Your spunky peekapoo can be a blur of fur as he races by you in the chase for a ball. On the way, he may splash through a mud puddle, pick up burrs on his curly coat, and snag his nails on rocks. All this means your little dynamo with abundant fur needs close attention to grooming and his coat clipped to keep him clean and adorable.
The Pekingese poodle
The diminutive peekapoo is one of the first so-called designer dogs, a cross between the curly poodle and the long-haired Pekingese, bred to be hypoallergenic and low shedding like its poodle parent.
Peekapoos, first bred in the United States more than 50 years ago, are known as first-generation crosses, meaning that each litter of peekapoos is created by breeding a Pekingese with a toy or miniature poodle, rather than using two peekapoo parents. That means the hybrid puppies will have great variation, and there is no standard for this crossbreed.
Peekapoos all have curly or wavy soft coats in colors ranging from white to silver to chocolate to apricot that need close attention to grooming to avoid matting and to keep clean. Some more closely resemble their Pekingese parents, while others favor the poodle side of the family.
Their muzzles are generally much shorter than a poodle's, which can lead to breathing issues in some dogs because the airways are short and narrow. Unlike the poodle, the eyes protrude, which can mean they may be more prone to injury. These potential health concerns will mostly affect peekapoos who have the flatter, more squashed-looking face of their Pekingese parent. Peekapoos get their leg length from the poodle side of the family rather than the stubby Pekingese.
Size and temperament
Peekapoos stand 9 to 11 inches high and weigh between 9 and 20 pounds. Their life expectancy is about 13 to 15 years.
The peekapoo, sometimes erroneously referred to as a peakapoo, peekaboo dog, or picapoo, is bred to be an affectionate, companionable dog. That means peekapoos seek a lot of attention and can be extremely loyal, and at the same time can serve as a pint-sized watchdog.
These energetic dogs require a substantial amount of exercise and are said to be easier to train than Pekingese, taking their intelligence from their clever poodle parent. But like their Pekingese parent, they can be prone to snapping at strangers and children who are excessively attentive.
Meet the parents
Bred for emperors in ancient China, the hirsute Pekingese has a double coat with a thick mane across its neck and shoulders, leading to the nickname lion dog. They are approximately the same size as the average peekapoo.
Peekapoos tend to grow to a size between toy and miniature poodles. Curly coated toy and miniature poodles are intelligent dogs who originated in Germany, bred from the larger standard poodle.
The great variation in Pekingese poodles is most apparent in their coats. Some have the tight curls of their poodle parent, while others have loosely looping curls, waves, or even the straight hair of the Pekingese. Despite the differences in fur texture, all peekapoos need to be combed or brushed at least every other day to prevent mats and tangles.
Use a wire brush or one featuring pins with rubber tips to groom the fur. It's easy for debris to get caught in the curls, so carefully comb through them to remove. Peekapoos should get a bath about once a month, and depending on your pet's size and temperament, you might want to try bathing her in a sink rather than a bathtub. Unless your peekapoo gets really dirty, it's best not to bathe her too often to prevent drying out the skin.
Use a mild soap formulated for dogs or babies and lukewarm water. Gently wash using a cloth across every square inch of your peekapoo's body, paying special attention to the belly and genital area where debris tends to cling. To ensure easier combing, apply a conditioner, then cover your dog with a towel and wait for about 15 minutes before rinsing. Then, gently dry your peekapoo with a clean towel.
Unlike fur on short-haired dogs, a peekapoo's will continue to grow. The longer it is, the more time will be required for grooming. One reason some owners clip their peekapoo is that the fur, particularly on the underside, has become matted.
Sometimes the only way to remove the mats is by cutting them out. Getting an all-over haircut at the same time will ensure the coat will look even and polished.
While many owners regularly brush and bathe their dogs, they may be hesitant to give them a haircut. Many take their pet to a groomer, while others watch videos or get tips for clipping the fur on their own. Most peekapoos need to be clipped every six to eight weeks.
DIY haircuts may be a two-person job with one holding your dog and the other clipping. It's best to try this when your dog is relaxed or sleepy, or you can always get her to hold still by offering treats. Use clippers made for dog fur, and clip the body fur to between ½ to 2 inches long, clipping in the direction of the hair growth. For a style known as a teddy bear or puppy cut, clip the body hair short and leave the fur on the face fairly long, trimming the fur with blunt scissors.
Carefully clip the fur on her belly and around her genitals. These areas are important to keep short to avoid urine or feces from getting caught in the fur, or simply collecting dirt from being so close to the ground.
Eyes and ears
Peekapoos are one of a number of dog breeds prone to getting tear stains beneath their eyes. This discharge from the eyes is usually harmless but can stain the fur an unsightly reddish brown, which is most noticeable on lighter-colored peekapoos. The discharge may come from allergies to food or an environmental trigger.
Use a washcloth or cotton ball to clear the discharge away daily. You can also purchase specially formulated wipes for dogs to wipe gently around the eye area to clean them and the rest of the face.
At the same time, wipe around the ears. The shape of a peekapoo's ears make them prone to trapping moisture, so be sure to dry them thoroughly.
Maintain the pearly whites
Don't forget your peekapoo's teeth in your grooming regimen. Try to train your peekapoo early to get used to having his teeth brushed. This should be done daily with a small, soft-bristled brush and toothpaste formulated for dogs. Small dogs like peekapoos are more likely than larger ones to get gum disease.
Your dog's teeth and gums should be checked by a vet at least annually, and a professional cleaning scheduled as recommended by the vet.
Groomed down to the toes
Clean your peekapoo's paws if he's been out in the rain or dirt. His toenails will need clipping every one to two weeks. When you hear that tell-tale click on the floor, you know they're getting too long.
Use toenail clippers to trim the nails, but make sure not to cut too low. A vein, called the quick, runs through the claw, and if it's cut, it will cause discomfort for your dog, and the nail will bleed.