Vital Stats:Dog Breed Group: Hybrid Dogs
Height: Up to 11 inches tall at the shoulder
Weight: 4 to 20 pounds
Life Span: 10 to 15 years
For a "designer dog," the Peekapoo dog breed has a fairly long history; with the help of responsible breeders, it's possible that the history will get longer still. A cross between a Pekingese and a Poodle, he was among the first of the recent slew of Poodle crosses to be developed, back in the 1950s and '60s. He hasn't gained as much recognition as some of the other designer dogs, such as the Labradoodle and the Cockapoo, but he's won enough of a following that he's thrived for the last five decades.
One possible reason for his success is that some designer dog breeders are trying to create a formal breed, whereas the Peekapoo folks believe that the best Peekapoo is still a cross between a purebred Pekingese and a purebred Poodle, and they don't breed Peekapoos to Peekapoos. The Peekapoo doesn't have a club or any organization trying to nudge him into recognition as a breed. This keeps him fairly clear of inherent diseases, although some still occur because a dog's health depends on how well the breeder has selected the parents.
Like most designer dogs, the Peekapoo was developed to be a companion for people with allergies. As with all designer dogs, some can still have coats that produce an average amount of shed hair and dander, setting off a person's allergies. But even though designer "Doodle" dogs aren't a perfect fit for those with allergies, the intelligent and affectionate Peekapoo steals many hearts and has made his way into a lot of homes and laps. He's also begun to see success as a therapy dog.
He makes an excellent watchdog and will bark without fail whenever he sees something or someone he thinks is suspicious. If you live somewhere with noise restrictions, this may not be the breed for you. He may be small, but he has a mighty loud bark.
The Peekapoo is an outdoorsman. He fares best in a home with a fenced yard, although he can do well in an apartment. The Peekapoo should definitely live in a home with air-conditioning, because he can succumb quickly to heat exhaustion thanks to that flat-faced pedigree. He shouldn't live outdoors or be left unsupervised outside. Proper exercise is a must; expect at least one walk and a good play session in the yard each day. He has a high energy level and if he doesn't get his daily activity he can become destructive.
A Peekapoo doesn't extend his affections to strangers; he's naturally suspicious of them, and they must earn his trust. A Peekapoo needs to be socialized to a variety of people and stimuli to be the well-rounded and affectionate dog that he can easily be.
The Peekapoo generally gets along with everyone in his family. He does well with older, more considerate children, and he must be socialized and raised with children to be accepting of them. He behaves well with other dogs and pets, but again, he needs to be raised with them and properly socialized.
Being a companion dog, the Peekapoo isn't happy when left alone for long periods at a time. He can suffer from separation anxiety and become destructive when on his own.
- The Peekapoo is a designer breed and is usually the result of Pekingese to Toy or Miniature Poodle breeding. Multigenerational breedings (Peekapoo to Peekapoo) are rare. If you're interested in a Peekapoo puppy, understand that his looks, size, and temperament aren't as predictable as those of purebreds, since you don't know which characteristics from each breed will show up in any given dog.
- The Peekapoo is an active and energetic dog. He requires daily exercise and does well with a good walk or romp in the yard. Don't overexercise a Peekapoo to the point of respiratory distress.
- Peekapoos can suffer from heat exhaustion quickly. They do best in a home that has air-conditioning.
- Barking is a favorite pastime for a Peekapoo. They make excellent watchdogs and will alert bark at people or things they think are suspicious.
- A clipped Peekapoo only requires about two brushings per week, while a Peekapoo with a full, natural coat will require daily brushing.
- Loving and gentle, the Peekapoo can make an excellent companion to older, more considerate children.
- Peekapoos generally do well with other dogs and pets if they're introduced to them at a young age.
- Peekapoos can be easy to train with positive reinforcement.
- With his small stature, the Peekapoo can make an excellent apartment dweller, but he's happiest with a yard in which to enjoy the great outdoors.
- Peekapoos may suffer from separation anxiety when left alone for long periods at a time.
- To get a healthy dog, never buy a puppy from an irresponsible breeder, puppy mill, or pet store. Look for a reputable breeder who tests her breeding dogs to make sure they're free of genetic diseases that they might pass onto the puppies, and that they have sound temperaments.
The Peekapoo is one of the oldest of the hybrid, or designer, breeds. He was developed in the 1950s with the cross of a Pekingese with a Miniature or Toy Poodle. The goal was to produce a non- to low-shedding dog suitable for people with allergies. The Peekapoo gained popularity by the early 1960s, around the same time as the Cockapoo.
Despite the popularity of the Peekapoo, there is no breed club. The hybrid has remained largely a first-generation cross; the parents are usually Pekingese and Poodles. There is no indication that multigenerational breeding will occur — but never say never.
Due to his small, lap-friendly size and sweetly affectionate temperament, the Peekapoo has maintained a strong following.
There is no breed standard, so there's nothing for breeders to conform to. Therefore, the Peekapoo is seen in a range of sizes. He averages up to 11 inches in height, and he can range in weight from 4 to 20 pounds.
The Peekapoo is a loving and loyal dog who is dedicated to his family. An ideal lapdog, he delights in being part of every family activity. He is gentle and rarely combative. He is an intelligent dog who is happiest with his owner, especially out in the great outdoors. Protective of his family, he'll defend them with everything in that small body.
Temperament is affected by a number of factors, including heredity, training, and socialization. Puppies with nice temperaments are curious and playful, willing to approach people and be held by them. Choose the middle-of-the-road puppy, not the one who's beating up his littermates or the one who's hiding in the corner.
Always meet at least one of the parents — usually the mother is the one who's available — to ensure that they have nice temperaments that you're comfortable with. Meeting siblings or other relatives of the parents is also helpful for evaluating what a puppy will be like when he grows up.
Because he's naturally suspicious of strangers and new dogs, early and ongoing socialization is a must for the Peekapoo. If not properly socialized, he can be slightly aggressive or timid. That's true of any dog, but particularly so for those who tend toward being wary of strangers.
Enrolling your young Peekapoo in a puppy kindergarten class is a great start down the road of socialization. Inviting visitors over regularly, taking him to busy parks and stores that allow dogs, and going on leisurely strolls to meet the neighbors will also help him polish his social skills.
The notion of hybrid vigor is worth understanding if you're looking for a Peekapoo. Hybrid vigor isn't necessarily characteristic of mixed breeds; it occurs when new blood is brought in from outside the usual breeding circle — it's the opposite of inbreeding.
However, there is a general misconception that hybrid vigor automatically applies to mixed breeds. If the genetic pool for the mixed breed remains the same over time, the offspring won't have hybrid vigor. And if a purebred breeder brings in a dog from a different line, those puppies will have hybrid vigor, even though they're purebred.
Peekapoos are generally healthy, but like all breeds, they're prone to certain health conditions. Not all Peekapoos will get any or all of these diseases, but it's important to be aware of them if you're considering this breed.
Before you bring home your Peekapoo, find out if he's from a first-generation or multigenerational breeding (although multigenerational breedings are rare in Peekapoos). If he's a first-generation dog, research the health concerns that occur in both Pekinese and Toy or Miniature Poodles. Regardless of generation, all parents should have the applicable health clearances.
If you're buying a puppy, find a good breeder who will show you health clearances for both your puppy's parents. Health clearances prove that a dog has been tested for and cleared of a particular condition.
In Peekapoos, you should expect to see health clearances from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) for hip dysplasia (with a score of fair or better), elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, and von Willebrand's disease; from Auburn University for thrombopathia; and from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) certifying that eyes are normal. You can confirm health clearances by checking the OFA web site (offa.org).
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): is a family of eye diseases that involves the gradual deterioration of the retina. Early in the disease, affected dogs become night-blind; they lose sight during the day as the disease progresses. Many affected dogs adapt well to their limited or lost vision, as long as their surroundings remain the same.
- Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease: This affliction involves the hip joint, usually in small dogs. If your Peekapoo has Legg-Perthes, the blood supply to the head of the femur (the large rear leg bone) is decreased, and the head of the femur that connects to the pelvis begins to disintegrate. The first symptoms, limping and atrophy of the leg muscle, usually occur when puppies are four to six months old. Surgery can correct the condition, usually resulting in a pain-free puppy.
- Patellar Luxation: Also known as slipped stifles, this is another common problem in small dogs. The patella is the kneecap. Luxation means dislocation of an anatomical part (as a bone at a joint). Patellar luxation is when the knee joint (often of a hind leg) slides in and out of place, causing pain. This can be crippling, although many dogs lead relatively normal lives with this condition.
- Hip Dysplasia: This is an inherited condition in which the thighbone doesn't fit snugly into the hip joint. Some dogs show pain and lameness on one or both rear legs, but others don't display outward signs of discomfort. (X-ray screening is the most certain way to diagnose the problem.) Either way, arthritis can develop as the dog ages. Dogs with hip dysplasia should not be bred — so if you're buying a puppy, ask the breeder for proof that the parents have been tested for hip dysplasia and are free of problems.
The Peekapoo is an active little dog who requires daily exercise to stay healthy and happy. Unwanted energy can lead to destructive behavior, and it's shocking — truly shocking — how much damage a small, bored dog can do. A Peekapoo enjoys being outside and likes to play in the yard and go for walks (all walks are considered nice walks).
However, don't overexercise a Peekapoo; brachycephalic dogs with flat faces, such as Pekingese, Pugs, and some Peekapoos, can easily overheat and develop respiratory troubles as a result. And remember that a high-energy small dog won't require as much exercise as a high-energy large dog.
The Peekapoo can be trained easily with the use of positive reinforcement. Harsh corrections should not be used with a Peekapoo, since they can literally hurt him.
A Peekapoo can adapt to any type of dwelling, including apartments, but they do much better with a small fenced yard to access, since they enjoy being outdoors. They should not be left unattended outside, however, since they can become prey for larger dogs and animals in the neighborhood.
A Peekapoo should also live in a home with air-conditioning, since they can be susceptible to heat exhaustion. A Peekapoo should never be exercised or left outside on unusually hot days.
Peekapoos are noisy and will alert bark whenever they see something or someone suspicious. That's not always a barrel of laughs, but at least they make great watchdogs.
Crate training benefits every dog and is a kind way to ensure that your Peekapoo doesn't have accidents in the house or get into things he shouldn't. A crate is also a place where he can retreat for a nap. Crate training at a young age will help your Peekapoo accept confinement if he ever needs to be boarded or hospitalized.
Never stick your Peekapoo in a crate all day long, however. It's not a jail, and he shouldn't spend more than a few hours at a time in it except when he's sleeping at night. Peekapoos aren't meant to spend their lives locked up in a crate or kennel.
Recommended daily amount: 1/4 to 3/4 cup of high-quality dry food a day, divided into two meals.
Note: How much your adult dog eats depends on his size, age, build, metabolism, and activity level. Dogs are individuals, just like people, and they don't all need the same amount of food. It almost goes without saying that a highly active dog will need more than a couch potato dog. The quality of dog food you buy also makes a difference — the better the dog food, the further it will go toward nourishing your dog and the less of it you'll need to shake into your dog's bowl.
Keep your Peekapoo in good shape by measuring his food and feeding him twice a day rather than leaving food out all the time. If you're unsure whether he's overweight, give him the eye test and the hands-on test.
First, look down at him. You should be able to see a waist. Then place your hands on his back, thumbs along the spine, with the fingers spread downward. You should be able to feel but not see his ribs without having to press hard. If you can't, he needs less food and more exercise.
Coat Color And Grooming
The Peekapoo's coat is usually soft in texture and has an almost cottony feel. It should be wavy and of medium to long length. There is no undercoat. The desired coat is low-shedding, but a Peekapoo can range from low to average shedding, depending on the roll of the genetic dice.
Coat colors run a tremendous range, from silver, gray, white, sable, red, cream, apricot, chocolate, to buff and black. The Peekapoo can also have a variety of markings, including phantom, which is black with tan markings.
A Peekapoo's fine coat requires regular grooming to stay healthy and free of tangles. He requires some care in keeping the Pekingese-based wrinkles and folds around the eyes, muzzle, ears, and nose free of dirt and debris. The Peekapoo can be clipped for easier care, but he still requires regular brushing and bathing. If his coat is kept long, then it will need to be brushed daily to avoid tangles and mats. Occasionally hair can cause some irritation to the eyes. If this happens, pluck the offending hair regularly.
Check the ears once a week for dirt, redness, or a bad odor that can indicate an infection. Also wipe them out weekly with a cotton ball dampened with gentle, pH-balanced ear cleaner to prevent problems.
Brush your Peekapoo's teeth at least two or three times a week to remove tartar buildup and the bacteria that lurk inside it. Daily brushing is even better if you want to prevent gum disease and bad breath.
Trim his nails regularly if your dog doesn't wear them down naturally. If you can hear them clicking on the floor, they're too long. Short, neatly trimmed nails keep your legs from getting scratched when your short Peekapoo enthusiastically jumps up to greet you.
Begin accustoming your Peekapoo to being brushed and examined when he's a puppy. Handle his paws frequently — dogs are touchy about their feet — and look inside his mouth and ears. Make grooming a positive experience filled with praise and rewards, and you'll lay the groundwork for easy veterinary exams and other handling when he's an adult.
As you groom, check for sores, rashes, or signs of infection such as redness, tenderness, or inflammation on the skin or feet and in the nose, mouth, and eyes. Eyes should be clear, with no redness or discharge. Your careful weekly exam will help you spot potential health problems early.
Children And Other Pets
A Peekapoo can make a loving companion to any child if properly introduced to children from a young age. The Peekapoo is naturally suspicious of new people, and a loud, rambunctious kid may be too much for an older Peekapoo to handle. And even though a socialized Peekapoo is gentle with youngsters, he's not suited to homes with small children who may unintentionally hurt him — a Peekapoo can be injured easily.
As with every breed, you should always teach children how to approach and touch dogs, and always supervise any interactions between dogs and young children to prevent any biting or ear or tail pulling on the part of either party. Teach your child never to approach any dog while he's eating or sleeping or to try to take the dog's food away. No dog, no matter how friendly, should ever be left unsupervised with a child.
The Peekapoo also does well with other dogs and pets, but again, early socialization is the key to success. Otherwise the Peekapoo can be combative and aggressive toward new dogs and pets.
Peekapoos are often purchased without any clear understanding of what goes into owning one. There are many Peekapoos in need of adoption and or fostering. There are a number of rescues that we have not listed. If you don't see a rescue listed for your area, contact the national breed club or a local breed club and they can point you toward a Peekapoo rescue.