Welcome to the wonderful world of Labradoodles with our labradoodle guide! Crossbred from Poodle and Labrador Retriever parents, Labradoodles were first developed as guide dogs in Australia during the 1980s. They’ve since taken the world by storm as friendly, smart family companions with plush, low-shedding coats.
But there’s more to Labradoodles than that cute, curly exterior. Let’s dive deeper into what makes these hybrid dogs tick and how to decide if one is the right fit for you. This Labradoodle lowdown covers their history, temperament, size variations, exercise needs, grooming requirements and more. Get the full rundown before bringing one of these fabulous doodles home!
A Quick Labradoodle Guide from Snowy River Labradoodle.
Breed History: A Helper Dog Is Born
The pioneering force behind Labradoodles was Australian breeder Wally Conron. While working as a puppy-breeding manager for Guide Dogs Victoria in 1989, Conron was tasked with creating a non-shedding guide dog for a woman in Hawaii whose husband was allergic to dogs. After testing 33 Standard Poodle crosses, Conron achieved success by breeding a Labrador Retriever and Standard Poodle. One carefully selected non-shedding puppy out of the litter was sent to Hawaii and trained successfully as a guide dog, free of allergens.
Seeing their potential as hypoallergenic dogs, Conron continued crossing this Lab/Poodle hybrid and named them “Labradoodles.” But the puppies grew more popular as family pets. America discovered Labradoodles in the early 2000s. Demand took off thanks to their kid/family-friendly temperament, minimal shedding and intelligence.
Fun Fact: Conron later regretted creating such a popular crossbreed due to irresponsible breeding practices for profit. But ethical, health-focused breeders ensure Labradoodles remain outstanding pets!
Labradoodle Personality: Fun Loving Goofballs
Labradoodles inherit the best traits from both parent breeds. From Labs, they get an eager-to-please, happy-go-lucky personality. Poodles contribute high intelligence and low-shed coats. The result is an affectionate, energetic dog who bonds deeply with their family. Most Labradoodles are natural “people pleasers” who thrive when close to their owners.
Labradoodles typically have an upbeat, goofy nature. They stay playful and silly well into adulthood. Proper exercise and training is key however, as their high energy and smarts can become problematic without constructive outlets. When raised with proper structure, consistency and socialization, the Labradoodle temperament ranges from delightfully friendly to on-the-go but obedient.
Labradoodle Size Variations
Labradoodles now come in a range of sizes:
- Miniature: 14-17 inches, 15-25 pounds. Best for apartments.
- Medium: 17-20 inches, 30-45 pounds. Nice balance for many households.
- Standard: 21-24 inches, 50-65 pounds. Sturdy but needs more exercise.
- Mini Bernedoodles and Goldendoodles: Under 50 pounds. Added hybrid vigor.
Smaller Labradoodles have become quite popular for their manageable size. But reputable breeders focus on health and avoid extreme sizes. Remember, structure matters more than looks alone.
Labradoodles can have various coat types with differing grooming needs:
- Hair coats shed lightly with more texture like Poodle hair. Low maintenance.
- Fleece coats are plush, soft and non-shedding. Require more brushing.
- Wool coats resemble lamb’s wool and don’t shed but mat easily. High maintenance.
Puppies aren’t guaranteed to have a specific coat type. Genetics play a role. A breeder who DNA health tests breeding stock helps stack the deck for allergy-friendly coats.
Ideal Home Setting
While adaptable dogs, Labradoodles do best with:
- Access to a securely fenced yard. Their curious nature leads to wandering.
- Room to romp and play. Small apartments can be challenging.
- Involvement in family activities. They shouldn’t be left alone for long periods.
- Consistent training and activity. Mental stimulation and exercise prevents boredom based behavior issues.
- Grooming upkeep. All coats require brushing, haircuts, ear and teeth care.
Labradoodles can adjust to single adults, retirees or families with kids. But they thrive when included in the action!
Exercise Needs: Bustling Buddies
Labradoodles range from moderate to high energy dogs requiring 30-60+ minutes of exercise daily. They particularly enjoy:
- Long walks or jogging with their favorite human.
- Playing games of fetch and frisbee.
- Swimming – many Labradoodles love the water!
- Socializing at dog parks (once adult and vaccinated).
- Learning new tricks and sports like agility.
Without adequate exercise, Labradoodles may exhibit destructive chewing, barking or hyperactivity. Keeping their busy brains and bodies well occupied prevents behavior issues.
Intelligent and eager to please, Labradoodles respond very well to reward-based training methods. Positive reinforcement with treats, praise and play motivates them to repeat wanted behaviors. All members of the household should participate in teaching good manners like:
- Housetraining. Be consistent with creating and rewarding potty habits.
- Basic obedience. Sit, stay, come, down, leave it, drop it, heel.
- Bite inhibition. Say “ouch!” and redirect to toys for mouthing.
- Socialization. Safely introduce new places, people, animals and activities.
- Crate training provides a secure den-like space for when you can’t supervise directly.
Enroll in puppy kindergarten for important life skills. Labradoodles tend to be sensitive, so training should focus on teaching – not punishments.
While touted as low-shedding, Labradoodles do require regular grooming to keep their coats neat and mat-free. Most need professional trims every 6-8 weeks. At home care includes:
- Brushing multiple times a week. Fleece and wool coats need daily brushing.
- Bathing every 2-3 months as needed with dog shampoo. Rinse thoroughly.
- Checking and cleaning ears weekly for infection prevention.
- Trimming nails monthly to avoid overgrowth.
- Brushing teeth weekly. Dental disease can lead to major health issues.
Get your Labradoodle accustomed to handling from a young age by touching paws, ears and mouth and rewarding cooperation. Introduce brushing gently but regularly.
Feeding Your Doodle
Labradoodles need quality nutrition to fuel their energetic bodies and brains. Feed puppies high quality large breed puppy food for added nutrients. Follow package guidelines for how much to feed. Adult Labradoodles do well on dry kibble formulated for medium to large breeds. Avoid overfeeding treats or table scraps.
Labradoodles have sensitive stomachs prone to issues like food allergies. Finding the right food can require some trial and error. Look for limited ingredient, gentle digestion recipes. Probiotics and omegas support a healthy gut too. Keep fresh water available at all times.
Reputable breeders screen their breeding dogs for breed-associated health conditions like:
- Hip and Elbow Dysplasia: Improper joint formation. Can cause arthritis.
- Eye Issues: Progressive retinal atrophy, cataracts. Eye exams important.
- Allergies: Food, contact and inhalant allergies occur. Manage with diet trial and error.
- Ear Infections: Floppy ears and moisture predispose to infections. Keep ears clean.
Avoid breeders who don’t complete all recommended health tests. Starting with genetically sound stock is important. Also provide preventatives like flea, tick and heartworm medication year round.
The Perfect Addition!
For the right household, the loyal, lovable Labradoodle becomes a member of the family for life. They make fabulous companions when their needs for activity, grooming and attention are met. Do your homework to ensure this energetic hybrid is a good match before diving in. But once you bring a doodle home, get ready for fun, laughter and adventure together!