Labradoodle temperament is smart, co-operative and ready for action. But this mixed breed can take after either parent dog. So, even puppies from the same litter can have very different personalities. This designer dog breed started out as a service dog for people with allergies. And today, lots of prospective puppy parents want to know if Labradoodle temperament makes them great pets too.
Since they first shot to fame in the 1980s, Labradoodles have become increasingly popular companion dogs. And it’s not hard to understand why. They combine two popular pedigrees, and they have a reputation for being less allergenic than other canines.
Most of us want to gain a clear idea of what our new dog’s character will be like before we bring them home, and that has fuelled interest in Labradoodle personality. But for the Labradoodle, the answer is rarely straightforward.
These are the variables at play in Labradoodle temperament:
1. They’re a crossbreed
Intentionally crossing two different pedigrees is a divisive subject. Crossbred dogs can inherit any combination of traits from either parent. There’s no guarantee that a Labradoodle puppy will inherit only the most charming qualities of a Labrador and a Poodle. And what’s more, you won’t know for sure which elements of Poodle personality and Labrador spirit they’ve acquired until they’re grown up.
2. Different types of Poodle
A Labradoodle is usually a Labrador Retriever and Standard Poodle cross. Labrador and Miniature Poodle crosses are usually called Mini Labradoodles. But this isn’t set in stone. If a breeder mates their Lab to a Miniature Poodle but the puppies are clearly going to be more Labrador-esque in size, they may drop the ‘Mini’ prefix altogether.
However, Standard and Miniature Poodles tend towards quite different and distinct personalities. Standard Poodles are closer to their working roots. Miniature Poodles have been selectively bred as companion dogs for longer.
3. Different types of Labrador
Likewise, Labradors can be either English or American type, and they have notably different characters. English Labs tend to be more placid and low-key. They are famously good family dogs. American Labs on the other hand are more energetic, and anxious to have work to do.
4. Different types of Labradoodle!
That’s right, as well as all the possibilities of their parents, Labradoodle breeding itself is starting to diverge down two very separate paths. F1 Labradoodles have one Labrador parent and one Poodle parent. For many years they were the only kind of Labradoodle, and every one was a new roll of the genetic dice. But since the mid-1990s, Labradoodle fans have attempted to standardize the cross, by creating a new breed standard for them called the Australian Labradoodle.
Their intention is that eventually Australian Labradoodle temperament will ‘breed true’. That is, one Australian Labradoodle mated to another Australian Labradoodle will produce puppies with consistent and predictable personalities. We’ll see exactly what that temperament should be like in a moment.
5. Differences in individuals
Next we need to recognize the differences between all individual dogs. In any pure breed or breed mix, there are individuals who are just born a little more shy and nervous than the rest. And likewise, even the most reserved breeds produce gregarious individuals who are the life and soul of the party. It’s just part of the magic of being a sentient, living being.
6. Differences in environment
And finally, all dogs’ personalities are shaped partly by their environment. This includes factors such as how much time we spend socialising them to feel confident around new things.
The Typical Labradoodle Temperament
Right, so, all those possible variables taken into account, is there anything we can say for sure about Labradoodle temperament? Well, both Poodles of all sizes and Labradors of all types are remarkably clever, and easily motivated to co-operate with a human handler. They are also both steadfastly devoted to their human family. This is true of most dogs.
Poodles and Labs of all types all enjoy activity too. Whether it’s hiking, training, or playing games, a Labradoodle from any heritage will always be ready for the next opportunity to get moving, or engage their problem-solving skills.
And finally, Labs and Poodles are both retrieving breeds at heart. So a Labradoodle is likely to love collecting things from around your home or on walks, and carrying them around in their mouth. It’s an easy way into some fun training games. But you’ll need to invest time teaching them which of your belongings are out of bounds! Now let’s try and be a bit more exact about some specific Labradoodle qualities.
Are Labradoodles Easy To Train?
Yes! Labradors and Poodles were both founded as working breeds. In fact they originally did the same kind of work – retrieving shot waterfowl and returning it to human hunters. To perform well at this task, both breeds had to be capable of learning complex commands, and carrying them out safely and flawlessly amid lots of distractions.
Only the most skilled dogs would be picked by breeders to carry on the next generation. Which means Labradoodles today still respond in a powerful way to positive reinforcement training, and learn new commands quickly. In fact, this trait underpins the very first Labradoodle mix dogs, which were bred as service dogs for people with allergies.
Are Labradoodles Friendly?
Labradors are famously friendly. Not just with their family, but with everyone else too!
Poodles are equally generous with their affection at home, but they are sometimes described as being more reserved or aloof with strangers. This tends to vary with size. Standard Poodles are the most likely to be described as stand-offish. Disinterest in strangers can be a valuable quality in working dogs, since it makes them less likely to get distracted while they’re on task.
Miniature Poodles on the other hand were bred almost exclusively as companion dogs. Their temperament is more likely to be outgoing and amiable, since these are thought of as endearing qualities in pet animals.
However, the friendliness of any Labradoodle can be shaped and encouraged by careful socialization as a puppy. Labradoodles who have lots of happy and rewarding encounters with all kinds of people before they’re four months old are likely to remain open to meeting new people for their whole lives.
Are Labradoodles Aggressive?
Neither Labradors nor Poodles are generally regarded as aggressive dogs. All dogs are capable of reacting aggressively if they are frightened, in pain, or provoked. Fearful aggression is more common in some breeds than others, but very uncommon in Labradoodle temperaments. Careful socialization also plays an important part in reducing fear, so that dogs are less likely to react aggressively.
Do Labradoodles Like Other Dogs?
Labs and Poodles are famed for their ability to form close working partnerships and emotional bonds with people. But what about with other dogs? This can vary a lot from individual to individual, and is shaped a lot by early socialization experiences.
Since reputable breeders agree that Labradoodle temperament should be steady and unflappable, any individuals who show signs of aggression towards other dogs should be left out of future breeding programs. And speaking of breeding programs, let’s go back to the Australian Labradoodle!
Australian Labradoodle Temperament
Earlier we mentioned the work of some breeders to standardise the Australian Labradoodle as a purebred dog in it’s own right. Which qualities do they think exemplify the Labradoodle?
The American Australian Labradoodle Club breed standard says that Australian Labradoodle temperament is one of the core qualities of the breed, which must be upheld and preserved above all else. It should be:
“Joyful and energetic when free, soft and quiet when handled. They should approach people in a happy friendly manner with eye to eye contact [and be] keen to learn and easy to train.”
Predicting F1 Labradoodle Temperament
What if you choose to go in the other direction – perhaps you’ve seen a perfect, health tested puppy available from one Poodle parent and one Lab parent? When this is the case, the very best way to form an impression of how that puppy’s personality will turn out is to meet both of their parents.
A good breeder will always have mom with them in the home, and be happy to put your in touch with the sire’s owner too. Ask yourself, with complete honesty, if you’d be happy having either parent as your pet dog. If the answer is yes, then you are likely to be happy with one of their puppies too. If either dog has traits which make them a poor fit for your household or lifestyle, then it’s best to keep searching.
You can’t guarantee that the qualities of the other parent will override them.
Are Labradoodles Good Family Pets?
Labradoodles are likely to inherit a lot of traits which make them eminently suitable as family pets. Indeed, the reliable Labradoodle temperament is what launched their early career as service dogs. Since Labradoodles are certain to be smart, and enjoy interacting with their human family, make sure that your household can commit to reciprocating with lots of games, training, and outdoor exercise.
Always remember that all dogs should be supervised around young children, especially large ones like a Labrador Retriever crossed with a Standard Poodle.
Do You Have A Labradoodle
Can you sum up their personality for us in just three words? Give it a go in the comments box down below (we won’t keep count if you go over!)
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The Labrador Site Founder
Pippa Mattinson is the best selling author of The Happy Puppy Handbook, the Labrador Handbook, Choosing The Perfect Puppy, and Total Recall.
She is also the founder of the Gundog Trust and the Dogsnet Online Training Program
Pippa's online training courses were launched in 2019 and you can find the latest course dates on the Dogsnet website