Labradoodle: Training, Health Care and Breed Information

The majority of popular dogs are pure-bred, but I couldn’t ignore the Labradoodle. The Labradoodle was designed to take the lovable qualities of both the Labrador Retriever and the Poodle, and produce a poodle-like dog as trainable as a Labrador, as cute as a Poodle, and unlikely to shed hair or offend dog allergies.

Of course, at one point or another, most dog breeds were once created deliberately as “designer dogs,” but later became accepted by the international Kennel Clubs as their own breed. The Labradoodle breed is such a breed, but isn’t yet accepted by those authorities.

It simply hasn’t yet outlived its novelty on the dog-loving scene, but the Labradoodle is definitely a dog-lover’s dog.

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Breed History – Labradoodle

The Labradoodle was bred into existence in 1989 by an Australian named Wally Conron. Responding to a request to produce a guide dog for a family where the husband was allergic to dogs, he mated the successful guide dog breed, the Labrador Retriever, with the hypoallergenic Standard Poodle.

One of the pups in the three-pup litter had a hypoallergenic coat. It became the first Labradoodle guide dog.

Bearing in mind that this was the 1980s, breeders knew a lot more about the risks of cross breeding when the Labradoodle was created, than they did when older cross-breeds of dog were created. Over time, the Labradoodle breed was refined to include insemination by other breeds, and genetic testing was used to prevent health problems as well.

Today, the breed is still being refined. The success rate of breeding a Labradoodle which is healthy and hypoallergenic is not yet at 100% and as a result, Labradoodle stock continues to be back-bred with pure Standard Poodles to increase that rate.

Labradoodles are identified by breeders using a system of codes that summarize the breeding history.

Appearance – Labradoodle

A healthy Labradoodle is a gorgeous dog, with a lot of variety available in the breed.

As with many breeds of dog, the Labradoodle has a few size variants. There are three sizes of Labradoodle. The Miniature Labradoodle is just over a foot, or up to a foot and a half tall. The Medium Labradoodle is 17-20 inches tall, and the Standard Labradoodle is up to two feet tall.

The Labradoodle coat is also varied, between textures and lengths. It can be wavy, straight, or curly; it can also be silky or wooly. Since the Labradoodle breed hasn’t entirely stabilized yet, there’s no assurance that a Labradoodle pup will be hypoallergenic, or whether or not it will shed.

The colors of the Labradoodle coat have a huge range, essentially based on Poodle colors.

Social Temperament – Labradoodle

One thing that is standard about the Labradoodle is their joyful temperament. They are loving dogs that are never aggressive unless abused, just like most other dogs. They are outgoing and bond closely with people, and they are smart and full of personality.

A Labradoodle has seemingly-endless energy and spunk, with a silly sense of humor. They’re fine with children, except that the Labradoodle might knock a small child over while zooming through the house during play.

Unique Health Problems – Labradoodle

Labradoodles are typically pretty healthy creatures, sharing similar health strengths and vulnerabilities with the ancestor breeds. The typical Labradoodle lifespan is about 12 years.

Their coats do take a good bit of maintenance. They need brushed extensively, and many owners prefer to shave them down to reduce that maintenance. It’s good to trim the hair around the Labradoodle’s feet and eyes.

The more of the Labradoodle’s ancestors that were of the Poodle breed, the less shedding you’ll experience, but it’s rare for a Labradoodle to have zero shedding.

Here are some of the Labradoodle health complaints, most of them preventable through responsible breeding:

  • Hip Dysplasia and Elbow Dysplasia, a deformation of the bone joints.
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy, a degerative eye disease.
  • Addison’s Disease, which causes a shortage of cortisol, a mood stabilizer in the brain. This tends to develop after the Labradoodle is a few years old, and is treatable with medication.

Labradoodle Training

Think back to what I said about why the Labradoodle was originally developed, and you’ll rightly assume that the Labradoodle is a very trainable dog. They were originally bred for guide dog duty, and successfully at that; so you’ll have no trouble training a Labradoodle if you do it right.

Since the Labradoodle is a mischievous, intelligent, high-energy breed of dog, you’ll want to train your Labradoodle thoroughly, and keep them exercised and stimulated throughout their life.

Get them started early with every kind of Labradoodle training you can make time for. Puppy socialization should begin as soon as possible, so that they learn how to make friends among both dogs and humans easily. Advanced obedience training is a good option for this breed, since they’re smart enough to be bored without it. Another excellent way to stimulate your Labradoodle is through training them for agility sports.

The Conclusion on Labradoodles

Families that buy or adopt a healthy Labradoodle rarely regret it. There’s just too much to love about this spunky, personable breed of pup. It is important, especially with a breed that’s still “under development,” to buy from a responsible breeder to prevent genetic disorders – and once that’s out of the way, you’re good to go with a life-long Labradoodle friend.

Go back to training a dog, or read about choosing a dog breed.

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