Welcome to your complete guide to the Mini Labradoodle; a cute compact version of one of the most popular designer dog breeds.
There are two types of Miniature Labradoodle: the Mini Labradoodle and the Mini Australian Labradoodle.
Both types of Mini Labradoodles, also called Toy Labradoodles, result from the breeding of a Labrador Retriever and a Miniature Poodle. However, the Mini Australian Labradoodle also has American Cocker Spaniel, English Cocker Spaniel, and Irish Water Spaniel lineage.
Their physical characteristics can be diverse depending on which parent they take after. Their coats come in a range of colors, lengthens, and textures.
This is an affectionate and intelligent breed. It takes well to training and tends to make a great therapy dog.
Toy Labradoodles are also athletic dogs that need both exercise and mental stimulation to keep them from getting into trouble. The Mini Labradoodle is a dog that enjoys having a job to do.
In this guide, we’ll walk you through what makes this breed unique along with the breed’s history, traits, and typical behaviors. We’ll also discuss possible health issues specific to “Miniature Doodles”.
People Often Ask…
- Are Mini Labradoodles good pets?
- Do Mini Labradoodles shed?
- How do I find a Mini Labradoodle rescue?
- How long to Mini Labradoodles live?
- What is the average size of a Mini Labradoodle?
What’s In This Guide
- Mini Labradoodle At A Glance
- In-depth Breed Review
- Mini Labradoodle Training And Care
- Pros And Cons Of Getting A Mini Labradoodle
Mini Labradoodle: Breed At A Glance
- Popularity: A very popular designer dog breed
- Purpose: Originally bred to be a hypoallergenic dog, therapy/service dog, and family pet
- Weight: 15 to 30 pounds
- Temperament: Affectionate, friendly, and smart
Mini Labradoodle Breed Review: Contents
- History and original purpose of the Mini Labradoodle
- Fun facts about Mini Labradoodles
- Mini Labradoodle appearance
- Mini Labradoodle temperament
- Training and exercising your Mini Labradoodle
- Mini Labradoodle health and care
- Do Mini Labradoodles make good family pets?
- Rescuing a Mini Labradoodle
- Finding and raising a Mini Labradoodle puppy
Origin Of The Mini Labradoodle
A hybrid dog, like the Miniature Labradoodle, results from crossing two purebred dog breeds.
The origins of the Labradoodle mix breed started in Australia, in the 1970s. The Royal Guide Dog Association was attempting to create a more allergy-friendly breed of a service dog.
The Poodle doesn’t shed and is considered more allergy-friendly than other dogs. It is also a working dog. So when mixed with the Labrador Retriever, can make an allergy-friendly service dog.
So, now, let’s look at how the Labrador Retriever and Miniature Poodle came into being:
The Labrador hails from Newfoundland, Canada. Small water hunting dogs were bred into what we now know today as the Labrador Retriever.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) formally recognized the Labrador as member of the sporting group in 1917.
Today’s Labs are still used as hunting dogs. But you’ll also find them as service dogs and beloved family pets.
Miniature Poodle Beginnings
The Miniature Poodle was developed in Germany, where “Pudels” were also used as waterfowl retrievers.
The Poodle eventually made its way over to the United States, where the AKC recognized it as, ironically, a non-sporting breed in 1887.
The Poodle is often viewed as “prim and proper” dog that is only found in the show ring or elegantly poised on a luxurious cushion.
However, it is actually a very high-energy, yet highly trainable dog, that holds its own in the obedience ring.
Fun Facts about Labradoodles
Fun Facts: Everyone from actress Jennifer Aniston to politician Joe Biden has owned a Labradoodle.
Plus, Mini Labradoodles have become so popular that you can follow one on Instagram.
What To Expect From A Mini Labradoodle
Whenever you have a mixed-breed of dog, there will always be an element of surprise as your dog matures. It is difficult to predict what traits they will inherit from each parent.
Mini Labradoodle Appearance
You may be wondering if an adult Mini Labradoodle will be compact, like his Miniature Poodle parent, or medium-sized, like his Labrador parent.
Based on the typical sizes of the Toy Poodle and Labrador, a full grown Toy Labradoodle will typically be 14 to 16 inches tall at the shoulder. However, they may reach up to 24 inches tall if they inherit their Labrador parent’s size.
The average weight of a Mini Labradoodle ranges from 15 to 25 pounds. Because they’re a hybrid, they could be on the low end of the spectrum at 10 to 15 pounds. Or at the high end of the spectrum at about 30 pounds.
The Mini Australian Labradoodle also generally meets the above-mentioned height and weight estimates.
Mini Labradoodle Colors
It’s very hard to predict the physical characteristics of a mixed breed puppy as we’ve previously touched on, Making an educated guess is your best and only option.
Mini American Labradoodles are typically solid-colored based on their parentage. But Mini Australian Labradoodles also have the potential to be multi-colored. Although this isn’t nearly as common as a solid color.
If a Mini Labradoodle closely resembles its Labrador parent, then you may end up with a Mini Chocolate Labradoodle, a Mini Black Labradoodle, or a Mini Yellow Labradoodle.
This will, of course, depend upon the color of the Lab parent. It isn’t quite as straightforward as a chocolate Lab always making a Mini Chocolate Labradoodle.
On the flip side, if a Miniature Labradoodle’s Poodle genes are strong, then the following colors (solid or bi-colored) are also possible:
Mini Labradoodle Coat
A Toy Labradoodle puppy may inherit its Labrador parent’s shaggier looking short double-coat. Or it could get its Miniature Poodle parent’s long and thick coat with loose curls. Their coat could also be a blend between the two.
Furthermore, a Mini Australian Labradoodle may also have a silkier quality to its coat, thanks to the influence from the English Cocker, American Cocker, and Irish Water Spaniels.
The Labradoodle coat can be broken down into three types:
- Wool: Similar texture to that of a Poodle and requires regular grooming.
- Fleece: A soft texture with either a wavy or spiral curl look to it. This is an easy-to-manage texture for grooming purposes.
- Hair: Closer to that of the Labrador Retriever, the coat is quite shaggy and kinkier than wavy. It is more commonly found in the earlier Doodle breeds.
Mini Labradoodle Temperament
Before you choose a new four-legged member of your family, it’s important to consider the potential new member’s expected temperament.
As a mixed breed, it’s impossible to know whether or not a Mini Labradoodle’s temperament will more closely match one breed’s temperament or if it will be a mix of both parent breeds.
You can only make an educated guess about what their temperament may be based on his parents’ general personalities as with any hybrid dog.
Miniature Poodles are known to be a bit shy around new people and other dogs. This may be why some people associate Poodles with biting and snappy behavior.
However, this behavior can be prevented with proper early socialization to people and other animals. You should start socializing them from when they are a puppy.
All Poodles are active dogs who enjoy going for walks, runs, and even swims! And a dog with Poodle lineage likely benefits from having a job to do or living in an active household.
The Labrador Retriever is also an active dog who loves to play and, well, retrieve things! Labs can also be pretty active chewers and seekers of mischief. So giving them something to play with is imperative.
Mini Labradoodle Socialization
It is advised to start socializing your Mini Labradoodle early. This breed is known to be naturally friendly with both people and other dogs. However, you can never be sure what traits they have inherited.
You should enroll your Doodle in puppy kindergarten since both training and socialization are recommended early in puppyhood. It can be a great way to work on both at once.
As mentioned earlier early socialization is especially important for this breed’s less outgoing lineage of Poodle.
For more information on socializing your puppy or adult Labradoodle check out these articles:
Training And Exercising Your Mini Labradoodle
Training Your Labradoodle
Early training and socialization are important to help ensure a friendly and well-behaved pet.
Once your dog is up to date on their vaccinations, they can join puppy kindergarten or obedience classes. This is an effective and fun way to both train them and get them to use to other dogs at the same time.
Training is recommended to start right from 8 to 10 weeks old. They are capable of learning from an early age. By waiting until they are older you may face a more stubborn and headstrong dog.
For more tips on training your new furry friend take a look at our Dog and Puppy Training Guides
Exercising Your Labradoodle
You will need to exercise the Mini Labradoodle a lot as it is derived from two active, working breeds. It’s best if they have a yard where they can play and exercise themselves, in addition to engaging in daily physical activity with their owner.
Be prepared to take this dog on lots of walks and to spend at least an hour of play time with them each day. Swimming can be another enjoyable activity for this breed.
Having interactive dog toys for your Doodle will also help to keep both their bodies and minds stimulated. Keeping your dog occupied and entertained may help prevent them from getting into mischief.
Keeping your Miniature Labradoodle active will also help to keep their weight in check, which will put less pressure on their joints. Canine obesity is related to various health conditions and joint issues like hip dysplasia.
Both Labradors and Poodles have a genetic predisposition to hip dysplasia. It is a condition that can occur in any dog. But larger dogs and certain breeds are more at risk.
Weight management and an appropriate level of exercise can go a long way to preventing or managing this condition. Over-exercising or under exercising your dog can have a negative impact on their joints.
Ensure you get a pup from a breeder that has screened both parents for signs of hip dysplasia to decrease the likelihood of this condition.
Labradors are also prone to Exercise-Induced Collapse (EIC) which generally occurs with intense bouts of exercise. While it is not a heat-induced condition, it’s prevalence can increase with the temperature. Exercise your dog at a moderate intensity and be mindful of the temperature outside.
Mini Labradoodle Health And Care
Mini Labradoodles have a predisposition to certain genetic conditions. Like any breed, they’re at risk for common canine ailments like eye diseases, allergies, and skin irritations.
The Miniature Labradoodle’s hereditary health concerns are going to stem from inherent conditions in the two parent breeds. Since you never know what genes your dog will inherit, let’s first look at the common health issues in both the Labrador and Poodle breeds.
Labrador Retrievers are prone to a few health conditions and joint problems. Some of the most common concerns are dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, and Exercise-Induced Collapse (EIC).
Hip And Elbow Dysplasia
Labradors have a higher than average prevalence of both hip and elbow dysplasia. These conditions result from structural problems within the joint that leads to pain and affects mobility.
Elbow dysplasia can occur when a piece of the bone or cartilage in the elbow joint breaks off and floats around within the joint capsule. This often results in osteoarthritis and can affect dogs of all ages; puppies as young as 4 to 6 months old may show signs.
Hip dysplasia is caused when the joint does not fit together correctly. This leads to friction and grinding in the joint, and thus, the deterioration of the hip joint over time. Genetics plays a large roll in this condition. But so does excessive growth rates, obesity, and certain types of exercise.
Signs of dysplasia include lameness or looseness in the affected leg(s), decreased ability to run, jump, or climb stairs, pain, stiffness, and decreased range of motion. While the condition cannot be corrected, treatment may include anti-inflammatories, weight management, specific exercise requirements, surgery, and physical therapy.
Gastric Dilation (Bloat)
This condition occurs when the stomach expands excessively with gas and food and then rotates so that both the blood supply and the exit paths from the stomach are cut off. This is painful and also life-threatening.
A dog will die within hours without medical intervention. Signs of bloat include pacing or inability to lie down, distended stomach, inability to vomit, foamy saliva, and panting. If you notice any of these, contact your veterinarian immediately.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy
Labs are also genetically predisposed to Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA). It is an eye disease that is degenerative and leads to blindness.
It tends to show up from 3 to 9 years of age and results in total blindness in 1 to 2 years. PRA is not a painful condition and is difficult to detect early on.
Night vision is affected first resulting in night blindness. There is currently no cure for this disease.
Labs are one of the dog breeds more prone to cataracts. Cataracts occur when the lens of the eye clouds over, resulting in vision impairment or blindness.
This can be the result of genetics, an eye injury, or diabetes. In Labradors, it is often genetic. Cataracts can often be removed with surgery.
Watch for a cloudy film over the eyes and if your dog starts to bump into things or walk into furniture.
Exercise Induced Collapse (EIC)
Exercise Induced Collapse (EIC) is another concern with Labrador Retrievers. Dogs affected by this condition can handle mild to moderate exercise, and often appear healthy, fit, and energetic.
However, after 5 to 15 minutes of intensive exercise, they tend to experience extreme weakness in their back legs and can even collapse, unable to move.
Symptoms will continue to worsen for 3 to 5 minutes. Most dogs recover after about 10 to 20 minutes of rest after the episode. This condition can take up to 5 years to present itself in your dog.
Studies have found this is a recessive genetic disorder. It is only passed on when both parents are carriers of the mutated gene. However, about 30% of Retrievers are carriers so it’s important that you use a responsible breeder that has proof of testing for this genetic mutation in the parents.
All of these hereditary conditions can be screened for by a reputable breeder through DNA testing with the exception of Gastric Dilation. In addition to PRA, EIC, and Hereditary Cataracts (HC), breeders should also be screening for:
- Hereditary Nasal Parakeratosis (HNKP)
- Centronuclear Myopathy (CN)
- Hip and Elbow Evaluation
Miniature Poodle Health
Like the Labrador Retriever, the Miniature Poodle is at greater risk for certain hereditary health conditions. There is some overlap with those that affect the Labrador and some conditions unique to the Poodle.
The Miniature Poodle and Labrador Retriever are both at risk of developing progressive retinal atrophy, hip dysplasia, and bloat.
Let’s take a look at conditions that are more prevalent in the Poodle breed.
This disease is caused when the adrenal glands do not produce a sufficient amount of adrenal hormones. It is a serious condition as these hormones are vital for sustaining life.
Signs can include gastrointestinal issues, poor appetite, and lethargy. When the dog becomes stressed their heart function can be affected, sometimes causing arrhythmias or heart failure.
Testing can be done to confirm a diagnosis. Treatment generally involves daily medication.
Chronic Active Hepatitis
Chronic Active Hepatitis causes liver inflammation and the death of liver tissue. Dogs with this condition suffer from progressive liver failure.
Symptoms don’t usually present until about 5 to 7 years and can include vomiting (sometimes yellowish-blue in color), diarrhea, decreased appetite, weight loss, increased urination, and depression.
Behavior changes can include confusion, standing and staring, or standing in the corner.
The condition can be detected through blood tests. And it can be maintained with medication and diet if caught early.
There is no cure for this disease.
Hypothyroidism is the underproduction of hormones by the thyroid gland.
This can cause a range of signs and symptoms including skin issues, weight gain, lethargy, trouble staying warm, irregular heartbeat, and coarse hair texture.
It can be diagnosed with a blood test and treated with daily medication.
This refers to the dislocation of the patella (kneecap) and it can be caused by injury or a congenital deformity.
This condition is more prevalent in small or miniature breeds, like the Miniature Poodle.
Signs of this condition are difficulty straightening the knee, pain, limping, or a bow-legged appearance.
The severity of this condition varies, with the more serious cases often requiring surgery.
Cushing’s Disease is caused by either a tumor growing in the pituitary gland of the brain or in the adrenal glands. In both cases, hormone production is altered and cortisol is overproduced.
This type of tumor is often malignant and tends to spread throughout the body. The progress of the disease may be slowed if detected early.
Signs and symptoms include excessive consumption of food and water, pot belly, hair loss, and texture change, and frequent urination.
Some of these health conditions can be screened for by responsible breeders. And while others are believed to be hereditary, there are currently no reliable genetic tests.
Recommended testing for Toy Poodles includes:
- Hip and patella evaluation
- Von Willebrand’s Disease(VWD)
- Sebaceous adenitis (SA)
Mini Labradoodle Health
The Mini Labradoodle is at risk of inheriting common breed health problems from either parent. The most likely conditions to be passed down are those prevalent in both the Labrador and the Miniature Poodle.
Hip dysplasia and Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) are common in both Labs and Poodles. But they can also be screened for by the breeder. A reputable breeder will not breed a dog that tests positive for these conditions. Ask your breeder to provide proof of testing for all recommended screenings for both breed parents.
Bloat is a condition that affects both breed parents. However, you cannot currently effectively test for it. It is important to know the signs and symptoms of this potentially fatal condition so that you can act quickly.
A 2019 study found that smaller and more frequent meals, rather than once a day feeding, helped to decrease the chances of bloat. Varying a dog’s diet was also found to help reduce the likelihood. However, neither of these steps eliminates the risk completely.
Some of the heredity conditions found in Miniature Poodles, such as Cushing’s Disease, Addison’s Disease, and chronic active hepatitis, cannot be screened for in the parents. These are health problems your Mini Labradoodle could be at risk of inheriting. Talk to your breeder to find out of either parent or any of their puppies have shown signs of these illnesses.
Annual health checks and blood tests with your veterinarian can help to detect any of these diseases in your dog. Early diagnosis gives a better chance at treatment or at slowing the progression of the disease.
Mini Labradoodle Life Expectancy
Mixed breed dogs live, on average, a little longer than purebred dogs.
Miniature Poodles have an average life expectancy ranging anywhere from 10 to 18 years. Labrador Retrievers have an average lifespan from 10 to 12 years. You could reasonably expect something in this region for your Mini Labradoodle.
The Mini Chocolate Labradoodle may vary somewhat on life expectancy.
Interestingly, research has found that the Chocolate Labrador has about a 10% shorter lifespan than the Yellow or Black Lab. They are also more prone to skin and ear infections.
One theory for this is that the recessive gene that determines their rich chocolate color also plays a role in increased infections and a shorter lifespan. It is possible that a Mini Chocolate Labradoodle could have a slightly shorter life expectancy than other Mini Doodles.
Mini Labradoodle Shedding
Poodles do not shed, and this was the motivation behind breeding the Miniature Poodle with the Labrador, to make a potentially more allergy-friendly service dog.
So yes, Labrador Retrievers do shed a lot. Depending on what genes your Labradoodle inherits, they may have a coat that is closer to their Poodle parent and shed very little. Or they could end up with more Labrador influence, and thus, a shaggier coat. In this case, expect an average level of shedding.
Dog breeds, like the Poodle, have been thought to be hypoallergenic because they are considered low or no shed. This is because some of the main allergens from the dog are in their saliva and transferred onto their coat through self-grooming. The hairs with saliva and the allergen spread throughout the house when dogs shed.
Research has found that this theory isn’t quite true. Dogs actually have a number of proteins that humans can react to. Making elimination of these allergens impossible. With any dog, allergens will always be present.
In terms of shedding, a recent study in 2018 has found that the allergen levels in the coat of a hypoallergenic dog and in the home environment of these dogs are the same as that of shedding, non-hypoallergenic breeds.
In fact, some public spaces and homes of non-pet owners (about thirty-four percent) tested positive for pet allergens. You will be exposed to at least some allergens, no matter what your dog.
To sum up, there is no such thing as an allergy-free dog. So if you have allergies, there are no guarantees that you will not have a reaction to your Labradoodle.
Mini Labradoodle Grooming
Mini Labradoodles definitely require some coat maintenance.
They’ll require at least a weekly brushing if they exhibit a double-coat. Poodle coats are more high-maintenance. They need daily brushing.
Do Mini Labradoodles Make Good Family Pets?
Toy Labradoodles generally have a good temperament and are friendly with children and other pets. They may be more suitable for a family with older children due to their high energy level.
Other popular Labrador or Miniature Poodle Mixes you may want consider:
For more Labrador mixes check out our article on Labrador Cross Breeds.
Also take a look at the comparison between Doodles: Labradoodle Versus Goldendoodle: What is the Difference Between Them?
Rescuing A Mini Labradoodle
Perhaps you’d like to adopt or rescue a dog instead of purchasing one from a breeder. There are several Miniature Labradoodle rescues that offer retired show dogs and breeding stock for adoption.
Adopting a rescue can be so rewarding. It can also make owning a Mini Labradoodle more accessible, as adoption comes with fewer fees than purchasing a puppy from a breeder.
Mini Labradoodle Breed Rescues
Please leave a comment below if you would like to join the list.
Finding A Mini Labradoodle Puppy
Finding Miniature Labradoodle breeders will most likely be easier than finding a breeder for many other hybrid dogs. As Doodles are among the most sought after designer breeds.
You can expect to pay about $2,500 if you’re buying a Mini Labradoodle from a breeder, give or take a few hundred dollars. The amount varies based on the parent stock and how much they are worth to the breeder.
Make sure you go to a breeder that fully health tests each parent for their respective potential breed health conditions. And one who keeps them as loved members of the family and not purely for profit.
Get your new furry friend from a responsible breeder, rather than from a pet store, puppy mill, or online ad. This can greatly increase the chances of bringing home a healthy and happy puppy.
Pet store and puppy mill dogs tend to have health issues. And you never know how your puppy or its mother has been treated. Temperament from store-bought pups can also become an issue.
Mix Name Breeders
Look for someone who sees their stock as a beloved member of their family and not a dollar sign when you are searching for a good breeder. The parents should be friendly dogs and not anxious or aggressive if they are treated well.
Visit the breeder and see the environment your potential puppy lives in. Check to see that it is clean and well maintained. Ask to see the parents, or at least the mother, to see if they look healthy.
A responsible breeder should be happy and able to answer all your questions and show evidence of all the health testing completed on the parents.
A good breeder cares about the well-being of the puppies they are selling. They should ask you questions as well to make sure this is a good match for both you and the Mini Labradoodle.
Unfortunately, designer dog breeds are a lucrative business. Not all breeders have the well-being of their dogs at heart. Do your research and find a reputable breeder.
Mini Labradoodle Products And Accessories
Mini Labradoodles require a good deal of grooming. Here are some recommended brushes to help manage their curly coats:
Mini Doodles also need plenty of exercise and activities that stimulate their mind, to keep them from boredom. It is in both your best interests to keep your Doodle entertained.
Check out these puzzle and interactive toys that can engage your dog’s body and mind:
Is A Mini Labradoodle Right For Me?
Take the time to consider the pros and cons of this breed before making the decision to purchase a Mini Labradoodle. They are friendly and playful companions but they also have some special needs and potential health issues to consider.
- Requires space to run and play, like a large yard
- Needs a lot of exercise and daily walks
- Depending on the coat inherited, bi-weekly to daily grooming needs
- Prone to some serious health issues
- They may be too energetic for families with small children
- Friendly, affectionate, and playful breed
- Generally good with children and other pets
- An excellent companion for active people/families
- Intelligent and easy to train
You cannot predict the exact traits of any mixed-breed. Plus, no one can guarantee the coat type, size, shedding, and potential health of your dog.
If you are looking for an energetic addition to your family and have the time and space to meet their grooming and exercise needs, the Mini Labradoodle may be the right dog for you.
Your Mini Labradoodle
Do you have a Mini Labradoodle?
We’d love to hear all about them in the comments below.
References And Resources
- American Kennel Club (AKC). Accessed 2019. “Labrador Retriever.”
- Animal Medical Center of Southern California. 2019. “Exercise Induced Collapse Syndrome in Labrador Retrievers.”
- Beynen, A. 2019. “Diet and canine gastric dilatation.” Dier-en-Arts.
- BioMed Central (BMC). 2018. “Labrador retrievers at risk of various health problems.”
- Chan, S. K. et. al. 2018. “Dog and Cat Allergies: Current State of Diagnostic Approaches and Challenges.” Allergy Asthma Immunol Research.
- Dávila, I. et. al. 2018. “ Consensus document on dog and cat allergy.”
European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI).
- O’Neill et al. 2013. “Longevity and Mortality of Owned Dogs In England.” The Veterinary Journal.
- Guerra, R. et. al. 2018. “Cataracts in Labrador Retriever and Jack Russell Terrier From the United Kingdom: A Two-Year Retrospective Study.”
- Llera, R. et. al. 2019. “Progressive Retinal Atrophy in Dogs.” Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (UFAW).
- Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (UFAW). 2012. “ Retriever Elbow Dysplasia (Fragmented Medial Coronoid Process).”
- Worldwide Australian Labradoodle Association (WALA). 2018. “History of the Labradoodle.”
- Gough, A. Thomas, A. O’Neill, D. 2018. “Breed Predispositions to Disease In Dogs and Cats.” Wiley Blackwell.”