So is a Labradoodle For You?
Labradoodles are highly intelligent dogs that are highly trainable but need plenty of mental and physical stimulation to achieve this. Standard Labradoodles tend to be big dogs and can be boisterous and mischievous. Miniatures are becoming more popular, but still average around 18” in height. They want nothing more than to please their people, but if left on their own for long periods these intelligent dogs tend to find their own entertainment. If you are out at work all day these are not the dogs for you.
A Labradoodle is a deliberate cross between a Poodle and Labrador. The first Labradoodles were bred in 1989 when a guy named Wally Conron - who worked as breeding and puppy manager for the Royal Guide Dogs Association in Victoria - came to hear of a blind woman who was in desperate need of a guide dog that wouldn't trigger her husband's allergies. Conron came up with the idea of crossing one of their best Labrador bitches with a Standard Poodle (who have woolly coats that are hypoallergenic and don't shed seasonally like other dogs).
- Standard Labradoodles can be 23 - 29 inches to the shoulder and weigh anything from 19 to 40+ kilos
- Miniature/Medium Labradoodles can be 14 - 22 inches to the shoulder and weigh anything from 12 to 22+ kilos
From that first litter of three puppies, only one passed the allergy test. This still stands today. UK Labradoodles coats are very unpredictable, with many shedding to varying degrees and rarely hypoallergenic.
The coats of Labradoodles vary dramatically. They can be anything from wiry to soft, straight, wavy, or curly. They can shed a little, a lot, not at all, potentially matt and may require professional grooming. Almost all early generation Labradoodles will shed to some degree, and some further generations do too. Sibling pups can vary dramatically too, with some very curly fleecy coats, to smooth coated and wavy coats in the same litter (the photo above demonstrates this, both girls are litter sisters). Colours vary, but the most common are black, cream and chocolate, and varying shades thereof.
Labradoodles have had an astronomical rise in popularity, in some ways the worst thing that can happen to a breed. The inevitable happened, and so-called breeders have sprung up all over the country with questionable motives to make a fast buck. It is for this reason that we set up the first UK Labradoodle rescue. Often little thought is given to genetics, bloodlines, health testing or temperament. Any Labrador and any Poodle will do.
Some new breeders who prefer to breed the F1’s (Labrador to Poodle) are entering the breeding arena with integrity. These breeders are health-testing their breeding stock and are taking care to breed only the best examples of Lab and Poodle, with good temperament and sound healthy lines but unfortunately, there are far too many others who are not as conscientious. Because some Labradoodles can be low-shedding, inexperienced or unscrupulous breeders sometimes claim that all of their puppies will be non-shedding or allergy friendly, and this has led to sad stories, with some families having to give up the dog they have grown to love because it causes their allergies to react. Unfortunately, these are usually the ones that tend to end up in rescue.
A large dog is not necessarily compatible with small children and in any case, it is unwise to leave any dog with small children.
Most Doodles love water and can be mud magnets, bringing in an enormous amount of dirt into your home. They are certainly not a breed for the house proud.
As with all dogs they need to be treated with respect and need to be given firm, fair training and handling from a very early age, or they will try to outsmart you. They can sometimes be too intelligent for their own good, but ask any Labradoodle owner - these dogs are worth their weight in gold.