How To Breed Labradoodles – History, Health, FAQ & Best Practices

how to breed labradoodles

Are you looking to learn how to breed Labradoodles? Nowadays it is one of the most popular designer dogs due to its precious appearance and lovely temperament, thanks to mixing Poodles and Labradors. Therefore, many people want to own one, or even better, discover how to breed them.

This crossbreed combines the trainability, intelligence and alertness of the Poodle with the warm, playful and friendly temperament of the Labrador. The best from both worlds. Since there is a breed standard to follow, it is one of the best-standardized crossbreeds in the world.

Nonetheless, Labradoodle breeders need to have solid knowledge about both breeds and the resulting crossed breed, and in consequence, a good background on canine genetics. Furthermore, you also need to be aware of certain health issues and certain temperament traits.

However, rest easy, because we are going to cover it all in this FREE guide!

Background of Labradoodle Breeding

Your first step as a responsible Labradoodle breeder is to know more about the origin and history of this crossbreed. Below you will find everything you need along with an introduction to genetics and breeding techniques.

Origin

The Labradoodle comes from Australia and it was officially created in 1988 thanks to Wally Conron, the man who bred it for the Royal Guide Dog Association of Australia in Victoria.

According to the original story, Wally Conron received a special request from Hawaii. It was a vision-impaired woman whose husband was allergic to dog hair, and she was looking for the ideal hypoallergenic and guide dog.

Thanks to that request, Mr. Conron started engineering what we know as the Labradoodle. Although, it was not an easy feat. In the beginning, we opted for a Poodle, but he could not find any that would fill the requirements. That is when we decided to combine the traits of the Poodle and the Labrador.

After 33 trials and approximately two years after receiving the request, he bred his top-quality Labrador with a standard poodle. After a lot of screening, tests, and effort, the mating was successful. Although, the litter was very small, as it only brought three puppies.

He sent samples of hair and saliva to the Hawaiian couple, and fortunately, the husband found one sample to be allergy-free. It was the beginning of the Labradoodle into the world of dogs.

In the beginning, nobody wanted a crossbred puppy, but thanks to Conron’s great efforts, he made the Labradoodle one of the most iconic designer dogs nationally and internationally in 1989, and its popularity has only been growing in recent years. For example, it has been one of Britain’s most popular dogs.

Official Recognition

Even though it is not recognized as a purebred, and hence it cannot be registered at the AKC, the following institutions recognize the Labradoodle breed:

  • ACA (American Canine Association Inc.)
  • ACHC (American Canine Hybrid Club)
  • DBR (Designer Breed Registry)
  • DDKC (Designer Dogs Kennel Club)
  • DRA (Dog Registry of America, Inc.)
  • IDCR (International Designer Canine Registry)

Now that you have a proper background about the origin of this popular designer dog, let us check the difference between F1 and F2 Labradoodles, which is an aspect that causes lots of confusion amongst aspiring breeders.

What are F1 and F2 Labradoodles?

F1 vs F2 generation dogs
The difference between F1 and F2 generations (in dogs).

This is one of the most common questions asked by aspiring breeders or owners, and the answer is simple:

  • F1: The result of mixing a purebred Standard poodle with a purebred Labrador (purebred)
  • F2: The result of mixing two F1 Labradoodles
  • F3: The result of breeding two F2 Labradoodles
  • F4: The result of breeding two F3 Labradoodles

Furthermore, there are some special cases:

  • F1-B: The result of breeding a Standard poodle with an F1 Labradoodle. From all the mixes, this one presents the lowest levels of shedding, and therefore, it is ideal for allergic people
  • F2-B: The result of mixing a Standard poodle with an F2 Labradoodle.

These terms are widely used in the world of designer dogs and breeding practices, in this case, crossing. Therefore, as a breeder, you need to fully understand this concept.

f2b hybrid backbred dog
Chart: F2b hybrid dog (c) breedingbusiness.com

Appearance

At first glance, Labradoodles are simply adorable. Their curly and beautiful coat, their sweet and lovely eyes and the complexion of their body. Nonetheless, there are more aspects to observe, especially if you want to start breeding Labradoodles.

To screen possible candidates for mating, you should take into account the following appearance standards, to ensure that you get a Labradoodle that comes as close to perfection as possible.

Size

Because it is a cross, the size will vary. These are the most common types of Labradoodle and their respective measures:

Type Male Female
Standard Height: 22-24 inches
Weight: 50-65 pounds
Height: 21-23 inches
Weight: 50-65 pounds
Medium Height: 18-20 inches
Weight: 30-45 pounds
Height: 17-19 inches
Weight: 30-45 pounds
Mini Height: 14-16 inches
Weight: 15-25 pounds
Height: 14-16 inches
Weight: 15-25 pounds

The size will also help you to choose the ideal kind of Labradoodle. If you live an apartment or small home, then a mini Labradoodle would be the ideal choice.

Furthermore, the appearance standard applies to every kind of Labradoodle with no noticeable difference. Therefore, you can use the indications below to spot an ideal specimen.

Body

The following characteristics define the ideal Labradoodle body:

  • Topline is level with croup and a strong loin
  • Sprung ribs
  • Firm elbows
  • Shoulders possess good angulation
  • The ideal length to height ratio should be 10-12
  • The body must look firm and compact
  • The legs should be slightly longer

Therefore, the Labradoodle is a galloping and sturdy dog thanks to the ideal composition of its body. These features apply to the three official types of Labradoodle: Standard, medium and mini.

Coat

Because it is a crossbreed, there is always uncertainty about how the coat will look. Nonetheless, these are the recognized types of coats for Labradoodles:

  • Wavy or Shaggy (The most common type of coat)
  • Curly (Mainly found in F1B specimens)
  • Straight (Mainly found in F2 and F2B specimens)

Furthermore, the coat of the Labradoodle comes in many different colors:

  • Chalk (White-like)
  • Black
  • Red
  • Café
  • Chocolate
  • Gold
  • Silver
  • Parchment
  • Cream
  • Apricot
  • Blue

According to Labradoodle breeders, the coat needs to be within a range of 4-6 inches in length, the curls do not have to be tight and the coat should not be fluffy.

Skull

Always observe the skull of the dog, because the skull has to be rounded (not domed) and the muzzle should be square. Also watch out for the nose, which should be long, fleshy and square.

Eyes, Ears & Bite

The ideal eyes of a Labradoodle have to be rounded, large and expressive. It is one of the most remarkable traits of crossbreeds. In addition, the eyes can be honey color, shades of hazel or dark brown.

Ideally, the ears have to lie flat against the head. The leather has to be medium in terms of thickness and it should not hang below the lower lip line.

According to breeders, the scissor bite is the most desirable trait in this aspect. Confirm that the upper teeth overlap the bottom teeth.

Temperament

One of the reasons why the Labradoodle is so popular nowadays is thanks to its lovely temperament, which makes it an ideal companion and family dog. We will examine the pros and cons of its behavior, along with recommendations on how to improve the problematic aspects.

Pros

Labradoodles are smart, and therefore, highly trainable. In consequence, they will understand how to obey you quickly, and in addition, they can learn plenty of tricks. Furthermore, they can interpret your mood surprisingly well. For example, if you cannot play with your Labradoodle then it will understand and do it by itself.

They are easy-going and sociable. They love to be around people and they get along with other dogs. Their character is mellow, and since they adore pleasing their owners, they will do anything in their power to achieve it.

They are loyal. Another trait that makes it an ideal family dog. Practically all breeds share this feature, but in combination with their mellow personality and desire to please their masters, it makes the Labradoodle more special.

They are playful and energetic. They love to run, play and exercise. Therefore, if you want to go for long runs, it will be an excellent companion. The same for those who love the outdoors. With a Labradoodle, you will have a dog that is ready to walk long distances, swim, climb and a lot more!

Cons

Since they have a lot of energy, they tend to become anxious and bark a lot when you do not meet their needs. Therefore, to avoid this situation, give your dog enough exercise and playtime.

They have a strong temperament, and therefore, they will assume they are the head of the pack. Therefore, early training is a must, so you can show them their place and they will comply without problems. Training from an early age is key for their healthy development.

Even though they are ideal for families with kids, keep an eye if you have toddlers, because due to their enormous enthusiasm they can end up hurting them without notice. Other than that, they are lovely and kind to children.

Ideal Owner

Thanks to the personality traits of this breed, the Labradoodle is suitable for:

  • People who love the outdoors and have big yards or spacious areas at home
  • Families
  • Excellent watchdogs
  • Magnificent service dogs (guiding, blood sugar alert, therapy, etc.)

Consider that these dogs have plenty of energy and they need physical exercise on a daily basis, as well as lots of playtimes. Therefore, these dogs cannot be left alone for a long time nor live in secluded spaces.

labradoodles as guide dogs
Labradoodles were originally bred by Mr. Conron for the Royal Guide Dog Association of Australia.

Health Concerns when Breeding Labradoodles

As stated in the beginning, there are certain health issues and aspects that you need to know. In general, it is a healthy dog, but due to cross-breeding and other genetic factors, it is important to be aware of what to expect.

They are full of energy; love to exercise and they have a lifespan that oscillates from 12 to 14 years. With proper nutrition and plenty of physical activity, your Labradoodle will stay with you for many years to come.

Therefore, it is important to be aware of certain issues like Addison’s disease, to administer immediate treatment.

Breeding Line Issues

Crossbreeding presents characteristics issues that you need to know because they may affect the health of the puppy. The main issue is that cross-breeding, even multi-generational, tends to pass recurrent diseases from each breed into the new designer dog.

As you are going to see below, this issue with cross-breeding has allowed congenital diseases such as joint dysplasia and progressive retinal atrophy to affect the Labradoodle.

Therefore, to avoid these and other genetic issues, many reputable breeders solely breed F1 Labradoodles and it is due to the following reasons:

  • It maximizes genetic diversity
  • It keeps the coefficient of inbreeding (COI) low
  • It allows breeders to choose the healthiest individual dogs (Poodle x Labrador)

According to breeders, this is the healthiest approach because it protects the dog from developing serious health issues that will diminish its quality of life.

COI is especially problematic because when it reaches a high percentage, it affects the fertility of the dog and the size and the health of the litter. F1 Labradoodles have a COI of 0%, and by adding enough genetic diversity, breeders can keep it low enough.

Prevalent Medical Conditions

Now that you are aware of the cross-breeding issues, it is time to examine specific health concerns that can affect your Labradoodle. There are some critical genetic defects such as Von Willebrand’s disease and Addison’s disease that will cause many problems. Therefore, come with us to learn more about them.

Joint Dysplasia

Labradoodles are to cases of joint dysplasia, affecting mainly their hips and elbow. Both are deformations and cause pain, limited range of movement and can lead to arthritis.

Since they limit physical activity a lot, because of the reduced range of movement, they can also make your dog more anxious and stressed, since Labradoodles are highly energetic and active dogs.

Hip dysplasia happens when the socket of the hip develops abnormally, which happens when the result of the thighbone and the acetabulum grow at different rates. It limits the normal range of movement, causes pain (from mild to chronic) and provokes lameness.

Elbow dysplasia happens when the elbow joint grows abnormally, something that affects the surface of the joint. It limits the natural movement of the joint, and therefore, it causes pain and adds stress to the life of your pet.

Both kinds of dysplasia range from mild to chronic. The less severe cases can be treated with physical therapy and special medications. Nonetheless, at chronic stages (e.g. Grade IV Hip Dysplasia), they will require surgical procedures.

Congenital Eye Disease

Affected Labradoodles present these diseases since birth or a short time after it. According, these are the cases with the highest incidence rate:

  1. Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
  2. Multifocal Retinal Dysplasia (MRA)

PRA provokes the bilateral degeneration of the retina, which eventually leads to blindness in all cases. Since it is a devastating defect, as a breeder you need to DNA-test your dogs before breeding a Labradoodle, be it an F1, F2 or multigenerational.

MRA is similar to PRA, but unlike it, it is not progressive. It forms around clumps in the retinal tissue, which causes vision impairment and related defects. In addition to being a congenital disease, it can develop due to other factors such as vitamin A deficiency and viral infections.

It is also important to mention that Labradoodles tend to suffer from cataracts as well because it reaches an incidence rate of 3.7%. Nonetheless, it is very similar to that of purebred Labradors, but it is not an excuse to not watch for signs of this eye problem.

Addison’s Disease

Addison’s disease is a common health issue for standard Poodles and Labradors, and unfortunately, it has been transferred to Labradoodles as well. For example, in the case of Poodles, it reaches an incidence rate of 8.6%. It affects F1, F2 and multi-generational specimens.

This disease affects the normal functioning of the pituitary gland, and in consequence, it alters the normal production of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). In case it produces it excessively, it receives the name of Spontaneous Hyperadrenocorticism.

Addison’s disease can act in two ways:

  • Via auto-immune reactions that attack the adrenal gland tissue
  • Spontaneous suspension of the functions of the adrenal gland and subsequent death

In consequence, your dog is unable to regulate cortisol, which as a result affects the stress levels of your pet negatively. In addition, it affects its appetite and other key biological processes.

It exhibits the following symptoms:

  • Weakness and lethargy
  • Depression
  • Lack of appetite
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Vomiting
  • Bloody stools and diarrhea
  • Fast heart rate
  • Excessive thirst
  • Excessive urination

Since it is a life-threating condition, it requires immediate treatment because it can be fatal for your dog. It will require life-long treatment, but it will improve the quality of life of your pet and keep it around for many years to come.

Von Willebrand’s Disease

Labradoodles are also vulnerable to this rare genetic disease that affects platelet binding, which makes it impossible to achieve normal blood clotting. It happens because this disease inhibits the production of vWF.

Fortunately, if you administer the right treatment, then it will not be fatal. It has a low mortality rate.

Nonetheless, it affects the quality of life of the dog, because a simple wound can cause big problems. Therefore, before breeding a Labradoodle you must ensure that the parents do not have this genetic disease because the puppies will inherit it.

If you notice the following symptoms, then your Labradoodle might be suffering from Von Willebrand’s disease:

  • Excessive bleeding after an injury or wound
  • Bloody urine
  • Bleeding gums
  • Bloody stools
  • Bruises on the skin
  • Bloody nasal discharge

The treatment for minor injuries and wounds includes wound glue, sutures, and bandages. For the most severe cases, the only way to treat it is with the transfusion of canine blood products, because there is no drug, vitamin or supplement that can help to produce vWF.

How To Breed Labradoodles

Now that you have a solid understanding of the background, appearance standards, temperament and health of the Labradoodle, it is time to check breeding-specific topics.

Taken separately, both Poodles and Labradors generally have smooth pregnancies. They are good-sized dogs facing very little issues with natural birthing. The same can be told of Labradoodles, yet the COI of a litter might change this a little.

Average Litter Size of a Labradoodle

The average litter size is 8 Labradoodle puppies. Although, it ranges from 4 to 10 puppies. Breeders know that the inbreeding coefficient plays an important role in the litter size and fertility, and therefore, the number of puppies will depend on your type of Labradoodle:

  • F1: COI = 0%
  • F1B: COI = No higher than 6.25%
  • F2+: COI = No higher than 6.25%

Therefore, an F1 Labradoodle will have a bigger litter than a multi-generational one. The key to maintaining this percentage low is to add enough genetic diversity with the help of breeding techniques such as back breeding.

labradoodle litter puppy count
Labradoodles generally have a puppy count ranging from 6 to 10 newborn puppies.

Birthing Problems

Due to cross breeding, it can present more birthing problems than purebred dogs. The biggest issues by far are congenital eye diseases such as Progressive Retinal Atrophy and Multifocal Retinal Dysplasia. The best way to avoid these birthing problems is to DNA-test your dogs before breeding a Labradoodle.

Therefore, when breeding an F1 Labradoodle, as well as multi-generational, you need to get the health certificates from both dogs, to ensure that they do not carry congenital diseases and genetic defects.

Health Testing

To avoid the most common health issues that Labradoodles face, you need to invest in health testing. You should perform these tests as a responsible breeder:

  • Hip tests (between $300 to $600 USD)
  • Elbow tests (between $150 to $300 USD)
  • Official CERF eye examination (between $50 to 200 USD)
  • Von Willebrand’s test ($150 USD)
  • Brucellosis test ($75 USD)
  • PRA test ($165 to $195 USD)

Of course, you should also request the breeder this information prior to buying, to ensure that you are getting a healthy specimen. This will save you from experiencing a lot of problems, and of course, you will save plenty of money in the end.

All of these are tests to discard congenital diseases that will affect the normal quality of life of the puppies. For example, Von Willebrand’s disease limits the kind of activities that your Labradoodle can do, because a simple injury will result in excessive bleeding and potential infections.

A dog that is subject to these tests will cost more, but this investment guarantees you that you are getting a healthy Labradoodle that you can breed with total confidence.

Pricing

Due to being one of the most demanded designer dogs nowadays, its price varies in a range from $900 to $4,000. The price tends to vary a lot depending on the following factors:

  • If the parents are registered at the Kennel Club
  • Pedigree of the parents (show quality, temperament, health, etc.)
  • The reputation of the breeder
  • Health testing (the more tests, the more expensive the puppy)

For example, an F1 Labradoodle whose parents come from a bloodline of champions and that is registered at the Kennel Club will sell for much more than an F2 Labradoodle puppy whose parents were not registered nor have a clear pedigree.

Commonly Asked Questions about Labradoodles

During our research, we found these questions to be the most commonly asked. Below you will find exact answers to solve your doubts.

How big can Labradoodles get?

The standard Labradoodle, which is the biggest, can grow up to 24 inches in height (male) and weigh up to 65 pounds. Therefore, it falls within the category of large dogs, and in consequence, you need to consider if you will have enough space at home for it because they tend to get anxious.

Nonetheless, you can opt for a small version like the Toy Labradoodle, which reaches a top height of 16 inches and a maximum weight of 25 pounds.

Do Labradoodles bark excessively?

Labradoodles tend to bark excessively when you ignore their lifestyle needs, which are plenty of exercise and affection. Your Labradoodle needs from 30 to 60 minutes of exercise per day to feel happy and satisfied, because they have a lot of energy. When they stay inside for long periods, they get anxious, and in consequence, they tend to bark a lot.

Our advice is to take them for long walks, and also give them time off-leash to run as fast as they can, and if possible, take them to swim because they love it!

how to breed labradoodles
Share how to breed Labradoodles on social media!

Now that you have our full guide about how to breed Labradoodles, just follow our recommendations and you will have your first litter of healthy puppies very soon. Pay special attention to the potential health issues and our advice regarding health testing, because it will define the quality of life that your puppies will enjoy.

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