What do you get if you cross a Labrador Retriever with a Poodle? A Labradoodle.
A Labrador Retriever Poodle mix is an adorable, medium-sized, mixed-breed dog. It’s a crossbreed from two of the best-loved purebred dog breeds in the world; the purebred Labrador Retriever and the purebred Poodle.
Sometimes it’s referred to as a:
- Labrador Retriever Poodle Mix,
- Labrador Poodle Mix,
- Australian Labradoodle,
- Labrapoo ,
- or a LabiDoo
A Labrador Retriever Poodle mix blends the best of both of the parent breeds; enthusiasm, intelligence, and a love of all things fun. It’s lovable, good-tempered, and your best friend, a family pet or companion for any type or experience of a dog owner. The Labradoodle puppy is happy and energetic.
A brief history of this mixed breed dog
When two different dog breeds, such as a purebred Labrador Retriever and a purebred Poodle, are intentionally mixed the resulting crossbreed dog is often referred to as a ‘designer dog’, or unkindly a ‘Frankenstein dog’.
The resulting pooch, even though both parent breeds are from recognized purebred dog breeds, is a hybrid dog.
FACT: The Labradoodle is a hybrid dog; it’s not a purebred dog breed, as a hybrid dog is not a ‘dog breed’. Therefore, as a mixed-breed dog, the Labradoodle is not recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC).
This relatively new type of designer dog is recognized by the Designer Dog Kennel Club, in the United States.
Designer dogs, or ‘Boutique dogs’, come in a variety of colors and coat types, depending on the inherited parent breeds’ genes and from which one they obtain the biggest majority. They are often referred to as ‘Frankenstein dogs’; as some dog breeders believe it is not natural, or correct, to deliberately cross pure breeds and dilute any purebred lineage further.
Any cross-breed dog, or Frankenstein pooch, will also inherit its characteristics from both parent breeds but the result will not be known until the puppy is born and observed as it grows up.
Meet the parents: The parents’ breed history:
Parent 1: A brief history of the Labrador Retriever parent – a purebred dog
The Labrador Retriever is the best-loved and the No1 most popular family dog breed in the world! It has a double coat in one of 3 solid colors; pure black, chocolate brown, or yellow.
This is just an adorable and lovable dog breed for any level of dog owner; and an ideal friendly family dog. The Labrador Retriever dog from Newfoundland, Canada, was used by fishermen to retrieve fish, as they’re good swimmers with a gentle mouth grip for retrieving.
The Newfoundland and Labrador Province, in Canada, provided this hunting and retrieving dog with its name – the Labrador Retriever (or Lab to its friends!). The Newfoundland Labrador Retriever dog breed came to Great Britain around 1830, becoming our Labrador Retriever breed today.
The Labrador Retriever is ranked the No1 most popular purebred dog in the United States by the American Kennel Club (AKC). It’s easy to see why. The lab is gentle, fun-loving, and loyal with an easy-going temperament.
Parent 2: A brief history of the Poodle parent – a purebred dog
The Poodle, although it is considered the national dog of France actually originated in Germany. A Poodle is a small-size dog that is increasing in popularity as the ideal partner in any designer dog combination; known as the Doodle range of dogs, which includes the Labradoodle.
The Poodle is now ranked the 6th most popular dog in the US by the American Kennel Club (AKC). The purebred Poodle dog has 3 recognized sizes: the Toy Poodle, the Miniature Poodle, and the Standard Poodle.
The Poodle Mix Parent (usually a Miniature Poodle mix) is friendly and hypoallergenic with little matting, this makes them an ideal indoor or outdoor dog due to their low maintenance; they are particularly suitable for city or apartment living, or for people with allergies.
They have an easy-going and relaxed manner. They are good-natured and are low maintenance family pet that will love to curl up with their family on the sofa or their bed and go to sleep.
Meet the offspring:
The hybrid offspring is the Labradoodle, but from where did it originate? The Labradoodle has its origins in Australia, where both Labrador Retrievers and poodles are popular dogs.
In 1989, Wally Conron, an Australian, worked at the Royal Guide Dogs Association of Australia where he was responsible for their guide dog breeding program. The Labrador Retriever breed has been used all over the world as a versatile retrieving, service dog, and therapy dog but its double coat sheds so it is not a hypoallergenic guide dog.
Wally Conron wanted a hypoallergenic guide dog. He wanted to keep the skills and temperament of the Labrador Retriever but a with a more manageable and hypoallergenic coat, if possible.
So he set up the first intentional cross-breeding program between the trusted Labrador Retriever and a suitable hypoallergenic purebred dog which was intelligent, people-friendly, and easy to train; the Poodle.
The first Australian Labradoodle crossbreed puppy was named ‘Sultan’.
He was everything Wally Conron had hoped for, as Sultan inherited a hypoallergenic coat and the necessary traits required to be a good guide dog or service dog; intelligence, personality, and aptitude. Sultan, the first Australian Labradoodle, left Australia to go to work with a woman in Hawaii. The result was deemed a great success in Hawaii and word spread quickly. However, as the Australian Labradoodle breeding continued and the crossbred Labradoodle quickly became popular they realized there was a problem. There was no consistency in the characteristics of the Labradoodle puppies.
Conron had hoped for the offspring to be similar when he started breeding Labradoodles for guide dog purposes at the Royal Guide Dogs Association of Australia, yet they discovered that even within the same litter there could be different sizes, shapes, personalities, and coat types.
Without the consistency of characteristics and coat type, it was hard to guarantee the Labradoodles’ suitability for use as a therapy dog or service dog. So they weren’t perfect for working as a service dog but these adorable ‘Frankenstein dogs’ quickly became popular as family pets, as they shared a mixture of traits from these two very popular family dogs.
Breeding continued and unfortunately, some unscrupulous breeders infiltrated the market for Labradoodles and the result was poor standards in breeding practices.
Fact: Designer dogs, especially Poodle mixes (the ‘Doodle range’, where the biggest majority are crossed with the miniature poodle) are increasing in popularity in many countries. It’s trendy to give them a cute combo name that reflects a bit of both parent names.
These new affectionate names are what is known as ‘Portmanteau’ names:
- Poodle x Cocker Spaniel – Cockapoo
- Poodle x Golden Retriever – Golden Doodle
- Poodle x Dachshund – Dachshund Doodle
- Poodle x Yorkshire Terrier – Yorkipoo
Chasing breed status
The Australian Labrador Association of America is very strict about breeding consistency and good practice. The Australian Labradoodle Association and the International Australian Labradoodle Association are working hard to achieve a viable and recognizable breed that achieves ‘breed’ status.
What are the main characteristics of a Labradoodle?
Crossbreed dogs, like The Labradoodle, are no more likely to inherit health problems than purebred dogs; in fact, it is believed they may actually be stronger
Fact: Not all mixed-breed dogs inherit exactly 50% of their characteristics from one parent and 50% from the other. It can be heavily weighted towards the characteristics of one parent more than the other.
The characteristics of the Labradoodle are a combination of nature and nurture: genetics of each parent, the environment, and the quality, type and amount of training and socialization. Any mix-breed dog’s personality and appearance will vary from one dog to another.
The Labradoodle dog coat:
A Labrador Retriever has a double coat and the Poodle has a fine coat. The Labradoodle coat texture will depend on whether it takes after the Labrador Retriever’s thick double coat that will shed, or the Poodle that has a finely –textured coat that can get matted and tangles and needs its waves and curls trimmed regularly. It will inherit a single coat.
The Labradoodle was initially bred, in Australia, to be hypoallergenic and be suitable for people with dog hair allergies or those unable to look after a heavy shedding pooch. However, the Labradoodle is not hypoallergenic, and allergies can occur from the hair shedding and the dander too. ‘Dander’ is the small particles of skin that come off with the hair that is shed. (It’s a bit like Dandruff in humans).
The Labradoodle could have one of three coat types:
- The Hair coat – like any dog hair that sheds and is smelly too (normal shed)
- The Wool coat – curly and dense like the fleece of a lamb (low shed)
- The Fleece coat – a silky texture like Angora from goats and be wavy or straight (low shed)
Possible coat colors from both parents are Apricot, Gold, Carmel, Chalky White, Red, Black, and Brown, Cream, Coffee, Chocolate, Blue or Silver, and with a solid color.
Loyalty and companionship
The Labradoodle will be friendly, loyal, and trusting of its owner and family. It will just want to be with its loved ones all the time; a true companion dog.
The Labrador Retriever and the Poodle are both gentle and loving dogs. They are intelligent and sociable and make a great family dog or companion for any dog lover.
The Labrador Retriever is sweet, patient, and playful with no aggression in its bones. The Poodle is quiet, reserved, and intelligent and will bark. Together, the Labradoodle will have tons of energy, be boisterous and bouncy and get over-excited at times when playing, but not aggressive.
When both of your parents rank as No1 (the Lab) and No 6 (the Poodle) in the AKC list of most popular dogs, how could the Labradoodle not be equally loveable and desirable? The Labradoodle is considered to be one of the most sought after Doodle dogs.
The Labradoodle is intelligent and should be easy to train. This puppy will get excited easily and be playful and curious so socialization and obedience training needs to start early.
This pooch will have a high energy level and need to have an equally busy activity level to stop it from getting bored and getting up to mischief. Positive reinforcement and small treats will work well but not too many to avoid weight gain, common in Labradors.
It will enjoy and need working challenges incorporating mental and physical stimulation.
A Labradoodle puppy needs exposure to as many different situations and people as possible when young to get them used to the exciting world around them. Early socialization and discipline are strongly recommended for any crossbred dog that is playful and full of energy and curiosity.
It will be approachable and friendly and playful, but should be supervised around small children as it may get over-excited and bouncy and knock them over, by accident!
This lovable family pooch will just want to please and find its place at home. It will enjoy tasks and challenges that combine exercise and puzzles and any companionship on offer.
An intelligent dog, that needs to have obedience training early. It may bark and get naughty when bored or lonely. It will love to play and treat everyone like its best friend and have ongoing playtime. It will need early leash training as it needs to learn to control its exuberance.
Physical Characteristics of the Labradoodle
This pooch is friendly and treats everyone like its best friend. Although generally considered to be medium sized dogs, the size of a Labradoodle could vary considerably depending on the size of Poodle in the mix
- Petite (the Micro Labradoodle), around 8-15lb (3.6-6.8kg)
- Miniature, around 15-25 pounds (6.8-11.3kg)
- Medium, around 25-45 pounds (11.3-20.4kg)
- Standard, round 45-75 pounds (20.4-34kg)
Height: Average 21-24” (53-61cm)
Lifespan: 12-14 years for Male and 10-14 years for Female.
Eyes: Depends on the coat color – ranges from dark brown to hazel
Ears: Big and floppy
Coat: Depends on parent mix, but likely to be short and wavy, single, light shed, and not hypoallergenic.
Color: The coat color dependent on which parent is dominant; it could be Apricot, Fawn, Tan, Golden, White, Black, Blue, Red, Silver, or Brown; a solid color.
A Labradoodle is not known to be aggressive. It is smart, sociable, and makes an affectionate family dog.
How should you train a Labradoodle?
A Labradoodle is intelligent and active needs to be trained early. It will bore easily so training will need to combine both physical and mental challenges; possibly in short sessions. Positive reinforcement and reward-based training work best, never aggressive treatment with this soft-hearted puppy as it could get upset.
Teach leash training early for this puppy’s safety in public areas and road safety awareness.
Types of training required: obedience, discipline, agility, and socialization.
So, if you are not going to use a professional dog trainer:
1) Develop your basic command words: Find keywords such as Stop, Sit, Down, etc. and be consistent each time you use them, always using positive reinforcement and small food-based treats as a reward but not too many as this mix-breed can gain weight easily from the Labrador parent.
2) Crate – Buy a crate and practice going into it and sleeping in it. You will have to lock the cage in the early days so it knows it can sleep there and be transported in it.
3) Potty training – hit and miss for any new puppy that gets easily excited and lacks control, however products are available, such as mats and odor sprays to attract puppy go to the same spot each time. Eventually, the puppy with your help will learn where and where not to go.
4) Walking on a leash – this Puppy has a high energy level and is bouncy. Therefore, practice voice commands and road safety awareness firmly but not harshly.
Health problems and health issues
What hereditary problems and health issues can a Labrador Retriever Poodle mix suffer from?
Hip Dysplasia – a degenerative growth abnormality common in both parent breeds. Hip dysplasia is a malformation of the joint, where the ball at the top of the limb does not fit properly into the socket and the ligaments attaching it are weak. This allows excess movement of the fitting causing eventual stiffness and pain.
Elbow Dysplasia, also degenerative, abnormal growth and development, causing malformation and weakening in the joint; can lead to arthritis or breakage.
There is no cure; pain management and anti-inflammatories may be prescribed by the Vet.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) – this is a genetic condition where the retina in the eye degenerates and it can lead to vision loss if not diagnosed and treated early.
Epilepsy – a neurological condition, often inherited, causing mild to serious seizures. Can affect balance and gait and the dog’s general behavior leading up to a seizure; Needs treatment.
Other health issues include allergies – food, inhalant or contact allergies, affecting the skin, and hypothyroidism – a thyroid gland condition that can cause energy, skin and hair problems, and Diabetes.
How do you care for a Labradoodle?
The Labradoodle is energetic, intelligent, and bores easily.
It will need 30-60 minutes of daily exercise and playtime; such as chase, fetch, with Frisbees and throwing toys, swimming, or even chasing other dogs in dog parks.
Feed as a medium-sized dog depending on its activity level. Split portions to prevent bloat (gas), average 1-2.5 cups of kibble, dry formulated food per day.
This mixed-breed dog can have one of 3 different coat types and grooming depends on whether the coat is a Hair Coat (that sheds, smells and most maintenance), a Fleece Coat (usually non-shedding with no odor) or a Wool Coat (loose curls but not dense and low shed).
Each coat type will be short and require regular brushing to keep looking good. It has a short coat that will only shed lightly.
Only be bathed when required; otherwise, the natural oils in their coat would be stripped through washing. Certain dog formulated shampoos have a double effect of cleaning while protecting its coat against fleas and insect bites.
Cleaning teeth, nails, and ears
Teeth need to be cleaned regularly to prevent a build-up of plaque. Chewing breaks down plaque, so use approved doggie chew-toys, bare-bones and soft toothbrushes, and toothpaste. Nails grow quickly and need to be trimmed regularly, say once a month, and its ears checked for debris that could cause infection.
It just loves life and having fun! It’s friendly, smart, active, and loves to play. It loves to have companionship and will get bored easily and could become mischievous and bark or chew things.
Positives and Negatives of ownership
- A Loyal, happy and enthusiastic companion
- Low shedder
- An intelligent dog, easy to train
- An affectionate family member
- Child-friendly, high-energy
- Not aggressive, docile with strangers
- Eager to please its owner, versatile
- Likes company, destructive if lonely
- Not a good watchdog, likes strangers!
- Bores easily, will bark and chew things
- Needs space to release energy, boisterous
- Not hypoallergenic as hoped
Commonly Asked Questions:
Q. How much does a Labradoodle puppy cost?
A. Buying from a reputable hybrid dealer costs around $1200- $3000.
Be careful of fake Labradoodle breeders offering bargain puppies, do your research of the breeding stock, as they could come from puppy mills!
An alternative is to adopt from a rescue center – puppy or adult. The cost is much less, but if adopting research the history, circumstances, etc.
Q. What other costs should you expect?
Food costs around $30-$50 per month but factor in Vets fees, accessories, and toys from retailers like Amazon.
A. A good quality dry dog food, Kibble, Vet’s fees, regular vaccinations, medications and accessories and toys, collar, leash, grooming equipment, training fees.