Breed Profile

History
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We first started to hear the name Labradoodle in around 1955, but it wasn’t until the late 1980s that this particular crossbreed became popular . This breed was first created in Australia mainly for use as a guide dog for people with sight impairment or total blindness. It was around this time that the Labradoodle was being bred to be used as a guide dog and an allergen-free one at that. The Labradoodle is not recognised by the Kennel Club so they are not regulated in any way. Some breeders prefer this is as they feel it keeps the bloodline diverse and healthy. One place you could go for further information is the UK Labrador Association, who register details from breeders and publish information on their website for upcoming litters.

Character

The Labradoodle is a very loving, biddable, working type dog and its temperament means that it is suited to all kinds of situations and environments. The Poodle side of their nature brings out the natural clowning side and the Labrador Retriever element is the more intuitive one. Labradoodles are very much a people dog and will do pretty much anything for their owners. When awake they are lively and full of life, and require lots of exercise, attention and mental stimulation but after the day is done they are quite content to curl up next to their owners. Remember they are very intelligent and do need early training, if left to their own devices without any training or rules, your pup will grow into a hyperactive, naughty, uncontrollable adult dog.

The majority of Labradoodles love the water and will bring an emormous amount of dirt and debris into your home – if you are in anyway house proud – this is really not the dog for you!

Labradoodles come in black, brown, silver and different shades of cream, including white, golden cream, apricot cream and Red – although this will fade as your dog ages. There is a very new colour – Caramel which is sometimes known as true apricot.

Health

Although generally tough and healthy, Labradors and Standard Poodles can suffer from hip and eye problems, and this is the same in Labradoodles as they share the genetic make- up of both breeds. Always check with your breeder that the parents have been hip scored to lessen the likelihood of having a pup who may develop this problem as they mature. Also, as with other long ears that are fur coated they can have a tendency to ear problems, keep an eye on their ears and ensure they are kept clean and free from foreign bodies.

Food and Diet

At around 12-14 weeks Poodle pups start to lose interest in their milk-based meals, so this is the time to increase the biscuit content in their two meat meals, breakfast and supper. At around 9 months, most puppies will be having two meals, lunch time and early dinner/late tea or breakfast and early dinner/late tea, whatever suits your routine. The best meal to drop is the dinner meal as this will help your puppy to get through the night without waking you up to go to the toilet. At around 18 months, your dog will be down to one meal a day, with maybe a light breakfast.

If a completely dry diet is more convenient for you, there is a huge range available on the market, speak to your vet about the best diet for your Poodle, as you must make sure your dog is receiving the correct amounts of nutrition – basically a balanced diet.

Incidentally, dogs can survive without food for a few days, but they won’t survive without water so you must ensure your dog has access to a bowl of water at all times.

Grooming

The Labradoodle has four different types of coat and the care of each is listed below, remember that they should all be groomed at least once a week at home, with a good brush:

Wavy or hair coats are probably the easiest to look after and are predominantly from the Labrador Retriever genes. They only really need trimming around the eyes and the chin, the rest of their coat can be left as it is. This coat does shed, but nothing to excess.

Curly or Woolly coats do not shed at all and this is from the Poodle gene. They do require a certain amount of trimming or clipping, probably 2-3 times a year. Even though they do not shed, they will still need to be brushed at least once a week. It is this type of coat that is considered to be totally allergen free and is good for people with asthma or other allergies.

Fleece coats (also known as ‘borderline’ coats) are a fairly new type of coat in the breeding of Labradoodles. They have a distinctive fleecy feel to them, and can be more wavy than curly or the other way round. This type of coat is pretty much attention free until your puppy is 14 months old. It is at this time that the adult coat will start to grow through and the coat will need to be “stripped” out weekly until there is no puppy fur left. If you don’t have this done, the coat will become matted and this may result in your dog having to be shaved short.

Finally, we have the short straight coats also known as “flat coats”. These coats have more hair than the others and will, therefore, shed more.

Another thing to consider with labradoodles is having the fur under their ears trimmed and maybe even have the hairs from the inside of the ear once a year to ensure the airway is kept clean. This isn’t necessary all the time, but something to consider if your dog suffers from ear problems.

Exercise

As with all dogs regular exercise is essential for their good health, both physically and mentally.

Training

Basic training is an absolute must for all dog owners and, if you have a puppy it should start when your puppy is around 6 months, although you can start with simple training games much earlier – encourage your puppy to come to you when called and give lots of cuddles and praise when they do. The simple commands to sit, stay and wait are essential and teaching your dog to walk properly on a lead will make your walks so much more enjoyable and fund for the both of you. If you are prepared to train your Labradoodle pup for the first year, then this breed is perfect for you. If you are unlikely to have the time, due to work or family commitments to devote your time and effort then maybe this breed is not the one for you.

How far you go with your training depends on what you would like to achieve. Labradoodles are very trainable and thoroughly enjoy the interactive ‘play’ that training brings.

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