Choosing a new family member is not a decision to be taken lightly. Labradoodles can be an absolute delight to have around, provided that you do your homework before inviting a new puppy into your home. So, what should you look for before choosing a Labradoodle puppy?
1. Do You Need A Hypoallergenic Puppy? Check The Lineage.
Labradoodles are non-shedding dogs most of the time, but that means the fur is trapped in the coat and doesn’t end up all over the house and furniture. The curly and wavy type coats hold on to the loose fur until it is brushed out, but the flat or straight coat doesn’t hang on to it as well. You can check with the breeder and get a good idea of what type of coat your puppy will develop.
2. How Big Will My Labradoodle Get? Check The Records Of Past Litters.
Most reputable breeders keep records or even scrapbooks of the puppies that come from their kennels. They often have photographs provided by the proud owners showing the progress of the puppy’s growth and coloring.
If you get a Labradoodle puppy from a one-litter-every-blue-moon family, there are approximate measurements to go by.
There are three size variations for the Labradoodle and it depends on the size of the poodle used for the first generation. The sizes are standard, medium, and miniature.
A standard male Labradoodle will be 22-25 inches in height and the female will be 20-24 inches. The weight for both is from 50 to 65 pounds.
A medium male Labradoodle will be 18-24 inches in height and the female will be 17-22 inches
The weight for both is 30 to 45 pounds.
The miniature Labradoodle has a much wider range of sizes. Male and female can be from 14 inches to 17 inches in height and weigh between 15 to 25 pounds.
3. Ask Pointed Questions About the Breed Mix Of The Parents.
The terms used for parentage of “Hybrid” breeds like the Labradoodles are F, F1, F2, F1B, F2B, etc. Coat texture and color, as well as size, tend to stabilize in multi-generational puppies. The chart below helps simplify the “F” terms.
Your breeder can identify your potential family member’s generation and give you a pretty good idea of what your puppy will look like as an adult.
4. Check The Breeder’s Health Records To Avoid Costly Care Later In Life.
Labrador Retrievers and Poodles are prone to genetic maladies such as Hip and Elbow Dysplasia, Von Willebrand’s Disease, epilepsy, and others. A competent breeder will not select dogs that have these genetic traits to be used as breeding stock. The health records for the parents of the current litter should be available for inspection.
5. What Is A Labradoodle’s Disposition? Are They Aggressive?
Labradoodles are gentle and fun-loving, and most of all, they are very family-oriented.
Because of their easy-going nature, they don’t make good guard dogs. They were bred to be non-aggressive and eager to please.
Get to know the puppy before moving him into your home to see if it’s a good match. Some breeders will make arrangements to let the family interact with the puppy before making any long term commitments.
For more information about Labradoodles, check out the post What Is A Labradoodle?
6. Is My Home Or Environment Right For A Labradoodle?
Labradoodles are traditionally high energy and active creatures and would do best in a home that has a fenced-in yard. They need about 30 minutes to an hour of exercise per day to burn calories and generally wear them out.
They are not suited for apartments, but as long as you can get them out for a run on the trails or play in the park daily, they should be alright.
Labradoodles also crave interaction with people and do not handle being left alone for long periods of time. Take this into consideration if you will be at work and there is no one home during the day.
7. Can I Devote The Time to Raise A Labradoodle?
Your new Labradoodle needs food and shelter (obviously) but many prospective owners forget the time to train the new addition. There is also the socialization that MUST be a part of raising your pet from day one. In many cases, the new parents need as much training as the puppy does.
Here is a significant time drain – grooming. Brushing and bathing will need to be on a regular schedule, or else you will need the services of a professional groomer.
8. Are There Children In Your Home? And Are Labradoodles Good With Children?
Since Labradoodles are a mix of Labrador Retriever and Poodle, let’s look at the individual traits of each. Labrador retrievers are kindly and good-natured and they are very easy-going and gentle. They’re one of the best dogs to be around children of all ages.
Poodles are active, energetic, and quite lively but they are also loyal and bond easily with family members. The Poodle’s shyness around new people and strangers can result in some barking but they are not aggressive by nature. They are very intelligent and tend to socialize and train easily.
Labradoodles vary from the mini to standard size, and with each larger version comes the chance of smaller children getting unintentionally bumped around by a burst of puppy exuberance. Always remember that a puppy will grow much faster than your child will.
9. Check The Breeder’s Credentials. What To Look For…
The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) created the Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) and established the recommended protocols for breed-specific health screenings. Breeders following this protocol can provide a CHIC number for their breeding stock.
Specific screening tests for Labradoodles are:
- Hip Dysplasia – OFA Evaluation
- Elbow Dysplasia – OFA Evaluation
- Eye Examination by a boarded ACVO Ophthalmologist – registered with OFA
- EIC – EXERCISE INDUCED COLLAPSE – This is a DNA based test from an approved lab
- D Locus (Dilute) DNA Test – This is DNA based D LOCUS results from an approved lab
CHIC certification shows that the breeder uses good standards in selecting their breeding stock.
You can get your veterinarian to give you their recommendations for reputable Labradoodle breeders.
Consider avoiding breeders that
- Breed other types of dogs.
- Don’t allow home visits to check on the puppy/parents environment or
- Don’t have their dogs in their home.
- Have multiple litters available at once, like in a number of kennels at a farm…this would be like a puppy mill.
- Don’t have health records available for your review.
- Don’t offer the transaction in writing – Immunizations, Spaying Or Neutering, and health guarantees
10. Consider Adoption First.
There are many full-grown Labradoodles and puppies that have been placed in shelters or rescues sites as a result of the owner’s living arrangements changing or having passed away. Sometimes the owners just found out that they cannot devote the time and care necessary to raise their fur baby properly. Whatever the reason, there are many orphaned dogs of all breeds just waiting for a loving family to welcome them home.
There are usually benefits with a rescue dog, such as being already housebroken or socialized with other people and their pets. Labradoodles are very intelligent and have long memories.
They will always remember being rescued…or should I say…rescuing you.