Do Labradoodles Make Good Gifts?

Well, Christmas is now behind us, and a new year is beginning to unfold in front of us. I hope you and your family have a blessed 2011. Over the Holidays, I got to thinking about when one of our children received a Labrador Retriever for a Christmas gift. It wasn’t a spur-of-the-moment decision, but something our family had planned out for months in advance. We knew a quality local breeder – one who also raised Labradoodles, and knew the commitment that would be required. However, I know a lot of families don’t really plan that far ahead, but just see a puppy in the pet store and pick it up without much thought or planning.

I like to tell people that getting a puppy is almost as much of a commitment as having a child. There is a lot of training and planning involved, and I know a lot of pets wind up in the pound because the owners didn’t have any idea what they were getting into. The Christmas season can be stressful enough without dealing with a puppy – especially if the weather is nasty in December and January where you live. It’s hard enough to train any pet – even our beloved Labradoodles – but it’s even more difficult when the weather is challenging.

Even worse, most families do a lot of traveling around the Holidays and I really can’t imagine trying to travel with a young puppy. You really need to do this during the summer or when someone can be at home to watch your new Labradoodle pup.

So, in general, I’d have to say that it’s probably a bad idea to give a Labradoodle to someone as a gift – especially to a child, and especially at Christmas time! Of course your mileage may vary and depending on the commitment level of your family, a Labradoodle could make next Christmas the best one ever.

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Understanding Labradoodle Generations

Some of the terms you’ll hear thrown around in the Labradoodle community include the following:

  • F1 Labradoodle
  • F1B Labradoodle
  • F2 Labradoodle
  • F3 Labradoodle
  • Multi Generation
  • Australian Labradoodle

A lot of people who are new to the breed are unsure what these terms mean, and why they are important.  If you’re thinking about buying a Labradoodle, it’s a good idea to have some idea of what these terms mean. They’re not as complicated as they sound.

F1 Labradoodle – This is a “First Generation” Labradoodle. They’re half Labrador Retriever, and half poodle. Momma was one breed, and poppa was another. Coats can vary, but generally these dogs have longer hair, sometimes ‘wiry’ in appearance (although soft) or a fleece coat with a unique texture. Coats tend to shed, but not very much, and sometimes they don’t shed at all. They tend to have a little more of a ‘Lab’ personality, have great dispositions, and tend to be very healthy due to ‘hybird vigor’. It’s important that both parents are very healthy, however, or you can get genetic health problems even with F1′s.

F1B Labradoodle – Second generation labradoodles are the offspring of a F1 which has been bread back with a Standard Poodle to produce puppies which are a 75/25 Poodle/Lab combination. This is done to bring in more of the poodle coat characteristics (remember that the non-shed traits come from the poodle). While still retaining a great personality, these tend to be non-shedding MOST of the time. There are many different coats that can come out with these dogs, so it’s important to recognize that physical appearance can differ from one dog to another. These tend to be more allergy-friendly than the first generation.

F2 Labradoodles – F2 Labradoodles are ‘second generation’ Labradoodles where both parents are a Labradoodle (usually both F1′s). Good breeders will carefully pair parents to produce puppies with the most desirable Labradoodle characteristics.

F3 Labradoodles – (I bet you can guess this one…) are third generation Labradoodles where both parents are F2 (second generation).

Multi-Generation are generally considered to be F3′s or HIGHER.

Australian Labradoodles are usually multi-gen, however some breeders will also have mixed in other breeds (such as a cocker spaniel) into the mix in small percentages.

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Wally Conron and the First Labradoodles

The first Labradoodles were reportedly bred by Wally Conron in Australia in the late 1980′s. Wally was working with the Royal Guide Dog Association of Australia when they received a request from a blind person in Hawaii who was allergic to dogs. Since a standard poodle is generally considered a low-allergy dog, Mr. Conron bred one of the best Labrador guide dogs with a standard poodle (which is much larger than your grandma’s lap poodle). Hair and saliva samples were sent to for testing, and some of the puppies from this first litter did in fact, come back with a ‘allergy free’ result.

Brown Standard Poodle - 5 weeks old

Brown Standard Poodle – 5 weeks old

Labradoodles are frequently reported as being non-allergenic, or hypoallergenic, or allergy-free. You need to be aware, however, that different people react differently to different dogs. Poodles are well known for being good pets for some people who are allergic to dogs, however, there is no guarantee that this will be the case in your situation.

Over time, interest in the Labradoodle grew, until it eventually became the ‘designer dog’ that it is today. Labradoodles are still bred in Australia (you’ll see lots of references to Australian Labradoodles) as you search the web, because that is where the breed originated. Once American media began running stories about the Labradoodle in the mid to late 90′s, things really began to take off.

Ironically, Mr. Wally Conron has expressed concerns about opening a ‘pandora’s box’ when it comes to the Labradoodle. He recognizes the value, while at the same time he is concerned about the rise of the ‘backyard breeders’ who only want to make a quick buck off of the breed. This is another reason why you need to really research your breeder and make sure you’re getting one who has the best interest of the breed at heart.

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Is the Labradoodle a Mutt, or a Superdog?

LIFE magazine Labradoodle coverThere are dozens of websites dedicated to what was once an ‘unknown’ oddity from Australia. A lot of breeders will tell you that Labradoodles are hypoallergenic superdogs which make ideal family pets. Your neighbor tells you that they’re overpriced mutts sold by greedy ‘puppymills’.  Who is right? Who can you trust? Why should you give this website anymore weight than the next guy down the road?

To begin with, I don’t have a dog in this fight (so to speak). I’m not a Labradoodle owner, and I’m not a breeder. Actually, I own two dogs, both Labs. However, I’ve watched the growing fascination with Labradoodles since the early 2000’s when they first broke into the scene on the cover of LIFE (Sunday insert).

My parents own a Labradoodle, and he is one great dog. I know not all Labradoodles are ideal family pets, but they may be a dog you should consider. And you shouldn’t automatically rule them out as being undesirable crossbreeds. Here’s why.

All Breeds Began As ‘Crossbreeds’

Unless you have a wolf for a pet (which I don’t recommend). Your dog is a result of thousands of years of selective breeding. Owners would take wild dogs, domesticate them, and then breed in (or breed out) the characteristics they wanted.  Some were bred for ‘work’, others were bred for play.

Over time, the breeds we have now were developed, standardized, and recognized by organizations (started by breeders and owners) to ‘define’ what makes the ideal dog, according to their breed.

Today, we recognize that the Labradoodle may be a fad, or it may be a new breed which is currently in-development. Only time will tell.

However, since a lot of Labradoodles are still F1 – First generation dogs which are a direct mix of a Lab and a Poodle (usually a standard poodle), there are some advantages to this setup.  The first advantage is hybrid vigor. We’ll discuss other benefits of this later, but as you’ll come to see, these dogs are very intelligent and easy to train common commands such as sit, stay, and at more advanced commands such as leash training, and “staying”.

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What is a Labradoodle

Hasn’t everyone heard of a Labradoodle by now? Maybe you saw one for the first time at the dog park today. Regardless, it’s a new word for you.

What is a Labradoodle? Easy. It’s a mix between a poodle (usually a standard poodle) and a Labrador Retriever. Why? Well that’s a topic for another article, but needless to say there are a lot of people who believe we can bring out the best in both breeds through a concerted effort. I know there’s a lot of debate about this topic, but hopefully this will be a website where we can discuss and debate it together.


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