The Labradoodle is a mixed breed with a Labrador Retriever and Standard Poodle parent. In this guide we will help you to decide whether a Labradoodle puppy would be a good fit for your lifestyle. And give you the tools you need to raise your Labradoodle to become a happy, well behaved member of the family.
A Lab Poodle mix is popularly called a Labradoodle. This mixed breed combines traits from both parents. This means that a Labradoodle puppy may more closely resemble a Poodle or a Labrador Retriever, with no guarantees either way. On the other hand, both parents are intelligent and make good family dogs, so you can expect your Labradoodle to be the same. However, Labradoodle size, color, coat type, and personality can vary widely.
People Often Ask…
- Are Labradoodles good family dogs?
- How much does a Labradoodle puppy cost?
- How big will my Labradoodle get?
- Where can I find a Labradoodle rescue?
What’s In This Guide
- Labradoodle At A Glance
- In-depth Breed Review
- Labradoodle Training And Care
- Pros And Cons Of Getting A Labradoodle
Labradoodle: Breed At A Glance
- Popularity: Labradors at number one, Poodles at number seven on the AKC’s most popular breeds list
- Purpose: Companion or service animal
- Weight: 50-80 pounds
- Temperament: Intelligent and friendly
Labradoodle Breed Review: Contents
- History and original purpose of the Lab Poodle mix
- Labradoodle appearance
- Labradoodle temperament
- Training and exercising your Lab Poodle mix
- Labradoodle health and care
- Do Labradoodles make good family pets?
- Rescuing a Labradoodle
- Finding and raising a Labradoodle puppy
Origin Of The Labradoodle
A standard Labradoodle is a first generation hybrid dog that is created by breeding a purebred Standard Poodle with a purebred Labrador Retriever.
Mixed breed dogs are both controversial and growing in popularity today. Each year more variations spring up.
There are now first crosses being deliberately bred from a wide variety of pedigree dog mixes.
But it was the Labradoodle that kicked off this entire trend. And the mix started in Australia in the 1980s.
It began as part of an attempt to create a low shedding guide dog for those people who were both visually impaired and sensitive to the allergens in dog hair.
Wally Conron was the breeding manager for the Royal Guide Dogs Association Of Australia. And he set up a breeding program to try to create a line of hypoallergenic or low shedding guide dogs.
According to Stanley Coren, who later interviewed Conron, all 33 puppies failed the guide dog training program.
Today, the Royal Guide Dogs Association no longer incorporates doodles into its breeding program, though some other Guide Dog Associations do.
In the intervening years Wally Conron has made it clear that he deeply regrets being involved in the start of the Labradoodle’s rise to fame and popularity, due to the controversy behind “designer dogs.”
This is due, not to the dogs themselves, but the fear that a sharp increase in popularity could lead to a greater number of abandoned dogs.
Let’s take a look at the parent breeds to learn a little more about the Labradoodle.
Labrador Retriever Parent Breeds
The “Lab” half of a Labradoodle is none other than the Labrador Retriever.
The Labrador was developed in Newfoundland, Canada. You’ll find a link to our guide to the origins of the Labrador Retriever in the reading list at the foot of this article.
The Labrador Retriever was added as a member of the sporting group to the American Kennel Club’s (AKC) registry in 1917.
Although modern Labs still make excellent hunting partners, they are most commonly purchased as family pets and as service dogs.
The “Doodle” half of a Labradoodle, the Standard Poodle, was not the fancy, seemingly pampered pooch that many of us think of when we hear “Poodle” today.
Poodles actually had their start in Germany, where these highly intelligent dogs were bred to be excellent waterfowl retrievers.
Although modern Poodles are not often associated with hunting work anymore, they are found in many a show ring and home setting.
Given their origin and history, it may seem a bit curious that the AKC formally recognized the Poodle as a member of the non-sporting group in 1887.
What To Expect From A Lab Poodle Mix
Combining two hunting breeds sounds like a recipe for a superb, well-mannered, hunting dog.
But the Labradoodle is actually sought after as a low-shedding pet or as an intelligent and loving service dog.
However, since this is a mixed breed, there’s definitely an element of unpredictability. It’s impossible to say for certain how each dog will turn out.
Unpredictability is one of the main factors that is pointed to as an argument against deliberately mixing breeds.
But still, based on the two parent breeds, we can at least get some idea of the range of possible traits that a Labradoodle will show.
We just can’t guarantee a specific trait, either in personality or appearance.
For more information on the arguments for and against “designer” dogs, as well as why mixed breeds actually tend to be healthier, take a look at this article.
Due to his parent breeds’ size, the Labradoodle is bound to be a medium- to large-sized dog.
Labradors vary less in height than Standard Poodles, with a recommended height of about 22 to 24 inches at the shoulder.
A standard Labradoodle full grown may reach anything from 15 to 24 inches tall, but is more likely to come in at the top end of that spectrum.
When it comes to weight, an adult male Labradoodle may reach anywhere from 60 to 80 pounds.
Females tend to weigh in at around ten pounds less than males.
As with everything else about these dogs, however, please keep in mind that Labradoodle size and weight is impossible to predict accurately.
Standard Labradoodles are commonly solid-colored, such as a typical brown Labradoodle or a beautiful apricot Labradoodle.
However, Standard Poodles are sometimes particolored (white patches on a dark background), and a Labradoodle may inherit that.
A bicolored Labradoodle may be referred to as a Parti Labradoodle.
Expressed Labrador genes may result in a chocolate Labradoodle, a black Labradoodle, or a yellow Labradoodle.
Expressed Poodle genes may result in a Labradoodle with a solid or bicolored coat in the following shades:
- Silver Beige
Labradoodle Coat And Shedding
A Labradoodle may inherit its Labrador parent’s short double-coat, its Poodle parent’s long and thick curly or wavy coat, or it may have a combined “fleecy” coat.
One major contributing factor to a Labradoodle’s coat is whether or not it is a first-generation (also called ‘F1’), second generation (also called F1b), or third generation (also called F1b.b or F2b, F3b, etc.) mix.
Let’s talk about the difference that the generation makes.
F1 Labradoodles vs. F1b Labradoodles vs. F1b.b
Labradoodles are famed for their soft, curly, low-shedding coat, also referred to as “fleece” by some breeders.
However, not every Labradoodle will exhibit the fleece. In fact, whether or not a Doodle is a first generation or later cross can greatly impact its fur coat.
The first-generation cross (F1) results from the initial breeding of a Labrador Retriever to a Poodle.
According to the breeders at Deer Creek Labradoodles, the first generation is the least likely to have a fleece coat and most likely will still shed like a Lab.
According to the breeders at Apple Creek Doodles, the first generation is most likely to have a somewhat shaggy coat that requires grooming, although minimal, due to the coarseness of the fur.
The second-generation cross (F1b) results from breeding a first-generation Lab Poodle mix with a Poodle. This combination seems to consistently produce litters with the fleecy, low-shedding coat, thanks to the influx of Poodle genes.
Crossing an F1b Labradoodle with a Poodle produces the F1b.b or F2b cross (future generations might then be referred to as F3b, F4b, and so on).
Labradoodles are known for their highly energetic but easy-going natures.
However, each Labradoodle is a unique individual with his or her own quirks and mannerisms, some of which may be passed from their parents.
Therefore, knowing whether or not a Labradoodle puppy will show more of a Lab or Poodle personality is kind of a toss-up.
On the other hand, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, given that both parent breeds are extremely popular choices as family dogs.
If you’re interested in getting a mixed breed dog, you must be willing to accept the fact that the exact temperament of the mix isn’t going to be cut and dried.
First-generation Doodle temperaments are especially hard to predict, but it seems that later generations act more like Labradors.
However, breeding later Doodle generations back with Poodles to maintain the Poodle coat can result in more Poodle-like temperament.
Poodles and Labs have quite different personalities, though both have the potential to display strong, loyal attachment to their family.
Let’s talk about some specifics that could be passed down to your Labradoodle puppy.
Poodles aren’t quite as outgoing as Labs. Some people associate them with being snappy.
However, while a well bred Poodle may not be as ‘in your face’ friendly as a Lab, he or she should never show signs of aggression or nervousness.
In addition, socializing your Doodle (or any dog, for that matter) from a young age will help to prevent fearfulness and unpleasant behavior toward people and pets later in life.
Poodles are active dogs who enjoy lots of physical and mentally stimulating activity.
They like having a job and interacting with their owners, which is part of the reason why they are such contenders in the show ring!
On the other side of the coin, Labrador Retriever temperament is generally happy-go-lucky.
They are dogs who are content with anyone as long as they are being lathered with attention.
These playful pups are also pretty tolerant of other dogs in the household.
They are also dogs that need company. Labradors don’t do well in isolation and can become very destructive if they’re left alone for extended periods of time. (Get help with chewing or destructive behavior here.)
Like Poodles, these are energetic dogs who love to go for walks, runs, bike rides, and swims.
They will thrive in an active household or in a job that lets them use their energy (and their powerful nose!) to please their master.
Your Labradoodle puppy could realistically inherit a temperament that reflects either one of these parents.
So make sure you like the personality of both your Labradoodle’s parents, and know that they could have one that is similar to either, or a bit of each!
Socialization is important for any breed, even outgoing and friendly dogs like Labradors.
Regular training and socialization is what helps a puppy to grow up to be a happy, healthy dog who is comfortable in different situations and around new people and animals.
A lack of socialization could lead to a dog who is unsure of himself in a new situation, and therefore anxious or fearful. This may lead to acting out.
Additionally, because the Poodle parent may potentially be a little more aloof, a Labradoodle will need socialization to counteract that tendency.
Training And Exercising Your Lab Poodle Mix
As we mentioned above in the personality and temperament section, both Labradoodle parent breeds are energetic, athletic dogs who don’t take well to a sedentary life.
So your Labradoodle will definitely plenty of exercise!
Plan for at least an hour each day for an adult Labradoodle, and try to add in additional playtime in an enclosed yard, and tasks such as retrieving.
Because both Labs and Poodles are prone to hip dysplasia, it’s very important that you not let a Labradoodle get overweight or lazy.
Plenty of physical activity will keep their joints moving and flexible, plus the mental stimulation will keep a Doodle both physically and mentally fit.
If you’re not prepared to handle a high-energy dog, then you may want to pass on a Labradoodle, as they come from two working breeds that can go-go-go all day!
Just like ensuring that your child goes to school, training is a vital part of raising a well-adjusted dog of any breed.
The training needs of a dog vary throughout the different ages of life.
Labradoodles should also be trained to walk without straining at their leash, and to come back when given a recall signal. Check out our in-depth guide to training a Labrador or Labrador cross here.
Labradoodle Health And Care
As with other traits, it’s impossible to predict exactly what health issues your Labrador Poodle mix might encounter.
However, with mixes, dog owners need to take into account the risks for both parent breeds, as any and all could potentially be handed down to the mix puppy.
Most of our purebred dog breeds are predisposed to certain health conditions.
That’s because breeding dogs within small gene pools leads to the appearance of recessive diseases.
These are diseases that can only harm the individual dog if he or she carries inherits two faulty genes – one from each parent.
With recessive diseases, if either parent passes a healthy gene to the puppy, the faulty gene is switched off and remains harmless.
These faulty genes are more likely to remain ‘masked’ or hidden in larger and more diverse populations. Which is why mongrels are often genetically more healthy than purebred dogs.
A first cross like a Labradoodle may, genetically speaking, be an improvement on either of the parent breeds.
But it’s important to remember that if both parent breeds are susceptible to the same condition, the risk to the puppies may be just as great as the risk to a purebred puppy of either parent breed.
Labradors are generally healthy dogs. But there are some inheritable issues that they do face. These include:
- Hip dysplasia
- Elbow dysplasia
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
Although these problems are seen relatively frequently in Labs, all three of them can be health tested for. And they absolutely should be, before the Lab is allowed to breed.
Whether the Lab is the mother or father of Labradoodle puppies, they should be health tested and cleared first.
Labs also have a tendency to become overweight, especially as they get a little older.
Lab owners should always keep an eye on the amount and quality of the food they give their dogs.
Labs can also suffer from some more minor issues, such as ear problems and skin allergies.
To learn more about the diseases and health conditions that commonly affect Labrador Retrievers, refer to our health article on Labrador Retrievers.
Unfortunately, Poodles, while also being generally healthy, suffer from some of the same problems as Labradors.
When both parent breeds have diseases in common, those diseases have a greater risk of being passed down to the Labradoodle puppy.
Common major health problems include:
- Hip dysplasia
- Elbow dysplasia
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
- Autoimmune thyroiditis
- Sebaceous adenitis
Poodles are also somewhat prone to obesity, and the same care must be taken with this breed as with Labradors.
Diet and exercise must be adequate to the challenges of an aging dog.
All available testing for common Poodle health problems should be carried out on the Poodle parent. To see what tests are suggested, visit the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals.
To learn more about the diseases and health conditions that commonly affect Poodles of all sizes, refer to our article on Standard Poodles.
Any health problems that a Labradoodle could inherit from both parents poses a greater risk to the mix puppy. Hip and elbow dysplasia and PRA are definite concerns.
A study published in 2012 showed that Labradoodles in the UK at least had a higher prevalence of Multifocal Retinal Dysplasia than Labradors.
A thorough eye exam of parents before breeding is therefore essential. And both the Labrador and the Poodle parent of your puppy should have good hip and elbow scores.
Both Labs and Poodles have a tendency to become overweight pretty easily.
Ensure that you feed a healthy diet and give your Doodle plenty of exercise in order to keep him fit.
Obesity does not lend itself to good hip and joint health!
All the guides to food and exercise on this website can be applied to a Labradoodle, and you can get help here or in our forum if your dog’s waistline starts to expand.
There are benefits to a wider gene pool, but you cannot assume your Labradoodle puppy will be healthier than a Labrador or a Poodle, just because he is a cross breed.
You still need to make sure that his parents have been tested for conditions known to afflict the parents.
Labradoodle Life Expectancy
In theory, you might expect a mixed breed dog to have a similar life expectancy to one or both of its parent breeds.
But several studies have shown that mixed breed dogs have a greater life expectancy than most pure breeds. So it is possible that your Doodle will live longer than either of their parents.
So, with luck, your Labradoodle will be with you for the next 12 years or more.
Do Labradoodles Shed?
Are Labradoodles hypoallergenic, or non-shedding? It’s a commonly held belief that all Labradoodles are non-shedding or low-shedding.
But based on the information regarding the difference in hair coat between various generations of Doodles, this definitely is not the case.
Studies have shown that no dog is truly 100% hypoallergenic.
The allergen to which some people are sensitive can be found in every home where there is a dog. This is true regardless of breed.
Every dog, regardless of how low-shedding its coat may be, still produces some dander.
Furthermore, different people are allergic to some types of dander but not others, thus making a dog “hypoallergenic” for some but allergenic to others.
You can read more about the facts and myths regarding non-shedding dogs in this article about hypoallergenic dogs.
If you’re looking for a dog that’s less likely to trigger allergies due to doggy dander, then you may have good luck with an F1b or later generation Labradoodle.
Just know that your particular allergies can still be triggered by a dog that seems to be hypoallergenic for someone else.
Labs don’t require an excessive amount of grooming. Most of the time, a good brush once or twice a week should keep their coats in great shape.
But you’ll definitely need to put more effort in a Labradoodle’s coat than you would with a pure bred Lab, regardless of his generation.
As we mentioned in the previous section, even F1 Doodles that have a coarse “Lab-type” coat require at least weekly brushing.
Second and later generations of Labradoodles will need daily brushing if their curls are kept longer.
We recommend taking any dog with a Poodle-type coat to the groomer once per month for a clip.
This doesn’t mean that your Doodle needs to be shaved down every time he goes to the groomer.
But keeping his curls in check regularly will help to prevent him from having to be shaved completely bald due to severe matting later on!
Sometimes, the Labradoodle coat can be a problem for owners that lack the time or inclination for thorough grooming.
Just as with Poodles, lack of grooming can occasionally become a health issue, with matted fur getting out of hand and covering the dogs eyes and bottom.
This can escalate as the owner becomes embarrassed to seek help
Do Labradoodles Make Good Family Pets?
While you may have your heart set on a Labradoodle for your next pet or working partner, you’ll need to consider a few things before you start the purchasing process.
Labradoodles are highly energetic breeds that do best in an equally energetic and interactive home.
Also due to their energy levels and large size, you won’t be able to keep a Labradoodle in a small apartment or a house that doesn’t have much room to bounce around.
A fenced in yard would be perfect for one of these guys.
However, Labradoodles are very family friendly, and tend to make very good pets for families with children, as kids also have lots of energy.
Are you interested in checking out some other breeds that have a lot in common with the Labradoodle? We have some possibilities for you.
To start off, have you heard of an Australian Labradoodle? The cross is very similar, just a few generations on.
An Australian Labradoodle is a term often used for dogs that are bred Labradoodle to Labradoodle. This is effectively attempt to create a new breed.
Australian Labradoodles also have some Spaniel influences in their blood.
The Australian type is infused with American Cocker Spaniel, English Cocker Spaniel, and Irish Water Spaniel.
What about a mini Labradoodle? This mixed breed dog is the result of a Labrador crossed with a Miniature Poodle.
If you’re looking for a golden Labradoodle, then you may want to look at a Goldendoodle or a Goldador.
These two mixes are Golden Retriever Poodle and Golden Retriever Labrador, respectively.
For more information on how Goldendoodles and Labradoodles compare, check out this article.
Rescuing A Labradoodle
If you’d like to adopt or rescue a Labradoodle instead of purchasing one from a breeder, there are many Labradoodle rescues that offer retired show and breeding stock for adoption.
This means that while you may not get a puppy, you will get a lovely mature dog who is ready for a new life spent relaxing with you and your family!
Adult Labradoodle adoption can be a very rewarding choice for both you and the dog you bring home.
You might also be able to find a Labradoodle in your local shelters, but this is less than likely. Dogs are most often dropped off at shelters due to behavioral problems.
Due to their popularity, general good health, and pleasant, trainable temperament, Labradoodles are not often put in that position.
Labradoodle Breed Rescues
Are you interested in Labradoodle adoption?
Here are a just a few Labradoodle rescues to get you started:
Many Labrador and Poodle breed specific rescues with have Labradoodles in from time to time. And you can also find Doodle rescues on Facebook.
Finding A Labradoodle Puppy
You probably won’t have a problem finding a Labradoodle breeder, given the extreme popularity of this designer breed! To find the right breeder however, you do need to dig a little.
You can use the puppy search procedure set out on The Happy Puppy Site to avoid potential problems and to help you find the best pup for your family.
You can also make use of the Labradoodle Clubs and Associations that have now been formed in various parts of the world.
People that care about their dogs and want to see breeders meet good standards create these clubs.
Most of these clubs have a set of rules or breeders guidelines which include health checks.
Here are some of those clubs:
- Australian Labradoodle Association of America
- The UK Labradoodle Association
- Australian Labradoodle Association
It is vital when buying any puppy that you find a responsible breeder.
And it is true that when a new hybrid breed first becomes popular, there are often unscrupulous breeders who jump on the bandwagon.
Unscrupulous breeders are only interested in money. It’s likely that they won’t bother with health testing or proper veterinary care.
This has potentially grave consequences to dog welfare.
Fortunately, with the growing popularity of Labradoodles, and the growing public awareness of the need for health checks when buying puppies, there is now a corresponding increase in responsible Labradoodle breeders.
There are breeders with several decades of experience who are actively health testing their breeding stock and raising their puppies with care.
Make sure to get proof of health tests for the parent dogs. Ask to visit the premises where the pups are raised.
If the breeder refuses to let you visit or meet the parents, and if they can’t or won’t answer questions about the health of the dogs and pups, those are definite red flags!
Make sure you know how to spot and avoid puppy mills.
How Much Does A Labradoodle Cost?
Will you purchase a Labradoodle puppy from a responsible breeder? Then you can expect to pay something along the lines of the following, give or take a few hundred dollars:
- About $1,000 for an F1 Doodle
- Possibly $1,500 for a particolored or highly sought after apricot Doodle
- About $2,500 for a low-shedding F1b.b or later Doodle
- Up to $3,000 for an Australian Doodle
The exact amount that you pay may also vary based on the parent stock, how much they are worth to the breeder, and the number of puppies available.
The price charge by breeders is often a source of contention when people debate the issue of designer dogs.
Some people feel that a hybrid should cost less than a purebred dog.
However, it’s worth remembering that it costs a lot of money to raise a healthy litter of puppies and health tests are expensive.
Labradoodle Products And Accessories
Are you about to bring your new Labradoodle home?
No matter whether he is a pup, a senior, or an adult, and regardless of whether he takes primarily after his Poodle or his Lab parent, you’ll need some of these products!
- The best puppy toys
- Best dog beds for Labs
- Best Dog Nail Polish
- Best Indestructible Dog Beds
- Recommended dog grooming supplies
- Best Dog Leash
Is A Labradoodle Right For Me?
To summarize, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of getting a Labradoodle.
- Could be more aloof, like the Poodle parent
- Likely to be extremely active and need lots of exercise
- Shared health problems among both parents make those issues more likely to occur
- Tendency to obesity on both sides
- Could require higher maintenance in grooming
- A great family dog
- With proper training, will likely get along with everyone
- Highly intelligent
- Likely to be very friendly
As we’ve covered extensively in this article, there are a lot of variables when it comes to a mixed breed like the Labradoodle.
But even though both parents have some things in common, there’s just no telling how their puppies will turn out!
The final result is likely to be something of a surprise, but overall, most Labradoodle owners report that their dogs are happy, friendly and fun.
Do you have a Labradoodle? We’d love to hear all about them in the comments below.
References And Resources
- Oliver J, Gould D. Survey of Opthalmic Abnormalities In The Labradoodle. The Veterinary Record 2012
- Patronek et al. Risk factors for relinquishment of dogs to an animal shelter. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 1996
- A Guide Dog With A Difference. Association For The Blind Of WA 2010
- Vredegoor et al. Can F1 levels of hair in different dog breeds – lack of evidence to describe any dog as hypoallergenic. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 2012
- Gough A, Thomas A, O’Neill D. 2018 Breed Predispositions to Disease In Dogs and Cats. Wiley Blackwell
- O’Neill et al. 2013. Longevity and Mortality of Owned Dogs In England. The Veterinary Journal
- Adams VJ, et al. 2010. Results of a Survey of UK Purebred Dogs. Journal of Small Animal Practice.
- Schalamon et al. 2006. Analysis of Dog Bites In Children Who Are Younger Than 17 Years. Pediatrics
- Duffy D et al. Breed differences in canine aggression. Applied Animal Behavior Science 2008
- Strain G. Deafness prevalence and pigmentation and gender associations in dog breeds at risk. The Veterinary Journal 2004
- Packer et al. 2015. Impact of Facial Conformation On Canine Health. PlosOne
- Orthopedic Foundation for Animals
Additional health and history information provided by Pippa Mattinson.
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