They say a woman has the right to change her mind….right? Well, this woman is doing just that after much soul searching and research. 

My first purchase of an “AKC” Merle Standard Poodle was in November of 2011. My awesome Tavon. 

Now, with regard to Merle Poodles…..I can honestly say that in my heart….I DO NOT believe they originally existed in the foundation of the Poodle breed. Period.

However, we also know there is plenty of “Doodle” controversy out there, and I’m not ashamed to say that I’ve been a Doodle breeder since 2008. That being said, if you research each “purebred” registered breed, you will discover (if you are reading honest history) that numerous breeds are believed to have been part of the creation of the “purebred” of all breeds we know today. Period. Despite factual history, purists still tend to demonize Doodle breeders, but their battle was lost a long time ago due to the demand of the pet industry. Not all of us desire a pet with champions in their pedigree to prove we got a good dog! I don’t know how many times over the years from my youth until now I’ve heard people say the best dog they ever had was a mutt.  I do understand the Poodle breeders' concern with regard to the Merle genetics. I share the same concerns, which is why I did my research and not taking my entrance back into the Merles lightly. Like any other breed that carries the gene (Australian Shepherd, Collies, Shelties, Great Danes….and the list goes on…..) breeding with Merle must be done with knowledge and understanding of the risks. DNA testing is available to now help avoid mis-breeding of dogs carrying the Merle gene, so there is no longer an excuse of ignorance.

5 1/2 years ago I attended a two day dog breeding seminar with a well known author/breeder. At the end of day two, she presented the idea of diversity in certain breeds that are known for certain genetic defects, using her own as an example. Despite all screening and testing for various “genetic” diseases….it seems some breeds just cannot be rid of certain devastating defects despite the diligence of responsible breeders. She concluded by saying that in certain breeds, it may be necessary to “outcross” to a similar breed with an attempt at eliminating the genetic defect, then breeding back to a point that the original breed is once again….100%. Ill admit, watching a couple of “purists” attending the seminar squirm in their seats at this “revelation” was quite amusing.

Anyone heard of an Australian Labradoodle? They are a very tight knit “registry”. They have very strict requirements of their “registered” breeders. Did you know, however, that Australian Labradoodles are not just a Labrador Retriever x Poodle? Yep. There are numerous breeds involved to create the “ultimate” coat and look, in addition to temperament and then generations of the breed for repetitiveness. Am I being critical of their accomplishment? Nope. Even when I did breed Labradoodles, I could never come close to their genetic studies.

So…back to Merle Poodles. I got spooked by respected “fellow” Sheepadoodle breeders, by “fellow” Poodle breeders and by “fellow” Old English Sheepdog breeders. So I placed one of my Merle Poodle studs with a breeder of Labradoodles. I explained why was not going to breed Merle Sheepadoodles as originally planned. I had already retired my Labradoodle program. Next thing I know….not only is that breeder breeding Sheepadoodles, but she is also breeding Merles with my boy! That was several years ago. 

I remained firm in my belief it was risky, due to the possibility of Old English Sheepdogs (not Labradoodles) carrying the merle gene and reluctant to go back. Since then, the Merle Poodle circle has grown, and many respected and fellow breeders have welcomed me to learn and be a part of their circle. I did some serious soul searching and finally made the decision…..I’m going back to my original plans as far back as 2011 to breed Merle Sheepadoodles. I still own the domain name from several years back of However, I didn't go back without precautions in DNA color testing. To date, all of our Old English Sheepdogs that are currently or upcoming to our program have tested negative to the Merle gene. 

If you have any questions about our decision or would like to specifically note your reservation for any of our upcoming Merle Sheepadoodles, please email me at

Thank you and God Bless!

Tina Law

Lawpdoodle K9 Manor (Sheepadoodles since 2009)

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