The Labradoodle is fast becoming one of the UK’s most popular designer dog breeds and joins an ever-growing list of “Doodles” or “Poos” which are products of crossing Poodles with other breeds. Other popular Doodles include the Cockapoo, Maltipoo and the Goldendoodle.
As the name suggests, the Labradoodle is the result of breeding Poodles and Labrador retrievers, both of which are extremely popular dog breeds for multiple reasons; not only is the Poodle an elegant, intelligent, well-mannered breed but their coat is about as hypoallergenic as you can get. Labradors are also highly intelligent, incredibly affectionate and are a lot more playful than the Poodle but their coat does shed and therefore they’re not great for someone who’s allergic to dogs.
The Royal Guide Dogs Association of Australia, led by wally Conron, recognised both breed’s positive traits and realised that a perfect coupling between the two could produce the ultimate hypoallergenic guide dog that possesses the temperament, intelligence and personality of both parent breeds.
The program had immediate success with their first Labradoodle puppy called Sultan. Not only did Sultan have a hypoallergenic coat, but he possessed the other desirable qualities from the parent breeds that they had hoped for. Whilst Sultan was a success, it soon became clear that they could not always replicate this result with certainty no matter what they tried.
Unfortunately, being a cross breed, picking a Labradoodle puppy is much like getting a lucky dip at your local summer fete. Breeders can never be certain which genes will pass on to the puppy from the parents, whether they breed Poodle with Labrador or two Labradoodles together. This means in any litter you can have a mix of puppies of different sizes, coats and personalities. The biggest variation is their coat which can still be one of three types – hair, wool or fleece.
Sadly, this inability to accurately predict a Labradoodle puppy’s coat is a large reason why some are handed in to adoption centres by someone who was certain they’d chosen a hypoallergenic breed. If you’re thinking of purchasing a Labradoodle, you must be aware that you could get anything from a small, tame, hypoallergenic dog to a large, medium shedding, highly energetic dog. If you know you have allergies, or you couldn’t handle a dog that requires lots of exercise or grooming, then you must consider this risk seriously and don’t believe a breeder if they promise theirs will be hypoallergenic.
One thing you can almost guarantee with a Labradoodle is that you will have a dog that is affectionate, loyal and trusting. This is the type of dog that makes a wonderful family pet who will bring nothing but love and joy to your house.