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A abricot labradoodle (very light, almost white)

Labradoodle Brown.jpg
A brown Labradoodle with a fleece type coat. The appearance of Labradoodles may vary.
Foundation stockLabrador Retriever, Poodle
Variety statusNot recognized as a standardized breed by any major kennel club.
Life span 12 - 16 years
Domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris)

A Labradoodle (/ˈlæbrəddəl/) is a crossbreed dog created by crossing the Labrador retriever and the Standard, Miniature, or Toy poodle. The term first appeared in 1955, but was not initially popular. Labradoodles are a good choice for those with allergies, provided the poodle coat is inherited rather than the Labrador coat.

Wally Conron of Australia takes credit for creating the Labradoodle in 1989. He claims to regret the discovery of the cross, asserting that healthy Labradoodles are "few and far between" and most are "crazy or have a hereditary problem."[1][2] The Australian Labradoodle Association of America, an organization run by Labradoodle breeders, says they are "generally considered healthy dogs" but admits that common problems include hip and elbow dysplasia.[3] Other ailments include eye diseases and Addison's disease, an endocrine disorder.

There is some controversy over Wally Conron taking credit for the first Labradoodle. The dog mix had been known in the United States since the 1950s and was even used in the entertainment industry in the U.S. as early as the 1960s. For example, Fang, a Labrador-Poodle mix, had a recurring role on the Get Smart show starting in 1965.[4] At the same time (in the 1950s) the Cockapoo[5][circular reference](a mix of Cocker Spaniel and Poodle) had a rise in popularity. Breeding Poodles with other breeds was not new in 1989 when Wally Conron says he first cross-bred the Poodle and Labrador.

Breeding history[edit]


The term "Labradoodle" was first used by Donald Campbell in his 1955 book, Into the Water Barrier, to describe his Labrador/Poodle cross. However, the use of a Labradoodle as a guide/service dog was not common until 1989, when Australian breeder Wally Conron introduced the cross-breed to the Royal Guide Dog Association of Australia in Victoria. Conron hoped that the combination of the low-shedding coat of the poodle, along with the gentleness and trainability of a Labrador retriever, would provide a guide dog suitable for people with allergies to fur and dander.[6][7][8]

Sultan, a dog from this litter, displayed all the qualities Conron was seeking and worked as a guide dog for a woman in Hawaii for ten years.[6]

Conron has since repeatedly stated he regrets initiating the fashion for this type of crossbreed and maintains it caused "a lot of damage" together with "a lot of problems". He also felt he was to blame for "creating a Frankenstein", adding that problems were being bred into the dogs rather than breeding away from problems. He is further quoted as claiming: "For every perfect one, you're going to find a lot of crazy ones."[9] Mr. Conron was referring to the craze he initiated of multiple types of "designer" dogs being developed as copy-cats to the Labradoodle. There was a flurry of activity to breed virtually every breed to a poodle to create a new type of "-doodle" almost monthly in the beginning.

Follow-on guide-dog breeding programs[edit]

Currently, as with other crossbreeds, Labradoodles are not considered a breed by any major kennel club associations in North America. However, there are reputable organizations breeders can join if they qualify and follow the breed standard, regulations and ethical requirements. ALAA and ALCA are the two major organizations for Australian Labradoodles.

Guide Dogs Victoria no longer breeds Labradoodles,[6] however, they are bred by other guide and assistance dog organizations in Australia and elsewhere.[10] The Association for the Blind of Western Australia has introduced Labradoodles into their training program, and their first, Jonnie, graduated in November 2010.[11][12] Labradoodles are now widely used around the world as guide, assistance, and therapy dogs[13][14] as well as being popular family dogs.[6]

Emerging breed standard and family dogs[edit]

Labradoodles are, as mentioned, a poodle and a Labrador retriever. Breeders in Australia have gone on to develop the Australian Labradoodle which also includes spaniels in the mix for early generations of the breed. "Multigeneration Australian Labradoodles" are dogs who have been bred only to other multigeneration Australian Labradoodles for a minimum of four generations.

These dogs have a breed standard and consistent looks and temperament. They are low shedding and many allergy and asthma sufferers find them suitable to live with.[citation needed] They are a wonderful family dog and adaptable to diverse circumstances. Australian Labradoodles come in standard (large), medium, and mini size, and so can be as comfortable living in a condo as living on a sprawling acreage.

The Norwegian crown prince and princess own labradoodles.[15][16]

Appearance and temperament[edit]

Labradoodle Laying 2375px.jpg

Because the (generic) Labradoodle is a cross between two dog breeds and not a breed itself, puppies in the early hybrid generations do not have consistently predictable characteristics. The first crossing of a poodle with a Labrador does result in variations in terms of appearance, size, coat and temperament. So while most Labradoodles share some common traits, their appearance and behavioral characteristics can be widely variable.[6] The variation mostly applies to early-generation Labrador-poodle crosses, and not to multigeneration Labradoodles or multigeneral Australian Labradoodles: Once a Labrador-poodle cross has been selectively bred to other Labradoodles for 4 generations or more, then there is much greater consistency for all the selected aspects.[citation needed]

Labradoodles' hair can be anywhere from wiry to soft, and may be straight, wavy, or curly.[a][6] Some Labradoodles do shed, although the coat usually sheds less and has less "dog odor" than that of a Labrador retriever.[6]

Labradoodle among Tulips

Labradoodles often display an affinity for water and strong swimming ability from their parent breeds.[6] Like most Labrador retrievers and poodles, Labradoodles are generally friendly, energetic, and good with families and children.[6] Their parent breeds are both among the world's most intelligent dog breeds, in which the poodle is believed to be among the smartest (second, after the border collie).[17]


A group of labradoodle Assistance Dogs.

Breeding line issues[edit]

There is no consensus as to whether breeders should aim to have Labradoodles recognized as a breed. Some breeders prefer to restrict breeding to produce F1 hybrids (bred from a poodle and Labrador rather than, e.g. F2 hybrids bred from two Labradoodles) to ensure relatively uniform genetics among the Labradoodles, while maximizing genetic diversity of individual dogs to avoid inherited health problems that have plagued some inbred dog breeds.

A large number of Labradoodle and Australian Labradoodle breeders who are ethical and well regarded, were previously breeders of purebred dogs. For many of these breeders, the inherent concerns with health and temperament for dogs who are being produced through repeated and more closely inbreeding and line-breeding led them to the Labradoodle or Australian Labradoodle. The ALAA maintains an open stud book whereas the ALCA maintains a closed stud book.

Jonnie, the first Labradoodle guide dog to graduate from Association for the Blind of Western Australia.

Others are breeding Labradoodle to Labradoodle over successive generations, and trying to establish a new dog breed. These dogs are usually referred to as multigenerational (multigen) Labradoodles or multigeneration Australian Labradoodles.[6][18]

Australian Labradoodle breeding program[edit]

Australian Labradoodles also differ from Labradoodles in general, in that they may also have other breeds in their ancestry. English and American cocker spaniel × poodle crosses (i.e. cockapoos). Two Irish water spaniels and soft-coated Wheaten terriers were used in some Australian Labradoodle lines. Curly coated retriever were used too, but these lines did not work out and were no longer used for breeding.[19]

Currently, Australian Labradoodle breeding lines may only have 3 breeds infused: poodles, Labrador retrievers, and spaniels. Infusions occur with early generation breedings. Multigeneration breedings do not use any breed other than Australian Labradoodle to Australian Labradoodle. Australian Labradoodles also generally have poodles and Labradors in their pedigrees that come from European lines, whereas other Labradoodle lines tend to rely heavily on American stock. Thus the frequent misnomer of “American” Labradoodle when referring generically to a Labradoodle.

Coat texture and color[edit]

Labradoodle coats are divided into three categories: wool, fleece, or hair.[a][6] Australian Labradoodles predominantly have fleece coats that are straight or wavy only. Wool and hair coats do not apply other than to early generation Labradoodles.

Labradoodles' coat colors include chocolate, cafe, parchment, cream, gold, apricot, red, black, silver, chalk, lavender, and blue. Coat patterns can be solid, white abstract markings, parti, phantom, or tri-coloured.[20] In general, Labradoodles may have any coat-color a poodle can have.


Labradoodles can be different sizes, depending on the size of poodle used, and their size-names follow the names used for poodles: toy, miniature, and standard.[6]


Labradoodles can have problems common to their parent breeds. Poodles and Labrador retrievers can have hip dysplasia, and should have specialist radiography to check for this problem before breeding. The parent breeds can also have a number of eye disorders, and an examination by a qualified veterinary eye specialist should be performed on breeding dogs.[21]

Joint displasia[edit]

Elbow dysplasia is a known common issue in the parent breeds, similar to hip dysplasia. This issue becomes more prevalent as a result of rapid growth during the puppy stage.[22][23] Appropriate screening should be completed for this condition prior to breeding.[24]

Congenital eye diseases[edit]

Labradoodles have been known to be susceptible to progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), an inherited disease causing blindness, which occurs in both miniature poodles and cocker spaniels. It is recommended that Australian Labradoodles be DNA-tested for PRA before being bred.

One study has found that UK Labradoodles have a higher incidence (4.6%) of multifocal retinal dysplasia (MRA) compared to Labrador retrievers. Cataract is common as well (3.7%) but prevalence is comparable to that of Labradors.[25]

Addison's disease[edit]

There is evidence of some occurrence of Addison's disease in the Australian Labradoodle.[26][27] The Australian Labradoodle Association of America is currently conducting a study to try to determine how widespread the problem has become.


  1. ^ a b Straight-coated Labradoodles are said to have "hair" coats, wavy-coated dogs have "fleece" coats, and curly-coated dogs have "wool" coats. Wool coats have tight curls, and similar in appearance to that of a poodle, but with a softer texture. Fleece coats are soft and free-flowing, with a kinked or wavy appearance. Hair coats can be curly, straight or wavy, but are more similar in texture to a Labrador's coat.


  1. ^ Sullivan, Rory (26 September 2019). "Labradoodle creator says he regrets 'Frankenstein's monster'". CNN. Retrieved 27 September 2019. According to Conron, the majority of Labradoodles are 'either crazy or have an hereditary problem,' with healthy examples of the breed 'few and far between.'
  2. ^ Miller, Ryan W. (26 September 2019). "'A Frankenstein monster': Why the Labradoodle creator regrets breeding the dogs". USA Today. Retrieved 27 September 2019. 'I find that the biggest majority (of Labradoodles) are either crazy or have a hereditary problem,' he said.
  3. ^ Miller, Ryan W. (26 September 2019). "'A Frankenstein monster': Why the Labradoodle creator regrets breeding the dogs". USA Today. Retrieved 27 September 2019. The Australian Labradoodle Association of America, which represents Labradoodle breeders, says the animals are 'generally considered healthy dogs' but do have some common problems, like hip and elbow dysplasia.
  4. ^
  5. ^ Cockapoo
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Hot Dogs!. Barron's. 2007. pp. 20–29. ISBN 978-0-7641-3512-5.
  7. ^ "Labradoodle". Animal World. 1 January 2008. Archived from the original on 13 December 2012. Retrieved 16 October 2008.
  8. ^ Conron, Wally (10 July 2007). "I designed a dog". My Story. Reader's Digest. Archived from the original on 14 March 2012.
  9. ^ "Inventor of the Labradoodle speaks out". Our Dogs. 14 February 2014. Archived from the original on 15 May 2015. Retrieved 13 February 2014.
  10. ^ "A guide dog with a difference" (PDF). Association for the Blind of Western Australia. Guide Dogs Western Australia. 7 September 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 July 2011.
  11. ^ "Busselton guide dog graduation". Association for the Blind of Western Australia. Guide Dogs Western Australia. Archived from the original on 17 February 2011. Retrieved 18 December 2012.
  12. ^ "New dog in town" (PDF). Association for the Blind of Western Australia. Guide Dogs Western Australia. 2 September 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 July 2011.
  13. ^ "Colchester: More than puppy love!". Gazette-News. England, UK. 17 June 2008. Retrieved 18 December 2012.
  14. ^ Altonn, Helen (28 June 2004). "What do you get when you breed Labradors with poodles?". Star-Bulletin. Honolulu, Hawaii. Retrieved 18 December 2012.
  15. ^ "Her er kronprinsparets nye kjæledegge" (in Norwegian). 3 July 2009. When it became known that the Crown Prince couple's new dog would be a so-called "Labradoodle" there was no lack of critical voices.
  16. ^ Krupnick, Ellie (17 May 2012). "Norway's royal family gets decked out for Norwegian Constitution Day". The Huffington Post.
  17. ^ Coren, John (1994). The Intelligence of Dogs. New York, NY: New York Free Press. Retrieved 16 October 2008.
  18. ^ "The Australian Labradoodle". Retrieved 2 January 2011.
  19. ^ "Australian Labradoodles". FAQ. Retrieved 2 January 2011.
  20. ^ "IALA Breed Standard" (1997, revised 2007 ed.). International Australian Labradoodle Association. Archived from the original on 24 October 2012.
  21. ^ Lust, G.; Williams, A. J.; Burton-Wurster, N.; Pijanowski, G. J.; Beck, K. A.; Rubin, G.; Smith, G. K. (1993). "Joint laxity and its association with hip dysplasia in Labrador retrievers". American Journal of Veterinary Research. 54 (12): 1990–1999. PMID 8116927.
  22. ^ "Common health issues and life expectancy of the Labradoodle". Lab Land. Retrieved 19 March 2017.
  23. ^ Mäki, K.; Groen, A. F.; Liinamo, A.-E.; Ojala, M. (1 October 2001). "Population structure, inbreeding trend and their association with hip and elbow dysplasia in dogs". Animal Science. 73 (2): 217–228. doi:10.1017/S1357729800058197.
  24. ^ Kirberger, R.M.; Fourie, S.L. (1 June 1998). "Elbow dysplasia in the dog: Pathophysiology, diagnosis, and control". Journal of the South African Veterinary Association. 69 (2): 43–54. doi:10.4102/jsava.v69i2.814. PMID 9760396.
  25. ^ Oliver, J. A. C.; Gould, D. J. (2012). "Survey of ophthalmic abnormalities in the Labradoodle in the UK". Veterinary Record. 170 (15): 390. doi:10.1136/vr.100361. PMID 22278634.
  26. ^ "Addison's Disease". Retrieved 2 January 2011.
  27. ^ "Addison's and the Labradoodle". Archived from the original on 4 May 2009. Retrieved 28 April 2012.

Further reading[edit]

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