reputable labradoodle breeder

How To Find A Reputable Labradoodle Breeder

This complete guide to finding reputable Labradoodle breeder will help you recognize which breeders you can trust, and spot the red flags that mean you should walk away.

Can you tell a reputable Labradoodle breeder from a puppy farmer? This article will give you the confidence to tell the good from the bad, and to walk away when it matters.

There’s lots in this video which tells us these puppies are growing up with a conscientious breeder. Let’s start by looking at why that matters.

The importance of buying from a good breeder

How much does buying from a reputable Labradoodle breeder actually matter? Sure, buying from an ethical, respectable breeder would be ideal. But if you find a puppy from a not-so-great breeder, isn’t it still doing a good thing to rescue them from that situation and give them the love and care they deserve?

We think not. The big difference between reputable breeders and puppy farmers is motive. Reputable breeders love their dogs, and they’re passionate about animal welfare. Every litter represents a huge investment of time and money, and the reward is knowing that every puppy has the best chance of a healthy and happy life. Bad breeders, on the other hand, are motivated by money. Their puppies are conceived, whelped and rehomed for minimum outlay of time or money, and maximum profit. As soon as you buy one of these puppies, they will be replaced with another one, to sell to someone else. Purchasing from them feeds the cycle, and keeps the puppy farming industry going.

Repercussions of puppy farming

On a personal note, choosing a puppy from a pet store or puppy farmer is likely to result in increased financial and emotional cost for you, too. Puppies bred in high-volume commercial settings are more likely to have behavioral and emotional problems such as aggression, reactivity, separation anxiety, excessive attention seeking activity, and touch sensitivity. They are also more likely to have avoidable hereditary diseases. All of which can run to thousands of dollars in behaviorist and veterinary fees to manage (not even fix!). So good breeding protects breeding dogs, their puppies, and you. Now let’s see how to find and recognize a breeder who practices high Labradoodle breeding standards

Finding Labradoodle breeders

A significant obstacle in the way of finding a Labradoodle breeder, compared to finding a pedigree Labrador or Poodle breeder, is that there are no organizations which exist to approve responsible breeders and keep all their details in one place. By contrast, Labrador and Poodle breeders can apply for approved breeder status with the AKC, and once approved they are included on a searchable list of breeders on the AKC website. Whilst these accreditations aren’t infallible, they are a good starting point for people looking for a healthy Lab or Poodle puppy.

reputable labradoodle breeder

However, since Labradoodle puppies aren’t purebred, you’ll need to rely on sources such as word of mouth and online searches. And you’ll need to be able to judge the quality of the breeders you find for yourself. Before you hop online and Google ‘Labradoodle breeder Florida’ or ‘Labradoodle breeder Oregon’ or whatever though, have a look for local Labradoodle communities near you on social media, who can recommend breeders they have personal experience of.

A quick note on Australian Labradoodle breeders

Australian Labradoodles aren’t first generation Labradoodles. They are multigeneration Labradoodles, bred to fit an ideal template for a Labradoodle. The World Australian Labradoodle Association (WALA), or the Australian Labradoodle Association of America (ALAA) both maintain directories of Australian Labradoodle breeders who meet their minimum standards. You can search these by region, and they are good places to start looking for puppies.

Hallmarks of a good Labradoodle breeder

Once you’ve found a breeder, you’ll need to judge whether they are a good one. Here are the hallmarks to look for.

Good breeders health test their sire and dam

High standards of Labradoodle breeding begin with health testing. Health testing potential breeding dogs minimizes the odds of hereditary diseases being passed on from one generation to the next. Provided a puppy is genetically healthy, almost everything else is within your gift to influence when they come home. But if they are born with a congenital disease, there’s little you can do to avoid the cost and heartache that comes with it.

At a minimum, the health tests which should be carried out on the Labradoodle dog breeds are –

For Labradors:

  • hip dysplasia
  • elbow dysplasia
  • eye conditions
  • and exercise induced collapse

Optional but recommended:

  • centronuclear myopathy
  • cardiac evaluation
  • progressive retinal atrophy

For Poodles:

  • hip dysplasia
  • eye conditions
  • and one of the following:
    • thyroid disease
    • sebaceous adenitis
    • or cardiac exam

If you’re considering an Australian Labradoodle, the tests to expect are:

  • hip dysplasia
  • elbow dysplasia
  • eye conditions
  • exercise induced collapse
  • progressive retinal atrophy

Good breeders will have records of the health tests ready to share with you when you first make contact. And they will be delighted that you asked for them.

Good breeders want to know everything about you

If you’d poured your heart, soul, lots of cash and several sleep deprived weeks into doing something really, really well, would you just hand over the results to the first person who asked for them? No way! And good breeders are the same, they want to make sure that their puppies are joining good homes, who are well matched to owning a Labradoodle. Since rehoming puppies is all about matchmaking, a good breeder will be happy to answer lots of questions from you, on any and all aspects of breeding and raising their litter. A reputable breeder will also insist that if you’re unable to continue caring for your dog at any point in the future, you return it to them.

Good breeders are realistic about what they can promise

Has anyone ever told you that a Labradoodle combines the best bits of a Poodle with the best bits of a Labrador? Or that they’re hypoallergenic? Unfortunately, neither of these things is necessarily true. Labradoodles can inherit many possible combinations of Labrador and Poodle traits. They may or may not have a shedding coat for example. And regardless of whether it sheds or not, there is no guarantee that it will be hypoallergenic. In fact, dogs produce allergens in their saliva, not their fur, and there’s no evidence that any dog breed is truly hypoallergenic.

A good breeder will be honest with you about these things. In fact, they’ll want to make sure that you’re aware of them before you commit to one of their puppies. They’ll have lots of other questions for you too, about your lifestyle, and what you picture life with a Labradoodle being like. This is because they want the best outcome for their puppies, and you.

Experienced breeders also know that puppy temperament is not necessarily a reliable predictor of adult personality. So they might try to match you with a puppy that will suit you well based on the time they’ve had with their litter so far, but they will be honest about the limitations on trying to judge which pups will be the most energetic, and which will be the most laid back, for example. Very occasionally, breeders offer retired breeding Labradoodles for sale, in which case you’ll get a much clearer idea of exactly which Labrador and Poodle qualities they have.

Good breeders socialize their puppies

Socializing puppies is the process of introducing them to lots of different experiences before they are 12 weeks old. This includes different kinds of people, places, vehicles, sounds, toys… even different surfaces to walk on. While they are this young, puppies are very open to forming positive associations with new things. This gives them the confidence to react confidently to those same things again in future, and also to embrace unfamiliar experiences more generally. Since the socialization window is so brief, the only way to get the most out of it is if a breeder starts socializing the puppies whilst they are still with them.

Like the puppies in the video earlier, a good breeder raises their litter in the heart of the home, where they’ll see and interact with people frequently, and get used to the sights and sounds of a busy household. They’ll also introduce their puppy to different kinds of floors, toys, and outside environments when it’s safe to do so.

Avoiding Labradoodle breeder regrets

As we’ve seen, choosing the wrong breeder can have heart breaking consequences. So, here are some red flag to look out for during your puppy search. These signs indicate that a breeder is willing – either intentionally, neglectfully, or through ignorance and lack of preparation – to compromise their puppies’ welfare.

One or both parents aren’t health tested.

Or, the breeder claims they have been health tested, but keeps making excuses why they haven’t produced the certificates yet, whilst simultaneously pressuring you to put down a deposit. For example “I’m SO sorry, I’ve been SO busy with people coming to view the puppies this week that I haven’t had a chance to scan the certificates and get them over to you.” This is a really easy trap to fall into because it sounds so reasonable, and taps into our fear of missing out. But mark our words, the certificates do not exist!

There’s something not quite right with the mom.

For example she’s not there (because “my partner has just taken her out for a walk”), she’s disinterested in the puppies, she doesn’t respond to her name, or she doesn’t show any bond with the breeder.

They’re not interested in you, or the life you can offer their puppy.

Because they’re only interested in your cash.

They have other litters available at the same time.

Raising a litter of puppies is time consuming! It is not fair on them or their mom to try and raise more than one litter at a time.

You’re not allowed to see where the puppies live.

It’s probably horrible.

They suggest you take more than one puppy, or collect them early.

Puppy farmers treat puppies as products, to be sold as quickly as possible, to make room for more stock. You can read more about the perils of collecting two puppies here, and the drawbacks of collecting before 8 weeks here.

They describe their dogs as rare.

Making something sound rare and exclusive is a way to drive the price up. Reputable breeders usually sell all their puppies at the same rate, even ones with unusual or remarkable colors. This is because they specifically don’t want to make their breed an appealing target for puppy farmers.

They won’t talk candidly about the pros and cons of mixed breeding.

Breeders who are either cagey or defensive, or overly gushy, have something to hide!

Breeding is their only source of income.

It’s impossible to produce enough puppies for this, and do it well.

They aren’t interested in staying in touch.

A good breeder promises a lifetime of support, and wants to know how your dog gets on in future. In particular, watch out for breeders trying to conceal where they live (for example by insisting on handing over the puppy elsewhere). They will never answer the phone to you again once they have your money.

How to find a reputable Labradoodle breeder – summary

Searching for a reputable breeder can be a daunting prospect. As this mix continues to gain popularity, good and bad breeders are being drawn to them. If you have any doubts about a breeder, it is always better to walk away than take the risk. We know how hard that can be to do. But we also know that if you’re patient and resolute, you’ll be rewarded with a the best possible dog-owning experience!

More Labradoodle resources

References

Hargrave. Are puppy socialisation classes enough? Companion Animal. 2017.

Howell et al. Puppy parties and beyond: the role of early age socialization practices on adult dog behavior. Veterinary Medicine. 2015.

McMillan. Behavioral and psychological outcomes for dogs sold as puppies through pet stores and/or born in commercial breeding establishments: Current knowledge and putative causes. Journal of Veterinary Behavior. 2017.

Orthopedic Foundation For Animals.

Robinson et al. Puppy Temperament Assessments Predict Breed and American Kennel Club Group but Not Adult Temperament. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science. 2016.

Vredegoor 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.

Wauthier et al. Using the mini C-BARQ to investigate the effects of puppy farming on dog behaviour. Applied Animal Behaviour Science. 2018.

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