Poodle vs Labradoodle – which breed is the best choice for your next canine companion?
Since the Labradoodle has a Poodle parent, both breeds share more similarities than either of them vs an unrelated breed.
For instance, they are both intelligent, easily trained, and social. But, Labradoodle crosses are less predictable than purebred Poodles, especially first generation mixes.
Let’s take a closer look at these two dogs to find out which is right for you.
Poodle vs Labradoodle – What’s the Difference?
Although their names sound similar, the Poodle and Labradoodle are very different dogs.
There are three distinct Poodle varieties. From large to small they are:
The main difference is that Poodles (all sizes) are purebred dogs. The Labradoodle, on the other hand, is a designer dog.
This means it is a mixed breed that comes from one purebred Poodle and one purebred Labrador Retriever.
First generation mixed breeds can inherit any combination of traits from their parents. So, even though the Labradoodle has a Poodle parent, it can be very different to the purebred Poodle.
Poodle vs Labradoodle History
The Poodle breed has been around a lot longer than the Labradoodle mix.
A breed’s history can leave traces in temperament and natural instincts. So, it can be more important to learn than most people realise!
The Standard Poodle is the oldest Poodle type. Originally, Poodles were water retrievers.
In fact, the name Poodle comes from the German “pudel”, which means to splash in water.
Poodles became fashionable in France and across the world. Breed experts found art from centuries ago with dogs resembling the modern Poodle breed.
Over time, Standard Poodles were bred down to create the Miniature and Toy breeds. Some Standard Poodles are still working gun dogs.
But, most are companion animals like their smaller versions.
Wally Conron first intentionally bred the Labradoodle in Australia in the 1980s. His goal was to create a hypoallergenic service dog with the Lab’s temperament and the Poodle’s coat.
Compared to the Poodle, the Labradoodle is a very recent creation.
Any genetic line of Labradoodle begins as 50% Poodle and 50% Labrador. But, most modern Labradoodles have more Poodle influence in their genetic makeup.
This is because early generation Labradoodles are often bred back to purebred Poodles to improve their coat quality.
For the purposes of this guide, we will focus on the first generation Labradoodle, so you’re fully aware of the potential variations in this mix.
Poodle vs Labradoodle Appearance
Second or later generation Labradoodles can look very similar to purebred Poodles. But, first generation mixes can be much more like their Labrador parents.
If you want a dog with a predictable appearance, a purebred Poodle will suit you best. Or, a later generation Labradoodle.
Poodle vs Labradoodle Size
As we know, Poodles come in three size varieties. Here’s what to expect from each:
- Standard – Anything over 15 inches tall, 40 to 70 pounds
- Miniature – 10 to 15 inches tall, 10 to 15 pounds
- Toy – Under 10 inches tall, 4 to 6 pounds
The size of a Labradoodle will vary depending on the size of its Poodle parent. Depending on the Poodle parent, you could get a standard, medium, or miniature Labradoodle.
Like the purebred Poodle, Labradoodle varieties will vary in size. But, since the Labrador only comes in a standard large size, Labradoodles will rarely be as small as Toy Poodles.
First generation Labradoodles can be anywhere between their parents. So, looking at their parents is the best way to predict their adult size. But, here are some averages to work with:
- Standard – 21 to 24 inches tall, 45 to 65 pounds
- Medium – 17 to 20 inches tall, 25 to 45 pounds
- Miniature – 14 to 16 inches tall, 15 to 25 pounds
Many Labradoodle experts say that height can be a more important guide to size than weight, since a Labradoodle can be stocky like a Labrador Retriever or slim like a Poodle.
Either way, if you’re looking for a smaller breed, Poodles will suit you more. Labradoodles can be both larger and stockier than purebred Poodles.
Poodle vs Labradoodle Coat Type
A Poodle’s coat is long and can be clipped into the distinctive Poodle style seen at dog shows.
Many owners choose a low maintenance “puppy” clip for their dogs. They have tight curls that need a lot of grooming to loosen any tangles.
Labradoodles coats can be wavy or curly. A few individual dogs may even have straight coats, like their Labrador parent.
The three general Labradoodle fur types are called hair, fleece, and wool. Hair is the straightest, and the most similar to the Lab. Wool is tightly curled, very similar to the Poodle.
Later generation Labradoodle coats usually grow to around four inches in length. They require less grooming than the purebred Poodle, but they do still need regular brushing, trimming and bathing.
Poodles have many coat colors, including:
Labradoodles share the same potential color spectrum as the Poodle. They may also have yellow coats, like the Labrador parent.
In truth, no dog breed is hypoallergenic, even the purebred Poodle. The proteins that trigger dog allergies can be found in dander (skin flakes), saliva, and even urine.
The reason that Poodles often don’t trigger allergies is because their tight curls catch shedding fur and dander.
But this is why Poodles need more grooming, as this shedding dander and fur can lead to painful tangles.
Labradoodle wool coats may be just as effective at catching and trapping shed dander. But, fleece and hair coats won’t.
So, although fleece and hair coats need less grooming, they may trigger an owners allergies more severely.
You won’t know what coat a first generation Labradoodle puppy will inherit until they are adults.
Generally, it’s a good idea to spend time with a Poodle or Labradoodle before bringing them home, to see if they trigger allergy symptoms.
Poodle vs Labradoodle Temperament
A dog’s temperament will have a huge impact on how well they suit your family.
The Poodle is known for being one of the smartest dog breeds. But, on top of this, they have lively active temperaments.
Many Poodle owners also remark on their sense of fun and good humor.
The Labradoodle, similarly, is a popular family dog. This mix is energetic and playful, although interactions with children should be supervised.
Doodles are great with kids when well socialized, but they can accidentally hurt small kids when playing thanks to their large size.
Potential for Aggression
Both Poodles and Labradoodles can make great family dogs. Especially if they are trained and socialized well from a young age.
However, in a study into canine aggression Poodles scored slightly higher than average for stranger-directed aggression.
So, a purebred Poodle may be more wary of strangers than Labradoodles. This can mean Poodles will also bark more than Doodles.
The Labradoodle’s other parent, the Labrador, is known for making friends with everyone and everything.
But, individual Labradoodles can vary. Some may be more wary, like the Poodle parent, and others may love everyone like the Lab.
Good socialization is the best way to encourage a friendly temperament in your dog, whether mixed or purebred.
Both Poodles and Labradoodles are very social dogs.
Neither like to be left alone, or to be away from their humans for long periods of time.
So, if you’re considering either of these breeds, you must prepare to spend plenty of time with them.
If they don’t get enough attention, or their social needs aren’t met, they may exhibit destructive behaviors, or develop separation anxiety.
As we learnt earlier, the Poodle was first bred as a water retriever.
The Labradoodle was bred to be a service dog. But, it comes from two retrieving breeds.
So, both Poodles and Labradoodles may be naturally “mouthy” breeds. This can be a particular stress during puppyhood and teething periods.
Bear this in mind if you have young children in your house.
Poodle vs Labradoodle Training and Exercise Needs
Both the Poodle and Labradoodle are intelligent breeds. Their intelligence and eagerness to please makes them very trainable.
Many Poodles and Labradoodles are trained to be service dogs, or working dogs.
Positive reward methods are the best way to train both breeds, since both can be very food motivated. It will also help to build a strong bond between you and your dog.
Both breeds also do well in canine sports like agility and obedience training.
They each need at least 60 minutes of exercise a day. But, smaller varieties will be happy with less.
Poodle vs Labradoodle Health
All dog breeds can suffer from hereditary health issues, whether they’re purebred or mixed.
However, mixed breeds can be healthier, as the larger gene pool can decrease the risk of certain health problems.
Responsible breeders for Labradoodles and Poodles will health test parents before breeding. They will only breed from dogs with no hereditary health issues, and will be willing to show you clean bills of health.
Let’s take a closer look at the health problems owners will need to watch out for.
Poodle Health Issues
Poodles can be prone to the following health problems:
- Hip dysplasia
- Sebaceous adenitis
- Addison’s disease
- von Willebrand’s disease
- Luxating patella (in small Poodle varieties)
- Bloat (in Standard Poodles)
Labradoodle Health Issues
A Labradoodle can inherit the health problems of both parent breeds, including all of those listed above.
As well as the Poodle health issues, Labrador Retrievers can pass on problems including:
- Heart issues
- Exercise induced collapse
- Progressive retinal atrophy
- Centronuclear myopathy
No matter which breed you choose, go to a reputable breeder to minimise the chance of a dog inheriting these hereditary health issues.
Poodle vs Labradoodle – Which is Best?
Now that we’ve covered the basics, it’s easy to see why choosing between a Poodle and a Labradoodle can be a hard but ultimately rewarding choice.
Both breeds can make great family pets, as long as they are socialized and trained well from a young age.
First generation Labradoodles are much less predictable in terms of temperament and appearance. They are also likely to be larger than the smallest Poodle varieties.
Labradoodles can also be more likely to trigger allergy symptoms. But, they can have lower grooming needs, despite potential increased shedding.
The best breed for you will depend on your lifestyle. Both Labradoodles and Poodles can be friendly, affectionate, and playful pets. But, they both have high social and exercise needs.
Smaller varieties will need less space and less exercise than larger ones.
Which Is Your Favorite?
Do you love the Labradoodle more, or does the Poodle have a special place in your heart?
In the right home, both can make wonderful family pets. Let us know what you think in the comments!
References and Resources
- Duffy, D. (et al), ‘Breed Differences in Canine Aggression’, Applied Animal Behavior Science (2008)
- Farrell, L. (et al), ‘The Challenges of Pedigree Dog Health: Approaches to Combating Inherited Disease’, Canine Medicine and Genetics (2015)
- Rooney, N. & Sargan D. ‘Welfare Concerns Associated with Pedigree Dog Breeding in the UK’, Animal Welfare (2010)
- Beuchat, C. ‘The Myth of Hybrid Vigor… is a Myth’, The Institute of Canine Biology (2014)
- 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)
- Ali, M. (et al), ‘Genetic Analysis of the Modern Australian Labradoodle Dog Breed Reveals an Excess of the Poodle Genome‘, PLOS Genetics (2020)
- 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)
- ‘Official Breed Club Health Statement’, Poodle Club of America (2015)
- ‘Official Breed Club Health Statement’, Labrador Retriever Club (2016)
- American Kennel Club
- United Kennel Club
- Australian Labradoodle Association