A friendly, loving family dog who’s easy on the allergies makes Labradoodles one of the most popular dog breeds in the United States. These dogs love activity, just not as much as they’ll love you.
Sup, ‘doods! It’s time to talk about Labradoodles. This combination of Labrador retriever and poodle is an excellent family dog that’s often sought out by allergy sufferers because of their minimal shedding.
The ever-popular Labradoodle is immensely trainable and, unlike some dogs, a good fit for first-time dog owners. On the larger side, these pups can take up some space-but are great with kids, and will adapt to their family’s lifestyle. The standard version, which is a Lab bred with a standard-sized poodle, can grow to be about 24 inches tall and weigh up to 75 pounds. (If you’re searching for a dog of the smaller size, it’s possible to also find mini Labradoodles, a hybrid of a Labrador retriever and a miniature poodle.)
The loving, loyal doodles are a fun addition to any family. They’re prone to zoomies and more than happy to play with the baby.
“There’s never a dull moment. They have huge personalities,” says Mike Martinez, a Labradoodle breeder, and owner of Chicago Area Labradors & Labradoodles.
Labradoodles are healthy dogs and need exercise, though the amount of running, playing, or swimming might depend on their makeup of Labrador and poodle genes. But regardless of the genetic breakdown, you’ll need to get used to trips to the groomer. These pups are hairy.
(A quick note: Labradoodles and Australian Labradoodles aren’t the same. Australian Labradoodles are crosses between a poodle, Labrador retriever, and cocker spaniel. Labradoodles also aren’t Goldendoodles, a poodle/golden retriever mix.)
Like many Labradoodle characteristics, your dog’s appearance will depend on the generation you’re looking for. To illustrate: Martinez breeds F1 (half Labrador, half poodle), F1b (75 percent poodle, 25 percent Lab), and F2 (87 percent poodle, 13 percent Lab) Labradoodles.
The half-Lab F1s will have longer, wavier hair and will still shed, Martinez says. The F1bs and F2s will have more poodle-esque hair that’s tighter, curlier, and generally won’t shed. They’ll often look like little teddy bears as puppies.
Labradoodles are often thought of as hypoallergenic-even though no dog is truly an allergen-free animal-but generally the F1b and F2 generations are considered better options for some allergy sufferers. Martinez recommends people with allergies spend time with their puppy before they adopt. His customers are required to.
“Everybody has different severity of allergies,” he says. “Some people are more sensitive than others.”
Standard Labradoodles will weigh between 50-75 pounds, with the female dogs smaller than their male friends. They’ll come in around 20-25 inches tall, Martinez says.
As for colors, Labradoodles run the gamut. You’ll find them in black, white, cream, red, chocolate, or a mix of those colors. Taking after their poodle brethren, these fluffy boys and girls need to be brushed frequently, too.
Martinez loves the dogs he breeds-he owns 10 himself-and was especially effusive about how Labradoodles act around people, families, and children, even kids who might not know exactly how to pet or interact with dogs
“They love people,” he says. “They’re amazing with any age range.”
Labradoodles are also known to happily co-exist with their feline friends, too. But not only can these pups live with cats-Martinez says several of his puppies have gone on to become therapy dogs, meaning they’re calm and affectionate enough to visit schools, hospitals, and rehabilitation centers to offer psychological and physiological support to patients and people in need. Some Labradoodles go on to become service dogs, as the breed creator originally intended.
But don’t confuse them for docile dogs. They still have big personalities-Martinez describes a typical day with his dogs as “entertaining”-but mischievous behavior can be counteracted with training, which Labradoodles quickly pick up on.
Genesis Service Dogs, which breeds Labradoodles to help children and adults with special needs, says the dogs will mature slower than their Labrador retriever brethren, so they’ll be puppyish for about a year and a half. Then they’ll become even more affectionate toward their humans.
They’re mostly quiet, keeping barking to a minimum, but Labradoodles’ energy level can vary based on their generation, Martinez says. The dogs with more Labrador genes (F1s) will be more energetic than the ones with more poodle in their blood.
Labradoodles will often reflect the energy levels of their owner, Martinez says, but they’re still descendants of sporting dogs who like having something to do. Whether that means long walks together or playing games in the yard, a Labradoodle will be happiest with any activity he can do with you.
Australian Wally Conron is credited as the modern-day creator of the Labradoodle, breeding the first one in the late 1980s. He was trying to create a guide dog that would also be hypoallergenic, by breeding a Labrador retriever and a standard poodle.
Clearly, his efforts were successful. The breed exploded in popularity, and since it is the combination of the U.S.’s No. 1 (Lab) and No. 6 (poodle) most popular breeds, it’s no wonder. People seek out the Labradoodle for its trifecta of cute looks, friendly demeanor, and minimal shedding.
While the Labradoodle is the seemingly ideal dog for people with allergies, Conron has said he regrets his creation. Because of the intense demand for these “designer dogs,” Conron has expressed concern over the bad actors who breed Labradoodles in puppy mills-and the inexperienced and sometimes misinformed breeders who fail to prevent genetic problems from being passed on to new generations.
- During their first term in the White House, President Barack Obama and his family considered getting a Labradoodle, but they ultimately chose Portugese water dogs as the family’s First Pets, Sunny and Bo.
- Labradoodles have belonged to several famous owners, including golfer Tiger Woods, actress Jennifer Aniston, and actor Henry Winkler.
- Doodles certainly earn their keep on Instagram, so if you need some extra fluff in your life, the Dood Squad is a good place to start.