Labradoodle

A Quick Look at the Labradoodle...

The Labradoodle is a very new hybrid breed that is the result of crossing Poodles with Labrador Retrievers. This being said, while it is technically considered to be a single type of hybrid, there are currently three different kinds of Labradoodles being commonly bred around the world. These are: Australian Labradoodles, American Labradoodles, and American-Australian Labradoodles (which are Australian Labradoodles that are being bred within the United States).

Here are some fast facts about the Labradoodle:

Dog Group:
Not recognized by Kennel Clubs
Recognized By:
Size:
Medium
Weight:
Dogs – 40-60 lbs. (18-27 kg)
Bitches – 40-60 lbs. (18-27 kg)
Height:
Dogs - 22-24 in. (56-61 cm)
Bitches – 21-23 in. (53-58 cm)
Average litter size:
8
Life expectancy:
9-15 years (average of 12 years)
Health problems:
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Coat care:
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Shedding:
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Energy:
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Exercise needs:
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Trainability:
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Suitable for children:
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Pet compatibility:
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Affection:
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Barking frequency:
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Aggression:
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Watchdog:
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Brief History

The deliberate crossbreeding of Poodles and Labrador Retrievers in order to make the hybrid that is now known as Labradoodles began back in the 1980’s in Australia. The person credited with getting this movement started is Wally Cochran, dog breeder.

Cochran bred the Poodle and Labrador Retriever with the intention of creating a new breed that was easier on allergy sufferers due to a decreased level of shedding. What resulted from the cross was a new kind of dog that featured the most appealing characteristics of both breeds.

Soon, the achievements of Cochran with his Labradoodles were gaining notice around the globe. Still, the breed is not yet recognized by any of the major Kennel Clubs, who still see it as a hybrid breed.

Labradoodle Breed Appearance and Characteristics

General Appearance - Since there are so many different kinds of Labradoodle parents, lines, and varying distances from the original crossbreeding of Poodle and Labrador Retriever, there are many different kinds of appearance that are common among the Labradoodle. The Labradoodles typically result in any of three different sizes, of any number of generations from the original crossbreeding, of three different coat types, and any of eight different coat colors. Most often, it is the standard size (as opposed to the medium size or miniature size) that results from the original crossbreeding. That being said, after several generations, any of the three sizes may occur. It is the dogs with the longer, soft coats that experience the least amount of shedding.

Typical Temperament - Labradoodles have very pleasant, upbeat characters and are comfortable with children, other dogs, and many other pets. They love to take part in games with both people and animals and are essentially happy dogs. They learn both verbal and signed commands quite easily and behave in a pleasant, intuitive, charming, and almost always amusing way.

For the best adult temperament, it is important that firm, consistent, and positive obedience and socialization training be started from the time that the puppy is very young. This prevents the potential inclination some of these dogs have toward becoming overly bold or dominant. They can be willful, so it is best to break this type of habit while the dog is young and easier to control.  Labradoodles have a personality that is best suited to positive reinforcement training methods.

Labradoodles are always ready to play and like to take part in various sports as well as games. They are natural swimmers and are very energetic and athletic. Affection calms this breed a great deal, both on and off the leash. Labradoodles are immensely loyal to their families.

Basic Labrador Retriever Caring Requirements

Grooming - Labradoodles are not difficult to groom, but they do require regular maintenance in order to keep their appealing look and avoid certain avoidable problems. For example, they will need a daily brushing to keep knots, dirt, and tangles out of their fur. They will also require the fur around the eyes and chin to be clipped on occasion.

This breed will require a bath, but only quite rarely; two or three times per year. It is not recommended that the Labradoodle be bathed any more frequently than this because over-bathing will lead to dry skin and other related health problems.

Ear infections can bother the Labradoodle, but they can be avoided by giving the ears a regular gentle cleaning with a clean washcloth or a cotton ball slightly dampened with mineral water. Should the Labradoodle have excessive amounts of ear wax or an unpleasant smell from the ears, it should be brought to the attention of a veterinarian who can provide a more effective dog ear cleaning solution.

Exercise - Labradoodles have abundant energy and love to be outside, but they are happy no matter where they are as long as their family is present. They are immensely adaptable and can settle into whatever routine their family has established.

It is important not to over-exercise a Labradoodle puppy within his or her first year. It is easy to do because of the immense energy levels, but by allowing them to roar around too heavily, or to tear up and down hills or flights of stairs, there can be an unpleasant result in the development of the puppy’s skeletal, muscular, and joint development. The puppy will receive enough exercise when taken for a good walk or two every day at a brisk walking pace.

Approximate Food Cost - Depending on the size, weight, activity level, age, and food brand chosen, the Labradoodle will typically eat between 2 and 4 cups of dry food every day. In the case of an average dry dog food purchased at a pet store, the cost for feeding the Labradoodle should be about $25 to $30.

General Health Information

Since Labradoodles are a hybrid breed, they are much healthier than many of the older pure bred dog breeds and have a lower predisposition to many genetic disorders and illnesses. This begin said, since the parent breeds are susceptible to some genetic issues, some of those susceptibilities have carried on to the hybrid breed.

For example, both Labrador Retrievers and Poodles are at high risk for hip dysplasia and are often tested ahead of breeding to ensure that the parent dogs will not be likely to develop the condition. Labradoodles, therefore, share this vulnerability. The same can be said about certain eye conditions.

More recently, Labradoodles of Australian descent have started to develop progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), which can cause blindness. For this reason, many Australian Labradoodle breeders are now subjecting their dogs to DNA testing to rule out PRA heredity before breeding.

Addison’s Disease is starting to pop up among Australian Labradoodles that are multigenerational, that is, those dogs that are several generations away from the original Poodle-Labrador Retriever cross.

Common health problems - hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy and ear infections.

Common Illnesses include: Ear Infections, Elbow Dysplasia, Hip Dysplasia, and PRA.

Are You the Right Labrador Retriever Owner?

Living conditions - Labradoodles are extremely adaptive and will be able to suit just about any living environment, from an apartment to a home with acres of fields for running. This being said, no matter where the Labradoodle lives, it will need adequate outdoor exercise every day. They can reach a moderate activity level while indoors, but outside is where they will truly receive the exercise they need. Ideally, this dog thrives in a home with a yard where the dog can run off-leash.

Training - Labradoodles are intelligence dogs that are eager to please, making them quite easy to train. This being said, they are also dogs that think, allowing them to excel not only at obedience training, but also in sports and other competitive activities. Labradoodles generally enjoy the training experience, so by using positive reinforcement, training can be a fun bonding time for both the dog and the owner.

Common Problems - Without proper socialization and training - especially at an early age - the dog can become willful, dominant, or overly bold. This can be prevented by using consistent obedience and socialization training techniques that involve positive reinforcement.

The bottom line...

The Labradoodle is not only a great family pet and companion, but it is also ideal for competition, and sports. That being said, it makes a poor guard and watchdog. This is because of the Labradoodle’s natural gentle temperament, which is only improved upon through adequate socialization and training at a young age.

The dog is happiest and healthiest when it receives adequate daily exercise to help manage its high energy levels. This dog is very patient and is an excellent match for families that have children, other dogs, or other non-canine pets.

This breed has not yet been fully developed and is still a hybrid. For this reason, more so than with pure bred dogs, it is difficult to guess at the type of appearance and personality any individual dog may have. No matter what, consistency, training, exercise, and attention are key to making the Labradoodle the best possible family member.

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