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A brown male labradoodle
Other names
  • Australian labradoodle
Foundation stockLabrador Retriever, Poodle
Variety statusNot recognised as a breed by any major kennel club.
Life span 10–12 years
Dog (domestic dog)

A labradoodle (/ˈlæbrəddəl/) is a crossbreed dog created by crossing a Labrador Retriever and a Standard or Miniature Poodle. Labradoodles were intended to be a good choice for people with canine dander allergies.

The Australian Labradoodle Association, an organization run by labradoodle breeders, says they are "generally considered healthy dogs". However, they also state that hip and elbow dysplasia are common problems affecting labradoodles.[1][a] Other ailments include eye diseases and Addison's disease.[3][4] Wally Conron of Australia, who is credited with inventing the breed, has commented that healthy labradoodles are "few and far between" and most are "crazy or have a hereditary problem".[1]

Breeding history[edit]


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. He hoped the catchy name and claims regarding allergies would offset the stigma associated with being a mixed breed and thus help him sell his litter.[5][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.[5]

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", largely stemming from the genetic unpredictability of combining breeds. He also felt he was to blame for "creating a Frankenstein", adding that problems were being bred into the dogs rather than selectively breeding away from problems and towards a recognizable standard. He is further quoted as claiming: "For every perfect one, you're going to find a lot of crazy ones."[9]

Follow-on guide-dog breeding programs[edit]

A group of labradoodle assistance dogs

Currently, as with other mixed breeds,[10] labradoodles are not considered a purebred or breed by the AKC and other major kennel club associations in North America and across the world. Technically, they are a hybrid of two pure breeds rather than a new breed. In 2010 the AKC began allowing owners of mixed breeds to register their dogs through an alternative listing program to receive an AKC ID number. [11]

Guide Dogs Victoria no longer breeds labradoodles,[5] although they are bred by other guide and assistance dog organizations in Australia and elsewhere.[12] The Association for the Blind of Western Australia has introduced labradoodles into their training program. Their first, Jonnie, graduated in November 2010.[13][14] Labradoodles are now widely used around the world as guide, assistance, and therapy dogs.[15][16] They are also popular family dogs.[5]

Appearance and temperament[edit]

A female labradoodle

Because the labradoodle is a cross between two dog breeds and not a breed itself, puppies in the early mixed generations do not have consistently predictable characteristics. The first crossing of a poodle with a labrador results in variations in appearance, size, coat, and temperament. So while most labradoodles share some common traits, their appearance and behavioural characteristics are widely variable.[5]

Labradoodles' hair can be anywhere from wiry to soft, and may be straight, wavy, or curly.[5][b] Labradoodles often display an affinity for water and strong swimming ability from their parent breeds.[5] Like most Labrador retrievers and poodles, labradoodles are generally friendly, energetic, and good with families and children.[5]

However, since this mix is a mix of two very smart dogs, they themselves are highly intelligent and likely to destroy or chew if not properly mentally and physically fulfilled.(second, after the border collie).[17][better source needed]


Breeding line issues[edit]

Black Labradoodle

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.[5][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 Retrievers were used too, but these lines were unsatisfactory and are no longer used for breeding. Disagreements within the program have led to some groups continuing with different lines as in the case of the Australian Cobberdog.[19]

Coat texture and color[edit]

Labradoodle coats are divided into three categories: wool, fleece, or hair.[b][5]

Labradoodles' coat colors include chocolate, cafe, parchment, cream, gold, apricot, red, black, silver, chalk, lavender, and blue-ish gray. Coat patterns can be solid, white abstract markings, parti, phantom, or tri-coloured.[20]

Fleece Coated


Small Labradoodle
Indifferent, small Labradoodle

Labradoodles can be different sizes, depending on the size of sire and dam used, and their size-names generally follow the names used for poodles: miniature, medium, and standard.[5]


Labradoodles can have problems common to their parent breeds. Poodles and Labrador retrievers can have hip dysplasia. The parent breeds can also have a number of eye disorders.[21] There have also been cases of neurological disorders, including epilepsy.

Joint dysplasia[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]

Congenital eye diseases[edit]

One study has found that UK labradoodles have a higher incidence (4.6%) of multifocal retinal dysplasia (MRA) compared to Labrador retrievers. Cataracts are common as well (3.7%) but prevalence is comparable to that of Labradors.[3]

Addison's disease[edit]

There is evidence of some occurrence of Addison's disease in the Australian labradoodle.[4][24]

Ear infections[edit]

Labradoodles are very prone to ear infections due to their long floppy ears.[25]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Australian Labradoodle Association of America,[2] which represents Labradoodle breeders, says the animals are 'generally considered healthy dogs' but do have some common, but extreme, problems, like hip and elbow dysplasia.[1]
  2. ^ 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.[5]


  1. ^ a b c Miller, Ryan W. (26 September 2019). "'A Frankenstein monster': Why the Labradoodle creator regrets breeding the dogs". USA Today. Retrieved 27 September 2019.
  2. ^ "Australian Labradoodle Association of America".
  3. ^ a b 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. S2CID 5932838.
  4. ^ a b "Addison's Disease". Retrieved 2 January 2011.
  5. ^ 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 – via
  6. ^ "Labradoodle". Animal World. 1 January 2008. Archived from the original on 13 December 2012. Retrieved 16 October 2008.
  7. ^ Conron, Wally (10 July 2007). "I designed a dog". My Story. Reader's Digest. Archived from the original on 14 March 2012.
  8. ^ "Witness History – The world's first labradoodle – BBC Sounds". Retrieved 26 September 2023.
  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. ^ "Dog Breeds – Types of Dogs". American Kennel Club. Retrieved 17 June 2020.
  11. ^ "AKC Announces New Program for Mixed Breeds".
  12. ^ "A guide dog with a difference" (PDF) (Press release). Association for the Blind of Western Australia. Guide Dogs Western Australia. 7 September 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 July 2011.
  13. ^ "Busselton guide dog graduation". Association for the Blind of Western Australia. Guide Dogs Western Australia. November 2010. Archived from the original on 17 February 2011. Retrieved 18 December 2012.
  14. ^ "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.
  15. ^ "Colchester: More than puppy love!". Gazette-News. England, UK. 17 June 2008. Retrieved 18 December 2012.
  16. ^ Altonn, Helen (28 June 2004). "What do you get when you breed Labradors with poodles?". Star-Bulletin. Honolulu, Hawaii. Archived from the original on 8 January 2008. Retrieved 18 December 2012.
  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" (revised ed.). International Australian Labradoodle Association. 2007 [1997]. 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. ^ "Addison's and the Labradoodle". Archived from the original on 4 May 2009. Retrieved 28 April 2012.
  25. ^ Hospital, My Vet Animal (12 December 2016). "Ear infections in Dogs – Tips on Prevention and Treatment". My Vet Animal Hospital. Retrieved 1 December 2022.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]