Are Labradoodles good for first time owners? Despite all the research I did beforehand, my first puppy was a real baptism by fire! And I think it’s pretty uncontroversial to say that some dog breeds are better suited to inexperienced dog owners than others. Labradoodles are amiable, affectionate, and relatively easy to train, which makes them a popular choice for novice puppy parents. But their working heritage and energy mean some first time owners underestimate the time commitment a Labradoodle needs.
- Are Labradoodles good for first time owners?
- Are Labradoodles difficult?
- Is a Labradoodle the right first dog for me?
- Are Labradoodles good for first time owners with full time jobs?
- Families – are Labradoodles good for first time owners with kids?
- Feline friends – are Labradoodles good for first time owners with cats?
- What to know before owning a Labradoodle
Are Labradoodles good for first time owners?
Your first dog is a shock to the system for most new owners, regardless of which breed you choose. If you bring them home as a puppy, there’s a period of intense upheaval and hard work while you settle them in and raise them to adulthood. In the long term, and if you adopt an older dog, you’ll still need to adapt all corners of your life to accommodate your new pet as well. This can include dog-proofing your home, and changing your daily routine and exercise habits.
Arguably, the best dog for a first time owner is one which changes their lifestyle as little as possible. So a breed with lots of physical stamina is best suited to someone who already enjoys long hikes, and so on. But changing your lifestyle a bit to accommodate your new best friend isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as long as you’re fully informed about the commitment you’re making and you’re confident you’ll be happy with it.
Labradoodles are a mixed breed combining the legendary Labrador Retriever and the whip-smart Poodle. The Labrador has been America’s favorite dog breed for over 30 years, and Poodles have never been outside the top ten. They have been so enduringly popular for one simple reason: they are great all-round dogs. And now Labradoodles are hugely popular too. Here are some of the traits which makes this mix a dependable choice for first time owners:
- They’re devoted. Like their parent breeds, Labradoodles are very people focussed, and they love to seek out human company.
- They’re affectionate. Labradoodles form close emotional bonds with their human family, and they wear their heart on their sleeve about how much they love you.
- They are easily trainable. Trainability is a combination of intelligence, problem solving skills, mental stamina, and being easily motivated to work in a team with their human. Labradoodles have these qualities in spades.
- They are confident. Labradoodles usually have high levels of social confidence, which means that with the help of some thorough socialization at a young age, they are unlikely to be reactive or aggressive towards unfamiliar dogs or people.
- And they’re popular. The good thing about following the crowd and getting a dog breed that’s already widely owned is that there is a wide community of people to turn to for support when things are tough!
Are Labradoodles difficult?
We’ve promised you a balanced article, so here is an honest appraisal of why a Labradoodle might not be the right choice for a first time owner instead.
- They’re devoted. Labradoodles come from working gundog breeds who succeeded in their working roles partly due to their love of human interaction. This means Labradoodles are prone to separation anxiety if they join a family which underestimated how much time they need.
- They are trainable. Labradoodles have a strong work ethic underpinning their trainability. But once the basics have been covered, you can’t just stop. This clever mix needs a lifetime of mental stimulation, or they will get bored. Bored dogs express their frustration by barking, whining, digging, scratching, chewing and escaping.
- They are confident. Labradoodles are like Buddy from Elf in dog form. They have so much good will towards everyone. This can make them embarrassing and tricky to control when other people or dogs are about.
- They’re popular. Popular dog breeds are a magnet for puppy farmers. Some puppy farming operations are extremely sophisticated and well-practiced at deceiving first-time puppy buyers who aren’t familiar with how responsible dog breeding should look.
Is a Labradoodle the right first dog for me?
So, let’s look at five signs you’d be well-suited to life with a Labradoodle.
1. You can give your dog company for most of the day
Labradoodles are best suited to households where they will have human company for most of the day, and lots of direct interaction. This could mean someone who is able to take their dog to work, a couple who work different shifts, a family with a stay at home parent, or an active retired person. If your home is routinely empty for more than 4 hours a day, we’ve got more thoughts on Labradoodles coming up.
2. You’re committed to training
In one survey of canine behavior, two of the biggest obstacles to dog owners being satisfied with their pet which emerged were running up to people and destroying stuff. Both of those problems can be prevented by making an ongoing commitment to training. Besides basic obedience and recall training, your Labradoodle will enjoy activities like gundog training, agility training, and musical freestyle. And the mental exercise will make them calmer and less destructive at home.
3. You love being outdoors
Labradoodles have energy and stamina for days. Besides training, they will need around 2 hours of outdoor physical activity every day. If you already have an active outdoor lifestyle, a Labradoodle will slot in nicely.
4. You have budgeted for your dog in detail
Owner surveys reveal that perceived cost is a big factor in dog owner satisfaction. Labradoodles are large and a lot of them have long, non-shedding coats. They need:
- Lots of food.
- The biggest bed/blanket/crate/harness in the store.
- Larger doses of monthly flea and worming treatment.
- Frequent grooming – which is often priced by size.
Dog walkers, daycares and boarding kennels also sometimes charge by size. Make sure you’ve taken everything into account, so your Labradoodle doesn’t turn into a liability you can’t afford.
5. You’re happy sharing your space and getting along with others
Personality studies of dog owners find that the happiest puppy parents are content sharing their personal space, and rubbing along with others. There’s a lot of compromising and accommodating to do, and since you created the situation, it’s going to have to be you who does the lion’s share of it!
Are Labradoodles good for first time owners with full time jobs?
Generally, a full time job does not leave enough time for meeting the needs of an adult Labradoodle. Let alone the extra demands of raising a Labradoodle puppy, and navigating dog ownership for the first time. Labradoodles are only really good for first time dog owners in full time work if you can also arrange for someone else to spend part of the day with them. This could be a willing friend or relative, or you could pay a professional dog sitter or daycare setting to have them.
Families – are Labradoodles good for first time owners with kids?
One of the Labradoodle’s most winning qualities is their affection for and patience with children. They form close emotional attachments with all of their human family, rather than being a one-person dog. They are generally tolerant of being petted, and enjoy the company of kids. But of course, young children and babies should always be supervised with dogs, even placid and patient ones.
Bear in mind that your first puppy is a big undertaking and a steep learning curve though, so be realistic about whether you have the time whilst your family are very young.
Feline friends – are Labradoodles good for first time owners with cats?
Labradoodles tend to have a modest chase drive. When they are young, chasing and play fighting with other animals is a huge source of fun for them, but there’s rarely any malice behind it. They’re unlikely to mean any ill-will towards your cat, but if your cat is old, starting to lose mobility, or generally not keen on dogs, they’re unlikely to appreciate the attention of a boisterous puppy. For a first time dog owner, this extra layer of stress can be the straw which breaks the camel’s back.
What to know before owning a Labradoodle?
Here are some final thoughts, which we think inexperienced dog owners benefit from knowing before they commit to a Labradoodle as the first dog:
- There are lots of types of Labradoodle. Besides first and second generation Labradoodles there are also back crosses and Australian Labradoodles – a multigenerational breeding programme which aims to establish some Labradoodles as a pedigree dog breed in their own right. We’ll include links to more resources about them all at the end of this article.
- It’s a myth that Labradoodles are hypoallergenic. The proteins which trigger dog allergies are in their sweat, urine and saliva, not their fur or dander. There’s no evidence that non-shedding breeds such as Poodles are any less allergenic than shedding breeds.
- Some Labradoodles shed. Choosing this mix is not a guarantee of a non-shedding dog, and all doodle coats need a LOT of brushing. This coat is high maintenance, time consuming, and frequently expensive to look after.
Are Labradoodles good for first time owners – summary
Labradoodles are great all round dogs. They’re suitability for any given home has less to do with whether you’ve owned a dog before, and more to do with whether you can offer the kind of lifestyle that will meet their physical and mental needs.
Are you thinking of getting a Labradoodle as your first dog?
What’s swinging it for you? Let us know in the comments box down below!
More Labradoodle resources for first time owners
- F1 Labradoodle – the original!
- F2 Labradoodle – all about 2nd generation doodles
- F1b Labradoodles – understanding backcrossing
- Multigen Labradoodles
- Australian Labradoodles
- Are Labradoodles fussy, or low maintenance?
- Finding a reputable breeder
- Ali et al. Genetic analysis of the modern Australian labradoodle dog breed reveals an excess of the poodle genome. PLOS Genetics. 2020.
- Curb et al. The Relationship between Personality Match and Pet Satisfaction among Dog Owners. Anthrozoos. 2013.
- Herwijnen. Dog ownership satisfaction determinants in the owner-dog relationship and the dog’s behaviour. PLOS One. 2018.
- Shouldice et al. Expression of Behavioural Traits in Goldendoodles and Labradoodles. Animals. 2019.
- Vredegoor. 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.
- Waite et al. Frequency and animal demographics of mouthing behavior in companion dogs in the United States. Learning and Motivation. 2021.