It’s easy to understand being wooed by the Whoodle. As the offspring of Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers and Poodles, Whoodles (also called Wheatendoodles, Sweatenpoos, Wheatenpoos, and Sweatendoodles) look like living teddy bears and have lovable personalities to match.
A relatively recent mix, the Whoodle dog isn’t recognized as an official breed and lacks a breed standard detailing their appearance and temperament. However, the Whoodle’s well-established parent breeds provide a helpful guide to what you can expect if you decide to add this crossbreed to your family.
Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers were originally bred to work as Irish farm dogs. The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Club of America (SCWTCA) describes them as “lively, inquisitive, exuberant dogs who outwardly express their love of people.” The Wheaten’s characteristic soft, wavy fur belies the hardy, muscular dog underneath.
Poodles originated in Germany, where they served as duck hunting retriever dogs. Their famously furry coats were essential for protecting them from the cold waters in which they worked. Active and elegant, the Poodle is perhaps best known as one of the smartest dog breeds.
The size of your full-grown Whoodle dog depends on their parents. While Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers range between 30–40 pounds, Poodles come in three sizes: toy (4–6 pounds), miniature (10–15 pounds), and standard (40–70 pounds). Depending on the size of their poodle parents, you may end up with a large or miniature Whoodle.
While there’s no such thing as a completely hypoallergenic dog, both the Poodle and the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier are known to be low-allergen breeds. Therefore, Whoodles may be a good fit for some people with allergies.
Caring for a Whoodle
Whoodles aren’t low-maintenance dogs. Due to their above-average intellect and energy, they do best with experienced pet parents who have the time and skills to provide consistent positive training and appropriate physical and mental exercise. They aren’t recommended for houses with small children who could get overwhelmed by the Whoodle’s enthusiasm, as Whoodles sometimes show their affection with full-body hugs (or jumping).
But it’s not just the Whoodle’s brain and body that need extra attention. Although they don’t shed much, the breed’s soft, curly coat is prone to matting and must be combed and brushed every day. They may also need to see a professional groomer every four to eight weeks.
Whoodle Health Issues
Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers and Poodles are healthy breeds with life expectancies of 12–14 years and 10–18 years, respectively, so the Whoodle’s lifespan is expected to fall in that range. However, like all dogs, the parent breeds are prone to various health conditions that can be passed to their offspring.
Protein-losing enteropathy (PLE) is a disease that causes protein loss from the intestines. When food is digested in the intestines, nutrients, including proteins, move into the bloodstream and are carried to the rest of the body. In healthy intestines, a small amount of protein leaks from the blood vessels back into the intestines, where they are typically digested and absorbed back into the blood. However, intestinal damage can cause more protein to leak from the vessels than the body is able to replace.
Any dog can be affected by PLE, but the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is predisposed to the disease. Most cases of PLE are managed (not cured) according to the illness’s underlying cause.
Protein-losing nephropathy (PLN) is a type of kidney disease involving the glomerulus, which serves as a filter for blood flowing through the kidneys. In healthy kidneys, the glomerulus stops large molecules (such as proteins) from passing into the urine. But when the glomerulus is diseased, proteins can leak through and be eliminated in the urine.
Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers are prone to developing this condition, and treatment typically involves medication and other supportive care. PLN can lead to chronic kidney disease.
Renal dysplasia is a congenital issue in which one or both kidneys do not develop properly. While the condition affects several breeds, Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers are particularly prone to the condition. Puppies with severe cases typically die of renal failure by 6 months of age.
Hip dysplasia is a condition that causes the hip joint to develop improperly, leading to a joint instability and degenerative joint disease (osteoarthritis). The disease is more common in large dogs, like Standard Poodles.
Common signs of hip dysplasia include:
- Reluctance to get up or jump
- Shifting of weight to the front legs
- Loss of muscle mass in the back legs
- Hip pain
Mild cases are typically treated with physical therapy and anti-inflammatory drugs, but severe cases may require surgery.
Seizures tend to last less than a minute, and signs can include loss of consciousness, spastic muscle movements, urination, and defecation. Medication is used to manage the condition.
Poodles are prone to an inflammatory skin disease called sebaceous adenitis. In long-coated dogs like Poodles, the signs of sebaceous adenitis include:
Odor along the hairline
Small clumps of matted hair
Dull, brittle, or coarse hair
White scales on the skin
Clusters of lesions (typically on the head)
The treatment plan will depend on disease severity but may include oral medications and topical products like antibiotic-based shampoos.
Von Willebrand Disease
Von Willebrand disease (vWD) is a genetic blood disorder that’s more common in Poodles. The condition causes a deficiency in von Willebrand factor, a protein that helps platelets stick together to form a clot.
Affected dogs may have difficulty clotting their blood. They’re typically asymptomatic in everyday life but can have excessive bleeding after trauma or surgery. Most veterinarians recommend testing high-risk dog breeds for vWD before any planned surgery, including spays and neuters. Blood transfusions may be needed to treat any injury or surgery with abnormal bleeding.
What To Feed a Whoodle
No two Whoodles are exactly alike. In fact, because one of their parents can be a Standard, Miniature, or Toy Poodle, it’s especially difficult to make one-size-fits-all recommendations for feeding.
Partner with your veterinarian to develop a feeding plan that’s nutritionally complete and balanced for your pup’s age, size, and health history.
How To Feed a Whoodle
Most adult dogs should eat two meals a day—once in the morning and again in the evening. But because Whoodle puppies have a higher metabolism than adult dogs, it’s generally best to add a midday feeding, for a total of three daily meals.
How Much Should You Feed a Whoodle?
The nutrition label on your dog’s food bag will include a recommended daily feeding guide that gives you a general idea of how much to feed your Whoodle based on their weight. For a more accurate amount, ask your veterinarian. Your vet will tailor their recommendation not only to your dog’s weight, but also to their body condition score, lifestyle, and health needs.
Nutritional Tips for Whoodles
If your Whoodle is eating a dog food that meets standards set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), they shouldn’t need any extra supplementation. However, nutritional supplements and even prescription diets are sometimes used to treat or prevent certain health conditions. Talk to your veterinarian before adding anything new to your dog’s diet.
Behavior and Training Tips for Whoodles
Whoodle Personality and Temperament
Whoodle dogs are extremely intelligent, active pups that need ample outlets for their intellect and athleticism. They also have a zest for life and their family.
While Whoodles love children, their enthusiasm can be too much for very young kids to handle, especially Standard Whoodles (those with a Standard Poodle parent). Mini Whoodles may be better around small children. Supervise all interactions between kids and dogs—regardless of the breed—and teach kids how to properly interact with animals.
Like their parent breeds, Whoodles need close companionship and daily exercise. Bored, lonely Whoodles that don’t get enough attention or exercise may exhibit unwanted behaviors, like chewing and excessive barking.
Your Whoodle’s exact exercise needs will depend on their size. Generally speaking, the larger the Whoodle, the more energy they’ll need to burn.
Talk to your veterinarian about how much exercise your particular pup needs. But use caution when your Whoodle dog is outside—thanks to their parent breeds, they can have a high prey drive, so always keep your pup inside a fenced-in space or on a leash.
Dogs learn how to interact with humans and other animals from birth to around 16 weeks of age. Talk to your Whoodle breeder about how they approach socialization, and continue socializing your Whoodle puppy from the moment you bring them home.
The Whoodle’s impressive intelligence isn’t a guarantee that training will be a breeze. Poodles tend to be quite biddable, but Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers are more independent.
Regardless of your Whoodle’s attitude toward training, positive reinforcement is the best method. Keep in mind that treats used as rewards during training can significantly add to your dog’s daily calorie count, so you’ll need to adjust your feedings accordingly.
Fun Activities for Whoodles
Whoodle Grooming Guide
Whoodles are low on shedding—but not on maintenance. Their silky curls (that can include a wide range of colors, including brown, gray, black, white, and gold) need daily attention.
Taking excellent care of your Whoodle’s coat is the best thing you can do for their skin. Matted fur can trap burrs, moisture, and other irritants.
Ask your veterinarian how often you should bathe your dog. Keep in mind that bathing your pup too often can strip their skin and coat of healthy oils and lead to dry, itchy skin.
The Whoodle’s characteristic curly coat needs to be brushed and combed down to the skin every day to avoid matting. If matting does occur, don’t attempt to cut the mats out with scissors, as you might cut your dog’s skin. Instead, try carefully picking apart the mat with your fingers or a comb.
Regular visits to a professional groomer and shorter haircuts can help make your at-home grooming routine easier.
Watch for signs of eye problems, such as cloudiness, inflammation, and discharge, and talk to your vet if you notice any concerning changes. Keep the hair around your Whoodle’s eyes trimmed to avoid irritation.
Poodles can grow hair inside the ear canals, which predisposes them to ear infections. Ask your veterinarian how and how often you should clean your dog’s ears. If you spot signs of infection such as redness, odor, pain, or itchiness, it’s time to visit the vet.
Considerations for Pet Parents
Here are some questions to consider before adding a Whoodle to your family:
Can I brush and comb a dog’s coat at least once a day?
Am I financially prepared to provide professional grooming when needed?
Am I home enough to provide companionship for a dog?
Do I live in a home without small children who could be unintentionally harmed by a rambunctious dog?
Do I have the time to provide a highly energetic and intelligent dog with mental and physical exercise every day?
Do I have the skills, patience, and dedication to train a dog using positive reinforcement?
Am I financially prepared to provide veterinary care?
Can I provide a dog with a loving home for their lifetime, which could be 18 years or longer?
If you can answer these questions with an enthusiastic “Yes!” you may be ready to parent a Whoodle.
Are Whoodles low-maintenance?
Whoodles are not low-maintenance dogs. They require experienced pet parents who can provide positive training and daily mental and physical exercise. Whoodles also need to be brushed and combed every day to avoid matting.
How much does a Whoodle cost?
Every breeder is different, but you can expect to pay more than $1,000 for a Whoodle. Ensure you thoroughly research Whoodle breeders to find one that prioritizes health over profit.
What were Whoodles bred for?
The when and why of Whoodles isn’t concrete, but you could reasonably infer that they were bred for their teddy bear-like appearance, low-shed coat, and superior smarts.
Do Whoodles bark a lot?
Like their working dog parents, Whoodles can be prone to barking. This skill helped their parent breeds during activities like hunting and herding, but it’s decidedly less popular among the parents of house pets. Early positive training and proper companionship can help keep barking to a minimum.
Featured Image: Instagram/gradysogood
Help us make PetMD better
Was this article helpful?