When speaking of Labradoodles, most people think that it is merely a Poodle crossed with a Labrador Retriever. When it comes to Australian Labradoodles, though, there is more to the breeding than meets the eye. This is the doodle that began all of the others.
What is an Australian Labradoodle? The Australian Labradoodle is an ancestral mixture of up to six different breeds. They include:
- Standard Poodle
- Labrador Retriever
- American Cocker Spaniel
- English Cocker Spaniel
- Irish Water Spaniel
- Curly Coat Retriever
So when you are looking at the term Labradoodle, it is not the same as an Australian Labradoodle. Here are a few of the distinctions between the two.
Is There A Difference Between An American Labradoodle And An Australian Labradoodle?
Yes, there are many differences between the two. The first-generation standard labradoodle is the expected cross between a standard poodle and the labrador retriever. The F1 Labradoodle (first generation) can be born with unexpected characteristics, either favoring most of the traits of the poodle or of the labrador retriever. Size and coat types vary widely, and the desired qualities and health conditions are ultimately hit and miss.
The F2 generation can result in the furtherance of these variations, and can even be prone to “throwbacks.” A throwback, in this case, refers to a Labradoodle that resembles either a poorly bred poodle or a poorly bred Labrador Retriever.
The Labradoodle as a service dog
In the 1980s, Australian dog breeder Wally Conron produced the first Labradoodle to create service dogs that were hypoallergenic or non-shedding.
Both of the parent breeds were intelligent dogs and the resulting litters were easy to train as therapy dogs.
He was unhappy that his success prompted a flurry of Labradoodle breeders with inconsistent results. He referred to the breed as “His life’s regret” because he felt responsible for the frenzy of Designer Dog breeds that occurred afterward.
Conron bred the first Labradoodle with the intent of producing a seeing-eye guide dog for a blind lady whose husband was allergic to dog fur. Years later the hybrid breed has amassed an enthusiastic following.
In the 1980s, Australian Labradoodle founders Teagan Park and Rutland Manor began mixing other purebreds into the gene pool to improve the coat, size, and temperament. They crossbred the Irish Water Spaniel and English Cocker Spaniel into the Labradoodle mix, then bred the resulting Labradoodles back to each other. In this manner, they were able to have consistent results with coat quality, intelligence, and low to non-shedding offspring.
Other types of Labradoodles, whether first-generation Labrador and Poodle blends or F1 Labradoodles bred back to Poodles (F1B), cannot be considered as an Aussie Labradoodle. They don’t have the decades-long ancestry of the other three or four breeds.
The Quest For A Purebred Labradoodle
The Labradoodle Association of Australia Inc. (LAA) was formed to provide guidelines on breeding to support Labradoodle owners and devotees worldwide. The Australian Labradoodle is produced in Australia with the goal of creating a purebred dog recognized by the LAA and the International Australian Labradoodle Association, Inc.
The strict guidelines of the “Breed Standard of the Australian Labradoodle” outline the key elements such as general appearance, size, wool coat, fleece coats, body ratio, and acceptable color combinations. To quote:
“Temperament and Soundness are the two KEY elements in a good family companion: they must not be sacrificed for any reason.”
The AKC refuses to recognize the Labradoodle as a breed and does not include them in their registries. The Australian Labradoodle Association of America (https://alaa-labradoodles.com/) created their own registry database for Labradoodles and Australian Labradoodles.
Note: Even with breed standards established, the stable defining qualities have not, consequently the Australian Labradoodle is still deemed a crossbreed. Nonetheless, The Australian Labradoodle consistently warms the hearts of each and every family member they have bonded to.
Australian Labradoodle Temperament
Aussies are generally calm, loving, affectionate, and eager to please. Plus, they love attention!
The Australian Labradoodle temperament has been described by many reputable breeders as “gentle”. This means that the dog will have no problem living peacefully alongside other pets such as cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, etc., without any problems arising from territoriality issues. They are an excellent choice for families with young children as well.
Are Australian Labradoodles Hypoallergenic?
There really is no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog, but the Australian Labradoodle causes fewer allergic reactions than most other dogs. Most allergies to pets come from the saliva or pet dander while others come from the actual animal hair.
Let’s say you are not sure whether your allergies are to the pet dander and saliva or the fur. Your best bet would be to spend some time with the dog to see if your allergies will be an issue before moving him into your family.
Do Australian Labradoodles Shed?
The major advantage of multi-generation Australian Labradoodles is that, for the most part, they do not shed. I stress the point “for the most part” because dead hair will occasionally get trapped and needs to be removed. Trimming and brushing will remove the old coat and allows the new layer to grow.
While the Australian Labradoodle doesn’t shed, a puppy will start to lose his puppy coat and grow the adult coat, usually at 9 to 12 months old. This is where you should start paying attention to brushing and trimming your dog’s fur.
Australian Labradoodles should be brushed every two to three weeks. This will help prevent any of the hair from flying about when the dog scratches at the itchy dead fur.
Lastly, a poor diet or food allergy can cause a non-shedding breed to lose hair. This condition is only temporary, and the coat will return to normal after the issue has been identified and corrected.
Australian Labradoodle Health Issues
Even with careful breeding and testing, even Aussie Doodles are at risk for some inherited weaknesses. Selecting a responsible breeder can ensure you have a healthy dog with a long life expectancy. Screenings should include the following:
Von Willebrand’s Disease
The most common form of von Willebrand’s disease in dogs occurs when the blood-clotting factor called “von Willebrand Factor” or vWF does not function properly. This results in excessive bleeding during surgery, dental procedures, injury, etc., which can lead to death if left untreated. The condition affects both males and females equally but usually appears later in life than other inherited diseases such as hemophilia A and B.
Hip and Elbow Dysplasia
The first thing that comes up when people think about labrador retrievers and golden retrievers is hip dysplasia. HD occurs because there’s not enough room for the femur bone to grow properly. It causes pain and arthritis later on in life.
Labradoodles have been bred specifically to reduce the risk of developing HD. But, they do carry some other genetic risks as well.
The most common eye issue in Australian Labradoodles is progressive retinal atrophy or PRA. It’s a genetic condition caused by the RPE65 gene mutation. Affected dogs have an abnormal accumulation of lipofuscin pigment within their retina cells. As this accumulates over time it leads to degeneration of photoreceptors and eventual visual impairment.
Australian Labradoodle’s different sizes fall into three categories: Miniature, Medium, and Standard. The actual size and weights are shown in the table below.
|3 Sizes of Australian Labradoodles|
|Miniature Size||14 to 16 inches at the withers||15 to 25 lbs|
|Medium Size||17 to 20 inches at the withers||30 to 45 lbs|
|Standard Size||21 to 24 inches at the withers||50 to 65 lbs|
If you are in the market for an Australian Labradoodle, be sure and check out the breeder’s credentials. There are many fly-by-night operations that say all the right words but count on the cute pictures to do the selling. Look for offspring that have been entered into the Australian Labradoodle Association of America’s registry.
All health records should be available and the breeder should have the mission to match your family’s needs with a companion that is sound in breeding lines, temperament, and socialization.