Often, people assume that a crossbreed means getting the best of both worlds, but genetics doesn’t always roll the dice that way.
Breeders cannot control how genes express themselves even when two dogs of the same breed mate, much less when crossing breeds.
Be sure to keep that in mind before paying any price for a Labradoodle or any other kind of breed you’re assured will be hypoallergenic.
The Labradoodle is an adorable mix between a Standard or Miniature Poodle with a Labrador Retriever, making them friendly, intelligent, and at least moderately active throughout the day. Labradoodles have curly, shaggy coats that will require grooming on a regular basis.
This article serves as a comprehensive guide for all things Labradoodle. Use the following list of contents to find the section you’d like to read:
- Costs and Pricing
- Health Issues
You can expect a new Labradoodle puppy to live for up to 13 or 14 years old. Generally, Poodles live longer than a Labrador will, so those curly coat genes are helping add to that overall lifespan! Unfortunately, the nature of the Labrador’s crossbreeding means they are vulnerable to the diseases that can affect either breed, but the vigor from the hybrid genes means they will likely to be genetically stronger than the average Labrador or poodle.
When they’re at their best, Labradoodles are deeply affectionate, friendly, and intelligent dogs that can come in three possible sizes: miniature (15 to 30 pounds), medium (30 to 45 pounds), and standard (45 to 100+ pounds). Because they’re a crossbreed, their gene expressions and ultimately their traits are variable, meaning your Labradoodle puppy’s weight and size can vary too.
Breeders don’t have much of a consensus for a single standard for Labradoodles, so there is no one type of Labradoodle.
The first generation of Labradoodle breeders strictly stuck with crossing Labradors and Poodles, strengthening the gene pool but with nonetheless unpredictable results. They’re not guaranteed to be hypoallergenic, and they could potentially inherit the parent breeds’ negative aspects instead of the beneficial ones.
With the Australian Labradoodle, other breeders worked with multiple generations of Labradoodles, as well as the Irish Terrier, the Irish Water Dog, and the Cocker Spaniel. The added breeds to the formula resulted in some nervous but ultimately lovable and friendly puppies. However, the very different dogs mean there is no unique standard about the Labradoodle.
Are Labradoodles shedders? Don’t believe anyone who says that they are all non-shedders and hypoallergenic. Like all dogs, some shed and some don’t, and whether or not they do depends on the parents – a.k.a. the genetics.
That being said, if your family needs a dog that doesn’t shed, your best bet is to get an Australian Labradoodle or a third-generation or later Labradoodle. In either case, opt for a wool or fleece coat.
Unfortunately, first-generation Labradoodles shed too much for families who are hoping for minimal mess; only 25 percent of first-generation Labradoodles are non-shedders, making the allergy gamble a losing one.
As you might have guessed, Labradoodle fur can vary quite a bit. Some look more like their curly Poodle parents, and others look closer to their shaggy Labrador parents. Either way, they’re dogs that require some grooming; be prepared to brush your puppy at least once every other day, and get them trimmed every 10 weeks.
It’s important to ensure you keep your Labradoodle’s ears dry and clean, especially after swimming or a bath; they’re a breed prone to ear infections.
As for the rest, it’s just common care. Clip your dog’s nails every other week and try to brush their teeth every day using a toothpaste approved by your vet.
The Labradoodle’s personality can drastically fluctuate depending on the quality of the breeder raising them, though you’ll find multigenerational Labradoodles consistently display friendly characteristics. They make a fantastic choice for a home dog thanks to their extroversion, affection, calm temperament, intelligence, and elegant gait. Labradoodles love to play, and they’re truly excited to experience life.
The temperament of a Labradoodle mostly depends on how their parents act – especially the mother – as well as how well the puppy is socialized and which genes he or she inherits. More often than not, though, Labradoodles are happy dogs who remain loyal to their family. They’ll be extroverted as long as they’ve been socialized well and early on, and they won’t be aggressive to animals or people.
Costs and Pricing
If you’re one of many who have decided they can’t live without a loyal little Labradoodle in their lives, then be ready to get lucky at the shelter or pony up a pretty penny. Reputable breeders will sell Labradoodles from anywhere between $1500 and $2500.
Do your research and make sure you know where a breeder’s puppies come from; ask the breeder plenty of questions, including those about medical clearances, and make sure you’re working with someone who cares for their dogs, not a puppy mill.
The day you bring home your Labradoodle is the day you need to start training them. Even at just eight weeks old, they can learn just about anything you want to teach them, within reason. Don’t wait for an arbitrary age to begin training, or else you might find you have a dog already set in its ways. If possible, it’s a good idea to get your pup enrolled in a young puppy’s class by 10 weeks old and keep socializing; this will usually require being up-to-date on vaccines, however. As intelligent dogs, the Labradoodle will have little difficulty graduating.
Because your furry friend can inherit the health problems of either parent breed, Labradoodle owners should be aware of all the potential health concerns that have a chance of popping up:
Both Labradors and Poodles are prediposed to eye diseases, unfortunately, such as cataracts. If your Labradoodle develops these, you’ll notice their eyes becoming opaque, eventually affecting their sight.
Larger dogs are vulnerable to developing hip problems, and Labradoodles are no different.
Found in poodles, Addison’s affects the pituitary gland and stifles the production of cortisol, affecting food digestion.
Seizures can manifest as early as one year old.
Your dog’s unruly hair can be tough to groom!
Though it is not the most common form of dermatitis, it does smell the worst!
Von Willebrand’s Disease:
The most serious on the list, this is closest to puppy hemophilia; it prevents blood from clotting correctly, posing a serious risk to your dog if they get injured.
At the end of the day, Labradoodles are a big part of your family and should be treated just like one, though they may indeed require just a little extra care than most other dog breeds. Of course, any dog lover with the time to commit knows all about the huge payoff for investing that time in their loved ones.
Note that the density and texture of your dog’s fur will change as they get older, so you’ll have to keep an eye on that. Bathe your pup every other day to remove the dirt, but don’t overwash and get rid of their oils. Follow the rest of our grooming advice, and you’ll have a perfectly happy, well cared for Labradoodle!
As we explained earlier, gene expression is impossible to predict, so it is impossible to guarantee that any dog will be hypoallergenic. There are some ways you can minimize your risk of triggering an allergy in your family, however, beyond avoiding first-generation Labradoodles:
- See if the breeder has a return policy or a guarantee, giving you the chance to spend some thorough quality time to assess how your health will react to your new pup.
- Observe the facility; is it clean and up to the promises on the brochure and website?
- Groom your dog as often as you can.
- Bathe your pup every other day to wash away the allergens.
- Keep an inhaler around if you have asthma.
Chances are you instantly fell in love with the Labradoodle’s fluffy coat, their high intelligence, and their generally friendly disposition. That doesn’t mean that they can’t bark incessantly! As a result of a Labrador and a Poodle breeding, your puppy carries the tendency to emit a loud, low bark for several reasons.
Labradoodles rely on people and other dogs to meet their high social needs; they play with their owner or other dogs to fulfill that constant need for stimulation or might go for long walks and doggie play dates. If they are feeling bored, they are likely to start barking for attention.
Dogs that continue to bark at all neighborhood noises for long periods at once will require professional intervention to train.
Like any other dog, your Labradoodle needs to get exercise on a regular basis. It’s common to confuse this with getting “as much exercise as possible” and can cause problems with a puppy’s developing skeleton; changes can occur in the first year of a Labradoodle’s life that can strain or stress the skeleton as the muscles, ligaments, and tendons become overworked. Weeks 14 through 26 are especially vulnerable because your Labradoodle will experience a growth spurt at this point, and lasting damage is possible with excessive exercise. As such, you want to be sure you carefully control exercise during the first year of life.
Likewise, you want to avoid taking the dog out as a cycling or running partner until they have completely grown into their full frame. For a puppy, a normal-paced 30-minute walk on a leash is plenty for the Labradoodle – and make sure to avoid inclines; they don’t need to climb steep hills or staircases just yet.
When grown, Labradoodles are agile, athletic, and energic, so they’ll be more than happy to join anyone in the family looking to get some exercise or otherwise be active. Your dog will require moderate exercise and work their way up towards more stressful jobs. They’re also natural swimmers, so they’ll be especially happy supervised in a swimming pool.
For the highly active Labradoodle, it’s a good idea to have freely available food and water at all times while you’re at home. If you’re going to leave for a while, take the food and water away at least an hour before you do so, and walk the puppy to relieve them shortly before you go. At night, put the food and water away before 5 pm to ensure that your Labradoodle puppy is completely empty by the time you’re ready for bed, so there won’t be any middle-of-the-night or morning surprises.
Whether you intend to feed your Labradoodle dog food or human food, be sure to do your research extensively to ensure what you are feeding your dog is safe to consume; there are plenty of foods that might surprise you, such as the toxicity of broccoli in dogs. If you’re looking to switch food brand, slowly mix the new food with the old food over the course of a week, to prevent gastric distress from the change in nutrients and ingredients.
Opening your heart to a crossbreed is certainly quite the mystery; you’re never really sure what you’ll end up with. Be sure to talk to the breeder or adoption shelter, explain exactly what kind of dog you’d like to have, and seek out their guidance for the best choice in Labradoodle for you. Breeders are with these dogs regularly and are therefore especially skilled at matching compatible dogs with their forever homes.