Labradoodle dog
John Walton
Written by John Walton

The result of mating a Poodle with a Labrador Retriever is a very curious type of dog called the Labradoodle. Also called a designer dog, the Labradoodle is not recognized as an official dog breed by the American Kennel Club or other kennel clubs. Since Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers are mostly used as guide dogs, they had to be combined with a type of dog that doesn’t cause allergic reactions. In this case, that dog breed was the Poodle. People who have allergies actually needed a dog to help them and not cause them health problems. This is the reason why the Labradoodle was created. To serve as a guide dog for disabled people who are allergic.

Breed Characteristics

AdaptabilityAbove Average
TrainabilityAbove Average
Health and GroomingAbove Average
All Around FriendlinessHighest
Exercise NeedsHighest

Dog Breed Group: Hybrid Dogs
Height: Generally 1 foot, 9 inches to 2 feet tall at the shoulder
Weight:Generally 50 to 65 pounds
Life Span: 12 to 14 years

The Labradoodle didn’t exist in 1970, but that is when it was requested. A disabled woman needed a dog to guide her, but she couldn’t get just any dog because her husband was allergic. Therefore, she asked for a hybrid dog that met her requirements. Dog breeders have actually taken her desire into consideration and they have created the Labradoodle. At first, this type of dog turned out non-allergenic, but it seems that not all copies are. However, even if the initial breeders didn’t continue their project, other people did.

Soon, the Labradoodle was wanted by people who didn’t actually need it for its guiding skills, but just because it wasn’t giving them allergies. In addition, many persons discovered that the temperament of this type of dog was quite pleasant. They became popular for their energetic, playful and mild natures. Many specialists think that the Poodle is able to understand the human language much better than other dogs and that it is a particularly smart dog breed. Moreover, Poodles are easy to train and they love human companionship. Thus, the result of crossbreeding the Labrador Retriever and the Poodle was a very intelligent new dog breed that is also loyal, friendly, playful and energetic.

A few studies revealed positive results in case of hybrid dogs like the Labradoodle. It seems that they have fewer health problems than purebred dogs. Due to excessive inbreeding, purebred dogs inherit many health complications. Most dog breeds are prone to lots of health problems that are not present in case of hybrid dogs.

The Labradoodle is available in 3 sizes: small, medium and standard. However, there are many breeders who are not legitimate. Since one Labradoodle dog may cost up to $2000, numerous people try to earn money overnight without offering dogs that are entirely endowed with the features that made the Labradoodle famous.

Main Highlights
  • The Labradoodle is considered a new dog breed as it was created in the late 1970s.
  • Most Labradoodles are the size of a Labrador Retriever, but there are also small and medium versions.
  • The Labradoodle was created in order to get the best features from both dog breeds and obtain a new healthier dog breed.
  • The purpose of this dog breed was to serve as guiding dog for people with disabilities that are also allergic to dog hair.
  • It is a solid dog, lighter than the Labrador Retriever and less refined than the Poodle.
  • The Labradoodle dogs come in all colors; cream, apricot, chocolate, black and silver.
  • These dogs have less dog odor than the Labrador Retriever and shed less as well.
  • The Labradoodles are skilled dogs that enjoy the water.
  • Hybrid dog breeds are not recognized by the AKC or the CKC, but the popularity of the Labradoodle is constantly increasing.
  • Some people might still be allergic to this dog’s saliva.
Breed History

The Labradoodle is a new and unique dog breed and its fascinating story began in Australia and it was initiated by Wally Conrad who was working for Guide Dogs Victoria. In fact, the idea of creating this dog type was not his. A non-sighted woman needed a dog that would be able serve as a guide and that would not cause health problems to her husband. It seems that her husband was allergic to dog hair, but she really needed a dog to guide her considering her disability. Therefore, Wally Conrad tried to create a dog that met both requirements.

Sultan is the name of the first Labradoodle, a dog that was intended to be asthma and allergy friendly, as well as a service dog. It was obtained by mating a Standard Poodle with a Labrador Retriever. Wally Conrad considered that the attributes of these dogs would combine perfectly considering his purpose. They did, at least when he obtained the first copies. However, after later crossbreeding, not all dogs turned out to be non-allergenic. Only 3 puppies out of 10 were non-allergenic and did not shed. These results made Wally Conrad drop the project and regret that he had started it in the first place. He is 85 years old now and still not happy about his past work.

Tegan Park and Rutland Manor are the ones who continued the development of the dog breed created by Wally Conrad. They didn’t stop at crossbreeding the Poodle with the Labrador Retriever, but also added the English and the American Cocker Spaniel, as well as the Spanish Water Dog in the equation. The results were far away from the initial purpose.

The Labradoodle is now preponderantly a fashion dog that only serves as a pet. There are few copies which are actually used for guidance purposes. However, they are known as very intelligent dogs that don’t spread hair all over the house and that are determined to do whatever it takes to please their owners. Although this dog type had a noble purpose, it has now become just a way to make money for certain breeders.


The size of a Labradoodle may vary. According to the standard size of a Labrador Retriever and that of a Poodle, the Labradoodle should be approximately 24 inches tall and weigh up to 65 pounds. However, they may turn out to be smaller or bigger.

Personality and Character

The Labradoodle was bred to be around people, so it is easy to make such dog happy just by keeping it around you and around other people that it loves. It is the type of dog that showers its family with a lot of love and devotion. Overall, it is a very joyful dog and energetic too. These features are taken from the Labrador Retriever. The Labradoodle is a dog full of enthusiasms that welcomes friends of the family with warmth and no sign of aggression.

All Labradoodles have good temperaments, fact which made them famous in a very short amount of time. Some owners don’t even care if they shed a little because they are not even allergic. They pick dogs belonging to this breed because they appreciate their other features. However, allergic people still have to avoid some specimens because not all turn out to be non-allergenic.

A Labradoodle may be quiet and silent, but it may also be ready to jump on its feet and play a game of fetch.  It may inherit more characteristics from the Poodle and be intelligent, reserved and a good watch dog or it may be more like a Labrador Retriever. It really depends on which gene is dominant. Basically, the personality of a Labradoodle should be a balanced combination between the personalities of its parents.

Health and Potential Problems

The Labradoodles that are bred by reputable breeders have fewer health problems comparing with those that are not. Among the health problems that may affect this dog breed are hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, patella luxation, elbow dysplasia and retinal atrophy. In addition, this type of dog may also get ear infections quite often if its ears are not constantly checked and properly cleaned. This dog type has floppy ears, so extra care is recommended.

Care Features

The Labradoodle is a high energy dog. Therefore, it is really important for such dog to meet its daily exercising needs. Unless it spends time outdoors in a yard, it might become unbalanced and develop behavioral problems. If it is kept in an apartment, this type of dog needs to walk for at least 30 to 60 minutes daily. It doesn’t have the tendency to get fat, but it has to move and play in order to consume its energy. Labradoodles love to swim and play various games. Such dog may be kept outdoors when there are lower temperatures because it can adapt to cold climates.

Just as the Labrador Retriever and the Poodle, the Labradoodle is intelligent and easy to train. It easily learns new tricks and it really loves the process. Praising and rewarding this dog for doing something right brings it a lot of joy. It might tend to be too friendly and too enthusiastic and if that bothers you, you can train it to react in a more controlled way.

Feeding Schedule

The Labradoodle needs 1 to 2.5 cups of special dry dog food per day. This quantity of food should be divided in 2 or more meals. In case of this dog type, it is best to feed it more often rather than with large quantities of food. Just as the Labrador Retriever, it has the tendency to bloat, fact which is definitely undesirable. Food should not be at its disposal throughout the day.

Coat, Color and Grooming

The Labradoodle was meant to be a dog that doesn’t shed. However, there are dogs belonging to this dog breed that shed a little. The color of its coat can be cream, apricot, chocolate, black or silver. Some specimens have curly fur, while others have straight fur. There are also coats that feel like fleece at touch or like wool. Therefore, the brushing needs of a Labradoodle might differ from one dog to the other. Regardless of situation, brushing should be an enjoyable experience for the dog. Brushes made of natural pig hair are recommended.

When it comes to washing this dog type, you must know what keeping its natural oils is very important. Therefore, you should not exaggerate by bathing it when it is not dirty. Its coat doesn’t emanate a powerful dog smell like the Labrador Retriever’s. As for its ears, you should be extra careful because it might get ear infections if they are humid or dirty.

Children And Other Pets Compatibility

The Labradoodle is sociable, friendly, not aggressive, adorable, happy, loving and loyal. Also, it is known to be patient fact which helps a lot in its relationship with children. This dog likes to play with children and it usually accepts other family pets as well. Socialization has a very important role in both situations.

The Labradoodle was bred to have a gentle temperament and to be patient when guiding disabled persons, so it manifests these features in relation with children, as well as with other pets. Strangers, kids or adults, are its best friends from the moment they meet. There’s rarely a suspicious type of Labradoodle dog.

The Labradoodle might not be what was initially intended to be, but since it has such a nice personality it should be raised in the middle of a loving family or with an elder or needy person besides it. It is definitely not the perfect dog when it comes to utility and the non-allergenic aspect, but since it was created, it should be respected and cared for. Unfortunately, inexperienced breeders just want to sell as many copies as possible in order to gain money without thinking of these dogs’ health. Having such a popular dog comes with costs, both financially, around $2000, and in terms of responsibility.

About the author
John Walton
John Walton

John Walton lives in Somerville, MA, with his two dogs, two sons, and very understanding mate. He is a Certified Pet Dog Trainer, a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, a mentor trainer for the Animal Behavior College, an AKC Certified CGC Evaluator, and the Training Director for the New England Dog Training Club.