A labradoodle is the cross between a Labrador retriever and a standard poodle. Smaller dogs come from a cross with a miniature poodle instead. As with the other cross-breeding efforts with poodles and retrievers, the goal with this effort was to create a hypoallergenic dog that could provide support and guidance to those in need. Efforts to create this designer hybrid spread rapidly in the 1990s as the need for canine help rose all over the world.
The term first appeared in 1955, but the hybrid work didn’t take off for another 30 years. It would be 1988 when Wally Conron, an Australian breeder, would cross a standard poodle with a Labrador retriever to create them. One of the first puppies from that initial litter was named Sultan, who would become a guide dog for a woman in Hawaii and offer 10 years of service.
Although there are many benefits to consider with the labradoodle, Conron says that he regrets being the initiator of the designer breeding process. Instead of breeding away issues, the surge in popularity for these pups created more of them instead.
There are several pros and cons of owning a labradoodle that are worth considering if you are thinking about adding a new family member soon.
List of the Pros of Owning a Labradoodle
1. Labradoodles have an excellent temperament.
Labradoodles have one of the best temperaments that you can find in any type of dog, whether it is a full breed or a cross. These highly intelligent pups are perfect for families who are thinking about a pet for the first time because they can relate to your overall situation. Although they do prefer to feel like they are the ones in charge, a labradoodle is usually easy to train if you have patience and persistence. That tail wagging when the dog sees you is usually all it takes for you to fall in love with that smiling face.
2. These dogs enjoy their social nature.
It is a lot of fun to be the pet parent of a labradoodle because their personalities are exceptionally social. These pups love to be around people at all times. If they could spend their entire day playing with you, then it would be a moment of perfection. They can become excitable and lose track of their spacing and boundaries, so you’ll want to take care with young children in the home since they can treat them like bowling pins.
3. There are fewer shedding issues with labradoodles.
A labradoodle loses many of the shedding issues from the retriever side of their genetic profile, which is extremely helpful for families who don’t have a lot of time for grooming. You won’t have fur all over the house in the same way that you do with your breeds or designer hybrids. That doesn’t mean all of the grooming chores go away, but it does give you the chance to manage your care options with more flexibility. Their coats need to be trimmed a few times per year, and then a 2-3 grooming sessions per week is usually satisfactory.
4. Labradoodles are generally healthy dogs.
Although there are some genetic concerns to think about with labradoodles, their health is generally excellent. If you give your dog enough exercise and provide proper care throughout their life, then the average lifespan can be up to 15 years with this designer hybrid. The smaller pups tend to go to the longer end of the spectrum compared to the medium or larger versions you can find with this cross-breed. That means your family can grow up with the dog, creating a lifetime of memories for them and lots of love for you to enjoy.
There is arguably no other designer hybrid or pure-bred dog out there right now that is as eager to please as the labradoodle. Once you establish some boundaries, it is a wonderful experience.
5. There are three coat options from which to choose.
As with the other retriever and poodle hybrids that are possible today, the labradoodle gives you three different coat options from which to choose. The straight coat is similar to what you will find with Labradors, while the curly coat is closer to that of the standard poodle. It is the wavy coat, sometimes referred to as fleece, that tends to be the most popular. Dogs with straight coats tend to shed the most, while the curly coats shed the least.
There are several different colors options from which to choose with the coats as well, ranging from black and chocolate to red, gold, or white. There are multicolored labradoodles sometimes as well.
6. There is a breed standard to follow.
Labradoodles may not be a fully recognized breed by the major kennel club associations in North America, but there are two organizations in Australia that do offer this certification. The dogs must qualify as a multigeneration Australian labradoodle with evidence of at least four generations of lineage where only other dogs with the same history are present. Then the breed standard must be followed as well to qualify for certification. This advantage applies to pups of any size, although the recognition may not be useful anywhere outside of the APAC region.
7. Labradoodles are generally easy to train.
Labradoodles are highly intelligent dogs who are easy to train when you can find the right motivation for the pup you have at home. Many of them are motivated by food, play, or a walk, so there are useful tools available that can help you to modify unwanted behaviors. You’ll find that kennel training, house training, and specific behaviors like sit or stay are fairly easy for your doggo to pick up. You’ll want to start obedience training right away if you’re adding a puppy to your home. Adult dogs typically need some time to sort out the order of things in their new pack before they’ll become fully receptive to the new ideas.
List of the Cons of Owning a Labradoodle
1. Labradoodles automatically assume that they are at the head of the pack.
Labradoodles picture themselves as being the alpha in their pack. Since humans get counted in those numbers, you’ll find that older dogs can be stubborn sometimes when you try to train them. You may see a lot of resistance to verbal commands, demands to have your food, or efforts to take your favorite chair or your spot in bed during the early days of your relationship. That’s why you must remain consistent with your training. You’ll get on the same page eventually with most pups.
2. You might have a watch dog, but you won’t have a guard dog.
Labradoodles are very protective of their pack. If you try to mess with one of them, then you’re going to receive an adverse response from the dog. That’s why they are excellent watch dogs. If you want a pup who will guard your premises while you are away, then a different option is usually necessary. They are not the ideal choice as a guard dog since their eventual goal is to meet new people to encourage a game of fetch or chase. You’re more likely to hear the thumping of a tail when strangers come by instead of a bark of warning.
3. Some labradoodles shed more than others.
Although labradoodles are more hypoallergenic than Labradors, most of them are not as beneficial to those with allergies when compared to the standard poodle. The goal is to find a happy medium where the reactions are tolerable when you look at the guiding and service benefits that the dog provides. With some of the larger individuals in this breed, you’ll find that the reactions can be fairly similar to having a full retriever in the house. Fewer shedding problems do not equate to less allergies all of the time.
4. Labradoodles tend to be high-energy dogs who need regular exercise.
You will need to provide your new dog with lots of opportunities to exercise right from the start. They like to have long walks, even as a puppy. Adult dogs may need to go more than a mile before they even get warmed up to the experience. It helps to have a fenced-in yard where they can play without a leash, but you’ll be doing 2-3 long walks a day when your labradoodle is young.
If you don’t get that energy out of the pup, then destructive behaviors tend to develop with this designer hybrid. Chewing furniture, shoes, and anything else they can find is a common trait. There tends to be more barking from them as well, especially if they want to go outside and you’re not obliging the request. They need the exercise for their mental physical health, so you might want to look for a different option if your family is more laid back.
5. There are several health issues for you to consider with labradoodles.
All dogs have some type of health issue that they will need to manage at some point in their life. Breeds have some common themes that you’ll want to consider before bringing your pup home as well. Because you’re getting a 50/50 cross with a labradoodle, there is a chance that the issues with retrievers and poodles could become problematic during your care activities.
Labradoodles face issues with their eyes, get ear infections easily, can have food allergies, and may suffer from hip or elbow dysplasia. Testing can determine some of these issues before finalizing your transaction, so ask the breeder about the results from their veterinarian exams. You can request that your vet examine the pup before taking them home too.
6. The non-shedding coats come from a back-breeding mix.
If your goal is to find a labradoodle that doesn’t shed at all, then you’ll need to look for a pup that comes from a second generation pairing of a labradoodle and a standard poodle. That means your dog is closer to a 70-30 mix of genetics, heavy on the poodle side, then a 50/50 split. You’ll notice differences in their behavior with the back-breeding activities, like a harder mouth and fewer hunting instincts.
7. The cost of a labradoodle can be expensive.
You would think that a designer hybrid dog would be less expensive than a pure-bred option, but you will be shocked by the pricing of labradoodles in most markets. If your put is AKC-registered, then the value might be up to $1,500 if you meet the breed standard or come close to it. Labradors are usually in the $1,000 range. When your goal is to have a labradoodle, the price doubles – and you won’t qualify for shows unless you can provide the four generations of lineage in Australia.
Even as far back as 2001, people were spending over $1,200 on labradoodles in Australia and paying an equal amount in shipping charges to bring them to the States.
8. You’ve got to be careful about the Cobberdog phenomenon.
When you look at the Cobberdog website, you will see that the breeders call them the pure-breed labradoodle. Some of those who work on this MDBA-recognized breed were dogged by animal abuse allegations when raising labradoodles, so they went over to this other option as a way to restore their legacy. Despite the claim of originality, Cobberdogs have their own DNA sequence (in the words of the breeders). The marketing is subtle, but important to review.
“The Cobberdog was developed with a genetic diversity different from the labradoodles in order to obtain a breed that maintained the labradoodle’s initial objective: to be the perfect therapy and assistance dog,” says DogKing. That means you won’t be getting an actual labradoodle if you go in that direction – according to their own words.
Conclusion of the Pros and Cons of Owning a Labradoodle
Labradoodles are high-energy dogs who are affectionate, loyal, and love a good adventure. If you live in a small home, condo, or apartment, then you’ll need to be taking frequent walks with your pup to ensure that their health needs are met. If you are unable to do so, then you will eventually see unwanted behaviors develop, like chewing or barking.
The variety that is available within this designer cross does make it possible for almost anyone to enjoy the company of a labradoodle in some way. Miniature versions of these dogs tend to be about 20 pounds at most, but you must still meet the exercise requirements.
That’s why the pros and cons of owning a labradoodle are important to review. These dogs are friendly, but they also need to live in a somewhat specific environment.
Brandon Miller has a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a seasoned writer who has written over one hundred articles, which have been read by over 500,000 people. If you have any comments or concerns about this blog post, then please contact the Green Garage team here.