Labradoodle

A relatively new hybrid "designer" breed dog, the Labradoodle has gained popularity quite quickly. This is probably due to their outgoing personality and low-shedding coat. They are large, active dogs and because of the differences in their parent breeds, can vary widely in appearance, coat texture, size, and temperament. Some Labradoodles may closely resemble a Poodle in temperament and appearance, while others will look and act like Labradors. Many will have some combination of the appearance and personality. Nearly all Labradoodles are high-energy dogs and require a lot of exercise, that should be taken into consideration when choosing a dog for your family. Though they were originally bred to be hypoallergenic, most people who are allergic to dogs will still be allergic to the Labradoodle.

Poodles and Labrador Retrievers are both popular breeds known for their athleticism and trainability and most Labradoodles will inherit those traits. Because of the wide range of temperaments, carefully selecting your dog or puppy is extremely important. Prospective owners should do extensive research first to determine whether this dog fits their lifestyle and then to find a reputable breeder who can help them to choose the right dog for their particular situation. With careful research and planning, owners will have a delightful, intelligent, and enthusiastic dog who lives happily alongside family, children, and pets.

Key Breed Stats

Alternative names: The Labradoodle breed is also commonly known by the names Doodles, Australian Labradoodle.

Popularity: Very popular

Life expectancy: 12 - 14 years

Breed group: Designer Breed

Size: Large

Male Female
Height 12 - 28 in 12 - 28 in
Weight 35 - 75 lbs 35 - 75 lbs

Coat:

Colors: Blue, White, Brown, Golden, Cream, Brindle, Silver, Red, Gray, Black and Tan, Black

Key Breed Facts

Shedding: Average shedder

Grooming requirements: Low

Good with children: Yes

Good with other pets: Definitely

Intelligence / Trainability: High

Exercise needs: Very high

Tolerates being alone: Rather well

Hunting drive: Low

Suited as Guard dog: Average

Sensitivity: Average

Good for novice owners: Yes

Hypoallergenic breed: Yes

Drooling: Very low

Barking: Occasional

General health: Good

Cost to keep: Average

History

The Labradoodle is a very new breed and is considered to be a hybrid or "designer dog". They are the result of breeding a Labrador Retriever and a Poodle. There is now some multi-generational breeding and Labradoodles are being bred back to Labradoodles, as well as bred to Poodles and Labradors to produce desirable characteristics.

They were originally bred in Australia in hopes of producing hypoallergenic service dog. The breed was somewhat successful, if not entirely. Labradoodles may shed much less than other dogs but are rarely entirely hypoallergenic. But, many Labradoodles have succeeded in their intended purpose as guide dogs.

Wally Conron of the Royal Guide Dogs Association was the first to breed a Standard Poodle and a Labrador Retriever in 1989. His first cross was quite successful. One dog from the litter, named Sultan, was both hypoallergenic and showed all of the traits of a successful guide dog. He did, in fact, go on to a guide dog career.

There are no Labradoodle clubs in North American, but the breed is represented by the Australian Labradoodle Association and the International Labradoodle Association. Ultimately, they hope to legitimize the breed through multigenerational breeding and achieve a regular breed standard, as well as registered breed status.

Appearance

Labradoodles are a hybrid dog can have a variety of both Labrador and Poodle traits. However, there are a few guidelines for size and coat:


  • They come in three size variations:
    The Standard Labradoodle should be 22 to 24 inches in height for a male and 21 to 23 inches in height for a female, while both can range in weight from 50 to 65 pounds.
    The Medium Labradoodle should be 18 to 20 inches high for a male and 17 to 19 inches high for a female, with both weighing from 30 to 45 pounds.
    The average size for a Miniature Labradoodle is between 14 to 16 inches and 15 to 25 pounds.

  • There are three coat varieties:
    The Hair coat, which is similar to fur in shedding breeds, is the least popular. Hair coats shed and usually have a normal doggy odor. This coat is seen in first generations, although breeders try to avoid it.
    The Wool coat is similar in feel to a lamb's wool. Wool coats hang in loose curls and aren't dense. Generally, the Wool coat doesn't have a "doggy" odor and it's usually nonshedding.
    The Fleece coat has a silky texture often described as an Angora goat texture. This coat ranges from straight to wavy.

  • A wide variety of colors: gold, apricot, caramel, chalk (a chalky white), black, red, café, cream, silver, chocolate, parchment, and blue. They can also have parti-colored coats, which consist of brindles, phantom, patched, or sable colors.

Temperament

Intelligence/Trainability

Labradoodles are well-known for their intelligence and trainability. They are playful, love to be around people, and are eager to please. Because they are so easy to train, they are excellent dogs for first-time owners. With the correct amount of training, they will excel in obedience classes and in all the canine sporting activities like agility, flyball, tracking,

As with all intelligent breeds, Labradoodles require an outlet for their energy and intelligence. In short, they do best with a job, even if that job is simply chasing a ball or accompanying you on walks. They are incredibly fast learners and will learn bad habits just as quickly as good ones.

Activity

Because their foundation breeds were originally bred as working dogs, Labradoodles are high-energy dogs that require a fair amount of exercise. 20-30 minutes of vigorous exercise twice per day is enough to keep your Labradoodle healthy and happy. They enjoy all sorts of activities, like walking, playing fetch, agility, and more.

Exercising your Labradoodle puppy requires a few special considerations. Labradoodles have an increased risk of hip dysplasia. Avoid exercising on slippery surfaces and climbing stairs under the age of 3 months. Exercise is needed, however, as strong muscles will increase the stability of the hip joint. Outdoor exercise on soft, uneven grounds seems to have a lower risk. Try to avoid exercise that involves running, jumping and playing on hard surfaces until the age of 2.

Independence

Labradoodles are excellent family dogs and do best when they can spend as much time with their families as possible. They do not do well when left alone for long periods of time and will want to be near their families.

Protective

Labradoodles vary in their protective temperaments. Labradoodles are affectionate, loving, and protective of their own families. They will bark at intruders and can be slow to warm up to strangers. However, Labradors do not make good watch/protection dogs. They are incredibly friendly and will happily greet anyone. A Labradoodle may fall anywhere on this spectrum.

Living Conditions

Labradoodles are quite versatile and adapt easily to many environments. However, they can be high-energy and may not adapt to apartment living. They are pretty big dogs, and quite active, and can take up quite a bit of space in your home. Ideally, they have a safe, fenced yard to run and play.

Children and Other Pets

Most Labradoodles like children and even enjoy the noise and commotion of busy family life. Labradoodles and children share the same zest for life and in general get along very well. The Labradoodles's enthusiasm, playfulness, and gentle, affectionate nature make them an excellent family dog. However, they are large and sometimes boisterous, and could knock over a child when playing.
That said, extra care should be taken, especially with young children (under the age of 6):


  • Labradoodles are large, high-energy dogs that can easily knock down children while playing

  • Young children may unintentionally invade the personal space of your dog and are unable to interpret the warning signals of your dog

  • Dogs consider the family as a pack, and may consider the younger children as subordinates, and may try to correct them

  • Young children are very time-consuming. They may take away from the time you have to spend with your dog and he may become bored or frustrated.

No dog, regardless of breed, should be left unattended with young children.

A Labradoodle generally lives peacefully with other dogs and pets. Howver, correct socialization is always important. Special care needs to be taken when introducing a new puppy to your other pets. It needs to be done slowly and very careful to make sure that everything goes smoothly and that it is a calm, positive experience for the puppy.

Health

The average life expectancy of a Labradoodle is between 12 - 14 years. Like all breeds, the Labradoodle is prone to certain hereditary health conditions. A responsible breeder will only breed with dogs that have been cleared for these conditions. A Labradoodle is prone to these diseases:
  • Hypothyroidism (hereditary)
  • Elbow Dysplasia (hereditary)
  • Ear Infections (hereditary)
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) (hereditary) : Progressive retinal atrophy refers to a group of inherited degenerative eye disorders, which lead to loss of vision. PRA affects both eyes simultaneously and is not painful More info»

Grooming

Labradoodles have three types of coat: the Hair coat, the Wool coat, and the Fleece coat. They are generally non to low shedders, especially the Fleece and Wool coats. Dogs with hair coats are low to moderate shedders. Grooming requirments vary for the coat types, but in general, they should be brushed at least once or twice a week and clipped or trimmed every six to eight weeks.

Labradoodles should only be bathed when needed using a pH balance shampoo designed specifically for dogs. Labradoodles can be prone to ear infections. Ears should be checked regularly for dirt, redness or a bad smell that could indicate an infection. Clean your dog's ears when needed with an ear cleaner made specifically for dogs.

Teeth brushing two or three times per week (daily is best) helps prevent tartar build up and teeth problems. Nail trimming is an important part of grooming if your dog doesn't wear them down naturally. Once or twice a month should suffice. Trimming a dog's nails too close can cause bleeding and pain, so it is important to trim carefully or seek the help of a vet or groomer.

All puppies and dogs should be groomed regularly and have their paws, ears, and mouth handled and examined frequently so that they become comfortable with the process. This way, you will quickly become aware of any problems that arise and your dog will be easy to handle for the vet, groomer, and any treatments that are required throughout its lifetime.

Feeding

Recommended daily amount: 1 to 2.5 cups of high-quality dry kibble, divided into two meals. How much your dog needs depend on his size, age and activity level – a very active dog will need more than a lazy one. It also depends on the quality of the food - higher quality food will be digested more easily so you will need to use less.

Special attention is needed when feeding puppies: use food specifically designed for large breed puppies. Adult dog food contains too much calcium, which will increase the risk for hip and elbow dysplasia. Don’t overfeed your puppy, as overweight puppies also have an increased risk for dysplasia. Puppies need to be fed 3 to 4 times a day. This might seem like a hassle, but it will help when it comes to housebreaking. A puppy’s digestive system works very fast. Five to 30 minutes after his meal, he will need to go out to do his business.

Just like any other breed, they need to have free access to fresh, clean water at all times.

Older dogs, like puppies, might need a diet adapted to their needs. In some cases, it is advisable to feed them smaller portions 3 to 4 times a day.

When changing your dog’s diet, it’s recommended to do it gradually over a period of a few days to avoid stomach problems.

Avoid exercise 1 hour before and after the meal, to reduce the risk of gastric torsion (bloat).

Make sure that your dog is not becoming overweight. Obese dogs suffer can suffer from all kinds of health conditions. If you can’t feel the ribs when you move your hands over his sides, he needs to be put on a diet.

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