middle-of-the-road” puppy rather than the bossy one or the shy one, but you can help to promote a friendly nature by making sure that your puppy gets plenty of socialization before he is four months old. Up to 16 weeks of age, puppies are highly receptive to new people, places, sights, sounds, and experiences, so that’s the best time to start training them in puppy kindergarten classes and making sure that they encounter lots of different things so that they develop confidence. However, be aware that many puppy training classes require certain vaccines (like kennel cough) to be up to date, and many veterinarians recommend limited exposure to other dogs and public places until puppy vaccines (including rabies, distemper and parvovirus) have been completed. In lieu of formal training, you can begin training your puppy at home and socializing him among family and friends until puppy vaccines are completed.
All dogs, whether purebreds, crossbreeds, or mixes, have the potential to develop genetic health problems, just as all people have the potential to inherit a particular disease. Run, don’t walk, from any breeder who does not offer a health guarantee on puppies, who tells you that the mixed breed is 100 percent healthy and has no known problems, or who tells you that her puppies are isolated from the main part of the household for health reasons. A reputable breeder will be honest and open about health problems in the mixed breed and the incidence with which they occur in her lines. Pugapoos may be susceptible to the health problems of both the Pug and Poodle, but there’s also a chance that the genetic diversity introduced by mixing two breeds may lower the chances of developing certain inherited diseases. The very nature of genetic variation makes this difficult to predict for a mixed breed dog. Please refer to the breed guides on Pugs and Toy Poodles for an overview of some of the inherited diseases reported in these two breeds.
Not all inherited conditions are detectable in a growing puppy, and it can be hard to predict whether an animal will be free of these maladies, which is why you must find a reputable breeder who is committed to breeding the healthiest animals possible. They should be able to produce independent certification that the parents of the dog (and grandparents, etc.) have been screened for genetic defects and deemed healthy for breeding. At a minimum, ask the breeder to show evidence that both of the puppy’s parents have the appropriate certifications from health registries like the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, Canine Eye Registry Foundation, etc.
Don't fall for an irresponsible breeder's sales pitch. If the breeder tells you she doesn't need to do those tests because she's never had problems in her lines, her dogs have been "vet checked," or any of the other excuses bad breeders have for skimping on the genetic testing of their dogs, walk away immediately.
Careful breeders screen their breeding dogs for genetic disease and breed only the healthiest and best-looking specimens, but sometimes Mother Nature has other ideas and a puppy develops one of these diseases despite good breeding practices. Advances in veterinary medicine mean that in most cases the dogs can still live a good life. If you’re getting a puppy, ask the breeder about the ages of the dogs in her lines and what they died of.
Remember that after you’ve taken a new puppy into your home, you have the power to protect him from one of the most common health problems: obesity. Keeping a Pugapoo at an appropriate weight is one of the easiest ways to extend his life. Make the most of your preventive abilities to help ensure a healthier dog for life.
The grooming needs of the Pugapoo will depend on what kind of coat he has. The curly Poodle coat sheds very little but requires grooming every 4 to 6 weeks. Some owners learn to use clippers and do the job themselves, but most rely on professional groomers. Either way, it's essential to take care of the curly coat, because without regular clipping, it will quickly become a matted mess that can cause painful skin infections at the roots of the hair. The short Pug-type coat sheds, but doesn't need much care beyond a daily brushing.
Your Pugapoo's ears need to be kept clean and dry, so clean them regularly with a cleaning solution recommended by your veterinarian. The rest is basic care. Trim his nails as needed, usually every week or two, and brush his teeth frequently with a vet-approved pet toothpaste for good overall health and fresh breath. Small dogs are especially prone to periodontal disease.
Whether you want to go with a breeder or get your dog from a shelter or rescue, here are some things to keep in mind.
Pugapoo puppies are adorable, and it’s one of the reasons they are so popular. Cute puppies sell, and that makes the Pugapoo a favorite of puppy mills and greedy, irresponsible breeders. But there’s no need to pay big bucks for a Pugapoo. You can often find a wonderful example of this hybrid dog at your local shelter or through adoption organizations.
If you choose to buy one, however, select a breeder who has done the health testing to ensure that her puppies won’t carry the genetic diseases common to both breeds. If you are going to pay several hundred dollars or even $1,000 or more for a dog, you should get your money’s worth. Buying from a breeder who is smart and caring enough to do health certifications, even for a crossbreed, is the best way to do that. And while there are no guarantees in life, buying a healthy dog is a good way to minimize the possibility of big veterinary bills in the future.
Avoid breeders who only seem interested in how quickly they can unload a puppy on you and whether your credit card will go through. You should also bear in mind that buying a puppy from websites that offer to ship your dog to you immediately can be a risky venture, as it leaves you no recourse if what you get isn’t exactly what you expected. Put at least as much effort into researching your puppy as you would into choosing a new car or expensive appliance. It will save you money in the long run.
Lots of reputable breeders have websites, so how can you tell who’s good and who’s not? Red flags include puppies always being available, multiple litters on the premises, having your choice of any puppy, and the ability to pay online with a credit card. Those things are convenient, but they are almost never associated with reputable breeders.
Whether you’re planning to get your new best friend from a breeder, a pet store, or another source, don’t forget that old adage “let the buyer beware”. Disreputable breeders and facilities that deal with puppy mills can be hard to distinguish from reliable operations. There’s no 100% guaranteed way to make sure you’ll never purchase a sick puppy, but researching the mixed breed (so you know what to expect), checking out the facility (to identify unhealthy conditions or sick animals), and asking the right questions can reduce the chances of heading into a disastrous situation. And don’t forget to ask your veterinarian, who can often refer you to a reputable breeder, rescue organization, or other reliable source for healthy puppies.
The puppy you buy should have been raised in a clean home environment, from parents with health clearances. Puppies should be temperament tested, vetted, dewormed, and socialized to give them a healthy, confident start in life.
Take note: Poodles have a reputation for being "hypoallergenic", meaning that they can be tolerated by people who have allergies to dogs. Because they have the Poodle in their heritage, Pugapoos are sometimes promoted as being hypoallergenic. But allergies are caused not by a particular dog coat type but by dander, the dead skin cells that are shed by all dogs. There is no scientific evidence that any breed or crossbreed is more or less allergenic than any other dog. Some people with allergies react less severely to particular dogs, but no reputable breeder will guarantee that her dogs are hypoallergenic.
There are many great options available if you want to adopt a dog from an animal shelter or rescue organization. Here is how to get started.
1. Use the Web
Sites like Petfinder.comcan have you searching for a Pugapoo in your area in no time flat. The site allows you to be very specific in your requests (housetraining status, for example) or very general (all the Pugapoos available on Petfinder across the country). AnimalShelter can help you find animal rescue groups in your area. Also some local newspapers have “pets looking for homes” sections you can review.
Social media is another great way to find a dog. Post on your Facebook page that you are looking for a specific dog so that your entire community can be your eyes and ears.
2. Reach Out to Local Experts
Start talking with all the pet pros in your area about your desire for a Pugapoo. That includes vets, dog walkers, and groomers. When someone has to make the tough decision to give up a dog, that person will often ask her own trusted network for recommendations.
3. Talk to Rescue Groups
Networking can help you find a dog that may be the perfect companion for your family. Most people who love Pugapoos love all Pugapoos. That’s why breed clubs have rescue organizations devoted to taking care of homeless dogs. Pugapoo breeders and enthusiasts can reach out to their networks to help you find a dog that may be the perfect companion for your family.
The great thing about breed rescue groups is that they tend to be very upfront about any health conditions the dogs may have and are a valuable resource for advice. They also often offer fostering opportunities so, with training, you could bring a Pugapo home with you to see what the experience is like.
4. Key Questions to Ask
You now know the things to discuss with a breeder, but there are also questions you should discuss with shelter or rescue group staff or volunteers before you bring home a pup. These include:
What is his energy level?
How is he around other animals?
How does he respond to shelter workers, visitors, and children?
What is his personality like?
What is his age?
Is he housetrained?
Has he ever bitten or hurt anyone that they know of?
Are there any known health issues?
Wherever you acquire your Pugapoo, make sure you have a good contract with the seller, shelter or rescue group that spells out responsibilities on both sides. Petfinder offers an Adopters Bill of Rights that helps you understand what you can consider normal and appropriate when you get a dog from a shelter. In states with “puppy lemon laws,” be sure you and the person you get the dog from both understand your rights and recourses.
Puppy or adult, take your Pugapoo to your veterinarian soon after adoption. Your veterinarian will be able to spot problems, and will work with you to set up a preventive regimen that will help you avoid many health issues.
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