The Australian Labradoodle: Not like Any Other Labradoodle
You've probably heard of the Labradoodle, but the Australian Labradoodle isn't just a typical Labradoodle with an Aussie prefix. It began as a cross between a Standard Poodle and Labrador Retriever, but the original breeder, Wally Conron of Royal Guide Dogs in Victoria, Australia, was particularly focused on developing a dog that would be hypoallergenic and yet be a good guide or service dog at the same time. Conron’s efforts were continued by Rutland Manor and Tegan Park, where efforts began to carefully incorporate other breeds into early dogs produced by the typical Labrador/Poodle crosses. The introduction of other breeds into the original cross was done to improve temperament, conformation, coat and size. Some of the incorporated breeds included the English Cocker Spaniel, the Irish Water Spaniel, and the American Cocker Spaniel. Subsequently, offspring from those efforts have been interbred with each other, maintaining the purity of this new breed.
Today, the Australian Labradoodle maintains many of the positive characteristics of both breeds. It sheds very minimally and is nearly hypoallergenic like the Poodle, with the friendly, laid-back, energetic but "easy" personality of the Labrador. It's worth noting even though some breeders are calling multi-generation Labradoodles “Australian Labradoodles,” that's incorrect. Other breeds like the English and American Cocker Spaniels, as well as the Irish Water Spaniel are not included in those breeds.
The Australian Labradoodle got its start as you might expect, in Australia, in the 1980s, through the efforts of Wally Conron, who wanted a breed that was both hypoallergenic and a good service or guide dog. He did this for a woman who needed a Seeing Eye dog, but whose husband could not tolerate most dogs because he was allergic to pet dander. Thereafter, the breed was carefully cultivated to include not only the best of the original Labradoodle breeds, the Poodle and Labrador, but also included other breeds specifically chosen for their characteristics. To that end, the following dog breeds have been included in the breeding history of today's Australian Labradoodle: the Standard, Miniature, and Toy Poodles; the American and English Cocker Spaniels; the Labrador and Curly Coat Retrievers; and the Irish Water Spaniel.
In 1997, the first Australian Labradoodle breed standard was written, with express goals including the continued development of the qualities most admired in these dogs. In 2004, the Australian Labradoodle was announced to be its own unique breed. Thus, today, while technically considered to be a hybrid dog, the Australian Labradoodle is considered to be purebred. Another distinction, the Australian Labradoodle bred in Australia and the Australian Labradoodle bred in the United States are considered different types of Australian Labradoodles.
Athletic and graceful, the Australian Labradoodle has a compact and sturdy body that is medium boned. The coat is generally wavy or curly, and ideally could be completely hypoallergenic, although there may be some minimal shedding. The size still varies, because these dogs are subject to some ongoing questionable breeding experiments which are still done to continue to "dwarf" these dogs and make them even smaller. Proper breeders take care to focus more on developing and maintaining the more preferred characteristics of temperament and personality rather than size, with trainability and adaptability considered to be much more important factors in the purity of the breed.
Standard Australian Labradoodles stand 21 to 24 inches at the shoulder, and range between 50 to 65 pounds; Medium Australian Labradoodles stand 17 to 20 inches at the shoulder and weigh between 30 and 40 pounds; and Miniature Australian Labradoodles stand 14 to 16 inches at the shoulder and weigh between 16 to 25 pounds. Whatever the size of the dog, proportion is important, with a square, compact appearance, a level topline and a balanced, muscular, athletic bearing. The tail is set high and the head is broad and well defined with a medium stop.
The eyes are round, large and expressive, and one of the notable things about this breed is that well socialized dogs seek to establish eye contact with their humans; such eye contact is NOT deemed aggressive or confrontational in any way as may be true with some breeds, but simply a way to bond with human loved ones.
Eyes can be a variety of colors that match the coat, which can be black, blue, dark chocolate, red, or silver (with eyes of dark brown), or apricot/gold, chalk, green, milk chocolate or café (with dark hazel or brown eyes). The hauntingly beautiful eye color "ghost" is a light hazel color that sometimes appears in caramel-colored or rose-pigmented dogs, and this eye color can also have blue-green overtones, which is particularly striking.
If you choose this dog as a pet, be prepared to be entertained nonstop. Easy to train, relaxed and easy-going, you might say the Australian Labradoodle is the clown of the dog world – jovial and merry, the life of any party, so to speak. Very, very non-aggressive and friendly, this adaptable pup is loyal and sociable, all at once. Although he or she will easily make friends with strangers, your pet's real bond will be with you. The only "drawback," if you can call it that, is that if you don't set firm boundaries with your pet, your smart four-legged family member may just try to outsmart you, much like a mischievous child will try to outsmart a parent. Set firm boundaries right from the start, and this will not be a problem, since as with most dogs, the Australian Labradoodle is truly a pack animal and is happiest when you, the “alpha dog,” are in control. Be prepared for some definite (perhaps amusing, but also problematic and potentially exhausting) hijinks if you are not adept in this leadership role, though. Wonderful with children, the Australian Labradoodle makes an excellent family pet, playful and irrepressible, with no aggressive tendencies. In fact, your high-energy pet will thrive if you have children, given that his or her energy will certainly be a match to your children's, for loads of fun and unending play.
The Australian Labradoodle is quite hardy, but can be prone to patellar disorders and von Willebrand disease. With proper veterinary care, you can expect your pet to live a healthy and active 13 to 15 years.
Because your pet’s coat usually will shed very insignificantly and perhaps not at all, a thorough brushing every two weeks should suffice, along with regular trims every month or two. Bathe only if absolutely necessary.
Retrieved February 15, 2013.
Australian Labradoodle Club of America. Retrieved February 15, 2013:
Great Dog Site: Australian Labradoodle Information.
Retrieved February 15, 2013.