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Internationally the Labradoodle is becoming a distinct breed rather than simply a “cross-breed”.  The labradoodle originates from Australia and as its name suggest was created originally from a Labrador and a Poodle.  After generations of careful and selective breeding a wonderful breed has emerged.  Labradoodles come in three sizes (Standard, Medium and Miniature) and a variety of colours from Cream, Apricot through to Chocolate even Silver!  First crosses (F1) tend to be the scruffy hairy “Disney” type dogs whilst a Multi-Generational pup should have a long soft fleece similar to an angora goat.

Cheeky, intelligent and loving Labradoodles make ideal family dogs and are usually great with children.  Labradoodle terminology is F1 for the First Cross then F2, F3, F4, F5, F6 etc for subsequent crosses.  The founder two breeders in Australia are Rutland Manor and Tegan Park.  In the UK have Labradoodles from these Australian lines.

Some Labradoodles particularly Australian Multi-Generational Labradoodles are low to non-shedding and can be (but are not necessarily) tolerated better by people with asthma or allergies.  Caution still has to be exercised by those with medical conditions when entering into contact with Labradoodles, as a reaction is possible due to the Labrador genes.

Being people – orientated dogs Labradoodles do not like to be left alone all day, they do not require excessive exercise but do enjoy walks and playing. Care should be taken when selecting a puppy and there are waiting lists for pups from reputable breeders of 6-12 months. Ensure that the breeding dogs have been health-tested (hips, elbows and eyes) and preferably DNA profiled, as both Labrador and Poodles have problems in these areas. Cost is comparable with “pedigree” dogs £600 upwards.

Labradoodle History

The Labradoodle first originated in Australia when the first intentional purpose - bred mating of a Labrador Retriever and a Standard Poodle was initiated by Wally Conran of The Royal Guide Dogs in Victoria Australia. A vision impaired woman in Hawaii needed a Guide Dog which wouldn't aggravate her husband's allergies.  Over a period of two years, they had sent hair and saliva samples from 33 different Poodles across to Hawaii to test for allergic reaction with the lady's husband, but without success. Eventually Wally Conran approached the Manager of Royal Guide Dogs with the suggestion that they try crossing one of their Labrador Retrievers with a Standard Poodle. He agreed.

The first litter had only three puppies. Hair and saliva samples were sent  to Hawaii from all three, but only Sultan's, the white dog, were successful.  The other two also went on to lead useful lives, one as a Remedial Dog and the other as a Guide Dog.  There was always a long waiting list of families waiting to puppy walk Guide Dogs, but when these new cross breeds needed homes, no one was prepared to take them on. Wally knew that it was vital that the puppies got the right socialisation in a family unit, and once again his ingenuity came to the rescue. He went to the manager with the suggestion that they approach Channel 9 television station in Melbourne with a story about the new breed of Guide Dog and realising it needed to have a name, he coined the word.  After the show aired on television, the phones rang hot with people wanting to puppy walk this amazing new breed of Guide Dog!

Wally Conran bred Labradoodles to other Labradoodles and called the offspring 'Double Doodles'. He then mated Double Doodles to other Double Doodles and the progeny of these matings he called 'Tri Doodles'. Of the 31 Labradoodles bred at Royal Guide Dogs, a staggering 29 made it through as Guide allocade of unparalled proportion for this new  'breed' of Guide Dog.

When the Guide Dogs had Open Days, people fell in love with the Labradoodles they saw there and The Guide Dog Center was besieged with inquiries as to where they could get one. it wasn't long before there was a huge demand, which was not being met. There was an obvious need for breeders to establish themselves and develop this fascinating dog, with the joyful intuitive personality, and the non shedding and allergy friendly coat.  When Wally Cochran retired, a country vet in Condoblin New South Wales, Australia was in constant touch with him and started her own breeding program mating Miniature Poodles with Labrador Retrievers. She was very successful

and as of 2004 is still breeding her Miniature first generation Labradoodles.

Two Breeding and Research Centers for the Labradoodle were established, both located in the state of Victoria and they continued on from where the Guide Dogs left off, with the intention of breeding through successive generations of Labradoodle bred to Labradoodle. Both of these Centers acquired their breeding stock from a gentleman named Don Evans in Northern Victoria, when he scaled down his activities pending retirement. Don had also begun breeding through the generations, following the lead of Wally and he also called his bird dog crosses between Labrador and Poodle, Labradoodles.

The Labradoodle has experienced a meteoric explosion of popularity in countries across the world and their high profile and media exposure soon led to a rapid increase in the numbers of new breeders. In an effort to protect the Labradoodle's future, the Labradoodle Association of Australia (LAA) was set up in the nineties, but it collapsed due to lack of support. It was revived again in 2002. The first Association for the Labradoodle outside Australia was ALANA (The Australian Labradoodle Association of North America) which was formed in 2003, with NADA (The North American Doodle Association) being formed in early 2004. The International Labradoodle Association (ILA) was incorporated in Hawaii in January 2004.

The International Labradoodle Association

ILA was incorporated in Hawaii, January 2004, with executive board members representing and residing in Holland, Hawaii, the UK, USA and Australia. Its purpose is to provide a central point of contact where Labradoodle organizations, breeders, owners and lovers may come together to discuss and share initiatives and foster harmonious relationships to further the future of the Labradoodle. To facilitate this process, the ILA has Open Forums for breeders and associations and a second forum for persons interested in dogs for children with special needs.

The ILA has a registry, similar to the Kennel Club, so when the time comes for the Labradoodle to evolve into a recognised breed then records are available.  Labradoodle breeders, owners and lovers can join the ILA and participate and assist in the protection, preservation and registration of the Labradoodle.

International Labradoodle Breed Standard 2004

It is recognized that during the developmental years of the Labradoodle, not all Labradoodles will meet some of the criteria in this Breed Standard especially in respect of coat type.  It is therefore a guideline which breeders may breed towards as they pass along through the generations to the ideal.  Conformation is not designated for eye appeal, but as form to function.  Correct conformation is necessary to preserve soundness in limbs and joints and overall physical health. 

General  Appearance.

The Labradoodle comes in three sizes, Standard (largest) Medium (somewhere between the Standard and Miniature size) and Miniature (smallest).  There should be no appreciable difference in the general appearance of any of the three sizes.

A compact dog, not exceptionally boxy nor long bodied.  A galloping dog which gives the impression of light footed athleticism, and joyful bearing.  Medium to light boning, graceful in movement and with vivacious expression.  Coat should be non shedding, be of even length over body, on legs neck, tail and head, and should be as close to non allergenic as possible.  Their unique traits of intuitive nature and the seeking of human eye contact should be easily discernible at a glance. Easily amenable to training.


Standard –  21 -  24 inches and weighing between 20 kg and 40 kg. (2.2 lbs = 1 kg)

Medium  -  17 – 20 inches and weighing between  15 kg  and  18 kg. (2.2 lbs = 1 kg)

Miniature    12-  16 inches and weighing between  10 kg and  15 kg  (2.2 lbs = 1 kg)


Confident, joyful, vivacious, clownlike, sociable and friendly, totally non aggressive, clever and extremely intuitive.  Well suited for special work such as Therapy Dog, Assistance Dog, Hearing or Seizure Alert Dog, Guide Dog.  Can try to outsmart their owners just for fun, if not firmly disciplined when young.  Respond well to positive training methods.  Loyal and devoted to family.  Most love water and are natural swimmers and retrievers. Affectionate and loving.  Active and athletic when free, but should ‘melt’ into mellowness when touched by human hands.

Disqualifying Faults Timidity, hyperactivity, aggressiveness to either people or other animals, are all serious disqualifying faults and dogs exhibiting these traits should not be bred from.


First impression should be of a dog whose feet seem to hardly touch the ground.  Light, lithe, graceful, athletic.  When trotting, should have the appearance of ‘going somewhere’ with energy and effortless drive and purpose.  Looking like they are dancing.  When galloping, they should appear to float almost above the ground. Light and airy, flowing and free moving with a complete absence of apparent effort.


Height to length ratio should be as ten is to twelve, being slightly longer in leg than deep in body, but still looking compact.  Level topline, strong over loins and slightly sloping croup and with sloping shoulders flowing into firm elbows and front legs straight to the ground.  Straight upright shoulders are a fault as are straight stifles. Stifles should have medium angulation and be long, with short strong hocks parallel and straight to the ground.  Cow hocks are a fault as are toes turning either inwards or outwards.  They are a galloping dog, so flanks should rise to a medium tuck up, from deep brisket and well sprung ribs. 


The head should be in proportion to the rest of the body, being neither blocky, nor too fine or chiseled.  Medium stop, length from nose to eyes should be slightly longer than length from eyes to occiput.  Skull should be slightly rounded but not domed.  Forehead medium breadth, muzzle not snipey, but should have depth and breadth.  Weak under jaw should be penalized.  The head should flow naturally into a strong slightly curved and muscular neck and not appear to be ‘stuck on’.  Long narrow head is a fault.


Should be wide apart and low set, below or level with the eyes and hanging flat against the sides of the head.  The inner ear canal should not be too heavily coated.  Ear ‘leather’ should be thinner rather than thick and spongy. 


Should be wide set, large and expressive, lustrous or sparkling, oval to round,  and must not bulge (as in the Pekinese for example).  Expression to be lively, curious, full of fun and intuitive looking, seeking human eye contact.  Eye colors can be darkest brown, a transparent honey color, or shades of hazel. Wall or china eyes are not permissible. Protruding eyes, sunken or watery eyes are a fault. (note: that puppies may sometimes have tear stained eyes during teething).


Large  square and fleshy in appearance. Must never be narrow or pointed.    Brown colored dogs must have ‘rose’ or ‘liver’ colored noses and can never be black.  Reds must have black noses.  Other colors may have any of the above, depending on the colors they themselves carry in their ancestry.


Scissor bite, meaning that the upper teeth fit closely over the tops of the lower teeth.  Gaps between upper and lower teeth are a fault.  Undershot mouths (where the lower teeth extend beyond the upper teeth) are a fault.  Overshot mouths (where the upper teeth extend beyond the lower teeth) are a fault. Crowded teeth in the adult dog are a fault especially in Miniatures.


Ideally saber shaped as in the Labrador Retriever.  But during the formative years of the breed the tail may be carried gaily and swirling over the back. Tightly curled teapot tails are not permissible.  Kinked tails are not permissible.  White tipped tails are not permissible. Tails must not be docked.


Foot pads should be thick and deep and close together.  Weak ‘hare’s feet’ are a fault. There should be a definite ‘ankle’ between the feet and legs.  Front dewclaws may be removed although it is not necessary.   It is rare for a Labradoodle to have hind dewclaws but if puppies are born with them, they must be removed at four days old.


Must be strong in all colors.   Browns must have liver or rose pigment. Apricots and Reds must have black pigment.   Missing pigment around the eyes, or spots or patches of white or pink on the nose, eye rims, lips or pads are not permissible. 


As the Labradoodle develops through the generations there are many coat types from short sparse hairy coats, to long flowing hair coats, to wooly curly coats.  But the ideal is the non shedding Fleece or Curly Wool Coat, which must not shed, is allergy friendly to the vast majority of persons with dog related allergies and which has no doggy odor. The coat is one of the unique features of this breed and must be a priority coming close behind physical health and sound temperament.  Fleece coats have a distinctly soft fleecy ‘feel’ like no other dog coat.  The Wool Curly Coat feels similar to that of a pure bred Poodle.  Occasionally during a breeding program, flat coats or hair coats may be produced. But if these dogs  are exceptional in conformation,  temperament and health, they can be valuable breeding dogs when mated to suitable partners and should not be discarded for breeding.

The Fleece coat should be a single coat, with a complete absence of fluffy undercoat.  Ideally it should not be too thick, nor fuzzy, but should hang in loose loopy spirals similar to that of the angora goat. Length is around four to six inches, on body, tail, head and face and on the legs.

A ‘change’ of coat is permissible from puppy to adult and due to hormonal changes in entire females.  This should not shed itself out, but needs to be stripped out with grooming.

The Wool Curly Coat will often be quite curly but it should be the breeders’  goal to breed a looser curl than that of the Poodle in the interests of lower maintenance. 


Black, Silver, Cream, Apricot Cream, (Cream with Apricot ears and tonings) Chalk (milky almost white) , Gold,  Red, Apricot.  Browns may be known as either Chocolate or Café. Cafes are usually born Chocolate and pale with age.  They may also show gold or bronze highlights or tips to the coat.  Reds and Apricots may pale with age.  Silvers are born Black and silver out with age.  Blacks with Silver in their ancestry may have a sprinkling of silver hairs through their coat with maturity.  Blacks with Brown in their ancestry, may have brownish tonings on faces and legs.  Any color may have a small flash of white on the chest which should not be penalized. 

Serious  Faults

Hyperactivity, shyness, timidity, aggressive to people or other animals, snappy,  yappy, high strung, missing pigment, overshot undershot or crowded mouths, patched color, kinked or teapot tails, weak or ‘hare’ feet, heavy or ponderous build, cow hocks, dippy backs. 


In these early years of the development of the Labradoodle, It should be the goal of every serious breeder to do their best to safeguard the health status of the Labradoodle for future generations.  Testing for hereditary unsoundness in breeding stock will go a long way towards this goal and although it is no guarantee of the health in their  progeny, it should be accepted practice by every breeder to health test their dogs.

Lisa Carson

Vice-president of ILA

Author: Lisa Carson of – breeders of Australian Multi-Generational Labradoodles with extracts from the International Labradoodle Association website.