The Labradoodle Ultimate Breed Guide: What You Need To Know

Cross-breed dogs have become very popular in recent years, with many having been bred specifically for their low-shedding coats. This allows people who are allergic to dogs to own one without problem. The Labradoodle has gone from being a novelty to become one of the most popular family pets in just a few years, and with good reason.

These attractive, fun and intelligent dogs are among the bigger of the hybrid breeds, and need plenty of exercise as a result, but few other dogs will give you such ongoing pleasure. Let’s have a loo at the Labradoodle, and what it’s all about, in more detail.

Origins of the Labradoodle Cross Breed

It is little surprise that the Labradoodle has become one of the most popular of the cross breed dogs, as it offers a great deal of love and fun for owners. Bred from a Labrador Retriever and a Standard Poodle, the Labradoodle differs from some of the other hybrid dogs in that it is also employed as a working dog, having inherited the characteristics of the parents.

The coat of a Labradoodle is thick and sound, and they come in many colours that we will talk about later, and while they are often promoted as non-shedding, some do in fact shed although far less than regular dogs. This is a large dog, both parents are good sized animals, so if you are looking for a lapdog the Labradoodle is not for you! However, given its loyalty and affection as a breed, do not be surprised if your Labradoodle thinks it is a lapdog!

The choice of Poodle and Labrador as parents is one that was carefully considered, as both dogs make fine pets. The result, first seen in breeding in the 1950’s, is a very affectionate, intelligent and easy to train dog, that can also be used as an assistance dog for people who are otherwise allergic to dogs.

The Labradoodle is also a fine family pet and, with good training, will be excellent with other dogs, with children, and with other pets. It is important to socialise the dog early in training in order to familiarise it with the environment it will be living in.

It is also important that you buy your Labradoodle puppy from a reputable breeder; this gives you the advantage of knowing that the parents have been carefully selected not just for looks, but for health reasons. Never buy from a pet shop, and if you do choose to look at rescue dogs, make sure you have all the information you can on the dog’s past.

So, you think you want a Labradoodle? It’s a fine choice, so read on and let us tell you all about these beautiful, loving and enjoyable animals.

Labradoodle Breed Characteristics

Make no mistake, a fully-grown Labradoodle can be a large, powerful dog, so if you are looking for a smaller hybrid dog, we have a couple of recommendations towards the end of this article that may help. If you are willing to put the time and effort into looking after a Labradoodle, however, and you have the space, then we can’t recommend these quite charming and wonderful dogs too highly.

We also can’t stress too much how important it is that you find a breeder with a good reputation from whom to buy your Labradoodle puppy. The peace of mind that comes with knowing the parents have been carefully chosen is something that you will find of great benefit.

As the Labradoodle is bred from a Labrador and a Poodle it will naturally inherit the breed characteristics of these dogs, and that is a good thing. In short, a well-bred and trained Labradoodle will be a fun, playful and obedient animal that is perfect with children, and that makes an almost unsurpassable choice of family dog.

A few pros and cons when it comes to owning a Labradoodle:

Pros:

  • The Labradoodle has a very low hair-shedding rate, so is great for people with allergies.
  • It is a friendly and loyal breed, and one that will bring many years of enjoyable fun to the family.
  • Labradoodles are easy to train and receptive to instruction and learning, so you will find your dog soon understands you.
  • This is a very playful breed, so you can keep your children and dog entertained in one go!
  • The Labradoodle is a sociable dog, so walks with other dog owners will be a pleasure rather than a chore.
  • This is also a great choice for single people or first-time owners, thanks to the amazing loyalty a Labradoodle shows towards its owner.

Cons:

  • The Labradoodle is a large dog, and has bountiful energy, so be prepared to spend a lot of time with your new pet.
  • It has a coat that is high-maintenance, so will require grooming on a regular basis and professional attention every now and then
  • As with all breeds, there are certain hereditary diseases and ailments that the Cavachon can suffer from, so talk to your breeder for reassurance
  • As an intelligent breed, Labradoodles are known to be inquisitive, and for inquisitive read cheeky and mischievous! You might need to be quite firm in your dealings sometimes!
  • This can be a pro or a con but be aware that Labradoodles love water; if they see a river or pond, they will be in it before you know it!

There is so much to recommend the beautiful, charming and very loyal dogs, so to help you with your choice, let’s talk some more about Labradoodles.

General Appearance

The Labradoodle is a very attractive dog, thanks in no small part to its friendly and endearing face, lovely thick coat and wonderful personality. Inheriting the gait and stance of a Labrador, with the looks and charm of a Poodle mixed in, there is plenty to like about this very popular breed. This is not a small dog – unlike some of the other cross breeds – so can be imposing to people who are not familiar with dogs, but rest assured you will not find a friendlier dog.

A Labradoodle’s coat is not a smooth and silky one, but a somewhat thick and luscious one, often curly as per the Poodle parent. This enhances the appearance even more, and is another reason why it is a popular breed. The eyes may also be partly covered with a fringe of hair, which makes that face even more unmissable!

When it comes to colouring, the Labradoodle offers more options than many other breeds.9

Labradoodle Colours

Your Labradoodle puppy will be one of a litter that may include many different colour variations, such is the nature of the parent breeds. The traditional Labrador golden or chocolate coat, or even black, is an influence, and Poodles are available in many colours. Of course, no breeder can guarantee the colour of puppies! Here are a few of the colours that are recognised for Labradoodles:

  • Brown – This is a generalisation as the Labradoodle can come in various different shades of brown, and is beautiful in every one
  • Red – this is a variant of the brown and is a lush and warm colour that is extremely attractive. It is not the most common colour, but is one that when you see it, you will absolutely love
  • Silver – this stunning and quite unique variation is one of the most amazing you will see on any dog, and if you can find one, you will want it!
  • Lavender – another beautiful and unusual colour, and a testament to why the Labradoodle is such a popular choice of family dog.
  • Blue – for many people, the glorious and quite unusual dark blue shade of coat is the ultimate Labradoodle option, if rather difficult to find.
  • Cream – there are several variations on the theme with cream coloured coats, and each is very attractive indeed.
  • Apricot – once again, the shades can differ but this wonderful and unusual colour looks great in every option.
  • Black – all dogs look amazing in black, but somehow the Labradoodle looks extra special, especially one with a tight Poodle-type coat.

This is by no means a comprehensive list of Labradoodle coat colours, but should give you a good idea of the sheer choice available. Talk to your breeder about colour options, and they will be happy to advise you as to what they have available in current litters.

How to Groom a Labradoodle

The Labradoodle coat comes in various forms – from the tight curly coat of the Poodle to the smoother yet solid coat of the Labrador – and each needs regular grooming. Brushing for a few minutes a day is recommended, and it can be a fun way for the children to enjoy time with the dog if supervised, but it is also recommended that you have your Cavachon groomed by a professional once in a while. Keeping your Labradoodle’s coat well-groomed means you not only have a beautiful dog, but one that will be happier and more comfortable.

The Temperament of a Labradoodle

If you are looking to buy a dog for the family, or even for a single person as a companion, the temperament of the breed you choose is very important. The Labradoodle, by its breeding, is a very friendly and easy-going dog – although a large one in need of regular exercise – so will make an ideal choice.

Of course, the temperament of an individual dog cannot be guaranteed. The simple fact remains, however, that in general the Labrador and Poodle – the parent breeds – are good-natured and non-aggressive breeds that produce offspring with very amiable temperament.

There are many good reasons why the Labradoodle has become not only one of the most popular cross breeds, but also one of the most popular dogs of all. This is an intelligent dog that, if well-trained and treated, will reward the owner with many years of genuinely pleasurable companionship. It is a dog that will quickly form an unbreakable bond with the owner, too, so be prepared to have a Labradoodle follow you wherever you go!

The Labradoodle makes an excellent family dog for many reasons: it is a playful animal that will be great with children – and even protective in some cases – and one that can be easily trained to get on with other pets, including dogs and cats. There is an element of loyalty in these dogs that goes far and beyond that you may find in some other breeds, so you need to be prepared to accept your new puppy as one of the family.

One possible downside of owning a Labradoodle is its size; this is by no means a small dog – think Labrador size or bigger – and may not be suitable for a very small home. If you have the time to spend a couple of hours a day with your dog, however, the rewards will be beyond enjoyable. Bear in mind that these are very playful dogs, and require a great deal of mental exercise as well as physical, so you need to be prepared to play with your dog and keep it occupied for long periods.

As with all dogs, leaving a Labradoodle at home alone for long periods is not a good idea, so if you are out at work all day and leave an empty house, this is not the dog for you. If there is someone in for most of the day, the dog will be more than happy. A Labradoodle left on its own will bark for attention, although they are not by nature noisy dogs, so you need to be able to give it the company it needs and deserves.

In short, the Labradoodle is just about the perfect family dog, is easy to train and will soon learn who is in charge, and get to know its place in the home. If you follow our tips on training – read on for those – and select a well-bred dog from a reputable breeder, you cannot go wrong with a Labradoodle, and you will enjoy what is one of the most charming and attractive of all the breeds available.

Living with a Labradoodle

Before you make the decision to buy a Labradoodle, be sure to talk to breeders and to other owners about their experience. This is especially important and helpful if you are a first time owner. The fact a Labradoodle is an intelligent breed makes it very easy to live with, but there are certain considerations you need to make if you are fully sure it’s what you want.

The Labradoodle is bred from two intelligent parent breeds – the Labrador and the Poodle – so inherits that intelligence. This has its benefits, and its downsides too! The benefit is that your Labradoodle will be very receptive to training and education, so you will soon have it understanding what it needs to and knowing what is right and wrong. The downside is that it is an inquisitive animal, so you need to keep it occupied if you are to overcome instances of ‘naughtiness’!

As we have said, the Labradoodle is ideal for both families and for persons living alone, and also makes an ideal first dog. However, this is an animal that does require a lot more exercise than some other breeds – in particular the smaller hybrids – so you need to consider whether you are willing to set aside the time needed to give it the attention it needs, to take it for walks, and to play with it as it will want.

One good thing about the temperament of the Labradoodle is that it does not have a strong prey drive; some dogs will instinctively chase other dogs or small animals. A Labradoodle, if well-trained, will leave your neighbours cat alone, but be aware if something moving quickly catches its eye, it may be inclined to go after it. Training should enable you to call your dog back successfully.

Your Labradoodle will enjoy going out for walks, so be prepared to spend a lot of outdoors and perhaps in the company of other dog walkers! This is in fact one of the major pleasures of dog ownership, and is great exercise for the owner, too.

One factor to understand about Labradoodles is that, as we have said already, they are water-lovers; wherever you go, if there is a river or pond or even a large puddle, you can be sure your Labradoodle will be in it, so be prepared for wet dogs in cars on the way home – and wet owners too!

Put simply, a Labradoodle is a wonderful family pet, although one that needs plenty of exercise, and will bring you many years of fun and enjoyment along the way.

Training Your Labradoodle

Training an intelligent dog such as a Labradoodle is hard work and takes a lot of time, but should also be fun, and is a great way of getting to know your puppy and helping it get to know you. It is essential that you commence training as early as possible, as the puppy has a lot to learn and the more it takes on the first stages, the better. Given its intelligence, your Labradoodle will soon learn what it needs to, and there are certain ways to make the experience as effective and enjoyable as possible.

It is important to lay down the ground rules early, as your dog needs to know that you are the one who is in charge. This means letting it know not only when it has not done as required, but also when it has. The usual simple commands – sit, stay, come and so on – should be instilled into the puppy, and you will find a Labradoodle puppy responds very well and quickly.

Here are a few things you should try not to do when training a Labradoodle puppy:

  • Shout – You may need to raise your voice at times, but harsh shouting will never result in the reaction you are intending. It may result in the puppy being frightened of you, which you certainly don’t want.
  • Use physical reactions – A light tap is all you should ever do to discipline your puppy; hitting it hard will not work in any way.
  • Lock it away – Never shut a puppy away on its own for being ‘naughty’; remember, the dog is just young and has a lot to learn and won’t take to being left alone.

And some advice on what can bring the best results:

  • Start early – this is an essential in dog training; the earlier you start training your puppy, the sooner it will learn how to behave.
  • Socialize – it is very important that you get your Labradoodle puppy to socialise early in its life, both with people at home, elsewhere, and with other dogs and animals. This will help it know how to handle such occasions in later life.
  • Be positive – Your Labradoodle is an intelligent animal and will notice how your tone of voice and attitude changes; positive is good, so make sure you use the right tone at all times.
  • Patience – be prepared to take the time – and to make the time – to spend with your dog on a regular basis. Training a puppy will take a long time, it has a lot to learn, and you will learn a lot about your dog, too.

If you are happy to put the time and effort into training your new puppy, the result will be a well-behaved, rewarding and very wonderful animal that will bring you years of pleasure and enjoyment.

Labradoodle Health Care

Like all dogs, a Labradoodle needs exercise and care to be properly cared for, and we recommend that you also talk tour breeder about the correct food for your dog. Be aware that there can be some hereditary healthy issues with Labradoodles – as their can with all dogs – and a reputable breeder will be able to show you the history of the parent dogs, and give you the best reassurance.

We recommend that you be prepared to travel to find a breeder who can help you with the very best dog, so check carefully before you make your final decision.

Getting Your Own Labradoodle

We have mentioned the pitfalls of getting a rescue dog already, so be aware that while this is a viable option, we strongly recommend you source a carefully bred Labradoodle puppy from a reputable and experienced breeder, as we have already said. Be aware that a Labradoodle puppy will cost you anywhere between £500 and £1000, depending on the colour and breeding of the dog, but also remember that buys you many years of fabulous fun and enjoyment with a wonderful addition to the family.

Breeds Similar to the Labradoodle

If you do decide that a Labradoodle is too large a dog for you, yet still want a cross breed, we can recommend you take a look at some of the smaller crossbreeds such as the Cavachon and Cockapoo. These dogs have a similar temperament, are equally attractive and will also give you years of pleasure, while not being the size of a Labradoodle. Follow the same tips above and you will enjoy a wonderful smaller dog for years to come.

Labradoodle Last Word

A Cavachon, thanks to its playfulness and wonderful temperament – not to mention the fact it is a very beautiful dog – makes an excellent choice of family pet or would be an ideal dog for s single person living alone. Find the right breeder, train your dog and keep it fit and healthy, and you will have the perfect dog for all the family.

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