Dog breeders are an inventive bunch. Not satisfied with crossing the much-loved Labrador Retriever with a Poodle to make the loyal, mischievous, and affectionate cross that is the Labradoodle, they just had to push the envelope that little bit farther.
This has led to the practice of breeding a Labradoodle back to a purebred Poodle. Still as loveable, still as adorable but now 75% Poodle and 25% Labrador.
In this article, we will explore just what a Labradoodle and Poodle cross has to offer. We will look at how it might differ from its 1st generation Labradoodle counterpart and what we can expect from tipping the genetic scale back towards the Poodle.
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The Labradoodle is a cross between a Labrador Retriever and one of the three sizes of Poodle (Standard, Miniature, or Toy). While this mix was noted to have occurred as early as the 1950s it was around 1989 that the term Labradoodle became commonplace, and the popularity really increased.
The publicity surrounding the Labradoodle increased in the early 1990s when many guide, assistance, and/or therapy dogs associations realized the Labradoodle would be an option for individuals who experienced dog allergies. Often the addition of Poodle genetics greatly reduced the amount of shedding that would be associated with Labrador Retrievers.
The Labradoodles smarts and low shedding coat attracted the attention of normal domestic pet owners and there was a meteoric rise in the number of breeders over the course of the ’90s and 2000s. Generally, Labradoodle owners favor the breed’s natural friendliness while their energetic and affectionate nature makes them popular for active singles, couples, or families with children.
The Poodle itself has its roots as far back as the 15th Century as a working water dog, popular through mainland Europe where it retrieved game from waterways and ponds during hunts.
Athletic, strong, and with stamina for days, the breed made the perfect working dog. Their loyal nature and alertness also saw them used as watchdogs in country estates.
By the late 18th and early 19th Century, the Poodle became less prolific as a hunting dog and instead became coveted by the wealthy and royals of the time who found the Poodle could make for a delightful companion dog. The Poodle’s natural intelligence meant they could be taught to demonstrate all manner of pleasing and amazing tricks.
The large build of the traditional Poodle was less practical for a domestic companion and as such breeders intentionally sought to match those dogs who were on the smaller end of the scale in order to develop a smaller variation. This eventually led to the Miniature and Toy varieties we see today. Of course, the largest Poodle variation, the Standard has a stalwart of dedicated fans and remains popular for those looking for a larger dog.
Read more about in our dedicated article The Poodle: From History to Health
What Do We Call a Labradoodle Poodle Mix?
As much fun as it is to say Labra-Poodle-Doodle, this is not the recognized term for this mix. In a much straighter approach, breeders have developed a coding system to explain the genetic mix of hybrid dogs.
While purebred dogs such as the Poodle come from a single line of one breed, hybrids such as the Labradoodle refers to dogs where two separate breeds have been crossed.
Where a puppy is the result of a cross between two different purebreds this is considered a first-generation cross or “F1”. In these dogs the genetics are 50% each parent breed, so an F1 Labradoodle would be 50% Poodle and 50% Labrador Retriever.
If that F1 Labradoodle is then bred to a purebred Poodle, to create a Labradoodle and Poodle cross this is then referred to as an F1b Labradoodle. The “b” refers to the back cross, as in the hybrid Labradoodle was backcrossed to one of the original parent breeds, the Poodle.
This grading system is explained in full in our sister article Cavapoo Generations Explained.
Why is this Cross Being Bred?
One of the main reasons that the F1b Labradoodle is being bred is to try and create consistency in presentation. In a first-generation cross, no one knows what that match of the parent dogs may produce.
Every single puppy in that litter could be different, there could be a third that are more Labrador, a third that are more Poodle, and a third that are somewhere in the middle. Alternatively, every single pup could come out with a longer flat coat which is often seen as less desirable in a Labradoodle.
Back breeding to a Poodle is a selective breeding practice designed to encourage desirable traits. Often people seek the curly/wavy coat therefore by selecting a Labradoodle with a curly coat and crossing with a Poodle the resultant pups will be more likely to be consistently curly coated. By comparison, adding back in a Labrador parent could encourage longer flatter coats.
The Benefits of an F1b Labradoodle
As mentioned, the F1b has the potential (although never a guarantee) to be more predictable in coat type. This is particularly relevant if someone in the household has pet hair or dander allergies. It is near impossible to fully determine in puppyhood what a dog’s adult coat type will be however if the pup is an F1b with a curly-coated Labradoodle parent, it is highly likely they will inherit the curly low shedding coat.
Adding in a bit more Poodle can also temper some of the boundless energy of a first-generation Labradoodle as the Poodle is slightly more reserved than its Labrador counterpart.
An F1b Labradoodle also benefits from the ability of a breeder to select a Labradoodle that demonstrates the most favorable personality traits associated with the breed and then crossing that to a Poodle in the effort to ensure it is passed on and enhanced further.
The cons of an F1b Labradoodle
The curly coat that comes with the F1b Labradoodle is a touch of a double-edged sword. As their curly coat can tangle and matt, they will need more intensive and regular grooming than a flatter coated first-generation Labradoodle.
Curly coated Labradoodles are considered desirable and desirable often come with a higher price tag. This means a litter of curly coated F1b Labradoodles may firstly be snapped up quickly and secondly, a pup may attract a serious chunk of change.
As F1b Labradoodles are particularly in demand, this has led to some unscrupulous breeding practices with people potentially misrepresenting F1’s as F1bs or making poor breeding matches in order to produce litters for waiting buyers.
As with buying any dog, prospective owners are encouraged to research the breeder and request to see both parents.
One of the driving forces behind any hybrid dog is the benefit of “hybrid vigor”. This is a phenomenon whereby crossing another breed into a line can lessen the chance of genetic health problems common in the purebred parent. In an F1b Labradoodle, the genetic swing goes back towards Poodle making it more likely that health problems associated with the Poodle may be expressed in the puppy.
Size and Weight of an F1b Labradoodle
In terms of size and weight of your F1b Labradoodle, the biggest factor will be the size of parent Poodle used.
While Labradors only come in one size, the Poodle comes in Toy, Miniature, and Standard. As a result, a Labradoodle can be Toy, Mini, or Standard depending on what size was used in the cross.
When crossing the Labradoodle back to a Poodle, it is worth remembering breeders are aiming for consistency so if a Standard Labradoodle is used it makes sense to back cross to a Standard Poodle. Likewise, a Mini Labradoodle would be crossed with a Miniature Poodle and a Toy Labradoodle with a Toy Poodle.
This means that an F1b Labradoodle will be similar in size to its first-generation counterparts. A rough guide to size and weight is outlined below.
- F1b Toy Labradoodle – Approximately 13” to 15” in height and 13lbs to 20lbs
- F1b Mini Labradoodle – Approximately 16” to 21” in height and 20lbs to 40lbs
- F1b Standard Labradoodle – Approximately 21” to 25” in height and 40lbs and 75lbs
F1b Labradoodle Color and Coat Types
An F1b Labradoodle can be expected to present with a wavier to tighter curl pattern coat that will be low shedding.
The color options can feel endless when you consider that the Labradoodle is a mix of the Labrador Retriever which comes in 3 standard colors and the Poodle which comes in a whopping 10 standard colors.
Add to that the possibility of merle, phantom, part, and tri-color patterns possible in the Poodle and really there is seemingly limitless possibilities.
Backcrossing a Poodle to a Labradoodle t does offer the chance to encourage certain colors i.e. if you have an apricot Labradoodle and back cross it to an apricot Poodle there is a good chance the F1b puppies will have apricot coloring. It is never a guarantee as the phenomena of “throwback” or recessive genes can always make an appearance.
F1b Labradoodle Health
An F1b Labradoodle still benefits from hybrid vigor but not quite as much as its first-generation equivalent. As the genetic balance swings to 75% Poodle and only 25% Labrador, there may be a higher chance of presenting with health needs common to the Poodle including:
- Hip dysplasia
- Addison’s Disease
- Thyroid issues.
The good news is health screening of the Poodles chosen for breeding can greatly reduce the chance of these conditions being passed on. Even in the unfortunate event that your F1b Labradoodle does present with health issues, there is often treatment available.
Overall, an F1b Labradoodle is considered a healthy dog with a good life expectancy of 12 to 15 years.
The Temperament of an F1b Labradoodle
Temperament is determined by more than just genetics however as a general guide any combination of Poodle and Labrador will make for an energetic, intelligent cross.
As an F1b Labradoodle genetically comprises more Poodle it stands to reason that they may take more after that side of the family. Owners have remarked that their F1b Labradoodle will be a little less hyper than a first-generation Labradoodle. Where an F1 Labradoodle may excitedly greet anyone and everyone, the F1b may be more reserved.
Poodle genetics will generally make an F1b more territorial making them a better watchdog than an F1 cross who would likely happily welcome any stranger rather than alert their human.
F1b Labradoodle Exercise Needs
The biggest indicator of exercise needs will be the size of your F1b Labradoodle. Standards are the biggest and strongest and require more vigorous exercise than their Toy siblings.
An F1b Labradoodle of any size will need daily exercise though in addition to enrichment or training activities to tire out their brains also. Many owners have noted that their F1b Labradoodles are slightly less energetic than an F1 Labradoodle and may not exhibit the same boundless energy that is a distinctly Labrador-like trait.
Feeding Requirements of an F1b Labradoodle
Again, the size of Labradoodle you go for will determine their feeding requirements. F1 Labradoodles are known to be very food motivated and prone to obesity in part due to their Labrador genetics and as such an F1b may be slightly less inclined to raid the treat packs.
The Labradoodle in any generation has firmly installed itself as a favored Doodle cross of many. The F1b Labradoodle is a natural progression in breeding practices seen in many different hybrids, where breeders strive to foster consistency and predictability in their litters.
The key differences in an F1b Labradoodle will be the increased likelihood of a curly, low shedding coat type and a more Poodle-like temperament.