Labradoodles have been intentionally bred in Australia since 1988. Wally Conran, a breeder of guide dogs, was the first breeder, using a standard poodle and Labrador retriever. The main goal was to create a dog that had the laid back nature of the Labrador coupled with the intelligence and allergy friendly coat of the Poodle. As the breed gained popularity, many kennels have bred and cross-bred the Labradoodle.
Over time infusions of some other breeds were added to target smaller sizes and more consistent, lower maintenance coats. The breed then became known as the Australian Labradoodle. At this stage of the breed’s development, the Australian Labradoodle includes the Poodle (Standard, miniature or toy), Labrador retriever and the English or American Cocker Spaniel which adds silkiness to the coat. We also include an infusion of the Golden Retriever from one of our foundation breeding girls.
Over the years the Labrador and poodle have kept a high degree of function (ie agility and freedom of movement) within their breeding. Both breeds were originally bred to be gun dogs, were excellent at retrieving waterfowl and due to their intelligence and trainability they are still used for hunting to this day.
Labradors have a strong and muscular body, are athletic and playful and well known for their easy going gentle nature, placid and are great around children. However, they do love their food and are at the larger end of the scale, so harder to fit in the car.
Poodles are long lived, have good genetic strengths and a well-proportioned muscular frame, which is helpful in preventing joint problems. They love to be close to their human as they can be less self-sufficient than the Labrador. They can also be a little bouncy and excitable.
Both breeds are popular as working and family dogs as well as therapy and service dogs. Bred together, the hugely popular Labradoodle, which seems to moderate the extremes of both breeds, is intelligent, easy going and an affectionate companion with a low to non-shedding coat.
Labradoodles come in a variety of sizes; here at Labradoodleland Auckland we aim to breed a small to medium size dog as this is what fits most people’s lifestyle. And to achieve this we use the miniature poodle in our lines as it is known to have fewer health issues than the toy.
Labradoodles are bred in three sizes:
MINIATURE: 35 - 42cm, (14-16 inches) 7 - 13kg (Miniature poodle - Beagle size)
MEDIUM: 43 - 52cm, (17-20 inches) 13 - 20kg (Cocker Spaniel - Border Collie)
LARGE: 53 - 65cm, (21-24 inches) 21 - 30+ kg (Labrador - Standard Poodle)
The size of the sire has an influence on the puppy – but within most litters there is a variation in the size of the pups.
Many 1st generation puppies have a double layered coat consisting mainly of hair, similar to the Labrador coat. The coarse, straight top coat has a soft undercoat that is prone to shedding. However, some coats are a blend of hair and fine silky wool which shed much less. Puppies/dogs with this type of coat need little maintenance and clipping, apart from a weekly wash and brush to remove the dead fur. These dogs are great for the family or person who loves this low maintenance option and wants the personality and health benefits of the Labradoodle breed but don’t mind the shedding.
We call this the HAIRY MACLARY coat, named after the books by New Zealand author Lynley Dodd that I read many times to my children.
Tlihe fleece coat is low to no shedding; tends to look shaggier than wool and it hangs in silky, ght, loose locks which flow and ripple when the dog moves.
The fleece coat is low to no shedding; tends to look shaggier than wool and it hangs in silky, light, loose locks which flow and ripple when the dog moves.
Wool is generally no shedding; it is denser and thicker, curlier, similar to sheep’s wool and looks more poodle.
Unlike some other breeds, dogs with fleece and wool coats shed very little dander (skin cells) a common cause of allergies in humans which makes them excellent for households with allergies. Both of these coats have less ‘doggy’ smell, when wet they tend to have a more “wet wool” odour.
Black, silver, Blue, Apricot, Chalk, Red, Chocolate, Café, Gold, Parti and Phantom
Fleece and wool coats can be kept short or long depending on your lifestyle but generally need to be clipped 3-4 times a year and weekly brushing is required to clear any mats and remove any prickly plant seeds and burrs which can cling to the coat, particularly after walks in the New Zealand bush. Less washing is required than a hair coat and, if left to dry, most dirt tends to drop out by the following day.
F1 - First Generation
The first cross of Labrador to Poodle. In this matching Hybrid Vigour (genetic health) occurs as recessive genes pairs from the parent breeds separate. The result is often larger litters and healthier puppies.
Each generation from here is bred to improve the coat and/or size of the puppy.
F1B - F1 Backcross or second generation
This is an F1 bred back to a poodle, these off-spring are 75% poodle but still look different to a poodle. Most of these pups have lovely silky fleece / wool coats and a few will be at the more curly-poodle end of the spectrum.F2 - True second generation This cross is F1 x a Labradoodle ( F1 or higher generation ). F1 x F1 is not recommended as the pups tend to be very labby or very poodly.
F2 - True second generation
This cross is F1 x a Labradoodle ( F1 or higher generation ). F1 x F1 is not recommended as the pups tend to be very labby or very poodly.
F3 - Third generation
( F1B x F2 or F1B x F1B or F1B x Multigenerational Labradoodle or F2 x F2 )
After four generations they are “MULITIGENERATIONAL” After six generations they are considered “ PURE ”.
Our Ethos and the tests we do
Historically, along with other dog breeds, the Labrador and Poodle (including the miniature poodle) have suffered from genetic hip and elbow joint disorders causing pain, osteoarthritis and lameness.
Although these disorders are not 100% hereditary, as environment, exercise and diet can affect these joints, it is our responsibility as breeders to protect the health of our puppies by testing our breeding dogs for joint quality.
At Labradoodleland Auckland we use the newer PennHip method, a radiographic screening technique which evaluates the canine hip joint for laxity (looseness). The PennHip method of evaluation is considered to be more accurate than the current standard in its ability to predict the onset of osteoarthritis. Radiographs are performed under anaesthesia and sent to America to be analyzed.
As well as using the PennHip results we may also incorporate the AVA (Australian Veterinary Associations) hip screening method and occasionally use the OFA (Orthapedic Foundation For Animals in America). These screening methods differ in the positioning of the hip joint, allowing for an alternative viewpoint. The tests can give us quite different results and, as a combination, help us make more informed decisions on which breeding pairs are best.
Using these results, our goal is to breed from dogs with an average or higher than average score. Occasionally we may choose to use a dog with a score lower than our preferred results. This may be, for example, if the dog has a great temperament which benefits our breeding programme. If we decide to do this, we aim to breed with a mate that has the best scores possible.
The NZVA (New Zealand Veterinary Association) Elbow Scoring System is used to assess the elbow joint using radiographs to check for alterations to the joint, inflammation and cartilage deterioration.
All breeds of dogs can suffer from eye diseases such as cataracts, glaucoma and retinal deterioration. Many of these diseases are inherited and can lead to premature blindness. We screen our breeding dogs for eye quality and DNA tests are performed for PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy) which causes irreversible vision loss.
We also adhere to breeding our puppies from unrelated parents as this greatly reduces potential illnesses from occurring. Puppies born to related parents, known as inbreeding or line breeding (father to daughter or ancestor) are generally bred to fix or enhance a desirable trait. Unfortunately the offspring are susceptible to illnesses caused by the combining of too many recessive genes present in the limited gene pool from the related parent or ancestor. All dogs have recessive genes and if matched with another with the same, illness can occur.