Breed Type:  Hybrid
Country of Origin: Australia
Size: Large
Standard Size: Height: 53-63 cm Weight: 23-30 kg
Medium Size: Height: 43-52 cm Weight: 13-20 kg
Miniature Size: Height: 35-42 cm Weight: 7-13 kg
Exercise Requirements: High
Care Requirements: Medium
Lifespan: 13-15 Years
Best Suited as: Family Pets / Service Dogs

A Labradoodle is a crossbreed created by crossing the Labrador Retriever and a Poodle.  The Australian Labradoodle has accepted other parent breeds as well. One of the first Labradoodles was created by at Australian breeder at Guide Dogs Victoria and is often used as a guide dog today. They are loyal companions and very popular pets.

It is hard to know exactly what a Labradoodle will look like because they do not have consistently predictable characteristics.  Only in Australia are they considered a breed. In other parts of the world, they are considered a hybrid. Most Labradoodles will have characteristics in common but with some variations. Size is one of these variables. Depending on whether they are bred with a miniature or standard poodle, they may be short or tall.

Most Labradoodles have a broad head with well-defined eyebrows. Their large expressive eyes are slightly round and they have a large square nose.  They have a compact, athletic build with a graceful walk.

Their coats come in every color including Red, Black, Silver, Cream, Apricot, Apricot Cream, Chalk, Café and Chocolate. Labradoodles come in three basic coat types – wool (with soft tight curls like a sheep); fleece (soft and wavy like an Angora goat); or hair (straight, most like a Labrador’s coat). The hairy variety of Labradoodle is most often seen in a first generation cross. The wool fur is the most allergy friendly.

Temperament, like appearance, varies among Labradoodles. The easiest way to predict what your Labradoodle’s personality might be like is to look at the usual traits of both the Labrador and the Poodle. Most Labrador Retrievers and Poodles are generally friendly, energetic and loyal and most Labradoodle owners have reported a similar personality in their pets.

Like their parent breeds, Labradoodles are often extremely intelligent and easy to train. Training should start early, however, or this high-energy dog may not make appropriate use of his boundless excitement.
Most Labradoodles are docile, social and intuitive. They make good therapy dogs and guide dogs and are used around the world for this purpose.

In 1988, retired veterinarian and Australian breeder Wally Conron created the Labradoodle by crossing the Labrador Retriever and Standard Poodle. He was hoping to find the perfect combination to create a guide dog for Guide Dogs Victoria.He chose the Poodle for its low shedding coat and the Labrador for its gentleness and trainability. Thus, a puppy named Sultan was born and became the first Labradoodle guide dog. Labradoodles are still used today as guide and assistance dogs throughout the world.

Most Labradoodles are found in the United States and in Australia. In the United States, they are not a recognized breed, but a hybrid. In Australia, breeders worked diligently to establish the standard for the Australian Labradoodle.  It was written in 1997. In 2004, they announced that the breed was not just a Poodle Labrador cross but had several other parent breeds as well including: Irish Water Spaniel, American Cocker Spaniel and English Cocker Spaniel.

Today the Australian Labradoodle is recognized by the Labradoodle Association of Australia and the International Australian Labradoodle Association, Inc.

Care and Grooming
The Labradoodle requires very little grooming to keep them looking good. They may need a little brushing and an occasional bath to look their best. Some owners like to take their Labradoodles to a groomer to keep their coat at an even length.

The Labradoodle needs a great deal of exercise including a long daily walk. They do not require a special diet but care should be used in selecting commercial dog food. They need a variety of nutrients and it is important that meat or fish is listed as the first ingredient. The food should also be low in grains. When it doubt, ask your veterinarian what brand they recommend.

Labradoodles are known to suffer from problems common to their parent breeds such as hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), elbow and patella disorders and Addison’s disease.  It is best to ask your breeder about all of these issues prior to purchasing your dog.  The breeder should have had a specialist clear these issues in the parents before breeding.

PRA is an inherited disease that causes blindness, which occurs in both Miniature Poodles and Cocker Spaniels. Addison’s disease is an adrenal deficiency and can be difficult to diagnose. Some common symptoms are a depressed mood with less appetite, possible vomiting and diarrhea and shivering. If you detect that something is off, take your Labradoodle to see your veterinarian right away.

Suitability as a Pet
The Labradoodle is a great bet for allergy sufferers. Although they are not hypoallergenic (no dog is), they often secrete less dander than most dogs. They are non-aggressive dogs, make excellent pets and are great with children.  They do very well with other family pets, especially dogs and enjoy lots of attention. Because Labradoodles are easy to train, there is no good excuse for an unruly one in your home. If care is not taken to discipline your Labradoodle, they can easily outwit you and wreak havoc in your home. Labradoodles, like any dog, need to learn their order in the family pack. They are exceptionally bright and can quickly learn that you are the leader.

Your Labradoodle will need a good deal of exercise. Either a long daily walk or a swim will keep your pet happy. Despite their size, with the proper amount of exercise, these gentle pets can live in any size space including an apartment.

If you are considering a Labradoodle as a guide dog, you have selected a good breed. Known to be highly intuitive to their owners’ moods and needs, they are often wonderful service animals.

Veterinary Surgeon, London at Blue Cross UK | + posts

A London based Veterinary surgeon, Sanja is also an avid writer and pet advocate.