What is a Labradoodle?
A Labradoodle is a cross between a Labrador Retriever and a Miniature or Standard Poodle. This can include a Poodle or Labrador Retriever crossed with a Labradoodle or two Labradoodles bred with each other. Because there is no dog breed standard for Labradoodles, the mixed breed dog can have a wide range in size, color and temperament and can inherit any combination of Labrador or Poodle genes. Dog breeders enhance certain temperament and appearance characteristics of the offspring by choosing to weigh more heavily on either the Labrador Retriever genes or the Poodle genes.
What do Labradoodles look like?
Labradoodle appearance depends on whether she inherited more Poodle or Labrador genes. Poodles have thick, wavy to curly coats that are typically low-shedding and are prone to matting and tangles. Labrador Retrievers are moderate shedders and come in three colors, chocolate, black and yellow. They have dense, short double coats with the outer coat adhering to their love of swimming and the soft undercoat providing warmth.
Labradoodles range in color from white fur to dark and have furnishings, or the longer hair that surrounds a dog’s beard area and eyebrows and gives the Labradoodle the signature fluffy look. Poodles have the furnishing gene and Labrador Retrievers do not. Breeders can test for these genes and share results with potential Labradoodle owners. To learn more about how furnishing genes work, read out article about F1 v. F1B Oodles.
What’s the difference between a Labradoodle and an Australian Labradoodle?
While a Labradoodle has only Labrador and Poodle genes, an Australian Labradoodle also has Cocker Spaniel genes. The two mixed breeds have similar appearances and temperaments and are often grouped into one general “Labradoodle” category by the general public.
Differences between a Labradoodle and Australian Labradoodle include:
- Labradoodles can have a lot of variation between coat types, ranging from fluffy to wiry, with varying degrees of shedding, explains Dr. Lisa Chimes, a veterinarian who developed a line of grooming products called DOG by Dr. Lisa. The Australian Labradoodle tends to have a more consistent low-shedding fluffy coat.
- Australian Labradoodles often have less Labrador genes than Labradoodles and tend to be more similar to Poodle-Spaniel mixes, or Cockapoos.
- Many Australian Labradoodle breederss cross Australian Labradoodles with Australian Labradoodles to get a more consistent offspring.
- American Labradoodles were first bred in 1989 to accommodate a couple who needed a hypoallergenic guide dog. It’s unclear when Australian Labradoodles were first bred.
American Labradoodles and Australian Labradoodles are not official dog breeds recognized by the AKC, but they do have a prominent breed club called the Australian Labradoodle Association of America that’s working toward achieving a breed standard.
The Labradoodle is one of the most popular Oodles, based on the social, affectionate and loyal nature of the Labrador Retriever. Both the Retriever and the Poodle are intelligent, highly trainable and have loads of energy. Both Labradors and Poodles are popular service dogs because of their consistent temperament and trainability and love to be around humans. Consequently, Labradoodles thrive on human interaction and owners need to allow them to express this or the dogs can become anxious and clingy.
How big do Labradoodles get?
The Labradoodle has a huge range in size from 15 pounds to more than 65 pounds, depending on what size Poodle is used for breeding.
Labradoodle size range:
- Miniature Labradoodles: Between 14 and 16 inches in height at wither
- Medium Labradoodles: Between 17 and 20 inches in height at wither.
- Standard range: Between 21 and 24 inches in height at wither.
Confirm with your breeder that you are getting the size Labradoodle that you are expecting.
Labradoodles as family dogs
Labradoodles can be great matches for families who have the time to socialize, exercise and teach their Labradoodle manners. Because both breeds are social, Labradoodles work well in families and with individuals who can include their dog in the daily business of their lives. Labrador Retrievers are bred to be outdoor adventurers and need ample time to run, fetch and socialize with their owners and other dogs. Crossed with the social and energetic Poodle, the Labradoodle needs an outlet to burn some energy both physically and mentally.
How to groom a Labradoodle
Labradoodles are high on the grooming maintenance list because their fluffy coats are prone to tangling and knots. They should be professionally groomed every 4-6 weeks, advises Dr. Chimes.
Professional grooming services should include:
- Overall hair clip
- Trimming nails
- Tidying up hair around the eyes, muzzle, feet and anus
- The hair around the ears should be carefully trimmed. Do not pluck the hair inside the ears, Dr. Chimes says.
- Bath every 4-6 weeks (with grooming appointment)
Home grooming should include daily brushes with a comb and slicker brush.
“Daily brushing is the best thing you can do to prevent knots,” says Dr. Chimes. “It keeps their skin and coat healthy and less stinky by spreading the natural skin oils, while removing loose hairs and debris.”
How long do Labradoodles live?
Labradoodle longevity ranges from 12 to 15 years.
Labradoodles are in high demand, so we cannot emphasize enough, do your research before choosing a Labradoodle breeder.