Fast Becoming one of the Most Popular Pets of the Era
What do you get when you cross a Poodle and a Labrador Retriever, two of the most intelligent and docile dog breeds in existence? Instant love! Who wouldn't fall in love with such an energetic, happy, smart and affectionate dog? While the Labradoodle hasn't been around that long (just a few decades), it is fast becoming one of the most popular pets of our era.
The term "Labradoodle" was first used in a book written in 1955 by Sir Donald Campbell entitled "Into the Water Barrier." However, the Labradoodle truly became known when the two breeds were crossed in 1988 by Wally Conron, an Australian breeder. Conron's ultimate goal was to design a guide dog that possessed the trainability and gentleness of the Labrador along with the low-shedding coat of the Poodle for individuals who suffered from allergies to fur and dander. Today, Labradoodle puppies are both popular family dogs as well as therapy and guide dogs around the world.
There are basically three types of Labradoodles:
F1 , or First-Generation, are Labradoodle puppies which are bred from a Standard Poodle and Labrador Retriever. The F1 type may shed more than the other two types, simply because it is 50% Labrador.
F1B , or F1 Backcross, are Labradoodles which are bred from an F1 Labradoodle and a Poodle; essentially, this makes this type 75% Poodle, which means it is likely that such a dog will experience little to no shedding.
Multi-generation are Labradoodle puppies which are bred from two F1B types. Australian multi-generation Labradoodles generally originate from several generations of breeding Labradoodles to Labradoodles. Cross-breeding back to the Standard Poodle ensures that the coat will be non-shedding and with no odor. This type of Labradoodle may also be referred to as multigenerational or multigen.
Because it is not a pure breed, one Labradoodle may have an appearance that is vastly different from another. As a "designer" dog that has its origins in Australia, this dog may look more like a Labrador Retriever, or may have more physical characteristics of a Poodle. If your dog is a puppy that has been bred between Labradoodles rather than between a retriever and Poodle, it will likely be fluffy with a super-soft, ringlet coat. Your pet may be small in size when grown, or moderately large.
In most cases the Labradoodle will weigh between 16 pounds to 65 pounds as an adult (which is a huge range!) and be 14 inches to 23 inches tall, depending on whether it is classified as a miniature, medium, or standard size. Males are almost always larger and heavier than females. As with everything else with the Labradoodle, color and coat vary. Some of the colors often found in this designer dog breed are black, silver, red, blue, chocolate, cream, apricot mixed with gold or cream, even lavender and caramel. Your pet's coat may be fleece-like, long, flowing, and wavy, more like wool and tightly curled like a Poodle or sheep, or it may have hair that is straight to slightly wavy, similar to the Labrador breed which sheds heavily.
If you're looking for an aggressive breed that will make a great guard dog, the Labradoodle is NOT for you! Neither the Poodle nor Labrador Retriever breeds are known for aggression; instead, they are known for their people-pleasing personalities. With a gentle nature and quiet disposition, the Labradoodle makes an ideal pet for families with children of all ages. This dog also interacts quite well with other pets.
Labs are generally energetic and playful, eager to please, and always happy to see their masters. Poodles are gentle, loving, but can be quite excitable. Combine the two, and you have a puppy that will grow up to be one of the best family dogs you could ever wish for, or the perfect companion for an older couple or disabled individual. Because the Labradoodle is generally very intelligent, intuitive and calm, it is usually very easy to train.
Whether you live in an apartment, a moderate-sized home in a subdivision, or on a farm in a rural area, the Labradoodle will adapt to almost any living environment as long as it gets plenty of daily exercise. A home with a fenced-in yard is ideal. if you live in an apartment, be sure to exercise your pet every day whether you take it for a walk or play in the park. This breed has a lot of energy, so expect your pet to be active even in an apartment setting.
Like most dog breeds, Labradoodles are prone to a few health issues such as eye disorders or dysplasia, conditions that affect both Poodles and Labrador Retrievers. However, they are generally very healthy dogs. PRA (progressive retinal atrophy) is a condition which is common in Miniature Poodles, and may be passed down in multigenerational Labradoodles.
Reputable breeders typically test their dogs for health issues prior to breeding, to ensure the healthiest puppies possible. The primary health concerns include muscle myopathy (a degenerative condition which causes weakness), skin allergies and dwarfism, issues found in the Labrador Retriever breed. Addison’s disease ( a hormonal deficiency), Cushing’s disease (manifested by symptoms of hair loss), epilepsy and Von Willebrand's disease (a blood disorder like hemophilia) are health concerns sometimes found in the Poodle breed. Both breeds can experience hypothyroidism. However, if you buy your puppy from a dedicated breeder who focuses on testing to avoid these potential health problems, your puppy will most likely grow up to be a strong, healthy dog with a long lifespan.
As your pet ages, it may be prone to partial blindness, though this is certainly not common.
Your pet's coat will determine how much grooming it needs. For instance, if your pet has the straighter coat of the pure Labrador Retriever, it will shed more heavily than a dog with a curlier, poodle-like coat. Generally speaking, the Labradoodle requires frequent grooming regardless of variety. This breed's coat tends to tangle and mat, but brushing on a regular basis will help keep the coat in the best possible condition.
If you groom your pet yourself, use thinning shears to remove mats that you cannot brush out. In order to maintain a tidy look, using a combination of shears and clippers will preserve your dog's neat appearance without making it look like a poodle. Trim any hair around the eye area that may obstruct vision, as well as any excess hair inside the ear. Labradoodle puppies require only an occasional bath using gentle shampoo, as excessive bathing will strip your pet's skin of natural oils.