A Labradoodle is a cross between a Labrador Retriever and a Standard Poodle. The Labradoodle was first bred by Wally Conron with the intended purpose of creating a guide dog that had the low-shedding, hypoallergenic coat of the poodle with the the gentleness and trainability of the Labrador Retriever. He tried to achieve this temperament and trainability with Poodles, but didn't find one suited for the work, so he introduced the Labrador Retriever to the Standard Poodle. Many now argue and say that he regretted creating the Labradoodle or claim that he once quoted that he had "created a monster". That's not entirely true. He was quoted saying that the "Labradoodle was originally intended as a guide dog, not a fashion accessory". It wasn't because of structural differences or problems with the coat or even the new mix he created- it was that his main focus before breeding any animal was making sure that they were healthy and served a purpose. But, once the word got out about this new crossbreed, the Labradoodle became popular and "breeders" started breeding any Lab and Poodle together regardless of health. These breeders were just in it for the money. That is the reason Conron wished that he had never created this new breed. He also noted that it opened the door to breeding Poodles with any other dog strictly for profit and not for purpose.
The Labradoodle is still an amazing dog in all aspects, but only with a breeder who has done all necessary health testing and is also breeding using only suitable temperaments for a goal and purpose.
Here are a few links for you to read up on Conron and his breeding program. There are hundreds of articles written on this all over the web but here a few helpful sources:
Decades later the Labradoodle is still just as popular- and with good reason. These dogs are smart, athletic, empathic and, if bred correctly, hypoallergenic (hypoallergenic means less likely to cause a reaction- not that it will not cause a reaction). Labrador Retrievers and Standard Poodles are at the top for service breeds. So naturally Labradoodles excel in therapy and task specific service work. With both Poodles and Labradors being from retrievers they naturally excel in retrieving, scent work, field trials and agility. They are sweet, good natured and cuddly- we call them "velcro dogs" because of this. They always want to be with their people.
Like any dog- especially while a puppy, they need a schedule, structure and training or else they will get themselves into trouble. Labradoodles are very intelligent and Poodles are one of the top 5 most intelligent breeds. If left to their own devices any dog can become bored, destructive, or develop separation anxiety as a result.
They have the makeup to be an incredible companion- whether you want one for a service dog, retrieving, agility, or as a family companion. But, you will need to put the work in for them to be able to realize their full potential. They need regular exercise, mental stimulation, quality food/water and lots of love. You cannot get one of these dogs and leave them in a crate all day or expect them to be a couch potato.
Another reason that the Labradoodle is so popular is their shaggy, wavy or curly coat that sheds minimally. They are absolutely adorable and no hair on your couch or clothes? Who wouldn't want that?? Sign me up!
The reality than not many know is that not all Labradoodles or any Doodles are "hypoallergenic" or don't shed. You are taking a non-shedding breed (Poodle) and breeding it to a shedding breed (Labrador Retriever). This is where coat trait testing comes into play and why it is very important to have had your puppy (and their parents) take a genetic health panel.
There are a few genes that are responsible for shedding. The RSPO2 allele-(Furnishings) and MC5R allele- (Shedding). The term "furnishings" refers to the longer moustache and eyebrows seen in dogs with wire hair, as well as some other breeds. Furnishings can also be weak- in that case even if the dog has two copies of furnishing they can still shed and not display the mustache, eyebrows and beard.
If you want a minimally shedding, hypoallergenic coat the dog needs to have 2 copies of the furnishing allele and no copies of the shedding allele. In reality ANY generation can shed if they aren't breed for a proper coat. Some prefer the scruffy, wirey hair of the F1 generation. They have short hair on their faces and don't have any "furnishings". These are called Flat-coats and have become popular in recent years. They will shed and will not be hypoallergenic- but, their coat resembles the Labrador Retriever coat and is easier to manage and maintain.
The trade off for minimal shedding is that you will need to brush your dog every day to maintain their coat as well as a professional grooming session ever 6-8 weeks. If you don't think you will have the time to do this any Doodle isn't a good fit for you.
Always ask to see the coat trait testing to ensure you are getting the coat you want/expect. If you have allergies always visit the dog or puppy in person and spend time with it to see if you have a reaction.
Animal Genetics says that "the degree of shedding is not strictly regulated by a single gene, but rather by a combination of genes functioning together. Further research has identified a link between shedding (SD locus) and furnishings or improper coats (F locus). Thus, understanding the dog's furnishings and shedding genotype will help determine the dog’s overall degree of shedding (or lack thereof)."
-"The breed standard for Labradoodle, Goldendoodles and Portuguese Water requires furnishings. In these dog breeds, a lack of the dominant RSPO2 variant causes an improper coat, characterized by short hair on the head, face and legs".
Please see our 'About our Doodles" page to see the coat trait testing and health testing we have on our own dogs. We trait test and health test to ensure that you get a healthy, happy minimally-shedding puppy!
To see the American breed club of the Labrador Retriever and the Poodle click on the images below