Dogs have been helping hunters track, flush out, and retrieve game for thousands of years. And when you combine a Poodle (a famed water retriever) with an Irish Setter (a gifted gundog), you get the ultimate hunter—the Irish Doodle. This superstar hybrid is an equally smart and agile dog, capable of bringing down the most elusive birds.
On top of that, it can be an exemplary family dog. But did you know that these pups tend to be stubborn? That’s right, and they also have high physical and mental stimulation needs. And don’t get us started on the grooming routine! These are just some of the interesting facts about the Irish Doodle. Want to learn more? Keep on reading!
The 12 Facts About Irish Doodles
1. They Are Top-Notch Hunters/Gun Dogs
That cute face is perfect for taking pictures and breaking the Internet. However, the Irish Doodle is not only good for social media clout. The Setter was brought up to serve as a gundog. It’s incredibly fast, resourceful, and capable of locating, chasing, and retrieving prey. As for the Poodles, they are a smart, versatile breed, specifically brought up for water retrieving.
Poodles aren’t afraid to jump in, grab the bird, and bring it back to the hunter. And, although today, Irish Doodles are mostly seen as pets, those nifty skills haven’t gone anywhere. This is a designer dog, by the way, purposely bred to get the best of both worlds. With that, Irish Doodles are lousy guardians simply because they lack the necessary aggression.
2. Irish Doodles Come in All Shapes and Sizes
The above-average weight (60–70 pounds), impressive height (up to 70 inches), and the mighty rear legs turn Irish Setters into amazing sporting dogs. As for Poodles, the Standard breed ranges from 40 to 70 pounds and often reaches 15 inches in height. Miniature and Toy Poodles are much smaller, of course. So, depending on which pups were used for breeding, you’ll get a different size, weight, coat type, color, and personality.
But the Doodle is not a purebred dog so you might not find it at a local breeder. Also, while this furry bud is recognized by quite a few kennel clubs, they each have their own requirements and standards. As for the fur, it’s usually long, dense, and flashy and looks dashing in reddish blonde (the most expensive coat, especially with white markings). Here’s a list of the available colors:
3. These Dogs Have Lots of Energy to Burn
Irish Doodles need 1–2 hours of physical activity per day to stay healthy. This can be a walk, a morning run, or something a bit more extreme like conquering a challenging mountainous terrain. And if the hybrid decides to follow its German mom/dad (the Poodle), it will also be an excellent swimmer. So, try different things and see which exercises or games the dog prefers.
The important thing here is to always be there, by the pet’s side, and show it that you want to spend time with it. Irish Doodles are always more excited and ready to rumble when their two-legged family members are around. Think agility, tracking, rally, or obedience training that involves both the owner and the dog.
4. They Also Have High Mental Stimulation Needs
Doodles don’t mind hanging out on the carpet or dozing off on the couch while watching TV to regain their strength. That said, they rely on their owners for daily brain exercises. Without them, Irish Doodles often get anxious since they always need something to do. That’s because Irish Setters and Poodles were bred to serve their owners and live their best lives by being useful.
Without a purpose, the pups will look elsewhere for mental stimulation, and you probably won’t like their new passion much. So, make sure to include puzzle games into the dog’s routine. And don’t worry, some of the best games and ideas for keeping the Doodle excited aren’t at all expensive or hard to master.
5. Doodle Setters Are Great Around Children
Folks in the market for a family dog will be pleased to learn that Irish Doodles are very good with children. And the reason for that is simple: both parent breeds are incredibly tolerant and patient when playing with kids. Plus, they genuinely enjoy playing with humans (of any age), which can’t be said about all dogs. You’ll have to do quite a lot to get these boys/girls anxious or frustrated while having fun.
However, you need to always be there to supervise the interactions, at least until the kids learn how to do it right. As mentioned, Irish Doodles can often reach 70 pounds in weight, and that’s more than enough to (accidentally) hurt a kid in the heat of the moment. According to the experts, children aged 6–10 years handle pups pretty well.
6. But They Can Also Be Stubborn
Like most inquisitive, playful, and open-hearted pups, Doodle Setters have a stubborn streak. While they do, of course, like to spend time with their favorite humans, these fur babies are not blind followers. They have their opinion about a lot of things, including food, toys, and exercises, to name a few. To turn this rambunctious canine into a disciplined pet, you’ll need to put it through obedience training and socialization.
On the bright side, the Irish Doodle is eager to please a firm, consistent, and fair leader who treats it well for getting the job done. Start early, be patient, and keep the training sessions short so that the pup doesn’t get bored. Earn its trust, and this adorable hybrid will quickly become your best friend and most loyal companion.
7. Some Irish Doodles Tend to Get Vocal
If the dog spends most of the day chilling in the apartment/property and doesn’t interact with the outside world much, it will rarely (if ever) bark. At the same time, both Setters and Poodles are known to be vocal when they see something exciting or scary. This can be the smell of a delicious snack, the scent of a local feline, or even a bird minding its business on a nearby tree.
And the vocalizations may intensify once you take the furry champ to a public (and crowded) place, be it a restaurant, beach, park, or dog show/event. If you’re lucky and the Irish genes prevail, the pup won’t be nearly as vocal. Still, that can be a problem for people who live in tiny apartments and have neighbors to worry about.
8. These Pups Are Considered Hypoallergenic
Irish Setters are moderate shedders and won’t turn the house into a hairy mess unless you skip more than a few grooming sessions. Poodles, in turn, only shed minimally, and that’s why this hybrid dog is categorized as a hypoallergenic pup.
A quick note: technically, no dog is 100% allergen-free because the allergies are caused by the dander trapped inside the coat, not the actual hair.
Still, if you’re looking for a pet that will only cause a minor reaction (or no reaction at all), the Irish Doodle might be a great choice. We recommend adopting an Irish Doodle with a short or medium coat, as it will be easier to take care of, not to mention shed less. A dog like that will cost more, as it’s a highly sought-after “feature” for most pet parents.
9. Their Coats Require Extensive Grooming
Low shedding doesn’t necessarily mean low maintenance—please keep that in mind. Both Irish Setters and Poodles have lush coats that require frequent brushing and combing to stay in shape. We’re talking about at least 3–4 times a week, or even daily. This is the only way to protect the lush coat from mats, dirt, debris, and dander. Also, don’t forget to clip the hair in the Doodle’s ears to keep them clean and dry.
10. Irish Doodles Are Quick to Adapt
Most dogs out there like it when their lives are predictable. These buds stick to a strict routine and don’t appreciate any big and/or sudden changes. Well, that’s not the case with the Irish Doodle! This is a curious, easygoing, and witty bud that takes almost no time to adapt to new circumstances. We’re talking about changes in the living conditions like moving to a different house, a new feeding schedule, and such.
That said, you shouldn’t leave this four-legged wonder alone for very long. True, Irish Doodles are mostly independent and don’t mind spending some time alone. However, since they rely on constant mental and physical stimulation, a bored/lonely pup can quickly become restless, anxious, or even destructive. Yes, separation anxiety is a thing for this breed, but only if you make it feel left out.
11. They Are Quite Expensive, Too
Earlier, we talked about the Irish Doodle being a designer dog. Well, that means they’re in high demand and cost more compared to mixed breeds and even many purebreds. While the exact price depends on a wide range of factors (age, sex, size, coat type, ancestry), expect to pay somewhere between $2,000 and $5,000 for an Irish Doodle. If you decide to go with it, only buy the dog from a reputable breeder.
And, before you pay a single cent, ask the breeder for access to the dog’s records, including health testing, vaccination dates, and more. Otherwise, you might get a pet that was raised in a puppy mill. Lastly, go ahead and see the actual pup and its parents with your own eyes to get a sense of its personality and appearance.
12. This Hybrid Has Lots of Names
Officially, the Poodle x Setter hybrid is called the Irish Doodle. However, the owners of this lovely pup like to come up with new names for it that do a better job of reflecting its sweet, joyful personality. It can be something decent like the Irish Setter Doodle, the Poodle Setter, or something fun like the Irish Setterpoo. So, don’t be surprised when someone calls this hybrid dog a silly name!
Irish Doodles are fun, playful, and sweet dogs that love to spend time with their owners and follow their lead. They do have an independent and headstrong streak, of course. But, if you’re looking for a family companion that’s good around children, with a little work, this hybrid can be that pet. As a bonus, you’ll get a fearless guardian and an elite hunter/gundog.
These fur babies are strong and witty and take little to no time to adapt to new environments. On the downside, they require daily grooming and like to get vocal when excited or stressed. So, before you adopt an Irish Doodle, make sure you can keep up with this energetic, multi-talented dog and its needs!