Labradoodle Dog Breed Information
The Labradoodle is a hybrid between a Labrador Retriever and a Standard Poodle. Not to be confused with the Goldendoodle, these hypoallergenic “designer dogs” are among the most popular in the U.S., and are known for their high intelligence and cuddly appearance. If you’re in search of a canine compadre, here’s what you need to know about the Labradoodle.
A Little History
Though the term “Labradoodle” was used in Sir Donald Campbell’s 1955 book, Into the Water Barrier, this hybrid dog first gained popularity in the late 1980s. At that time, guide dogs for the visually impaired were predominantly Labrador Retrievers, but their fur and dander were problematic for people with allergies. Intent upon finding a solution, Wally Conron crossed Labrador Retrievers and Standard Poodles to produce a hypoallergenic seeing eye dog. While he succeeded, many followed suit and began breeding Labradoodles in admiration of other traits, not the least of which, their appearance. Nevertheless, their versatility underscores value beyond their good looks, from guiding the blind to assisting people with an array of special needs.
What are Labradoodles Like?
Breeders track first generation hybrids with the designation F1. F1 Labradoodles benefit from Hybrid Vigor, which means they are generally healthier than their parents. By crossing two F1 hybrids, breeders achieve a second generation (F2), and so on and so forth. As more generations are introduced, variations among traits rise. Breeders sometimes cross back to a purebred dog (usually a Standard Poodle) to achieve more desirable characteristics.
Labradoodles can be Standard, Medium, or Miniature, with an array of coats ranging from fleecy to wiry. They can weigh as much as 70 pounds, or be as short as 1 foot tall, and their coats may be multi-colored, brindle, chocolate, cream, gold, or even red. They are often covered in curly locks, so Labradoodle puppies are commonly compared to teddy bears.
Both the Labrador Retriever and Standard Poodle are intelligent and friendly, so it’s no surprise that Labradoodles are smart, playful, and affectionate. Loyal to their pack, they can be protective of family members, however they are generally well-behaved with children and other animals. Very active, they love to play and even swim, and can become restless without the right amount of play.
Caring for Labradoodles
Somewhat high-maintenance, the Labradoodle’s coat should be trimmed twice each year at a minimum. You will also need to bathe and brush your Doodle’s coat routinely to keep them clean and healthy. Because they are active, you will need to make time for them to run and play. Of course, nail-trimmings and tooth-brushings are essential to avoiding discomfort and dental disease, so do both regularly.
On average, Labradoodles live between 12 and 14 years, and are prone to conditions such as progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), Addison’s Disease, and canine hip dysplasia (CHD). Visit your veterinarian regularly to monitor their health. Your veterinarian may perform eye and ear tests more often as this breed tends to suffer from hereditary issues.
Labradoodle breeders charge as much as $2,500 for a puppy. You will also need to pay for food, toys, initial veterinary expenses, grooming, and other supplies, so expect to spend about another $1,250 in the first year. After that, routine care and supplies can cost about $1,000 each year.
Conditions such as progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) can cost between $2,000 and $3,000 per eye when surgery is needed, while CHD can cost anywhere between $1,000 to $5,000. In many cases, Addison’s Disease requires ongoing hormone injections which can cost as much as $300 a month. Pet parents with a 4Paws Insurance Accident & Illness policy can focus more on their pet’s care and less on the cost.
Comments from our Chief Pet Officer
The Labradoodle was created to be a hypoallergenic guide dog. They are friendly, adaptable, playful and full of energy. Doodles make excellent family dogs but watch them around smaller children as they are very playful and may knock smaller children down. Like Labradors, Labradoodles are prone to ear infections. Be sure to check their ears often, especially after a swim. Personally, this breed is one of my favorites among designer or hybrid dogs.