Vidar Skauen, Animal Photography / Vetstreet
Opening your heart and home to a crossbreed is like opening a beautifully wrapped package on your birthday: you never know what you're going to get. It’s often assumed that a crossbreed will combine the best of two or more breeds, but genetics doesn’t always work that way. The way genes express themselves is not always subject to a breeder’s control, even less so when two different breeds are crossed. That’s something to keep in mind before you lay down lots of money for a dog that you have been assured will be hypoallergenic or healthier than a purebred.
At their best, Labradoodles are intelligent, friendly, and affectionate. They come in three sizes: miniature (weighing 15 to 30 pounds), medium (30 to 45 pounds), and standard (45 to more than 100 pounds). Because they are a crossbreed their traits are not fixed, so there is no guarantee that the Labradoodle puppy you purchase will fall into the desired weight range.
Labradoodles have a moderate activity level. Larger Labradoodles may be more active than their smaller kin. They need a good walk or active playtime each day, and, if you’re interested (and the dog's overall health is good enough), they are athletic enough to participate in such dog sports as agility, flyball, obedience, and rally. They can also be excellent therapy dogs.
Both of the breeds used to create Labradoodles tend to be smart and learn quickly. If you begin socialization and training early and use positive reinforcement techniques such as praise, play, and food rewards, you will be rewarded with a wonderful companion.
Poodles have a reputation for being hypoallergenic, meaning that they can supposedly be tolerated by people who have allergies to dogs. Because they have the Poodle in their heritage, Labradoodles are sometimes promoted as being hypoallergenic. But allergies are not caused by a particular dog coat type but by dander, the dead skin cells that are shed by all dogs (and people). Some people with mild allergies react less severely to particular dogs, but no reputable breeder will guarantee that her dogs are hypoallergenic.
If you are interested in a Labradoodle, start your search at your local shelter or on Petfinder.com. This type of cross-breed is often available for adoption. If you choose to buy one, however, select a breeder who has done the health testing to ensure that her puppies won’t carry the genetic diseases common to both breeds. If you are going to pay several hundred dollars (or even $1,000 or more) for a dog, you should get your money’s worth. Buying from a breeder who is smart and caring enough to do health certifications -- even for a cross-breed -- is the best way to do that. And while there are no guarantees in life, it’s also a good way to minimize the possibility of big veterinary bills.
Other Quick Facts
- Labradoodles were originally bred in an attempt to create a hypoallergenic guide dog. They have since become popular pets.
- Labradoodles are companion dogs. They love their people and need to live in the house, never outdoors.
- A well-bred Labradoodle should be sociable, friendly, nonaggressive, and extremely intuitive.
Learn More About the Labradoodle on Vetstreet.com: