Downsides that can come with Labradoodles (And their history!)

I’ve been hesitant to write this article as so many people have and love their doodles, but I get asked a lot what the difference is. In order to discover this, I had to ask the EXPERTS (not the backyard breeder or puppy mill just making a buck and not at all concerned with genetics)

This statement caught my eye and made me look further. Apparently, the man who “invented” the labradoodle now feels he’s made a terrible mistake, and regrets ever creating the breed.

The reason given is basically due to the overwhelming popularity of having a dog with the work ethic of a lab that is hypoallergenic has led to a great number of unethical breeders breeding any dogs together to keep up with the demand for the dog without considering the health of the dogs or the puppies. (The Guardian)

**Three decades ago, Wally Conron, from Australia, bred two unlike animals to unleash a creature the world had never seen. Today, he says it’s his “life’s regret”: “I opened a Pandora’s box and released a Frankenstein’s monster.”

That ‘travesty,’ as he put it, was a labradoodle. (Please don’t send hate mail—only giving facts and history here!!)

Conron decided to breed a poodle and a labrador following a request from a blind woman in Hawaii, who needed a guide dog that wouldn’t stir up her husband’s allergies. First he tried poodles, but they lacked the personality required for guide work, he told Australia’s ABC. The solution was “a dog with the working ability of the labrador and the coat of the poodle”, he said.

He found a labrador mom and a poodle dad, and a resulting puppy, one ‘Sultan’, was born.

“When you start attaching cool names (not “mutt” –but he gave it the name “Labradoodle”), then it starts turning into a new, ‘cool’ story.”)

Conron’s regret stems from what he describes as “unethical, ruthless people [who] breed these dogs and sell them for big bucks”, even as, he says, health problems abound. “I find that the biggest majority are either crazy or have a hereditary problem,” he said. (It has been rumored that many die by 5 or 6 years old due to lack of genetic screening by the breeders who breed them)

He expounded on his concerns about designer dogs – “the offspring of two different purebreds – to Psychology Today in 2014: “All these backyard breeders have jumped on the bandwagon, and they’re crossing any kind of dog with a poodle,” without concern for potential health implications, he said. “There are so many poodle crosses having fits, problems with their eyes, hips, and elbows, and a lot have epilepsy.”

He was so concerned, he said, that when he heard Barack Obama was considering getting a labradoodle, he wrote to him to advise against it. (WOW!) It’s unclear whether the president listened, but the Obamas ended up with a pair of Portuguese water dogs, also known for being hypoallergenic.

One clear drawback, however: from cavoodle to schnoodle to goldendoodle (shouldn’t it be goldenoodle?), it seems the labradoodle has fueled an outbreak of annoying names—and just about every breed has been “doodled.” It seems! lol

The DIFFERENCE of getting a purebred Labrador from a breeder who has been developing and improving their lines for genetic purity for decades is that these genetic issues have been weeded out, and you have a better chance of having a dog with fewer trips to the veterinarian, less bills, and better quality of life—and longer life.

Doodles need LOTS of coat care due to matting. I did not know this until I talked to groomers. They hate grooming doodles, and if you don’t brush them and un-matt them every day you can end up with a terrible mess. Because they do not “shed out” the old coat, you must groom the old dead coat out, daily, or it will cause severe matting in the new coat. During their coat change, it is recommended that you groom them daily. Plus you must keep their eye stains clean each day.

And, in general, those genetic problems and temperament unpredictability are going to be more common in the mix than in a well-bred purebred of any of the breeds involved.

Good breeders of Labradors test for PRA, so do good breeders of Poodles. Shocking few “doodle” breeders I’ve found test for anything (but its not unheard of–you must search very long and hard). Reputable breeders of purebred dogs usually do dozens of genetic tests and eliminate dogs from their program that don’t meet the highest standards. Some of us weed out our breeding stock over as much as 4 decades! It’s a life commitment/passion.

Then, add on top of that, the problems that a dog can have when their brains and bodies just don’t fit nicely together. Mixed-breed dogs are prone to orthopedic injuries, for example, since the tall-light-square of a Poodle randomly combined with the stockier-rectangle Labrador doesn’t always actually work out biomechanically. That means early arthritic issues, and either major surgeries or early euthanasia.

Coat color and markings can be irregular within a litter of Labradoodles

Nowadays, they are a commodity designer dog, bred mostly by people trying to cash in (and its recent rise in popularity)—a handful may be doing clearances, but good luck finding that. You’ll get whatever problems are prone to the pedigree going back 5 to 8 generations on each side on the pedigree. (Good luck researching a designer pedigree as I doubt there is one listed anywhere.) If the beginning was a great lab from great lines (hopefully?) and a great poodle from great lines, I wouldn’t be worried. Again, good luck researching past 2 generations, and then whatever the breeder says can be immediately ignored if proof isn’t available. It’s essentially a genetics crapshoot akin to the worst genetics of a lab and the worst genetics of a poodle (in purebred dogs we breed the best genetics to our best genetics). NOBODY with good lab lines will breed outside to a different breed, sometimes even being picky about allele sets for color, conformation, and temperament, and even fewer serious poodle breeders will do it. So you get “pet grade” dogs being bred together which only gets worse.

Oh, and they aren’t all hypoallergenic because the genetics aren’t stable. They also aren’t all good waterdogs for the same reason—and good luck with that coat after it’s been wet—LOTS of brushing! And budget a lot of grooming fees in if purchasing one. That beard can get awfully messy and smelly too (part of the bonus of a Labrador–no grooming!).

My love goes out to all who have a Labradoodle—especially the ones that got lucky!!! (I’m sure you did your homework!!!)


Leave A Comment