my labradoodle looks like a lab

My Labradoodle Looks Like A Lab!

“My Labradoodle looks like a Lab! What happened??”

If this is you right now, don’t be alarmed.

The magic of genetics and crossing different dog breeds means that Labradoodles can inherit any mix of qualities from each of their parents.

Some Labradoodles look very Labrador-esque indeed. But they might have other qualities in their temperament which are more strongly reminiscent of their Poodle parent.

Why does my Labradoodle look like a Lab?

Labradoodles are frequently associated with a curly coat which resembles that of the Poodle. But remember, Labradoodles aren’t a purebred dog so they can vary a lot.

my labradoodle looks like a lab

If your Labradoodle has a straight coat, that means their genes for coat texture came from the Labrador Retriever.

These dogs are often called flat coat or straight hair Labradoodles.

Poodle vs Labrador Coat

Labradors and Poodles share a number of traits.

These two very popular breeds are both highly intelligent, extremely loyal, require plenty of exercise, and make great family pets.

But when it comes to physical appearance, no one has ever mistaken a Lab for a Poodle.

Poodle Coat

The Poodle has a single-layer coat that is dense and curly.

Many people refer to them hypoallergenic dogs, but the truth is that no dog is completely allergen-free.

It is true that Poodles shed less than most other breeds, but when they lose hair it tends to get trapped in their coarse, curly coat.

Since people don’t find Poodle hair on their clothes and furniture they often think these dogs don’t shed at all.

Poodle coats also come in a wide array of eye-catching colors like apricot, red, blue, and silver.

Poodle Grooming

There is a downside to the Poodle coat, and that is its extensive grooming requirements.

Curly hair gets tangled and matted very easily.

These dogs need daily brushing and regular visits to a professional groomer, because like human hair, Poodle fur keeps growing continuously.

This low-shedding coat is also associated with Labradoodles.

Not only does it give them a sweet “teddy bear appearance,” it also means less vacuuming.

Labrador Coat

The Labrador has a double coat, or two layers of fur.

They consist of a top coat (or guard coat) that is short and wiry in texture.

And underneath, a lighter, softer coat which works as an insulator.

It regulates the Lab’s body temperature, keeping him warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

Together these two layers protect his skin from harmful UV rays and work as a water repellent.

Coat colors include black, yellow, and chocolate, but there can be some variations within these shades.

Labrador Grooming

Compared to the Poodle, Labrador grooming is a breeze.

Their coat only requires occasional bathing.

In fact, bathing a Lab too often can strip away natural oils and leave their skin dry and itchy.

Brushing should be done once a week, but this increases during shedding season.

And unlike Poodles, Labs shed prolifically.

Why Does My Labradoodle Looks like a Lab?

Like any Labradoodle, straight hair Labradoodles are the result of mating a Labrador and a Poodle.

It’s just their straight coat which makes us think they look more like a Lab than a Poodle.

If you look closely at things like their overall proportions, the length of their legs, or the shape of their muzzle, you’re likely to spot unmistakeable clues of their Poodle heritage.

But what exactly happened to their coat, which made it so Labrador-like?

Why Does My Labradoodle Have Straight Hair?

Curly coats on Poodles and Labradoodles are produced by the curly coat gene, commonly abbreviated to CuC.

Dogs that don’t have this gene (like Labradors) have straight hair.

Dogs who inherit it from both parents (like Poodles) have tightly curled hair.

What about Labradoodles?

First generation Labradoodles inherit one copy of the CuC gene from their Poodle parent. But they don’t inherit another from their Labrador parent.

One copy of the CuC gene by itself is said to be ‘incompletely dominant’. Which means that it produces a coat somewhere on a spectrum between curly and straight.

All first generation Labradoodles are somewhere on this scale – some very close to one end or the other, and some more in the middle.

A Labradoodle which looks a lot like a Lab has a short, straight coat because their single copy of the CuC gene has had very little impact on their coat.

Why Do Most Labradoodles Have Curly Hair?

Lots of people particularly desire a Labradoodle with a curly coat.

It could be because they prefer the look, or for its low-shedding quality.

To improve the probability of this, some breeders offer litters of F1b Labradoodles.

What is an F1b Labradoodle?

An F1b Labradoodle is a cross between a first generation (F1) Labradoodle and a purebred Poodle.

This means they’re 75% Poodle and 25% Labrador Retriever.

The “b” in F1b stands for backcross.

Crossing an F1 Labradoodle with a purebred Poodle will typically make the Poodle traits more dominant.

Let’s see how this applies to coat texture

All first generation Labradoodles all have one copy of the CuC gene, and coat which is on the wavy spectrum.

On average, in a litter of F1b puppies from a Labradoodle and a Poodle:

  • Half the puppies will be born with one copy of the CuC gene, and be on the wavy coated spectrum.
  • And half will be born with two copies of the gene, which means their coat will be tightly curled.

My Labradoodle Looks like a Lab—Will he Shed like a Lab?

It is possible that a Labradoodle with a straight coat could be low-shedding, but it’s not likely.

They will probably shed less than a purebred Lab, but considerably more than curly-haired Labradoodles.

This is because a straight coat will have less Poodle genetics.

But remember, when it comes to early generation mixed breeds there are no guarantees.

My Labradoodle Looks Like A Lab – Practical Tips

A short, straight coat might not be what you expected from you Labradoodle. Here are some tips for managing it:

  • Regular brushing will remove many of the loose hairs.
  • This is a good time to bond with your dog as Labradoodles love to be around people as much as possible.
  • Both parents were bred to retrieve game from water, so your Labradoodle is likely to love swimming.
  • This is an excellent way to wash away excess hair without stripping away essential oils on their skin.
  • Make sure your Labradoodle gets a healthy, balanced diet, as this can also affect hair and skin quality.
  • Foods rich in zinc and omega 3 fatty acids will keep their coat shiny and help control shedding.

My Labradoodle Looks Like A Lab – Summary

Mixed breed dogs can inherit any mix of physical characteristics from their parents, which means their is a lot of variation in Labradoodle looks.

First generation Labradoodles only inherit one copy of the gene for a curly coat, which results in a coat which is somewhere on a spectrum between wavy and straight.

Labradoodles with a short straight coat tend to be the ones which most strongly resemble Labradors to our eyes.

Does your Labradoodle look like a Lab? Tell us about your pet in the comments!

References and Further Reading

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.

Welle, MM, et al., “The Hair Follicle: A Comparative Review of Canine Hair Follicle Anatomy and Physiology,” Toxicologic Pathology, 2016.

Cadieu, E.,et al. “Coat variation in the domestic dog is governed by variants in three genes” Science, 2009.

Marsh, KA, et al., “Effects of zinc and linoleic acid supplementation on the skin and coat quality of dogs receiving a complete and balanced diet,” Veterinary Dermatology, 2008.

Watson, TDG, “Diet and Skin Disease in Dogs and Cats,” The Journal of Nutrition, 1998.

1 thought on “My Labradoodle Looks Like A Lab!”

  1. We definitely have a straight hair Labradoodle and she’s chocolate her mother was all standard poodle her father is Labrador and part standard poodle also. She’s very hyper and very energetic but very sweet and shedding alot

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *