The Labradoodle: Everything you need to know – Breed Overview

Parent Breeds:Poodle and Labrador Retriever
Height:Standard – 21” – 25” Miniature – 14” – 16”
Weight:Standard -22kg – 30 kg Miniature – 6kg – 20kg
Other names:None. Whereas many other Doodle mixes are known by a variety of names the Labradoodle is only ever known as such
Temperament:Intelligent, gentle, playful and energetic
Best suited to:Active families with a garden or fenced in yard
NB: Sizes of crossbred dogs can vary greatly outside of the averages given

Labrador Retriever History

The Labrador Retriever, one of the most popular breeds in the world has been around since the 19th century although the early forefathers of this breed may not have looked exactly like the Labradors that we all know and love today.

Whereas he does originate from Canada as the name suggests he does not actually come from Labrador but rather from Newfoundland, as does his cousin breed, the much larger and hairier Newfoundland dog.

The forefather breed of our Labrador Retriever was the St. Johns Water Dog who was used by fisherman in the Newfoundland region of Canada right back in the 1500s to jump into the water and help pull in the fishing nets or tow ropes from one boat to another. The Newfoundland fishermen referred to them as ‘small water dogs’.

The St Johns Dog had a short, oily, water repellent coat and webbed feet making him a great swimmer and could withstand extreme temperatures. He was also said to have an easily trainable temperament, one of the qualities that make our Labrador Retriever such a popular choice both as a pet and a working dog nowadays.

The forefathers of our Labradors were medium-sized, stocky bodied dogs with black coats, many sporting white chests, and toes, a trait that while not desirable or allowed in the show ring, is still occasionally seen in Labrador Retrievers.

It is said that in the 1830’s when trading started between ships from Labrador, Canada and Poole, Dorset the 10th Earl of Home brought some of the progeny from the Lesser (smaller) St Johns Water Dogs back to England having greatly admired them in their native country. In around 1880 the 3rd Earl of Malmesbury, the 6th Duke of Buccleach, and the 12th Earl of Home began working together to refine the breed having recognized the excellent temperament and trainability of these dogs.

The Earl of Malmesbury referred to these dogs as his ‘Labrador dogs’ and the name was born. He began training and using these dogs as his gun dogs and soon the English aristocracy recognized how adept they were in this role and the very first Labrador Retriever breeding program began.

Most of the pups were black but as yellow and chocolate are borne from a recessive gene, occasionally pups of these colors appeared in the litters. Originally these were considered undesirable and sadly culled.

By 1903 the Labrador Retriever became popular enough to be recognized by the Kennel Club in Great Britain with the AKC following suit in 1917. By 1927 the first yellow Labradors were accepted for registration with the first chocolate being accepted in 1932.

In 1941 the National Retriever Club was established in the United States and throughout the post-WWII era, the breed grew in popularity across the US gaining the status of the most popular breed by 1991.

Labradoodle History

The Labradoodle was created in the late 1980s in Australia by a guide dog trainer named Wally Conron. Wally worked for an association for the blind, breeding, selecting, and training puppies to become guide dogs. He used mainly Labradors and Golden Retrievers until one day he received a very special and specific request from a blind Hawaiian woman whose husband was an allergy sufferer.

As the Poodle is known as a hypoallergenic and non-shedding breed Wally worked for 3 years with around 33 Standard Poodles trying to find one that had the necessary attributes to become a guide dog. With time passing and his boss putting pressure on him to find a suitable dog, Wally made a bold decision (and we are very glad he did!) to cross one of his Labradors with a Poodle.

Tests were carried out on 3 of the resulting puppies and one was found to be completely hypoallergenic and had the necessary attributes to become a guide dog. Wally had succeeded in his mission! However, this brought its own problem as Wally had a whole litter of these puppies and despite having a huge waiting list for guide dogs, he found that many people quite simply would not accept a dog that was not purebred.  

He decided to go to the press and announce his new breed, specially created to be assistance dogs and within 24 hours he had hundreds of calls from people wanting one of these ‘special’ new dogs. For this reason, he decided to create a Labradoodle breeding program and attempt to establish the Labradoodle as an official breed.

To make this happen he needed male Poodles to mate with his Labradors and approached the Kennel Club for advice. It was at this point that it began to go wrong as he was met with huge opposition by Poodle breeders who did not want their purebred dogs used to breed dogs that they considered to be mongrels.

Luckily, he did manage to find some breeders willing to work with him as long as the Kennel Club didn’t find out. The criteria for selecting the male Poodles to use was one that is or should be the most important criteria for selecting any dog to breed from, soundness of temperament, and freedom from hereditary problems.

Wally’s breeding program was successful but sadly led to him being threatened, sued, and even physically assaulted by purebred breeders and eventually, he gave up but not before many people recognized the value of the dogs that he had created and continued his work themselves.

The success of the Labradoodles bred by Wally in their role as assistance dogs was down to his careful selection of the dogs that he used to breed from, and this is something that all breeders of any type of dog at all should uphold.

Wally has been quoted as saying that he regrets breeding the Labradoodle and that he created a ‘monster’. By this, he does not mean that the dogs themselves are monsters but that his breeding opened the door for unscrupulous breeders to mate any dogs that they fancied, with no regard for temperament and genetic testing. This is why we still come across ‘Doodle haters’ and those that believe the breeding of any dogs that are not recognized by the Kennel Club and the AKC to be wrong.

Labradoodle Generations Explained

Now we know all about the history of the Labradoodle lets take a look at the Labradoodle generations. It may be confusing when looking for a puppy to see all the different terms for the various generations so we will explain it all for you.

The F1 Labradoodle

The F1 Labradoodle is the original Labradoodle, like the very first one bred by Wally Conran. The F1 has one purebred Labrador parent and one purebred Poodle parent creating a 50/50 cross. F1 stands for first-generation crossbreed. It doesn’t matter if the Poodle parent is the mother or the father, whichever way round the pups will still be F1 Labradoodles.

If the Poodle used is a Standard then the pups will be F1 Standard Labradoodles but Miniature Poodles can also be used to create a smaller version. However, when breeding Miniatures it is important that the mother is the Labrador and the father the Poodle as if the mother was much smaller than the father she could have problems during the birth.

There are many people who argue that the pups only grow to the size that the mother can safely deliver and that it doesn’t matter but realistically for the mother’s safety this should be avoided.

With an F1 puppy, there is no guarantee that the pup will be hypoallergenic or that it will not shed so if this is important you should ask the breeder to coat test the pup before purchase. Some F1’s will shed very little and have more Poodle like coats and others may shed as much as a Labrador and resemble a wire-haired or broken coated Labrador.

All F1’s are furnished (sport beards, eyebrows, and mustaches) as they inherit one copy of the furnishing gene from their Poodle parent and one copy of the non-furnishing gene from the Labrador parent. The furnishing gene is dominant which means that a dog only needs to inherit one copy to be furnished himself although if used for breeding he may pass the non-furnished gene onto his puppies.

F1 Labradoodles are usually quite large (even the Miniatures as they are still half Labrador) and the coats vary greatly although in most cases they are not as long as the later generations and are more likely to be wiry to shaggy rather than curly and fleece-like.

The F2 Labradoodle

The F2 Labradoodle (or second-generation cross) is the result of mating two F1’s so both parents are Labradoodles themselves. This is the most unreliable cross and it is impossible to predict what the pups will look like.

However, this doesn’t mean an F2 pup is undesirable in any way (I have bred 4 litters of F2 Goldendoodles myself) just that it’s a bit of a ‘lucky dip’ and you will get a wider variety in the litter.

This is because there are 4 different genes in the mix and it’s completely random as to which genes each pup will inherit from each parent. For example, since each parent has one furnishings gene and one non-furnishings gene, the same regarding the curl gene, each pup may inherit 2 F genes, one from each parent, and therefore be furnished himself and only able to produce furnished pups if he is bred from.

He may inherit one F gene and one N (non-furnishings) gene making him genetically the same as an F1 Labradoodle or he may inherit two copies of the non-furnishing gene meaning he has a Labrador coat and can only pass on the non-furnished gene to any offspring he may have.

Regarding appearance, F2 Labradoodles can also vary greatly as if the pup inherits furnishings and curl genes from both parents, he can look very Poodle like indeed with a tightly curled coat. In any litter of F2 pups there will be some that look like typical F1 Labradoodles, some that are very Poodle like and some that are very Labrador-like.

Your breeder should be able to identify which pups are which by around 4-5 weeks, so it is important when purchasing an F2 pup to make it very clear to the breeder what your preference is if you have one.

If non-shedding or hypoallergenic is important to you it is advisable to coat test before purchase. Similarly, if you are buying an F2 to add to your breeding program you will need to coat test before mating.

The F1b Labradoodle

The F1b Labradoodle is a cross between an F1 Labradoodle and a Poodle (or a Labrador in the case of a reverse F1b) the b stands for back bred. This results in a Labradoodle who is 75% Poodle and 25% Labrador.

This is the best cross for allergy sufferers as the chances of a low shedding Poodle type coat are higher and is also more predictable in terms of appearance. All F1b’s are furnished (unless a Poodle with only one copy of the F gene was used. They are rare but they do exist and for this reason all Poodles used for breeding should be coat tested as well as health tested).

The F1b Labradoodle will inherit one copy of the F gene from the Poodle parent and can either inherit an F or an N gene from the Labradoodle parent. If one of each gene is present the pup will be very much like an F1 or furnished F2 Labradoodle.

There is also a 50/50 chance he will inherit an F gene from the Labradoodle parent too which means he will pass on furnishings to 100% of any pups used for breeding. The F1b Labradoodle is a very popular choice among people looking for puppies as he will have the typical Doodle look.

While you will still get pups ranging from furnished but wiry shorter coats, to wavy and even tight curled fleece coats it is less of a gamble than any other combination.

The Multigenerational Labradoodle

Once we go beyond second-generation Labradoodles, we refer to them as Multi-gen. Multi-gen can be any combination of Labradoodle bred to another Labradoodle so F2 to F2, to F3, and so on. If the parents have been coat tested and all carry 2 copies of the F gene this is a very reliable way to breed pups with great coats.

However, there is also a wider range of genes in the mix so it is more difficult to predict whether the pups will be built like a Labrador with a Poodle coat or a Poodle with a looser curl to the coat. The best way is to look at the parents and the grandparents to get an understanding of how your Multi-gen Labradoodle is likely to look.

It is important that breeders strive to breed multi-gens and the aim is to produce Doodles with a consistent look much like breeders of purebreds do. Who knows in years to come there may even be a ‘breed’ or crossbreed standard as after all the pedigree breeds that we all know and recognize were originally created by the crossing of other breeds.


The Labradoodle, regardless of generation, is a friendly dog who can make an ideal family pet. Both the Labrador and the Poodle are intelligent breeds, bred as gundogs, and as such the Labradoodle can be quite high energy and does need plenty of exercise and stimulation to stop him from becoming bored and naughty.

Both breeds have a love of water as the Labrador descends from the St Johns Water Dog and the Poodle was originally bred to retrieve ducks. Indeed the name Poodle derives from the German word Pudel so be prepared for your Labradoodle to get wet at any given opportunity.

The Labradoodle is not known to be a great guard dog as he usually wants to be everyone’s best friend. However, he can be a great watchdog, and many will bark to alert you to anyone arriving at your home. Especially as Poodles are a very vocal breed.

Like many other Doodle mixes, he loves human company. This is only natural as his parent breeds were both bred to work with their masters all day in the shooting field. He doesn’t do well left alone for long periods. Therefore, he is not suitable for homes where everyone is out at work for long periods of the day.

Labradoodles can be clownish like their Poodle parents and if brought up together they can make excellent playmates for children. Their bounciness does mean they are more suited to children who are a little older than the toddler stage.

As you would expect from a breed bred from two varieties of gundog the Labradoodle is more suited to rural or suburban life. Whilst he can be a city dog (especially the Miniature variety) if given plenty of walks, ideally, he needs access to the great outdoors. He loves to spend time playing in the garden or accompanying his family on adventures.

Labradoodle Size

What size your Labradoodle is depended purely on the Poodle parent as all Labradors are medium to large-sized. The Standard Labradoodle is between 21 and 26 inches tall and weighs between 22 and 30 kg so is a medium to large dog himself. Build wise he can be stocky like the Labrador and tall like the Poodle making him a very substantial dog. Or he can be tall and slender like a Poodle or short and sturdy like the Labrador. Either way, the Standard Labradoodle is never small.

F1b’s often tender to be taller than F1 Standards as they have a higher percentage of Poodle blood and Standard Poodles are generally significantly taller than a Labrador.

Miniature Labradoodles stand between 14 and 16 inches tall and weigh between 6 and 20kg. There is less predictability with a Miniature Labradoodle size-wise as even if a pup has a Miniature Poodle parent, he could grow to the size of the Labrador parent.

F1b Miniature Labradoodles tend to be smaller than F1’s as if they are 75% Miniature Poodle there is more chance that they will inherit their size from the Poodle.

Labradoodle Health

Like all mixed-breed dogs, Labradoodles are blessed with hybrid vigor. This means because the gene pool is larger the co-efficiency of inbreeding is less than with a purebred dog which can result in a hardier, healthier dog.

However, the downside of a crossbreed is that the Labradoodle can be predisposed to diseases that can be found in Poodles as well as diseases that can be found in Labradors.

Poodles are prone to Von Willebrand’s disease, progressive retinal atrophy, Addison’s disease, thyroid problems, bloat, and hip dysplasia as well as a number of autoimmune disorders.

Labradors are prone to hip and elbow dysplasia, bloat, ear infections, eye problems, heart disease, and obesity.

It is very important that you only buy a pup from a litter where both parents have been health tested and certificates are provided. Don’t just take the breeder’s word for it or settle for buying a pup where only one parent has been tested.

A well-bred Labradoodle should be part of your family for many years and vets’ fees are expensive. It is a good idea to take out pet insurance or have a separate savings account in case of emergencies. Many reputable breeders will provide an initial period of free insurance when you take your pup home.

Coat Colours and Types

There are a variety of coat types found in Labradoodles ranging from short wiry coats a bit like a terrier, shaggy ‘beach’ waves to curly fleece Poodle-like coats. Everyone has their own preference (I personally love the shaggy wavy look). Unless you suffer from allergies and need a Poodle type coat it is purely your own choice.

The shorter, wiry coats, whilst unlikely to be hypoallergenic and more likely to shed do take the least maintenance and a quick brush every few days may suffice. The longer wavy or curly coats which shed less need daily grooming and regular trimming or clipping. You can do this yourself or take your dog to a salon.

Labradoodles also come in a variety of colors. While many Labradoodles are black, yellow, or chocolate like the Labrador they can also be found in any of the Poodle colors. These can be white, apricot, cream, silver, parti-colored, (black, blue, chocolate, cream, silver, beige and white), phantom ( black or chocolate with tan points), sable (a mixture of black and brown in an agouti pattern) and even merle (a mottled pattern of blue or chocolate and black) with or without white markings.

How Much do Labradoodles Eat and what to Feed Them?

As with all breeds, you should feed your dog 7% of his body weight while he is a pup split into 3 or 4 feeds reducing to 3-4% (depending on body condition) split into 1 or 2 feeds per day as an adult.

Remember that as Labradoodles can be prone to bloat you should not feed him an hour before or after exercise. What you feed depends on you and your dog’s preference but make sure whether you use kibble, canned or raw food you choose the best quality food you can afford.

Try to avoid overly processed food or ones containing lots of additives as these can cause allergies and hyperactivity. Some Labradoodles take after their Labrador parents and can be greedy and prone to obesity in which case a lower fat option is preferable. Others are pickier like the Poodle (my own Standard Poodle didn’t get this memo and has a huge appetite!).

I like to take the natural approach and feed all my dogs on raw food. If you go down this route it is important to feed the correct ratio of muscle meat, organ, and bone. There are many complete raw diets available that make this easy as you keep the food in your freezer and simply take it out, thaw and feed.

Be guided by your breeder and when you first bring your Labradoodle puppy home stick to whatever your breeder has fed your pup (you should have been given some to bring home) and make any changes gradually.


We hope you have found this complete guide helpful and if you choose a Labradoodle puppy to be your next canine friend you can be sure that there is lots of fun and a lifetime of cuddles ahead for you.