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So, what is a Labradoodle? It's a question I get asked a lot! Usually by someone looking for a non-shedding dog due to allergies in the family or a housekeeping aversion to dog hair due to the experience of owning a Labrador Retriever, the champion shedders of the dog world.
Well, the answer isn't as simple and straightforward as one might hope because there are several different type's of Labradoodles, not to mention the variations in size, coat types and coat colors.
The history goes back to the late 1980's in Australia where a gentleman, Wally Conren, tried to develop an allergy friendly guide dog for a blind woman in Hawaii by breeding a Labrador Retriever and a Poodle.
Labradors are exceptional guide dogs and Poodles are highly intelligent with a non-shedding, allergy friendly coat. After numerous attempts, an allergy friendly pup, Sultan, was produced.
This Labradoodle puppy, so dubbed by the creator, Wally, became the inspiration for today's Labradoodles.
To begin with, as I described above, the Labradoodle was a purposefully bred, hybrid dog, the result of a Labrador Retriever and Poodle mating.
This first generation (F1) Labradoodle is still bred today, however this first generation breeding generally produces an allergy friendly coat only 10-15% of the time.
In order secure a more consistent allergy friendly coat, Labradoodles were bred to Labradoodles, resulting in a second generation, known as an F2.
Another method used to secure a more allergy friendly coat is to breed a Labradoodle with a Poodle.
This results in a dog which is ¼ Labrador Retriever and ¾ Poodle, also know as an F1B Labradoodle.
Today, those traditional breeders of the F1, F1B, and F2 Labradoodles are looking for the hybrid vigor produced when two different breeds are put together.
This can often produce a healthier, more robust dog.
Can you see why such a simple question is not so easy to answer?
Because, (wait for it!) there is also another, entirely different, type of Labradoodle!
The Australian Multi-Generational Labradoodle, as the name implies, originated in Australia. Their breeding was consistently Labradoodle to Labradoodle to the point they became a separate type of dog.
These dogs were bred for more consistent allergy friendly coats and a temperament suited to service and companion work.
And, because they are a developing breed, they are genetically different from their F1, F1B, and F2 forebearers.
Over time, breeders of the Australian Multi-Generational Labradoodle also added several other breeds of dog into the lineage in order to strengthen certain characteristics.
These additional breeds are the Curly Coat Retriever, the American Cocker Spaniel, the English Cocker Spaniel, and the Irish Water Spaniel.
Labradoodles are highly intelligent dogs, so be prepared for consistent and long term training. Just because a dog is intelligent doesn't mean you can avoid training them; quite the opposite.
Intelligent dogs need to be mentally challenged because if you don't, that sweet little dog is going to think up his own games, many of them highly destructive.
It's also important to choose a responsible, ethical breeder. Labradoodles are a popular breed and popularity does terrible things to dogs.
The lure of easy money brings out the greed in some breeders, so be sure your breeder is reputable and breeding for the love of the dog.
Your Labradoodle adoption should be a joyful time spent getting to know your new dog, not taking a sick and genetically defective dog back and forth to the veterinarian.
Unfortunately, Labradoodles, like all other breeds, don't always find their forever home the first time out.
If you would like to rescue a Labradoodle, I highly recommend contacting the International Doodle Owners Group's rescue organization, and you can find at the bottom of on our Rescue page.
There may be a sweet Labradoodle just waiting to be yours! My very own Murphy (pictured above) is an IDOG Rescue and Rehome Alumni!
So, welcome to Discovering Labradoodles! I hope the site can answer more of your questions.
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If you want information on Goldendoodles, check out Edie's best selling book Goldendoodles - The Complete Pet Owner's Manual.