Labradoodle originated in Australia when a school for training dogs for the vision-impaired received a request for a dog from a woman whose husband was allergic to dogs. To try to suit her needs, a Labrador Retriever was crossed with a white Standard Poodle, and the offspring were called Labradoodles. After that beginning, a number of breeders became involved, but the crosses were not limited to the original two breeds. Poodles of all three sizes were used, along with Irish Water Spaniels and Curly Coated Retrievers, as well as American and English Cocker Spaniels. In the United States (and other countries), Labradoodles are still primarily crosses between Labrador Retrievers and Poodles, usually Standard Poodles.
The Australian Labradoodle Association and Australian Labradoodle Club of America are trying to establish a breed standard with the goal of getting the breed recognized as a pure breed. Their goal is to produce a dog in three sizes (Standard Labradoodle, Medium Labradoodle, and Miniature Labradoodle) with two coat types (fleece Labradoodle and wool Labradoodle). Until they gain the cooperation of the majority of breeders, conformation (such as height, head shape, ear size and position, and coat type) can vary depending upon the crosses used to produce each individual dog.
Although many Labradoodles are advertised as nonshedding Labradoodle and hypoallergenic Labradoodle, there is still too much variety among these dogs to make that statement accurately. Most Labradoodle dogs do have a lush coat that needs brushing and combing two or three times a week.
Many Labradoodles have served successfully as service dogs, but most are family pets. Since the Labradoodle breed is still in its formative stages, it is impossible to predict the dogs’ needs regarding grooming, training, exercise, or health concerns, and every dog should be regarded as an individual. Happily, the majority of Labradoodles are bright, intelligent, attractive dogs who have the potential to be wonderful family pets.