The American Labradoodle is slightly different to its cousin, the Australian Labradoodle.
An American Labradoodle is most often a mix between a purebred Standard Poodle and a purebred Labrador Retriever, with no other breed influences.
American Doodles are usually intelligent, friendly, and large dogs. But, if they are a first generation mix, their exact appearance and traits can vary a little.
Read on to learn more about this variety of the popular Labradoodle mix!
American Labradoodle at a Glance
|Temperament:||Intelligent, friendly, outgoing.|
|Height:||Anywhere from 16 to 24 inches.|
|Weight:||Anything between 40 and 80 lbs.|
|Coat Type:||Straight, fleece, or wool types.|
|Coat Colors:||Wide variety of colors and patterns.|
|Activity Level:||High – needs daily vigorous exercise.|
|Shedding Level:||Non hypoallergenic. Shedding will depend on coat type.|
|Trainability:||Eager to please, often easy to train.|
|Lifespan:||Anywhere from 10 – 18 years.|
|Average Cost:||Typically $1500 and above.|
What is an American Labradoodle?
There are two main varieties of the Labradoodle mix. One of these is the Australian Labradoodle, which combines up to 6 different dog breeds.
The other is the American Labradoodle, which is simply a mix between the Poodle and Labrador breeds.
As the name suggests, the American Labradoodle has been developed primarily in America. Like the Australian Labradoodle, it is not an official breed in the eyes of many organisations, including the AKC.
However, the American Labradoodle has a huge fanbase, breed clubs across the world, and breeders keen to standardise the breed.
Compared to many purebred dogs, the American Labradoodle is a relatively new breed, really gaining traction in the past few decades, after the creation of the Australian Labradoodle.
Since the American Labradoodle is a simple mix between two purebred dogs, each puppy can be quite different from the next, especially if you’re bringing home a first generation Labradoodle.
Different American Labradoodle Generations
When people talk about American Labradoodles, they most often mean a first generation mix (f1).
This is a combo of a purebred Poodle with a purebred Labrador. And, since puppies can inherit any genes from either parent, they can be quite unpredictable.
By breeding together two Labradoodles with similar traits, breeders can create more predictable second generation puppies. This way, they can harness traits they want to keep, such as a calm temperament, or a low shedding coat.
However, this practice isn’t restricted to reputable breeders. Since Labradoodles soared in popularity, a lot of disreputable breeders and puppy farms jumped on the trend, breeding dogs with no regard for health.
So, no matter which generation of Labradoodle you choose, it’s very important to find a reputable breeder that prioritises health. We’ll discuss this in more depth further on in this guide.
What is the Difference Between American and Australian Labradoodles?
Despite both being varieties of the Labradoodle breed, American and Australian Labradoodles are quite different dogs. This difference stems from the breeds used to create them.
As we know, the American Labradoodle is just a mix between two purebred breeds, the Labrador and the Poodle.
The Australian Labradoodle, on the other hand, is bred using up to six different purebred breeds. These are:
- Labrador Retrievers
- English Cocker Spaniels
- American Cocker Spaniels
- Curly Coated Retrievers
- Irish Water Spaniels
Australian Labradoodle breeders are aiming to create a new purebred dog, with predictable traits, and a healthy lineage.
But, these puppies will often be called by their full name – Australian Labradoodles. When speaking about ‘Labradoodles’, many people will mean the American variety that simply mixes Poodles and Labradors.
What Do American Labradoodles Look Like?
First generation American Labradoodles can look quite different from one another. This is because they can inherit any traits from either parent.
So, even puppies from the same litter can be stark opposites. One may look entirely like its Poodle parent, and another may be the spitting image of a Labrador.
Generally, American Labradoodles will grow to be large dogs. They can weigh anything between the sizes of their two parents, and will usually fall somewhere between their heights.
Here’s a chart to make it a little clearer.
|Standard Poodle||Labrador Retriever||American Labradoodle|
|Height:||Anything over 15 inches||21.5 – 24.5 inches||15 – 24.5 inches|
|Weight:||40 – 70 lbs||55 – 80 lbs||40 – 80 lbs|
Of course, the above table shows quite a variety, and the real extremes of the size spectrum. To get a better idea, take a look at the specific Poodle and Labrador being bred. If they’re a similar size, puppies will often grow to be somewhere in between.
Coat Types and Shedding
Many people buy American Labradoodles in the hopes that they’re bringing home a hypoallergenic dog. In truth, no dog is hypoallergenic.
But, Poodles can trigger fewer allergy symptoms in people, since their tightly curled fur catches shedding dander.
So, if your American Labradoodle inherits the Poodle’s curls (known as a wool coat), they may not trigger your allergies. But, there’s no guarantee of this.
Some puppies will come out with a straight coat (or hair coat), like the Labrador breed. And others might have something in between (fleece coat).
So, you may need to wait until the puppies are born, and a little older to see if they trigger your allergy symptoms.
The exact coloring that American Labradoodle puppies will inherit depends on the genes of their parents.
Some breeders may try to achieve certain shades, such as the popular apricot. But, remember that breeders should always prioritise the health of their Doodle puppies over any particular appearance.
Are American Labradoodles Friendly?
Like their appearance, the exact temperament of an American Labradoodle puppy will vary depending on what it inherits from its parents, and how it is raised.
A major concern of the Australian Labradoodle breed’s creator, Wally Conron, was that modern Labradoodles are being bred by poor breeders, who create “crazy” dogs.
However, a 2019 study revealed that Labradoodle puppy temperaments tend to fall somewhere between that of their two parents.
So, if you’re choosing a reputable breeder, you can find American Labradoodle puppies with some wonderful temperaments.
What to Expect
Luckily, Poodles and Labradors share a lot of similar traits. So, predicting first generation puppy temperaments isn’t too hard.
Generally, American Labradoodles will be intelligent, energetic, and people-oriented. Many will also inherit a love of and talent for retrieving!
These mixes are generally friendly with other dogs, animals, strangers, and children. But, it’s important to socialize puppies well to encourage this.
Socialization from a young age will help your American Labradoodle puppy to feel confident and happy in new situations, no matter who they’re meeting.
There are currently very few studies on aggression in the American Labradoodle mix, since it is so new. However, as time goes on, it’s likely that more data will be published for owners to assess.
Are American Labradoodles Easy to Train?
Generally, most Labradoodle owners find that their dogs are responsive to training, and enjoy training sessions.
But, it will vary slightly from one dog to the next, since most American Labradoodles are first generation mixes.
Positive reward training is a great way to strengthen the bond between you and your American Doodle.
These dogs tend to be very food and people oriented, so will be eager to work for their next reward.
Puppy classes are a great starting point, and a great way to combine training with socialization. Or, you could take a look at an online dog training course.
Are American Labradoodles Healthy?
Like all other traits, American Labradoodles can inherit certain health problems from their parents, which is why it’s so important to choose a reputable breeder.
Both Poodles and Labradors are prone to a number of health problems, some of which both share.
As large dogs, joint problems are a major concern. But, there are a lot of other issues breeders should health test for. Including:
- Hip and elbow dysplasia
- Gastric Dilatation Volvulus
- Addison’s Disease
- Sebaceous Adenitis
- Eye issues (eg. Progressive Retinal Atrophy and cataracts)
- Heart problems
- Exercise Induced Collapse
- Centronuclear Myopathy
So how can you maximize your Doodle’s chances of avoiding these health issues?
Health Testing and the Right Breeder
Along with great general care and regular check ups at the veterinarian, you can maximize your dog’s chances at a long and happy life by only buying from reputable breeders.
The best breeders will health test both parents before breeding, and will only breed from the healthiest dogs.
They will also never breed for profit, but will always put the quality of their puppies first.
Reputable breeders will be happy to show you evidence of their health testing, and will answer any questions you have.
Where Can I Find American Labradoodle Puppies?
Along with health testing, reputable breeders will be happy to let you meet their puppies themselves, and their mom. They’ll let you see where the puppies are being kept, and, as we said a moment ago, answer any questions you have.
It’s likely they will have plenty of their own questions too, to ensure that their puppies are going to suitable homes.
Puppy mills and backyard breeders will often breed for profit alone, often creating unhealthy puppies and potentially puppies with behavioral issues, especially since many are given to their new homes too early.
So, it’s important to put in the work when looking for a puppy, to save yourself a lot of heartache in the long run.
If you’re struggling to find or afford American Labradoodle puppies from reputable breeders, your best option is to look at rescue dogs.
Rescuing American Labradoodles
Doodles in rescue centers may be a little older than puppies from breeders, but this isn’t a hard and fast rule!
Generally, rescue pups are much cheaper. And, they can be just as loving and well behaved as puppies raised in your home from 8 weeks old.
Choosing an older Labradoodle in a rescue center is also great for people with allergies, since they’ll be able to see if the dog’s coat triggers their symptoms.
And, some rescue Labradoodles will already have basic training from their previous homes!
American Labradoodles are getting easier to find in rescue centers, since the breed is so popular at the moment.
But, make sure to work with rescue staff to ensure you’re the right fit for your new Labradoodle, and to ensure they won’t end up back in the rescue center.
Are American Labradoodles Good Family Pets?
In the right home, an American Labradoodle can make a wonderful family pet. But, owners must remember that first generation mixes can be very unpredictable.
Generally, this will be a large and energetic dog that needs plenty of mental and physical stimulation. Without this, Labradoodles can become bored and noisy or destructive.
Labradoodles will also need regular grooming. And there’s no guarantee that first generation mixes won’t trigger allergies.
If you’re an active household, with plenty of time to dedicate to your dog’s training and social needs, an American Labradoodle could be right for you.
A great way to find out more is to try and spend time with a few before bringing your own home. Just remember that they can be quite different from one another!
If you’re looking for something a little more predictable, it’s worth researching second or third generation mixes.
Do You Have an American Labradoodle at Home?
What are your thoughts about the American Labradoodle mix? Are you thinking about bringing one home?
Or perhaps you already share your life with an American Doodle! We’d love to hear from you in the comments.
References and Resources
- Cantor, M. ‘Man Who Invented Labradoodle Says It’s His “Life’s Regret”’, The Guardian (2019)
- Vredegoor, D. (et al), ‘Can f 1 Levels in Hair and Homes of Different Dog Breeds: Lack of Evidence to Describe Any Dog Breed as Hypoallergenic’, Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (2012)
- Butt, A. (et al), ‘Do Hypoallergenic Cats and Dogs Exist?’, Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (2012)
- Shouldice, V. (et al), ‘Expression of Behavioral Traits in Goldendoodles and Labradoodles’, Animals (2019)
- Howell, T. (et al), ‘Puppy Parties and Beyond: The Role of Early Age Socialization Practices on Adult Dog Behavior’, Veterinary Medicine: Research and Reports (2015)
- Duffy, D. (et al), ‘Breed Differences in Canine Aggression’, Applied Animal Behavior Science (2008)
- Clements, D. (et al), ‘Dogslife: A Web-Based Longitudinal Study of Labrador Retriever Health in the UK’, BMC Veterinary Research (2013)
- Adams, V. (et al), ‘Methods and Mortality Results of a Health Survey of Purebred Dogs in the UK’, Journal of Small Animal Practice (2010)
- Pedersen, N. (et al), ‘The Effect of Genetic Bottlenecks and Inbreeding on the Incidence of Two Major Autoimmune Diseases in Standard Poodles, Sebaceous Adenitis and Addison’s Disease’, Canine Medicine and Genetics (2015)
- The Canine Health Information Center