Labradoodles are among the most loving, gentle, and devoted dog breeds, which causes many of their owners to wonder how long these pets might live as companions. Labradoodles are a crossbreed between poodles and Labrador retrievers, so much of their health and life expectancy depends on their ancestral and biological heritage. Of course, the quality of care provided by its owner is also a determining factor in how long a labradoodle will live as well.
Labradoodles live between 13 and 15 years on average, but there are outliers and exceptions to this range. Compared to many canine breeds, Labradoodles tend to have a longer life expectancy—particularly when it comes to larger dogs. Also, the fact that Poodles and Labrador retrievers are both generally healthy dogs means that the hybrid Labradoodle is less likely to face specific genetic weaknesses originating with either parental breed.
Unfortunately, it’s nearly impossible to determine the life expectancy of an individual dog. Therefore, the best way to ensure that your labradoodle lives as long and healthy a life as possible is to research and be aware of potential health risks to provide preventive care, as well as providing a nutritious diet, plenty of exercise, and a loving home.
How Long Do Labradoodles Live?
One way to address Labradoodle lifespan is to gain a frame of reference for the typical life expectancy of their parental breeds and the impact of genetic diversity. When it comes to genetics, just as with humans, heredity in dogs is one of several determining factors in their lifespan. Canine breeding does imply some measure of genetic control due to human intervention in natural selection through planned mating. However, this control over genetic material in puppies produced is limited.
Labrador retrievers are considered the favorite canine breed in America. They are versatile, loyal, and kind dogs that generally make excellent companions for nearly any household. Labrador retrievers are also a relatively healthy breed of dog. They can face orthopedic problems in their joints and are subject to eye problems such as cataracts as they age. Also, older labs are at risk of developing diabetes or heart disease.
The Labrador retriever’s average lifespan is within a range of 10 to 13 years. Their life expectancy can be extended with excellent veterinary care, a happy home life, and a healthy lifestyle, especially when it comes to weight management. As in all dogs, healthy weight significantly reduces the risk of many health concerns that arise with age.
Poodles range in size, from standard to miniature to toy. Most Labradoodles are bred from standard poodles. However, there is a possibility that the poodle parent of a labradoodle is smaller than standard. This could result in additional labradoodle issues that are common for smaller dog breeds as well as larger dogs. However, many small dog health issues are not determining factors when it comes to life expectancy in Labradoodles.
Like Labrador retrievers, poodles are subject to health problems in their hip joints as well as reduced eyesight with age. Standard poodles are at higher risk for certain cancers and diseases, affecting their blood vessels and skin. Overall, poodles are considered a generally healthy dog breed, and their lifespan ranges on average from 12 to 15 years.
Unfortunately, selective breeding by humans to produce purebred dogs has drastically reduced the genetic diversity in many canine populations. Such intentional inbreeding has put many purebred puppies at risk for an increased number of health problems that affect their behavior as well as their physiology.
One way to enhance genetic diversity among canines is to allow cross or mixed breeding. This is the case for Labradoodles in that they share their genetic make-up with two breeds of parents. Blending the genes of Labrador retrievers and poodles allows for more diversity when it comes to heredity in the puppies.
Though breeding still interferes with complete natural selection, crossbreeds such as Labradoodles tend to live longer than their purebred counterparts due to potential hybrid genetic variations that are not allowed for or present in purebreds.
For those who decide to purchase labradoodle puppies from a breeder, a reputable breeder will supply a report of the parents’ health histories and genetics upon request. This can provide a general guide as to the likelihood of whether your puppy will inherit specific health problems or genetic issues. However, it’s essential to realize that the genetic make-up and predispositions of individual dogs for disease or other health concerns are impossible to know thoroughly. Puppy mills will not have the necessary records needed to screen out genetic defects.
Potential Labradoodle Health Problems
Though, as a breed, Labradoodles do have more genetic diversity than purebred dogs and tend to live longer than other dog breeds of their size, they are still subject to health problems. Pet owners need to understand and be aware of the signs indicating potential disease and genetic health issues in their Labradoodles so treatment can be sought immediately.
Some of these conditions affecting the health and lifespan of Labradoodles are:
- Hip Problems: Hip dysplasia is a genetic issue that standard Labradoodles can inherit from either or both parents. Though this condition is more common in older dogs, it can begin in puppyhood. With hip dysplasia, the hip joint becomes loose and often results in damage and inflammation that can make it difficult for Labradoodles to climb. Smaller Labradoodle sizes have fewer instances of hip issues and are prone more often to Elbow Dysplasia.
- Von Willebrand’s Disease: This disease results from a lack of protein in the body that limits and/or prevents blood from clotting in Labradoodles and other dog breeds. Poodles and Labradors are often affected by this disease, as would be their labradoodle offspring. An injury that involves bleeding could be life-threatening for dogs with von Willebrand’s Disease.
- Addison’s Disease: Addison’s disease stems from the non-production of a particular hormone in dogs that allow their bodies to function correctly. Dogs that suffer from Addison’s have trouble digesting food and managing stress. If this disease goes untreated, it can drastically impact a labradoodle’s life expectancy.
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy: This represents a group of genetic diseases in certain breeds of dogs, including Labradoodles. These diseases affect the retinas, resulting in degeneration that causes progressive loss of vision and eventually leads to blindness.
- Ear Infections: Because of the L-shape of the Labradoodles ear canal, water can get trapped and result in Swimmer’s Ear. This can cause pain, itchiness, redness, discharge, and sometimes smelly odor. Your veterinarian should be consulted if you reach this stage
It’s essential to address any symptoms or health concerns regarding your labradoodle with a reputable veterinary service as soon as possible.
Extending the Life of Your Labradoodle
All living things deteriorate with age, and it can be heartbreaking to think of our dogs reaching their end of life stages. Of course, most pet owners would take time from their own lives to extend the lives of their beloved labradoodle companions beyond the 13 to 15-year life expectancy. Since that’s not possible, several things pet parents can do to ensure that their Labradoodles live as long, healthily, and happily as possible through preventive care, activity, and love.
- Veterinary Care—including regular check-ups, and vaccinations
- Nutritious Food—ensuring a balanced diet
- Proper Feeding Schedule—avoiding canine obesity
- Socialization—providing companionship and contact with others
- Physical Activity—encouraging physical health through walks and playing
- Grooming—ensuring the health of the skin, coats, paws, nails, ears, etc.
- Mental Stimulation—providing training, learning, and playtime to develop and maintain acuity
- Love and Affection—returning the kindness, loyalty, and love that Labradoodles extend to their owners
Labradoodles are one of the most devoted, loving, and companionable breeds. Therefore, it’s important for their pet owners to not just work at extending their lives, but making sure to provide as healthy and joyous an existence as possible for these dogs.