New Dog "Breed" Gains Popularity
The Labradoodle, with its quirky name, shag like coat and lovable expression, has been highly sought-after by families and dog lovers around the world.
The dog is often referred to as a breed but has yet to attain true purebred status; it is technically a hybrid dog resulting from crossbreeding a Labrador retriever and a standard or miniature poodle.
Labradoodles captured the nation's attention when President Barack Obama and his family announced they were considering to adopt one of these kid-friendly pups.
While the Obamas ultimately brought a Portuguese water dog home to the White House, the Labradoodle none the less continues to grow in popularity.
The Labradoodle's origin began in Australia, when, in 1989, dog breeder Wally Conron crossbred a Labrador retriever and a standard poodle in an attempt to create a dog with the low-shedding coat of the poodle and the personality of the Labrador. Conron's hybrid was ultimately predisposed with an ability to train easily and benefit people with fur and dander allergies. This made his new breed of dogs in demand not only as family companions but particularly as service dogs for those in need.
Because the breed is still new, it is not yet possible to consistently breed a pure line of Labradoodles. As a result, a puppy's appearance is unpredictable and can vary greatly.
The Labradoodle is still a relatively new dog breed, so a consistent personality has yet to be established. However, most Labradoodles have displayed an easy-going, friendly nature similar to that of the Labrador's and the poodle's, along with a high energy factor that is typical in both breeds.
Labradoodle owners can expect their dogs to have an affinity for swimming, as both Labradors and poodles are water dogs. In addition, each dog breed is known for its high intelligence level, so Labradoodles respond very well to training and have a higher than normal understanding of vocabulary.
The Labradoodle's appearance is yet another inconsistent feature, which has sparked a bit of controversy among breeders, animal rights activists and breed-affiliated organizations.
Because the breed is still new, it is not yet possible to consistently breed a pure line of Labradoodles. As a result, a puppy's appearance is unpredictable and can vary greatly. Some Labradoodles have a wavy coat, which is the most popular and in-demand type, while others may have a curly coat similar to the poodle, or a wiry blend, while others may have a straight coat.
Labradoodles can be found in a variety of coat colors, including cream, chocolate, apricot, red, black, silver or a mix of colors. Their size varies as well, ranging from 25 to 80 pounds, depending on whether the breed was mixed with a standard or miniature poodle.
While some breeders prefer to breed a Labrador and a poodle to maximize the hybrid's diversity, others have begun to breed Labradoodle to Labradoodle in an effort to establish a solid breed line. This breeding method is usually called "multigenerational."
Some Labradoodle puppies deemed undesirable due to their type of fur coat have found themselves relegated to animal shelters, are abandoned, or in some drastic cases, euthanized. A plethora of Labradoodle rescue groups may be found online, simply by typing "Labradoodle rescue" in a search engine.
The Labradoodle's health history is still being determined, but thus far has shown health concerns similar to those of Labradors and poodles.
Labradors are susceptible to hip dysplasia and other joint problems. Your dog’s breeder should provide you with proof that such problems are not present in your Labradoodle’s family line. Labs are also at risk of developing eye problems such as progressive retinal atrophy, cataracts and retinal dysplasia. It is also important to take your Labradoodle to the veterinarian at the slightest sign of sight problems.
Poodles, also generally very healthy, have been diagnosed with genetic disorders such as hip dysplasia, patellar luxations, progressive retinal atrophy, cataracts and seizures, among others. Consult your veterinarian about possible hereditary and congenital defects associated with the breed prior to adopting.
There have also been some reports that a limited number of mutigenerational and Australian Labradoodles have been diagnosed with Addison's disease.
You can expect your Labradoodle to live anywhere from 13 to 15 years. While your Labradoodle may not develop any of the genetic health conditions listed above, it is always recommended that you visit your family veterinarian for a complete physical examination after adopting a new dog.