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CAVOODLE

Labradoodle

A Labradoodle is a cross between a Labrador Retriever and a Poodle. Ever since Labradoodles burst onto the scene in the late 1980’s, they have captured the hearts of dog lovers everywhere, and that’s no surprise! They combine the energetic, playful nature of the Labrador Retriever with the gentle, allergy-friendly qualities of the Poodle to create the perfect family dog. It’s no wonder people fall in love with Labradoodles.

Physical Description

Weight:

Up to 29 kg

Height:

Up to 60 cm

Coat Length:

Medium to Long

Color:

Black, cream, chocolate, gold, red, and parti

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Appearance

Labradoodles exhibit a diverse range of appearances influenced by factors such as the specific parent breeds, the generation (F1, F1B, F2, etc.), and individual variation. Labradoodles come with an assortment of coat types, including curly, wool-like textures (think Poodle), as well as wavy, fleece-like, fluffy, or wiry variations. Their muzzles tend to be long, although there can be considerable variation in their overall look from one Labradoodle to another.

Labradoodles display an array of delightful colours, including black, cream, chocolate, gold, red, and parti. Notably, their nose colours also correspond to their coat colours, resulting in black Labradoodles boasting charming ebony noses, while chocolate Labradoodles often have cute rose-coloured noses.
Labradoodles come in three size variations:

  • Standard,
  • Medium, and
  • Miniature (also known as Toy Labradoodles)

The size category depends on the type of Poodle involved in the breeding. Standard Labradoodles stand at an average height of 60 cm and can weigh up to 29 kg.
Medium Labradoodles tend to be slightly shorter and lighter, measuring approximately 50 cm in height and weighing up to 20 kg. Mini Labradoodle are the smallest, standing around 40 cm tall and weighing up to 11 kg.

Are Labradoodles hypoallergenic?

Labradoodles are generally considered to be a breed with a lower risk of triggering allergies compared to other breeds. However, the hypoallergenic nature of a Labradoodle depends on its parentage, as Poodles are typically more hypoallergenic than Labradors. It’s important to note that individual Labradoodles may vary in their hypoallergenic qualities. Labradoodles can have different types of coats, which can impact their shedding and hypoallergenic properties.

Hair Coats:

A hair coat consists of short, straight hair. Labradoodles with a hair coat typically do not have this type of coat from birth, and it may start to appear around 12 weeks of age. While hair coats are considered low maintenance, they do shed, and regular bathing is recommended to manage shedding. Labradoodles with hair coats often have a scruffier appearance and resemble Labradors more.

Wool Coats:

A wool coat is curly and long, and it can be dense or fine. This type of coat does not shed much and is considered more hypoallergenic, although not fully hypoallergenic. Individuals with allergies often prefer this coat type. However, it’s important to note that allergies can be triggered by other factors such as sweat, skin, saliva, and skin cells, so choosing a Labradoodle with a wool coat does not guarantee an allergy-free experience.

Fleece Coats:

A fleece coat is the most common type of Labradoodle coat, consisting of both hair and wool finely intertwined. Fleece coats have a low tendency to shed and are often sought after for their hypoallergenic qualities. While they are considered low maintenance, they should still be brushed at least once a week to maintain their condition.

Temperament

Labradoodles are known for being active, gentle, and loving. They are great with kids and love affection, making them best suited to households where someone is often home. Labradoodles have plenty of energy and will be happy with long daily walks and games.

Their loyal nature means they’re likely to form close bonds with everyone and their intelligence and ability to process information quickly means they benefit from early obedience training. Labradoodles are also known for being very sociable and love to make new friends.

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Things you should know about Labradoodles!

Labradoodles are a relatively new breed, with the first litter of puppies produced in 1989 by Wally Conron of the Royal Guide Dog Association of Australia in response to a request from a blind lady who needed a guide dog that would not trigger her allergies. Wally took on the challenge of creating a hypoallergenic dog by breeding their proven Labradors guide dogs with a non-shedding breed, the Standard Poodle. The result: the first litter of Labradoodles.

Following the efforts of Wally Conron, some breeders in Australia began breeding Labradoodles to achieve a consistent conformation, coat type, and temperament.  The  Australian Labradoodle standard allows the inclusion of four other breeds into the Labradoodle mix, being, the Irish Water Spaniel, Curly Coat Retriever, American Cocker Spaniel and the English Cocker Spaniel. The Australian Labradoodle is championed as a breed by several organisations and associations, including the International Australian Labradoodle Association (IALA) and the Australian Labradoodle Association (ALA). They are bred mainly for their excellence as family pets. 

So what is the difference between a Labradoodle and an Australian Labradoodle? All Australian Labradoodles are Labradoodles, but not all Labradoodles are Australian Labradoodles. The difference is that an Australian Labradoodle needs to adhere to the standards set out by the ALA, for instance, it can only have one of the six approved breeds in its lineage.  “Labradoodle” is a generic name the use of which is not governed by any breed association.

Two movements emerged from the initial Labrador breeding program of Wally Conron; The Australian Labradoodle and the Australian Cobberdog.  However, it later became a distinct breed with its own name and breed standard. The Australian Cobberdog breed aims to preserve specific traits, such as temperament, health, and coat quality while being suitable for therapy and assistance work. There is a concerted effort to get the Australian Cobberdog recognised as a breed by the Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC). Both Cobberdogs and Australian Labradoodles will still be correctly labelled as “Labradoodles”, as both mainly consist of Poodle and Labrador genes.

It is easy for the untrained eye to confuse a Labradoodle with a Groodle. Groodles (also known as Goldendoodles) is a hybrid breed of Golden Retrievers and Poodles. Although both breeds have friendly, loyal temperaments, there are distinct differences.  Groodles often inherit the gentler and more patient temperament of Golden Retrievers, whereas Labradoodles tend to have a slightly more energetic and outgoing personality inherited from their Labrador Retriever ancestors.

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Common Labradoodle health issues

Although Labradoodles are usually healthy when they come from a reputable breeder, there are still some genetic predispositions to health issues that you should be aware of.

Ear infections are common among Labradoodles and are usually caused by moisture in the ear, allergies, bacteria buildup, yeast, ear mites, and injuries. If your dog has an ear infection, you may notice:

  • Shaking or tilting their head from side to side
  • Constant scratching of the ear 
  • Discharge inside the ear (yellow, black, brown or bloody)
  • Redness or crustiness in or around the ear 

To reduce the risk of ear infections, keep the hair around your dog’s ear canal trimmed as short as possible and regularly clean their ears with an ear-cleaning solution. It’s important to make sure you properly dry your dog’s ears after a swim or bath.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) is an inherited disease that causes blindness. There are two main types of PRA: young-age onset and late-onset. Young-age onset involves dogs displaying night-time blindness by 18 months old, while dogs afflicted with late-onset show night blindness by five years old and are blind by eight. 

If your dog is experiencing night blindness, you might notice that they are reluctant to go out at night, walk into things at night, or have an increased green or yellow reflection coming off the eye. Since there is no cure for PRA, prevention is key. 

Responsible breeders will screen their breeding dogs for PRA and other genetic diseases to ensure they’re not passed on to the puppies. As a prospective Labradoodle owner, it’s crucial to seek out a reputable breeder who performs these tests, and the breeder should be willing to share the health clearances of both parent dogs with you. Affected dogs, along with their parents and progeny, shouldn’t be bred from, and you may consider taking your Labradoodle for annual eye tests.

Hip Dysplasia occurs when the thigh bone doesn’t fit snugly into the hip joint. This causes them to grind and rub together, which results in pain and abnormalities in mobility, movement, or posture. In Labradoodles, Hip Dysplasia often occurs as a result of poor breeding processes, so you should adopt your puppy from a reputable breeder. 

Symptoms of Hip Dysplasia usually include a decrease in physical activity and a limited range of motion, for example, you might notice your Labradoodle is hesitating to jump, climb, or rise. 

You might notice a ‘bunnyhop’ type of walking or running which can cause the thigh to lose muscle mass. Your dog’s shoulders also may become enlarged as the body tries to compensate for the hind legs. Depending on the severity of the condition, your vet may recommend changes in lifestyle, surgery, or both. 

Elbow Dysplasia is similar to Hip Dysplasia, except it affects the front rather than the hind legs. It is also common in bigger breeds and can be a result of genetics or unethical breeding practices. This condition involves abnormal skeletal growth in the elbow, and it can become worse and more painful with age. 

The main symptom of Elbow Dysplasia is a decrease in the range of motion. You may notice your Labradoodle expressing pain or discomfort when you flex its elbow or occasional periods of lameness. While mild Elbow Dysplasia can be treated with more moderate medical options, more severe cases may require a combination of surgery, medication, and therapy.

Addison’s Disease, also known as adrenal insufficiency, is a condition where the adrenal glands do not produce enough of the hormones cortisol and aldosterone. Your Labradoodle may have symptoms such as:

  • Weakness and fatigue 
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhoea or vomiting 
  • Dehydration 
  • Low blood pressure
  • Muscle tremors or weakness

Addison’s Disease can be life-threatening, left untreated. Treatment involves supplementing the missing hormones and monitoring the dog’s condition to keep their levels within a normal range. The dosage of this medication may need to be adjusted over time, particularly during times of stress. 

Epilepsy is a neurological condition caused by electrical over-activity in the brain and is one of the most common neurological disorders in dogs. In general, Labrador Retrievers have been known to have a moderate risk for epilepsy, and Poodles also can be susceptible. However, the risk varies depending on the specific Poodle gene pool. Since both Poodles and Labrador Retrievers are prone to this condition, some Labradoodles will be more at risk of suffering from this condition. Epilepsy involves a pattern of repeated seizures over time, which can either happen in clusters or as a single event.

There is a wide range of causes of Epilepsy, although the cause of the most common type, Idiopathic Epilepsy, is unknown. Although it can’t be cured, Epilepsy can often be treated with long-term medication, which is usually given in a liquid or pill form. 

Knose recommends buying Labradoodles only from reputable breeders who conduct comprehensive health screenings of their breeding dogs. This, along with a history of the parent dogs and their lineage, can provide valuable information on potential health risks to your dog.

Other health issues that are common in Labradoodles include teeth grinding, allergies, diet-related illnesses, skin conditions, heat sensitivity, hip dysplasia, slipping kneecaps. It’s important to take your Labradoodle for regular check-ups with a veterinarian, maintain a healthy diet and exercise routine, and be aware of any potential health issues that may arise.

How to care for a Labradoodle puppy

House training 

Consistency, patience, and routine are all key to effectively house-training your Labradoodle puppy. You should choose a designated area for your puppy to go to the toilet and take them there consistently, at least once every two hours. When your puppy has gone to the loo in the right spot, offer them plenty of praise or a treat. 

Choose a phrase such as ‘go potty’ which you can use as a command whenever you need it down the track. You should take your puppy out to “go potty” when they wake up, and after eating, chewing, or active play.

 

Bite inhibition training 

Puppies explore the world through their mouths, and you’ll probably notice plenty of mouthing. This is normal for most puppies and is rarely aggressive or intended to cause harm.

If you notice your puppy trying to chew on your hands or clothes while playing, try redirecting them to a more appropriate chew toy. Offer praise when you see your puppy chewing something appropriate. If your puppy is play-biting you, a high-pitched yelp or firm ‘No!’ should deter them; you can also walk away if necessary. 

Use these strategies together with praise for good behaviour and redirecting to a chew toy. 

 

Crate training 

The goal of crate training is to get your puppy to behave and feel comfortable spending time in their crate, and is one of the first things you should do when you bring home a new puppy. 

Although they might not enjoy it at first, they get used to their crate with regular training. Keep in mind that your puppy’s crate should be a safe little haven for them, and you should never lock your puppy inside while you’re away. 

You should aim to place the crate in the corner of a room where it isn’t too hot or cold. Since Labradoodles love to be around their family, you should find a spot where they’ll be able to see and hear you most of the time. When you’re choosing your crate, opt for one that is large enough for your dog to be able to stretch fully while lying on their side and sit up without hitting their head on the ceiling. 

Crates are typically made from metal, wired, wood, or plastic, giving you the choice of which is the best fit for your dog.

 

Training your puppy not to jump 

Your Labradoodle might jump up onto you to get your attention or just to say hi. Although it might seem cute, you’ll want to train your puppy not to jump up onto other people who might not like it. To deter your Labradoodle from jumping, you can gently push them away and use the command ‘No’ or ‘Down’ and ignore them while keeping your arms crossed. 

You can pat your puppy once its paws touch the ground. If you’ve already taught your puppy the ‘Sit’ command, you can also use this to stop them from jumping. 

Keeping your puppy entertained

Keeping your Labradoodle entertained is key to keeping them out of those troublesome boredom behaviours such as barking and digging.

To keep them out of mischief while you’re busy, offer them a Kong or treat ball filled with something yummy. Kongs are very durable, so they can withstand your puppy’s long chewing sessions. 

On a hot day, you can give your puppy a treat pop – just freeze a few treats in a small ice cream container the night before, and your puppy will have a big ice block to lick and yummy treats on the inside. Sometimes, your puppy may even become over-stimulated with too many toys around or bored of their current toys. You can try alternating their toys each week to keep them interested. 

 

Making your home puppy-safe

When you bring home a new Labradoodle puppy, you want to make sure there isn’t anything dangerous that can get them into trouble. Remove anything that might be within their reach, including medications, chemicals, and small items such as coins and jewellery. 

You can use child locks or baby gates to keep your Labradoodle away from danger. Don’t forget about your garden – you should ensure that there aren’t any poisonous plants that your puppy can go chomping on. The same goes for indoor plants, remove any toxic plants such as calla lilies, aloe vera, and sago palms.

Drowning hazards are also important to be aware of, make sure your puppy can’t access full sinks, bathtubs, and toilets with open lids. If your backyard has a pool or pond, make sure it’s fenced off so your puppy can’t access it. 

Puppies are notorious chewers, so you’ll need to make sure they can’t chew anything dangerous like electrical wires, clothing, and small toys. Provide your puppy with chew toys to chew instead. 

If you have other pets, make sure their cages or aquariums are securely fastened and kept out of reach of your curious puppy. If you have a cat, make sure your puppy can’t access their litter box, as cat faeces can make them sick. 

Common questions about owning a Labradoodle

If you’re looking for Labradoodles for sale, the first step is to find a good breeder. A breeder that you can visit in person is ideal, but you can also ask for recommendations from your vet and other Labradoodle owners you know. Reputable Labradoodle breeders should always:

  • Have all the relevant paperwork 
  • Arrange for you to meet your puppy’s parents
  • Have DNA tested the breeding stock
  • Ensure the puppies have been vet-checked
  • Ask questions about your lifestyle to ensure their puppy is going to a loving home

Labradoodles can live quite happily in an apartment as long as you give them plenty of daily exercise. Your dog’s favourite spot will probably be right beside you, and as long as they can be with you, the size of your apartment won’t concern them. With the right training, your Labradoodle can make a great apartment dog. 

Leash training will be an important component as your dog will likely be required to be leashed in common areas. If you start socialising and harness training your puppy early on and reinforcing good behaviour when you’re in public, your Labradoodle will adjust well to apartment living.

Labradoodles are great with kids! Their high-energy, sociable nature makes them the perfect companion to active kids. They also love affection and will enjoy plenty of cuddles before bed. However, it’s important to train them well and teach your kids to be gentle with their furry friends. 

You can do this by: 

  • Letting the puppy initiate the bonding process and teach kids to be gentle and patient with them
  • Supervising interactions to ensure kids aren’t being rough with the puppy and the puppy isn’t feeling unsafe or behaving aggressively
  • Allowing kids to participate in the care and training of the puppy
  • Staying patient as both the puppy and your kids learn how to behave around each other

Labradoodles are an energetic breed that can require 1 to 2 hours of exercise daily, depending on their energy levels. Puppies between 8 weeks and 5 months can safely do 10 minutes of light walking, keep in mind that young puppies aren’t very strong yet, and you should make sure there is no strain on their legs. 

Older puppies between 4 and 8 months old can walk for up to 30 minutes a day and by 8 to 12 months, they’ll be able to walk for up to 45 minutes once daily. 

Although Labradoodles love their daily walks, you can also mix it up by offering other fun exercises such as: 

  • Obstacle courses with hurdles, weaving or tunnels 
  • Swimming 
  • Playing fetch 
  • Playing chase or tag 

Your Labradoodle’s diet should consist of high-quality food that is high in protein and fat. Choose a dog food that is made with real protein, such as chicken or fish and doesn’t contain  any artificial fillers. Kibble is the most popular dog food, but you may choose to combine it with wet food or alternate the two. 

Talk to your vet to find the right food for your Labradoodle’s nutritional needs. 

How much food they require will depend on your Labradoodle’s size. Feeding should typically happen twice daily to help encourage a healthy appetite and prevent overeating and bloating. 

Younger Labradoodle puppies will need to be fed more often as their blood sugar can drop dangerously (a condition known as hypoglycemia) if they go long periods without eating.

Labradoodles are considered a ‘medium-barking’ breed. You may notice your Labradoodle barking if they want attention or food, or if their needs aren’t being met. Since every puppy is different, some Labradoodles may be more vocal than others. 

However, there is a big difference between developmental barking and problem barking. Problem barking may include: 

  • Continuous barking despite your efforts to stop it
  • Barking that only happens when you’re leaving or returning
  • Aggressive barking that only occurs in response to specific triggers
  • Barking that is accompanied by growling, snapping, or lunging 

Although training can be effective in controlling barking, it may be a good idea to contact a positive reinforcement behaviourist. 

Not all Labradoodles are non-shedding, and some may even shed a lot. All Labradoodles will require brushing once every 1-2 weeks and more detailed grooming every few months. You should brush your Labradoodle’s coat from the skin outwards using a slicker brush or a wide-toothed comb for longer hair. 

Hold your dog’s skin taut to prevent pain, and work out any knots gently or cut through them with scissors or a matt breaker. Pay attention to around their ears, jaw, collar, and behind the tops of their legs, as these are common places for knots. If your dog regularly wears a harness, you might find matting in this area too. 

How often you bathe your dog will depend on their lifestyle – if they spend a lot of time outdoors or swimming, then you’ll need to bathe them more often. Most Labradoodles should be bathed every 2-3 weeks. You should avoid bathing them too often as this can cause your dog’s skin to dry out and strip the natural oils, which can cause itchiness. 

If you choose to use a shampoo or conditioner, make sure they’re dog friendly and don’t irritate your dog’s skin. If you have a puppy, choose a mild shampoo that won’t irritate your dog’s skin or eyes. If your dog has allergies, you’ll also want to keep these in mind when choosing your shampoo and conditioner. 

Since Labradoodles are social, loyal dogs, they’re also prone to separation anxiety.

Signs of separation anxiety in Labradoodles include:

  • Excessive barking or howling
  • Self-licking
  • Destructive behaviour
  • Frequent urination
  • Drooling
  • Shivering
  • Biting their paws or legs

Luckily, there are plenty of things you can do to help your Labradoodle cope when you’re out, including:

Ensuring they’re fed, played with, walked, and taken to the toilet before you leave
Keeping them entertained with some fun toys
Try and change up your pre-leaving routine to prevent your dog from picking up signs you’re about to leave and getting anxious.
Avoid long, drawn-out goodbyes and just leave if possible.

If you have a Labradoodle and you’re interested in flexible and tailored insurance, get in touch with our team at Knose to find out how we can help or get a quick, no-obligations quote.