Chances are good that you’ve met a Labradoodle lately. These fuzzy poodle-Labrador retriever hybrids are a common sight at your local dog park, looking for all the world like living teddy bears—especially those Labradoodle puppies. So just what’s behind all the Labradoodle love?
Labradoodle Facts: TL;DR
- Labradoodles are a Poodle and Labrador retriever cross.
- These dogs make great family pets: happy and easy to train.
- Labradoodle have different coat types, but no matter what, usually don’t shed much.
- They do need regular brushing and grooming.
- Expect energy to spare! Give ’em lots of exercise.
- A Labradoodle loves company: other dogs, other people, and you.
- Labradoodles really want to love you—they hate to be alone.
Though it seems like those adorable, fuzzy “doodle” dog breeds have been around forever, they were actually only introduced in 1988. That’s when Australian breeder Wally Conron decided to cross the Labrador retriever with the standard poodle in his attempts to create a guide dog better suited to people allergic to dog fur and dander. (This origin story accounts for their other common name, the Australian Labradoodle.)
Poodles, after all, are known for their hypoallergenic coats, while the Labrador retriever is known for its eagerness to please, trainability, and loyalty. Though at first, Conron’s creation didn’t catch on, the Labradoodle has slowly become of the Western world’s most popular dog breeds. From American households to Australian cities, Labradoodle puppies serve as family pets, guide dogs, service dogs, and therapy dogs.
Energetic, loving, and (sometimes) hypoallergenic—there’s a good reason the world fell in love with these intelligent dogs. So, what should you know about Labradoodle puppies? What do Labradoodle owners understand better than anyone about the Labradoodle? Here are just some of the reasons that Labradoodle people love their pets.
Labradoodles are the cutest puppies
Can you resist that look? That plush coat? Those adorable, expressive eyes? That smile? Nope, we didn’t think so. Labradoodle puppies are playful and bouncy, always ready for adventure—and a cuddle. These dogs are lap dogs even when they get too big to fit
They come in all different sizes
Labradoodles aren’t purebred dogs, but rather, crossbreeds or designer dogs. Because of this, there’s more variation in their look and size than, say, with a long-standing breed like the border collie or the cocker spaniel.
With Labradoodles, it’s all about the parent breeds, or at any rate, the size of the poodle used in the first-generation of crossbreed. That’s because poodles come in three sizes: Miniature, Medium, and Standard.
A standard Labradoodle can weigh up to 65 pounds, while a medium might range between 30 to 45 pounds and a mini labradoodle just 15 to 25 pounds. A miniature poodle is pretty darn tiny, so this only makes sense.
Also a variety of colors…
Labradoodles come in a variety of colors, from cream to chocolate, apricot, red, black, silver, or a mix of hues.
Their fur can also vary, with some rocking wavy coats (the most popular style), and others sporting curly, wiry, or straight hair.
The Labradoodle is a treat to train!
Since both poodles and Labradors are known for their intelligence, it’s no surprise that Labradoodles are highly trainable. They’re eager to learn, and training helps keep their mischievous side at bay.
After all, you don’t want your pet bounding up to every strange dog and person with unbridled enthusiasm. Probably.
They’ll keep you super-active
There’s no need for a Fitbit when you’ve got a Labradoodle by your side. Most of these dogs require plenty of walks, plus space to run around (big backyards and parks are perfect). For that reason, they don’t do well in apartments, usually.
They’re great dogs to jog with, though they still may want to stretch their legs off-leash when you’re done. And the more you exercise them, the less likely they are to become bored and destructive at home.
Plus, Labradoodles need company and stimulation. They’re intelligent dogs packed into a teddy bear body, and they want to play games, check out new sights, and benefit from your companionship. If you work long hours, be sure to enlist a trusted pet sitter or dog walker to help your Labradoodle get the attention they need.
They don’t shed, but they need brushing
While there’s no such thing as a truly hypoallergenic dog, Labradoodles do come close. Most of them sport poodle-inspired hair — a tightly-curled coat that doesn’t really shed. Because they shed less than most breeds, they’re easier on allergies, and on your furniture.
From apricot to cream to sable, those Labradoodle coats are dreamy. But they’re not all the same! Labradoodle coat types range from straight hair, loose curls, a fleece coat, or a wooly lamb-like coat. Whatever your dog’s coat type, it’s guaranteed they’ll need lots of brushing and occasional trims to stay fresh. Good thing that brushing is a fun bonding experience for you both.
Labradoodles live to love you
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Social and sweet, Labradoodles are lucky enough to possess many of the best qualities of Labradors and poodles. They adore being with people and are typically quite affectionate (even with strangers).
Labradoodles are not watchdogs
Friendly, devoted, and playful, Labradoodles are great family pets, but they’re not great for protection! That’s because this joyful dog breed, typically easygoing, was bred not to be aggressive.
Of course, this varies dog by dog and is affected by their parents’ temperament as well as training and early social experiences. Early socialization helps your Labradoodle puppy learn to behave well around other dogs, people, and in new environments. Hello, busy streets, dog parks, and visits to Grandma’s house!
They make wonderful therapy dogs
That warm, loving, loyal Labradoodle personality makes them ideal therapy dogs for people with autism, physical disabilities, depression, and a number of other issues.
Labradoodles also make excellent guide dogs for the blind—the very occupation they were originally bred for.
Labradoodles are born to swim
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Cooling down on summer days is a whole lot sweeter when your four-legged best friend is involved. These dogs love to dive into the deep end and will keep you company in the water all season long.
They make great family dogs
Labradoodles quickly become an essential part of the family. They’re particularly wonderful with children—loving, gentle, and yet oozing with energy. As family pets go, the Labradoodle is right up there with the classic Labrador retriever in terms of suitability.
Training and supervision are essential, though. A standard Labradoodle can get pretty big, and they might accidentally knock your little one over if they get too excited.
As with any dog breed, teach your children how to approach and handle dogs, and supervise them when together. Young children, especially, might engage in ear or tail pulling that upset dogs. Even very friendly pups like the Labradoodle will react poorly to treatment like that—or to their toys or food being taken away from them.
Did we mention how much they love you?
Labradoodles are in it to win it with their human companions. Their people-pleasing instincts will keep you company well into their golden years.
Getting a Labradoodle puppy or adult
Always work with a reputable breeder when seeking a Labradoodle to join your family. Avoid puppy mills by meeting in person and checking reviews and memberships. Don’t buy from pet stores or from unverified online listings. And remember…there are many great dogs out there waiting for their forever homes in breed rescues and in shelters.
What about Labradoodle rescue?
Dog breed popularity is both a blessing and a curse. Because Labradoodles are so high-energy, and often grow to reach a bigger size than owners expect, there are sadly many cases of rehoming and many Labradoodles that need adoption or fostering. Check with your local rescues.
You can also contact the national breed association, the Australian Labradoodle Association of America, for more info.