The Labradoodle is a unique and fascinating dog which was first bred in Australia. Its early origins trace back to a gentleman called Don Evans, although credit is usually given to the Guide Dog Associations – due to the media coverage gained at that time as the search for a low allergy Guide Dog led to the breeding of Labradoodles.
A Standard Poodle and a Labrador Retriever were bred together in response to an inquiry by a blind lady in Hawaii who needed a low allergy Guide Dog.
In the first litter of eight puppies, there were three who were low allergy and very smart and easy to train. This was exciting enough to encourage further attempts at breeding more good examples. Sometimes there were allergy friendly puppies in a litter and other times not – but it was enough to start the Labradoodle as a breed, on its way.
The Labrador’s easy going ways and the Poodle’s smartness made for an interesting combination and an exciting discovery, was that a percentage of each litter had puppies which appeared to be allergy friendly. An added bonus, was the lack of shedding in some of these puppies, and the absence of doggy smell.
Much later, others began to use the Miniature Poodle as well, and today, there are three sizes in the Labradoodle – Standard (size of a Standard Poodle ), Medium (Labrador size), and Miniature (around the size of a Cocker Spaniel).
During the 1980’s disaster struck in Australia in a way that could have spelled the finish of the development of the Labradoodle as a predictable breed. Labradoodles have had an astronomical rise to popularity, in some ways the worst thing that can happen to a breed.
The Inevitable Happened…
Almost overnight so called “breeders” sprang up all over the country in the mad scramble to capture an uninformed public’s dollar. They bred the neighbor’s Poodle up the road, to any old Labrador and vice versa. This still happens in Australia and is now also happening in other countries too, most especially America, where the Labradoodle’s popularity is seen as an opportunity for breeders with questionable motives to make an ‘easy dollar’.
Little thought is sometimes given to genetics, bloodlines, or even general type, or temperament. Often, any Lab will do and any Poodle will do. All sorts of unpredictable puppies can result from these mating’s and because at this stage of their development, all are called ‘Labradoodle’ there can be traps for the unwary.
Some new breeders who prefer to breed the first cross (Labradoodle 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. It is very necessary to do one’s homework when searching for a breeder.
CAUTION Because some first crossed (F1) Labradoodles (Labrador to Poodle) can be non shedding, inexperienced or unscrupulous breeders sometimes claim that all of their puppies will be non shedding or allergy friendly, and this can lead to sad stories, with some families having to give up the dog they have grown to love, because it causes their allergies to react.
In Australia, some of the early generation Labradoodles were great dogs, but the main problem was their unpredictability as to coat temperament and size. Basically, you had to wait for a puppy to grow up to know what you really had. A common problem in these early generations was a ‘hard headed’ attitude, a little willful and sometimes hyperactive, which, when combined with high intelligence, made for a difficult dog to manage in the typical family situation.
Some strains did have sweet natures and these were concentrated on by breeders who bred for temperament as well as other features. One Guide Dog program in Australia scrapped their Labradoodles completely, reporting that they were ‘too easily distracted and difficult to train.’ The other Guide Dog Facility continued to breed on down the generations, and still use them to this day as Guide Dogs.
The correctly bred Labradoodle tends to inherit the best of both worlds. Owners boast that their dogs exhibit amazing powers of perception, seeming to “know” what is wanted. They are very easy to train and are a joy to have in the family.
They have no doggy odor
The best coats do not shed and are nowadays easily picked soon after birth.
They seldom if ever need bathing, and are a Godsend to allergy and asthma sufferers.
The Labradoodle has a unique ‘connection’ with human beings and the youngest puppies are wont to stand and meet your gaze with a solemnity that belies their sparkling and vivacious nature and joy of living. They have a unique and delightful way of ‘melting’ at the touch of a human hand, even when bouncing around and full of play.
Their versatility can be enjoyed as a joyful family companion, faithful kids’ dog, Assistance or Therapy Dog or a brilliant performance dog for Agility or Obedience, both of which they excel at.
Facts About Labradoodles
Australian Labradoodle Generations
Labradoodle Sizes & Weight
The Labradoodle Coat
The Labradoodle has 3 Coat Types
Labradoodles usually have no body odor, require minimal bathing and brushing and rarely attract fleas.
Labradoodle Color Varieties
Chalk, Cream, Apricot, Gold, Red, Caramel,Chocolate, Café, Black, Silver, Blue, Parti, Merle, Phantom