The labradoodle, the Maltipoo, the pomapoos — how can one keep them straight? As "designer" dogs give purebreds a run for their money, the poodle seems to be top dog when it comes to these fancy cross-breeds. One local boy with a fondness for the formal breed hopes to sort things out with his guidebook on all things poodle-mixes.
Zane Thygerson, 11, was inspired to write "Ooodles of Poodles" when he and his mom, Vaun, picked up their black standard poodle, Max, from the groomers last November.
"There was another poodle on one of the (grooming stations), and it didn't really look like a (normal) poodle," Zane said. "I asked 'What type of poodle is that?' It was a Maltipoo. We started talking in the car about the different types of poodles."
Spurred on by the conversation about different poodle mixes, the mother and son decided it would be a good idea for a book. Zane, who's been writing short stories since he was about 5, got to work on what would become "Oodles of Poodles" when he got home and finished it that same day.
"After I read it, I thought 'This is a good book!'" Vaun said, adding that she didn't want it to just sit in a drawer at home. "I think it could sell."
The book covers 21 different poodle mixes and includes their names and traits, like the "corgipoo," which, Zane writes, keeps the playfulness of a Corgi while keeping the hypoallergenic fur of the poodle. For each poodle mix in the book, there's an illustration done by Ashley Costello, a friend of Zane's older sister, Bryce.
"People keep telling us what we've forgotten," said Vaun, who writes for Kern County Family magazine. "He could have made the book a hundred pages."
The book was self-published through Vaun's Blue Corner Zoo Publishing Co., a process that took close to a year to finish. Now, the book is available on Amazon.
Before getting into the "doodleman pinschers," "Saint Berdoodles" and other mixes, Zane dedicates the book to one special poodle in particular. His muse, Max, who died in February. On the back of the book, though, is a picture of Zane smiling next to his new best friend, Lincoln, an 11-month-old, black and white "parti" poodle.
"They're fluffy and you can play with them," Zane said of why he likes poodles. "Max was kind of like 'I'll play with you if I want to,' but Lincoln is like 'I'll play with you!'"
For a family that is now all about poodles, Vaun said she resisted getting one at first. It was her husband who talked her into going to see some poodle puppies when they were looking for a new dog, and the prospect of a pet that doesn't shed was too good for her to pass up, she said.
"Now I'm a poodle addict," Vaun said.
Rounding out the Thygerson family is dad Scott, who works for Kern Medical Center, and their older children, 19-year-old Bryce and son Cade, 14. All of them have been supportive of Zane's writing, with his siblings posting about "Oodles of Poodles" on their social media accounts and Cade selling copies of the book to friends.
But the young writer doesn't limit himself to books about animals. His earlier work consists primarily of zombie stories, and now he's planning to return to his roots for his next story, a spooky one about a game of hide-and-seek in an orchard.
"This is a little tamer than what he's usually writing," Vaun said of the poodle book, with a smile.
The sixth-grader's talents also extend to football, skiing, piano and DJing. On Saturday, he'll add "public appearances" to his list of activities.
"I'm going to be at the Pet Fair with the books and signing them," Zane said.
Zane and Costello will be at the Kern County Pet Fair, which will be held at the fairgrounds from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Though he'd like to bring Lincoln with him, Vaun is still debating that. The pet fair will have activities, adoptions, contests, vendors and more.
The Thygerson family hopes people will buy a copy of Zane's book, which he said could "be a dog guide, if you're looking for a dog, and a children's book."
"I think it's informational and fun, and good for all ages," Vaun said. "You don't have to be a poodle lover to like it."