The labradoodle, an increasingly popular designer dog breed, is a cross between a Labrador retriever and a poodle. These dogs were initially bred to create a family-friendly low-shedding pet. The first deliberately bred labradoodles were born in Australia in the 1980s and have been growing in demand ever since.
With parent breeds that are both sociable and intelligent, labradoodles typically exhibit the same fun-loving traits. These dogs range in size, color, and personality, but are commonly good with children and as companion animals.
As with any dog, the temperament of a labradoodle can vary, depending on the nature of its parents and its training as a puppy. Owners should expect a high energy animal with a sweet and caring nature. Many labradoodles have found their way into family homes and do well with children of all ages, as they enjoy oodles of attention. They are intelligent and will quickly catch on to consistent training and routines. Labradoodles are keen playmates and highly accepting of other pets in the household.
Labradoodles require extra attention when it comes to the maintenance of their fur. Much like their poodle parent, the fur can be curly and dense. It sheds very little, which is a bonus, but this means more brushing and combing. As an owner, expect to do some brushing a couple of times each week. Regular brushing or combing removes unwanted debris that might get caught and also prevents the development of matted fur. The labradoodle also benefits from regular grooming appointments, unless owners wish to tackle a trim at home.
The labradoodle can vary in size, ranging from 15 to 100 pounds, depending on the breed of parent poodle; a miniature poodle parent will produce a labradoodle of much smaller stature than a larger sized one would. When picking out a puppy, ask to see both parents and inquire about estimated growth. Female labradoodles can be at least 10 pounds smaller than their male counterparts.
With their kind nature and fluffy appearance, these sometimes large dogs are not intimidating and look more like a giant teddy bear. At their tallest, these dogs' snouts can reach the dinner table.
Like so many doodles, the labradoodle varies in appearance. Most of these dogs have a solid colored coat, but occasionally there will be variation in the color. Typically, a labradoodle will have a soft fleecy thick coat, but there are many dogs who grow a straighter retriever-like fur. The dogs have floppy ears, big noses, a long wagging tail, and a moderate stature. The thing to remember with any mixed dog is that each one is unique and may change as it grows out of puppyhood.
The labradoodle is considered a healthy breed but comes with an increased risk of hip and elbow dysplasia, and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA). Ensuring that the dog gets an adequate amount of exercise and healthy food will minimize any weight-related health concerns and will help the heart, lungs, and joints. Regular veterinarian check-ups will identify and mitigate any concerns right away and keep the dog healthy and vibrant.
A dog who gets an adequate amount of exercise will also tend to be a better-behaved animal. Labradoodles need walks and playtime each day for both physical and mental stimulation. They are keen to please their owners, and with some consistent training and rewards, they become obedient pets. Labradoodles respond well to positive reinforcement. This might mean offering a small treat or a favorite toy after they correctly perform a command.
Labradoodles are happy and eager to please dogs. They will adapt to any environment, whether an apartment or a large home. Dogs benefit from outdoor space to play in, but a well-exercised animal will be content in any home.
Due to the social nature of these animals, they will be happy to greet any newcomers to the home. With some diligence in training, they can be polite to any new house guests, whether animal or human. This social nature is also helpful for active families who enjoy taking their happy-go-lucky dog along for the journey.
Like all dogs, labradoodles should be fed a high quality diet. Many breeders and veterinarians can recommend the best-suited foods to ensure your dog receives the proper nutrients, proteins, and fats. Labradoodles, especially without adequate exercise, can be susceptible to weight gain, so it is crucial to keep an eye on how much the dog is eating and their physical appearance.
Deciding on the breed was difficult, but picking the perfect puppy from a litter is even harder. Noting that labradoodles can be energetic and rambunctious, keep this in mind when choosing a dog for the family. If one is repeatedly escaping from view, or getting into trouble, this is likely a telltale sign of his personality. Similarly, a shy and quiet puppy may not make an ideal running partner.
Doodles have become extremely popular in recent years, and labradoodles are no exception. A quick internet search may suggest dozens of local breeders. Before contacting one, do a little research on their reliability. Before handing over a deposit or making any decisions, visit the dogs and the location to see how it looks and feels. Reach out to local rescue organizations for information, where you may even find the perfect adult dog there.
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