Designer Dogs: Labradoodles Becoming Better-known

The American Labradoodle is one of several breeds referred to as “designer dogs.” Breeds such as the Labradoodle are developed from crossing two pure breeds — in this case the Labrador Retriever and the Standard or Miniature Poodle — in an effort to create a dog that has the best characteristics of both breeds while hopefully losing some of the less desirable characteristics.

It is not an exact science, however; any characteristics of either breed could show up in the

resulting puppies. Hybrid genetics, by nature, means no outcome can be predicted with any kind of certainty.

Typically, though, Labradors and Poodles are good-natured dogs. Both are usually affectionate and energetic and make good family pets. They normally are good with children. Both breed are strong swimmers and enjoy being in the water.

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Labradoodle puppies can be of practically any hair type, since Labs are smooth-haired and Poodles have curly coats. They can be pretty much any color either breed could be — yellow, chocolate, black, white, etc.

Labradoodles were the creation of Wally Conron, an Australian breeder. In the 1970, Conron was breeding guide dogs for the blind. His goal was to produce a dog with the minimal shedding of the Poodle and the gentleness and intelligence of the Lab.

Labradoodles are not a breed recognized by the American Kennel Club, but they are able to be registered through the American Canine Hybrid Club. Not all Labradoodles are 50-50 Labrador and Poodle; it is not an uncommon practice for breeders to produce multi-generation crosses.

There are two types of Labradoodles, and they are very different. The Australian Labradoodle is, in fact, a purebred, while the American Labradoodle is a hybrid dog. Breeders in America are producing Labradoodles in a number of ways.

An F1 Labradoodle is defined as a first generation dog that has been bred by crossing a purebred dog of each breed (a 50-50 cross). These dogs are typically the healthiest Labradoodles. Dogs resulting from this breeding can be smooth-haired like a Lab, or have wavy, shaggy coats. They can also end up with wiry coats resembling that of an Irish Wolfhound.

They can be shedding or non-shedding dogs. F1 Labradoodles are not a good choice for people with severe allergies.

When an F1 Labradoodle is crossed with a Poodle, the result is a litter of F1-B Labradoodles (they are 75 percent Poodle, 25 percent Lab). This type of Labradoodle consistently has a wavy, curly, shaggy coat, and is the one that is most likely to be non-shedding. This is the type of Labradoodle prospective owners with allergies should opt for. They also have the lowest maintenance coats of any type.

An F2 Labradoodle is what results from crossing two F1 Labradoodles. Although two hybrid dogs are crossed to achieve this result, there is the same amount of Lab-Poodle mix as there is with an F1 Labradoodle, so there are more likely to shed than the F1-B Labradoodle.

Breeding two F2 Labradoodles will result in F3 Labradoodle puppies. Breeding any Labradoodle with an F3 or higher generation is considered a multi-generation dog.

Labradoodle enthusiasts are actually against making the breed recognized. If the AKC were to recognize Labradoodles, breeding would be restricted to F1 dogs only. By creating and maintaining a wide gene pool with other Labradoodle types, those who breed the dogs hope the health problems that befall other purebreds will not face the Labradoodle breed.

If not by the AKC, Labradoodles are coming into the limelight in other ways. Parker Brothers released a “Here and Now” edition of its Monopoly game in 2006, and one of the pawns was a Labradoodle. Lord and Taylor in New York sold stuffed Labradoodles in 2004 and 2005, and over $100,000 in total proceeds went to Guiding Eyes for the Blind.

Many well-known people own Labradoodles. Tiger Woods has an Australian named Yogi; actor Henry Winkler owns one named Charlotte; Djinn Djinn is the name of actress Barbara Eden’s Australian (she named him after the imaginary dog her character owned in the 1960s television show “I Dream of Jeannie”), and model Christie Brinkley has one named Maple Sugar.

DISCLAIMER: The information on this site is not intended to replace the advice of your own veterinarian or doctor. Should you think that your pet needs medical attention, please contact your local veterinarian.  
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