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Labradoodle

Labradoodle
  • Hair: Short and Soft
  • Personality: Bright
  • Size: Small
  • Temperament: Fiesty, Fun and Energetic
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The first known use of the term "Labradoodle" was by Sir Donald Campbell to describe his Labrador/Poodle cross dog in his 1955 book, "Into the Water Barrier". However, the Labradoodle became better known in 1988, when Australian breeder Wally Conron crossed the Labrador Retriever and Standard Poodle at Guide Dogs Victoria.[1][2]

Conron's aim was to combine the low-shedding coat of the Poodle with the gentleness and trainability of the Labrador, and to provide a guide dog suitable for people with allergies to fur and dander.[3] He'd received a request from a vision impaired woman in Hawaii for a guide dogthat did not aggravate her husband's allergy to dog hair. Originally he planned to train a Standard Poodle, but the thirty-three poodles he tried, over three years, all failed at guide dog training. He then crossed a Standard Poodle to his best Labrador bitch. When the pups were five months old, they sent hair and saliva samples to the couple; all three puppies in the first litter, and three out of ten puppies in a following litter did not cause any allergic reaction in the woman's husband.[4] One puppy, Sultan, was successfully trained by Guide Dogs Victoria, and became the first Labradoodle Guide dog.[5][6]

Although Guide Dogs Victoria no longer breed Labradoodles, they are bred by other guide and assistance dog organizations in Australia and other places.[7][8][9] The Association for the Blind of Western Australia have introduced Labradoodles into their training program, and their first, Jonnie, graduated in November 2010.[10][11] Labradoodles are now widely used around the world as guideassistance, and therapy dogs[12][13][14][15] as well as being popular family dogs. Despite this, Wally Conron has stated that he regrets creating the Labradoodle, due to how popular it has become with backyard breeders who do not look into the parent's backgrounds, or test for genetic diseases, yet charge as much, if not more than, what purebred dogs tend to go for. [16][17]

Appearance and temperament

Because the Labradoodle is a hybrid and not a breed yet, puppies do not have consistently predictable characteristics. While many Labradoodles display desired traits, their appearance and behavioral characteristics remain, to some extent, unpredictable. As such, Labradoodles' hair can be anywhere from wiry to soft, and may be straight, wavy, or curly. Many Labradoodles do shed, although the coat usually sheds less and has less dog odor than that of a Labrador Retriever.

Like most Labrador Retrievers and Poodles, Labradoodles are generally friendly, energetic and good with families and children (although as with any dog the temperament may vary between individuals). Labradoodles often display an affinity for water and strong swimming ability from their parent breeds.

Like their parent breeds, both of which are amongst the world's most intelligent dog breeds,[18] Labradoodles are very intelligent and quite trainable, often seeking commands and finding pleasure in learning.

[edit]Types of Labradoodles


A group of Labradoodle Assistance Dogs.

There is no consensus as to whether breeders should aim to have Labradoodles recognized as a breed. Some breeders prefer to restrict breeding to early generation dogs (i.e. bred from a Poodle and Labrador rather than from two Labradoodles) to maximize genetic diversity, to avoid the inherited health problems that have plagued some dog breeds.

Others are breeding Labradoodle to Labradoodle over successive generations, and trying to establish a new dog breed. These dogs are usually referred to as Multigenerational (Multigen) or Australian Labradoodles. [19] Australian Labradoodles also differ from early generation and Multigenerational Labradoodles in that they may also have other breeds in their ancestry. English and American Cocker Spaniel/Poodle crosses (i.e. Cockapoos), Two Irish Water Spaniels andSoft-Coated Wheaten Terriers were used in some Australian Labradoodle lines. The Curly Coated Retriever were used too, but these lines did not work out and these breeds were no longer used.[20]


Jonnie, the first Labradoodle Guide Dog to graduate in WA.

Labradoodle coats are divided into three categories: wool (with tight curls, and similar in appearance to that of a Poodle, but with a softer texture); fleece (soft and free-flowing, with a kinked or wavy appearance); or hair (which can be curly, straight or wavy, but is more similar in texture to a Labrador's coat).[21]Labradoodles coat colors include chocolate, cafe, parchment, cream, gold, apricot, red, black, silver, chalk, parti colours,[22] (i.e. generally, any color a Poodle can have). They can be different sizes, depending on the size of poodle used (i.e. toy, miniature or standard).

Health

Labradoodles can suffer from problems common to their parent breeds. Poodles and Labrador Retrievers can suffer from hip dysplasia, and should have specialist radiography to check for this problem before breeding. The parent breeds can also suffer from a number of eye disorders, and an examination by a qualified veterinary eye specialist should be performed.

Australian Labradoodles have been known to suffer from progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), an inherited disease causing blindness, which occurs in both Miniature Poodles and Cocker Spaniels. It is recommended that Australian Labradoodles be DNA tested for PRA before being bred.

A significant number of Mutigenerational and Australian Labradoodles have also been found to suffer fromAddison's disease.[23] The Australian Labradoodle Association of America is currently conducting a study to try to determine how widespread the problem has become.

The Labradoodle in popular culture


A 2½ year old apricot Labradoodle with a wool type coat.
  • In 2005 the Oxford English Dictionary first listed the word "Labradoodle"[26]
  • Australian actor Bryan Brown played a Labradoodle in the 2008 movie, "Dean Spanley".[27]
  • Barack Obama announced in January 2009 that his family had narrowed down their choice for "first dog" to either a Labradoodle or a Portuguese Water Dog (PWD).[28] (They were subsequently given a PWD puppy, who they named "Bo", by the late Senator Edward Kennedy).
  • In an interview given to The Australian in April 2010, Wally Conron said he regretted breeding labradoodles, as he believes their popularity has negatively affected the demand for pedigree dog breeds, and led to the introduction of other "designer" dog types[29]
  • In the TV show Big Bang Theory (Season 4, Episode 14) Bernadette refers to Raj as, "a cutie", but he protests, "Thank you, but cute is for bunnies. I want to be something with sex appeal, like, like a labradoodle". Later he adds, "And just for the record, labradoodles are hypo-allergenic, which is a very sexy quality to those troubled by animal dander." [30]
  • In the TV show Scrubs Doctor Cox says to Doctors Reid and Dorian, "What with Barbie here being ridiculously book-smart to the point where she has almost no interpersonal skills and you being warm and cuddly as an un-potty trained labradoodle and about as useful in high-stress medical situations as an un-potty trained labradoodle, *together* the two of you make one barely passable doctor... slash labradoodle."


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