Labradoodles have become a highly sought after breed. The combination of a labrador’s lovable temperament and a poodle’s compact size sounds on the surface like an unbeatable combination. The reality is that the labradoodle is not exactly that desired mixture but it is a wonderful, loving, smart, and social animal.
There are actually two, entirely distinct, breeds of labradoodle. The American Labradoodle is a hybrid. Exactly as the name would suggest. American Labradoodles are created by breeding a labrador retriever and a poodle. Some breeders have further bred dogs to create additional generations of American Labradoodles. The trend ever-smaller dogs has led some breeders to go to a 75% poodle / 25% labrador variation. Further breeding of existing American Labradoodles has led to a second-generation American Labradoodles. All tend to have the labrador temperament. For those especially prone to allergies, the 75% poodle variation is the best option. That variation of American Labradoodle sheds very little.
The other kind of labradoodle is the Australian Labradoodle. Australian Labradoodles are not the hybrid that the name would imply, at least not anymore. The Australians have been cross-breeding Labrador Retrievers and Poodles for thirty years. As of now, Australian Labradoodles are considered to be a pure bred dog based on the number of generations since the original cross breeding and the amount of human-tinkering has taken place in the evolution of the species. Other breeds, including several varieties of spaniels, have been incorporated into the breeding lineage to create a purportedly new and distinctive animal.
Australian Labradoodles are smart and friendly. Like most dogs breeds, the Australian Labradoodle is extremely eager to please. They are, however, clever enough to think that they can outsmart their master and jump up the pecking order if not properly trained and disciplined.
Within the breed of Australian Labradoodles, there are two subgroupings based on size. The Standard Australian Labradoodle stands about 2 feet tall at the shoulders and generally weighs between 45 and 75 pounds when fully grown. The Miniature variety will run between 17 and 22 inches with a weight of 30-60 pounds.
One attribute that stands out regardless of the variety is that labradoodles are easy to train. These curly-haired beauties are eager to learn and to please. They do very well with loving, rewards-based training and will surprise most amateur dog trainers with their ability to learn quickly. They are friendly and outgoing social animals but they also develop strong bonds to their immediate family. These bonds grow even stronger over time and mark the labradoodle as one of the more loyal dogs among a species known for its loyalty.
Although I only endorse adopting pets from rescue organizations, labradoodles are a breed worth seeking out. There are a number of rescue organizations specializing in finding permanent loving homes for labradoodles. If you are interested in finding a labradoodle, check to see if there is one such organization in your area. They do also show up from time to time at the local chapter of the ASPCA. If you do come across a labradoodle in need of a good home you would do well to adopt him into your life.