The Labradoodle is a unique dog, with a fascinating history. Their story begins in Australia. Now a definitive date as to when breeding began is still in question, however the consensus among experts is sometime in 1988 or 1989.
It all started with an inquiry from a visually impaired women in Hawaii, who wanted a guide dog that wouldn’t cause her husband’s allergies to flare.
The reason she chose Australia was the quarantine rules. Australia is an island with very strict quarantine laws; stricter than the quarantine laws in Hawaii. Therefore, dogs exported to Hawaii could go home with no quarantine.
Now in response to the women’s request, roughly thirty Poodle hair and saliva samples were sent to Hawaii to test for allergy friendliness over a two year period of time. Unfortunately, none of those original samples proved successful.
Following the failure of those samples, a man named Wally Conren suggested to the Manager of the Australian Guide Dog Association crossing a Labrador Retriever and a Standard Poodle.
Approval was granted and his first litter produced three puppies. Wally gave the resulting cross the name still in use today—Labradoodle.
Now from those three puppies, hair and saliva samples were sent to Hawaii for testing once again. And this time, the samples from a puppy named Sultan were successful!
After the success of the first mating, Mr. Conren bred Labradoodle to Labradoodle, and called the subsequent offspring, “Double Doodles.” Next, he crossed the Double Doodles and called the offspring “Tri Doodles.” These were the precursor to what we call today the Australian Multi-Generational (or Multi-Gen) Labradoodles.
When Wally Conren retired, a veterinarian named Kate Schoeffel (Kate’s Family Pets) from Condoblin New South Wales, Australia, who had been in touch with him, started her own breeding program mating Miniature Poodles with Labrador Retrievers. Her success was such that she is still breeding her Miniature first generation Labradoodles.
A couple of years after Mr. Conren’s initial success, a man who bred puppies for pet shops started to breed these rather handsome Labradoodles.
And with what we would today call 20/20 hindsight; he bred the Labradoodle back to a poodle, and Labradoodle to Labradoodle.
Unfortunately, he wasn’t good at record keeping since his primary goal was breeding family pets. He didn’t recognize the non-shedding and hypoallergenic potential of these dogs. He did however continue breeding his first and second generation Labradoodles for a few years before finally retiring.
The Australian Guide Dog Association was having very little success as well, because they too didn’t recognize the mutated gene which develops the allergy friendly Labradoodle of today.
However, even with the limited success the few original pioneering breeders had at the time, interest in the Labradoodle was strong enough for a few visionaries to start breeding them with an intentional plan in mind.
Within a few short years, other breeders followed, and what they developed is the Australian Multi-Generational Labradoodle we recognize today.