If you are asking yourself whether you should get a Labradoodle puppy before taking the plunge, then you are already on the right track to becoming a great dog owner. Today we are going to look at the most important things to consider before you bring home a Labradoodle. And help you decide whether now is the right time to take that step into dog ownership.
- Should I get a Labradoodle?
- Labs and Poodles
- Spare time
- Puppyhood to adult dogs
- Other pets and your family
- Money matters
- Home and outdoor space
- Are Labradoodles good dogs?
There are some important things to consider before buying a Labradoodle puppy. From finances to family life, care to socialization. A puppy is a huge commitment, and choosing a Labradoodle raises some additional concerns all of their own. But asking yourself these questions now can help you to plan ahead, prepare and get ready for your awesome new adventure together. Addressing potential issues in advance means you’re more likely to have a happy future together!
Should I Get A Labradoodle Puppy?
Do you have your heart set on an adorable Labradoodle puppy? Getting a new puppy, whether it’s a Labradoodle or any other breed, is a big decision. Puppies require a lot of care and attention. Raising a happy, healthy, and well-trained dog takes time and patience. What should a new pet parent know about before acquiring a Labradoodle puppy?
Choosing A Doodle
First generation crossbreed dogs like Labradoodles are also known as designer dogs. Getting a designer dog can be more complicated and less predictable than getting a purebred puppy, or an older dog from a shelter.
It takes a good amount of time and research to make sure that your Labradoodle puppy is coming from a reputable breeder and not from a puppy mill. You also need to be confident that you’ll love a dog with any combination of traits from the Labrador Retriever and Poodle breeds. Here are the things you need to know to make an informed decision!
Things To Consider Before Buying A Labradoodle Puppy
Before you start falling in love with photos of litters online, think about whether you are ready to add a new four legged “kid” to your family.
Good breeders and most humane organizations interview potential puppy owners to make sure that a new puppy is right for their household and lifestyle. So you might as well ask the same questions – and answer yourself honestly – first. Here are a few basic questions you should ask yourself (and your family) before getting a Labradoodle puppy:
1. Would you be happy with a Labrador or a Poodle?
Mixed breed dogs inherit an unpredictable mix of traits from each of their parents. A good way to be sure that you are ready for any outcome, is to ask yourself if you’d be happy with either parent breed. If not, is it worth the risk that your Doodle pup will grow up to have qualities you specifically didn’t want? (And yes, that includes shedding!)
2. Have you got time for a puppy?
Puppy parenting is all-consuming. And it’s going to be several months before you can leave your puppy alone at home for even a couple of hours. How will you combine that with commitments like working?
3. Are you prepared to care for your dog beyond puppyhood?
Labradoodles can live up to 15 years, and need care and attention over their whole lifespan. Since their parents were both originally working breeds, they will need several hours of mental and physical stimulation – in the form of games, training and exercise – every day.
4. Do you already have a dog, cat, or other animals in the home?
While Labradoodles are very friendly and social, make sure that your current pets will be comfortable with a rambunctious new puppy around. Sometimes it is kinder to wait until they’ve enjoyed their golden years in peace before getting a puppy.
5. Is everyone in the household on board with the decision to get a new puppy?
Before buying a Labradoodle puppy it’s a good idea to have a really good chat with everyone you live with. Consider the preferences of everyone involved, and don’t forget about pet allergies. There’s an enduring myth that Labradoodles are good for people with allergies. But no dog can be guaranteed to be hypoallergenic.
6. Are you financially ready to care for a dog?
Both as a new puppy and over the course of its lifetime? The upfront cost of a puppy is a drop in the ocean compared to the lifetime costs of looking after them.
7. Do you have the right kind of home environment for a Labradoodle?
Will a full-size Labradoodle fit comfortably in your home? Do you have somewhere to wash fox poo off them in winter, without having to carry them upstairs?
8. Are there suitable places to walk them nearby?
9. Do you like grooming?
Most Labradoodles have a pretty high maintenance coat. Even if you take them to the groomers to be clipped regularly, they will still need combing a few times a week to keep it under control.
How did you do?
These are just a few of the questions any potential puppy owner should consider before beginning the search for a new best friend. Next, when it comes to Labradoodle puppies, where to get one is another important consideration. Popular breeds like the Doodle can come from questionable sources.
10. Can You Adopt a Labradoodle Puppy?
Are you hoping to adopt a Labradoodle puppy in need of a new home? Some rescue organizations like IDOG in the U.S. and Doodle Trust in the UK specialize in rehoming surrendered Poodle-cross dogs and puppies. But it’s more common to find adult Labradoodles that have been surrendered by previous owners than it is to find puppies.
Sometimes litters of puppies are available, if you’re happy to join a waiting list and be patient. Some Labrador Retriever and Poodle rescue groups will also sometimes have dogs and puppies that they have identified as Labradoodle mixes.
Rescued puppy mill dogs
Popular dogs like the Labradoodle are often bred by large scale commercial breeding operations known as puppy mills.
Occasionally, a puppy mill will be shut down for violating local ordinances and the dogs and puppies will need to be rescued and rehomed. There are organizations that specialize in this type of rescue, such as National Mill Dog Rescue in the U.S.
Finding a Labradoodle Breeder
Animal welfare advocates recommend that you avoid getting a puppy from questionable sources like puppy mills, websites, and retail pet stores. The best way to get a healthy Labradoodle puppy that has been raised in a humane environment is through a reputable breeder.
11. How can you tell if the breeders you find are responsible?
There are several ways you can confirm the legitimacy of a breeder. Here are a few simple but important tips:
- Talk to other Labradoodle owners and veterinarians to get a referral for Labradoodle breeders they know and trust. There may be a vet in your area who works with one.
- Limit your search to breeders in your geographic area so you can make an in person visit and assess the quality of the facility. A good breeder will welcome visits from potential clients.
- Responsible breeders will have (and share) complete documentation about the health and genetic lines of their puppies promptly. Avoid breeders who keep stalling and promising to send health certificates in the future.
- A good breeder will be as choosy as you are, so expect questions about your home, family, and lifestyle. Many will also ask you to sign a contract to ensure that your puppy will be spayed/neutered and returned to them if you cannot keep it.
12. Starting your search
Doodles do not have “official” breed clubs that are linked to national kennel club organizations like the AKC. But there are some Labradoodle organizations that may be helpful in your search though. For example, the Worldwide Australian Labradoodle Association maintains a list of registered breeders in good standing with the organization.
Australian Labradoodles are no longer first generation crossbreeds, but long lineages of Labradoodle descendants which have been bred for predictable, reliable qualities. The Australian Labradoodle Association of America requires member breeders to submit health testing results and DNA profiles for their dogs.
13. Health testing
Health testing for Labradoodles should include tests for hip and elbow dysplasia, certain inherited eye conditions, and exercise-induced collapse. Other tests for Labradoodles include patella luxation and heart and thyroid disease.
Before Buying Your New Labradoodle Puppy
Once you decide to get a puppy and find a breeder, there’s still some more planning to do when your puppy arrives! You’ll need to find a veterinarian and set up an initial wellness exam and vaccination schedule for your new puppy.
14. Do you need help with training and socialization?
You can investigate puppy kindergarten programs or find a dog trainer to work one on one with you and your puppy.
15. Who will care for your puppy when you are away from home?
You may need to find a good doggy day care program, a professional pet sitter or dog walker, and a good boarding facility to care for your dog when you can’t. And don’t forget about a groomer to help keep that curly Doodle coat in good shape!
Are Labradoodles good dogs? With their friendly, active natures and cute curls, we certainly think so! But some people, including their creator, have made it clear they aren’t fans. We’re going to dive into the background of this lovable breed and separate the myths from the facts!
Labradoodles are popular, low shedding, cute, and generally healthy dogs. Most Labradoodle owners adore their curly friends, and with good reason. Yet a few years ago, the Labradoodle breed creator made international news headlines when he announced that he regretted creating the breed.
Are Labradoodles Good Dogs?
It’s not surprising that the “Frankenstein’s monster” statement got pretty much every dog lover’s attention – especially Labradoodle lovers.
Every dog is different. In the same way, every Labradoodle dog is different. As such, there is no possible way to make a generalization about an entire breed of dog based on any one person’s opinion, even if that person is the breed’s creator himself.
There’s a lot of controversy surrounding mixed breed dogs. And, so it’s natural that the Labradoodle’s popularity has drawn some of that attention.
The Controversy of Mixed Breeds
Many people online have strong feelings about mixed breed dogs vs pure breeds, and which is best. Pure breed advocates argue that purebreds are better because years of breeding has gone into ensuring a stable temperament and appearance. So, owners know exactly what to expect, unlike owners of mixed breeds.
Mixed breeds are much more unpredictable, but breeding for a certain appearance or temperament isn’t always in the dog’s best interest. Take the unhealthy but popular face shape of Pugs and French Bulldogs as a key example.
Mixed breed advocates argue that their dogs are healthier thanks to a wider gene pool and hybrid vigor. The debate over mixed breeds vs purebred dogs has resulted in some very strong opinions on either side. So, you can understand why those that dislike mixed breeds naturally include the Labradoodle in their opinions. But for now, let’s look at the more specific controversy surrounding the Labradoodle, rather than mixed breeds as a whole.
The Labradoodle Controversy
The same controversy surrounding Labradoodles right now is one that crops up anytime a new breed becomes ‘popular’. Whenever a new dog becomes the ‘it’ dog of the hour, lots of people suddenly want that breed. This could happen because a celebrity or influencer gets a certain dog and posts it on social media, among other reasons. This gives less ethical dog breeders an opening to set up puppy mill operations and start popping out puppies they can sell for a premium price.
At puppy mills, breeders don’t do genetic testing or research. Dogs are kept in subpar living conditions, fed inferior food, and treated poorly. Unsurprisingly, these puppies often grow up to have health, behavior, and temperament problems as a result.
In interviews, the main reason Labradoodle breed creator Wally Conron gave for calling his breed a “Frankenstein’s monster” is that the breed’s popularity opened the door for puppy mills to make big money from dogs suffering. Conron didn’t condemn Labradoodles as a dog breed. He simply regrets any part he may have played in causing more dogs to suffer, due to the type of faddish popularity that can give rise to puppy mill breeding.
What is Bad About Labradoodle Dogs?
It’s no surprise that Conron’s declaration didn’t sit too well with the many devoted Labradoodle owners and breeders around the world. But, setting aside Conron’s opinions for a moment, is there anything that is legitimately concerning about the Labradoodle breed that you should know about?
There are two main areas we need to concentrate on: genetic health issues and behavioral or temperament issues. Let’s take a closer look.
Genetic Health Issues
Labradoodles, like all closely bred purebred and crossbred dog breeds, can inherit certain genetic health issues that can be passed onto future puppies. Both the Labrador Retriever and Standard Poodle can have a higher genetic incidence of hip and elbow dysplasia, or malformation of the ball-and-socket joints.
Both breeds can have heart and eye issues, and both can develop bloat. This is a potentially life-threatening condition where the stomach fills with gas and twists. But, none of these health issues are unique to either the Labrador or Poodle parent breed, let alone to the Labradoodle mix.
Poorly bred Labradoodles from ‘backyard breeders’, pet stores, or puppy mill breeders are more likely to inherit these types of expensive and life-limiting genetic health issues. This is because breeders won’t pay to pre-screen breeding dogs. Choosing a Labradoodle puppy from a reputable breeder can go a long way to reducing the risk of these health issues.
Temperament and Behavior Troubles
The other major issue that can affect Labradoodle dogs today is one of temperament and behavior. Again, the majority of affected dogs come from backyard breeders or puppy mill operations. But, why are these Labradoodles so much more likely to have temperament and behavior issues?
The main reason is that the breeder does nothing to promote or facilitate appropriate early socialization and training for the puppies before they are sold. Proper socialization from a young age has been proven to lower the risk of behavioral problems in dogs once they grow older.
Puppies are often taken from their moms and littermates when they are as young as six weeks old. This is well before the 9 to 12 week old time period recommended by reputable dog breeders today. The puppies from these sub-par breeding operations are also not exposed to gentle handling from a variety of people to get them used to human contact and companionship.
General Care and Vaccinations
Puppies from poor breeders and puppy mills aren’t just subject to less human contact, socialization, and handing. Puppy mill Labradoodles are often fed inferior food. So, they do not get the appropriate nutrition for large breed puppies, which is vital to facilitate healthy brain and body development.
Worst of all, Labradoodle puppies bred through backyard breeders or puppy mills often don’t get their required and recommended vaccinations. Or pest control treatments before being sold to unsuspecting dog owners. With all of these strikes against them before they even leave the breeder, it is no wonder that so many of these Labradoodles develop lifelong temperament and behavioral problems.
But, once again, it’s worth repeating that this happens to any dog born out of a backyard breeder or puppy mill operation, not just a Labradoodle puppy. All dogs that come from these types of subpar living conditions are likely to have similar serious health and temperament issues.
Are Puppy Mills Really that Common?
Current estimates suggest there may be as many as 10,000 puppy mill operations in the United States alone. The more popular any dog breed becomes, the more puppy mills will spring up to meet the demand for puppies. However, there are also hundreds of reputable, responsible, health-focused Labradoodle breeders in American and around the world. These breeders love the Labradoodle breed and produce healthy, well-socialized and genetically sound puppies for families and individuals to enjoy.
It is up to potential dog owners to be on the lookout for puppy mills, and to avoid them at all costs. Take a look at where puppies are being kept, as well as the mother dog. See how they respond to you, and make sure you see genetic health tests before committing to a puppy. If a breeder refuses to answer your questions, it’s best to look elsewhere.
What’s Good About Labradoodle Dogs?
Labradoodles didn’t just become popular because Brad Pitt bought Jennifer Aniston a puppy. Under ideal circumstances, there are thousands of dog owners willing to attest that these dogs are genuinely wonderful canine companions for all of the following reasons – and many more!
They’re Allergy Friendly
Labradoodles with fleece or wool coats will often shed out less. A lower shedding dog breed can be less likely to trigger pet allergies. But, remember that some puppies can naturally be more like their Labrador parent, which is a heavy shedding breed. Spend some time with your puppy before bringing them home to make sure they don’t trigger your allergies.
They’re Loving and Loyal
Labradoodles get their loving and loyal traits honestly. Both of the main parent dog breeds, the Labrador Retriever and the Standard Poodle, are intensely loyal and loving towards ‘their’ people. So, you can bet your puppy will be the same! And, as long as you socialize them well, they’ll be just as friendly with everyone else.
They’re Intelligent and Easy to Train
Labrador Retrievers and Standard Poodles rank in the top 10 most intelligent purebred dog breeds. Unsurprisingly, the Labradoodle is also keenly intelligent and able to master and repeat new commands in less than five training sessions.
They’re Super Athletic
Every single one of the purebred dog breeds that has contributed to the Labradoodle breed comes from a solid working dog background. Working dogs tend to be amazing canine athletes and make great companions for anyone who loves to stay active and enjoy the great outdoors with their dog by their side.
Labradoodles are Good Dogs for the Right Family
It’s worth bearing in mind that the answer to “are Labradoodles good dogs?” will change depending on your lifestyle. If you’re looking for a small, calm breed that will be happy alone and spend most of its time sleeping, the Labradoodle won’t suit you well.
Labradoodles are large dogs that need lots of exercise as adults (particularly if you live in a smaller home), plenty of mental stimulation, and don’t do well spending too much time alone. They may also require more grooming than you expect, even if they inherit the Poodle parent’s curly coat. Grooming will prevent tangles and dirt from getting trapped in those curls.
Make sure that you can fulfil the Labradoodle’s many needs before committing to one of these puppies. For the right home, this breed can make a wonderful pet.
What Do You Think? Are Labradoodles Good Dogs?
As dog lovers, each of us has to decide for ourselves which breed best fits our personal preferences and lifestyle.
Should I Get A Labradoodle?
We hope you’ve enjoyed our guide to things to consider before buying a Labradoodle puppy. If you’re all set to go ahead, congratulations! Do let us know how you get on in the comments box down below.
References and Further Reading
- Buzhardt. Hypoallergenic Dog Breeds: Is There Such a Thing? VCA Hospitals. Accessed January 2020.
- Preventive Care for Dogs and Cats. Banfield Pet Hospital. Accessed January 2020.
- 13 Animal Emergencies That Require Immediate Veterinary Consultation and/or Care. American Veterinary Medical Association. Accessed January 2020.
- How to Find a Responsible Dog Breeder. The Humane Society of the United States. Accessed January 2020.
- Tests Reputable Breeders Perform with Veterinarians. Ethos Veterinary Health.
- McEwing, A. ‘FAQ About the Breed’, Australian Labradoodle Association of America (ALAA), (2021)
- Stump, S. ‘Why Labradoodle Creator Regrets Breeding the “Frankenstein Monster”’, Today (2019)
- Miller, R. W. ‘Labradoodle Owners: These Dogs are “Family Friendly”, not “Frankenstein Monsters”’, USA Today (2019)
- Holloway, S. ‘Labradoodle Temperament – Are they More Poodle, Lab, or Magic Mix?’, The Labrador Site (2020)
- Olin, J. M. ‘What Genetic Diseases and/or Conditions Should my Breed be Screened For?’, Canine Health Information Center (2020)
- Lubin, G. ‘These are the “Smartest” Dog Breeds According to a Canine Psychologist’, Science Alert (2018)
- Beuchat, C. ‘The Costs and Benefits of Inbreeding’, The Institute of Canine Biology (2014)
- Beuchat, C. ‘The Myth of Hybrid Vigor in Dogs…is a Myth’, The Institute of Canine Biology (2014)
- Vaterlaws-Whiteside, H. & Hartmann, A. ‘Improving Puppy Behavior Using a New Standardized Socialization Program’, Applied Animal Behavior Science (2017)
- 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)