Labradoodles are one of the most popular dog breeds in America. This breed is a cross between a Labrador Retriever and either a Miniature or Standard Poodle.
First bred in Australia in 1989, Labradoodles began to grow in popularity in the 1990s and early 2000s. They were originally bred as a hypoallergenic guide dog alternative, but have gained traction as a family-friendly dog breed. However, the Labradoodle is not yet an officially recognized, nor certified dog breed by the American Kennel Club or other organizations. Rather, it is a cross breed in its early stages, making for inconsistent appearance in the mix. No matter its appearance or history, the Labradoodle is a low-maintenance, friendly dog, making them the perfect pick for families or first time dog owners.
Basic Information About Labradoodle Dogs
Labradoodles vary in weight, dependent on whether they are bred with the Miniature or Standard Poodle. The smaller Labradoodles will weigh between 15 and 30 lbs, mediums weigh between 30 and 45 lbs, and larger ones weigh over 45 lbs. They have a longer life expectancy at 12 to 14 years. Labradoodles are typically hypoallergenic, stemming from the Poodle side. They take much of their temperament from the Labrador Retriever side, making them intelligent, affectionate, and loyal.
Labradoodles have a low prey drive and rarely bite, which makes them perfect to live with cats, children, and other dogs. However, they do have a high energy level, requiring daily physical exercise and mental stimulation. Because they get excited with large bursts of energy, it is important that owners harness this energy into training and positive behavior reinforcement. Their intelligence, willingness to please, and loyalty make them excellent companions and service dogs.
Specific Care for the Labradoodle
Labradoodles have wavy coats that can be either wiry or soft and have varying degrees of curliness. Unlike standard Labrador Retrievers, Labradoodles do require regular grooming. Their coats should be brushed a few times a week to prevent matting. When the fur gets long, owners should take their dogs to a certified groomer for proper trimming or shaving.
Labradoodles can develop health conditions that Labrador Retrievers and Poodles are prone to. Owners should be on the lookout for joint problems, particularly in the hips and elbows. Additionally, Labradoodles are likely to develop retinal atrophy and von Willebrand’s disease, which is a protein deficiency blood disease.
Buying or Adopting a Labradoodle Puppy
Labradoodles from a breeder can cost anywhere between $500-2500. Before selecting a litter, or even a breeder, potential owners should vet the breeder to ensure there won’t be any issues with the litter. Ask for a health history of both parents, as well as a pedigree chart. This is not to check for purebreds, but rather to make sure that no accidental inbreeding occurs. Do not be afraid to ask the breeder about previous litters and experience as well.
There are a few Labradoodle rescues across the United States, and Labradoodles can also be found occasionally at local shelters. However, due to their high desirability and low frequency at shelters, Labradoodles get adopted quickly.