Black Miniature Australian Labradoodle Puppies

Black Miniature Australian Labradoodle Puppies

The Labradoodle is perhaps the first “designer dog,” making it a more recent (and extremely popular) addition to the canine kingdom. A cross between the family-friendly Labrador and the good-natured Poodle, the breed is not recognized by the American Kennel Club. The Australian Labradoodle Association of America (ALAA), however, describes them as compact, medium-sized dogs, with an athletic build, high intelligence, a non-shedding coat, and a reliably stable temperament.

Labradoodles are friendly and love people. They also possess a unique ability to gauge the needs of those around them, which the ALAA maintains makes them excellent guide dogs and great for humans with special needs.

7 Things to Know Before Buying a Labradoodle
7 Things to Know Before Buying a Labradoodle

Physical Characteristics

The Labradoodle has some variability to its physical characteristics that reflects its Poodle and Labrador origins. The breed does tend to share certain traits: while there are three size ranges of Labradoodle, they are usually medium-sized and share an athletic gait and non-shedding coat (which can be either fleece or wool). The ALAA specifies a broad, moderately wide skull, large, fleshy muzzle, and flat ears.

The Labradoodle appears to have few genetic faults (the kind that often result from ‘line breeding’ or inbreeding). While breed creator Willy Conron told ABC News that “I find that the biggest majority (of Labradoodles) are either crazy or have a hereditary problem,” John de Jong, a veterinarian in the Boston area and a recent president of the American Veterinary Medical Association, says mixing breeds actually reduces the risk of genetic problems. The ALAA says the breed is “generally considered healthy,” but can have problems with hip and elbow dysplasia.

Class

  • “Oodles”, or poodle-crosses

Size

  • Medium
  • Height: 14-16 inches (miniature), 17-20 inches (medium), 21-24 inches (standard
  • Weight: 15-65 pounds

Color

Labradoodles come in myriad colors and patterns, including:

  • Cream
  • Brown
  • Gold
  • Black
  • Sable
  • Phantom
  • Parti
  • Tuxedo
  • Tri-Phantom

Other Traits

  • Shaggy coats (Fleece or Wool)
  • Long muzzles

Life expectancy

  • The Labradoodle has a life expectancy of 12 to 15 years.

Labradoodle History

The Labradoodle is one of the best-known and established of the ‘designer crossbreeds’. It originated in Australia in the 1970s when the Australian Guide Dog Association received an enquiry from a lady in Hawaii requesting a Guide Dog that wouldn’t cause her allergies to flare up. She chose Australia because the animal health arrangements meant that a dog bred there could come straight into her home in Hawaii without having to spend time in quarantine.

 Labradoodle Dog Breed Profile
Labradoodle Dog Breed Profile

The Association were already using Labradors as guide dogs, and so they needed to cross one with a non-shedding breed. They imported a white Standard Poodle from Sweden that had excellent working bloodlines – and the first (intentional) Labradoodle litter was born.

Since then they have been bred – both responsibly and irresponsibly – in the quest to find a friendly, non-shedding family dog. This has been done with varying degrees of success – and indeed some Labradooodles have excelled as assistance dogs around the world, and those who are enamoured of them hail them as the perfect large companion dog (as long as they get enough exercise!).

While there are breed clubs in the UK and all over the world, the Labradoodle currently isn’t recognised by any international kennel clubs.

The two breeds that go into the formation of the Labradoodle are the Labrador Retriever and the Standard Poodle.

Labradoodle Personality

Like most crossbreeds, the personality of a Labradoodle depends on the parents and how they have been bred and reared.

The Labrador Retriever is an active, friendly, loving dog who thrives on human companionship, wanting nothing more than to please their owners (except perhaps eat and jump in any water they can find!). They are ideal pets where there are children about and they get on well with other household animals. Labradors are a very happy breed, extremely affectionate, constantly wagging their tails and always on the go. They are easily trained, being eager to learn and to please and can turn their paw to just about anything. They are total foodies however – which helps with their training but not their waistlines!

The Poodle is a lively, sociable and affectionate dog who is both intelligent and amusing, and makes a wonderful and fun companion. They love to be included in all family pursuits and can be good watch dogs, announcing visitors but never being aggressive. The Standard Poodle is still at heart a working dog and can easily be the start of your training class, your agility group or in the obedience ring – and thrive with a job to do where they can work with their owner.

 Labradoodle Dog Breed Information & Characteristics
Labradoodle Dog Breed Information & Characteristics

It is clear however from looking at the two breeds that make up the Labradoodle that this is an extremely active dog who needs a lot of exercise and input (often more than many new owners expect) – and being highly social, needs to be a part of the family.

The personality of a Labradoodle seems to be more consistent when they are first crosses (F1). As a line is successively bred, they can be either bred back to one of the original breeds (and so strengthen either the Labrador or the Poodle personalities) or else be bred to another Labradoodle – in which case there is less predictability in temperament (and in-breeding becomes more of a potential issue).

Responsible breeders should be prioritising behaviour as highly as health and so it is important to find a good breeder.

Exercise Needs

Both the breeds that make up the Labradoodle are highly active and enjoy exercise and will be happy with two hours plus every day. But they will still enjoy games, training, interactive toys and being involved in all family activities at the rest of the time too.

Health and Common Issues

Labradoodles are generally healthy, but like all breeds, they’re prone to certain health conditions. Not all Labradoodles will get any or all of these diseases, but it’s important to be aware of them if you’re considering this mixed breed.

Here are a few conditions to watch out for:

  • Elbow Dysplasia: Similar to hip dysplasia, this is also a degenerative disease. It’s believed to be caused by abnormal growth and development, which results in a malformed and weakened joint. The disease varies in severity: the dog could simply develop arthritis, or they could become lame. Treatment includes surgery, weight management, medical management, and anti-inflammatory medication.
  • Hip Dysplasia: This is an inherited condition in which the thighbone doesn’t fit snugly into the hip joint. Some dogs show pain and lameness on one or both rear legs, but others don’t display outward signs of discomfort. X-ray screening is the most certain way to diagnose the problem. Either way, arthritis can develop as the dog ages. Dogs with hip dysplasia should not be bred.
  • Ear Infections: These can plague Labradoodles because of their floppy ears. The ears trap moisture and should be regularly checked.
  • Allergies: Allergies are a common ailment in dogs, and the Labradoodle is no exception. There are three main types of allergies: food allergies, which are treated by eliminating certain foods from the dog’s diet; contact allergies, which are caused by a reaction to a topical substance such as bedding, flea powders, dog shampoos, and other chemicals; and inhalant allergies, which are caused by airborne allergens such as pollen, dust, and mildew. Treatment varies according to the cause and may include dietary restrictions, medications, and environmental changes.
  • Diabetes Mellitus: This is a disorder in which the body cannot regulate blood sugar levels. A diabetic dog will eat more food to try to compensate for the fact that glucose (sugar) isn’t getting into the cells to burn for energy because of improper levels of insulin in the body. The dog will lose weight because food is not being used efficiently. Symptoms of diabetes are excessive urination and thirst, increased appetite, and weight loss. Diabetes can be controlled by diet and the administration of insulin.
  • Epilepsy: This is a neurological condition that’s often, but not always, inherited. It can cause mild or severe seizures that may show themselves as unusual behavior–such as running frantically as if being chased, staggering, or hiding–or even by falling down, limbs rigid, and losing consciousness. Seizures are frightening to watch, but the long-term prognosis for dogs with idiopathic epilepsy is generally very good. It’s important to take your dog to the vet for proper diagnosis–especially since seizures can have other causes–and treatment.
  • Hypothyroidism: This is a disorder of the thyroid gland. It’s thought to be responsible for conditions such as epilepsy, alopecia (hair loss), obesity, lethargy, hyperpigmentation, pyoderma, and other skin conditions. It is treated with medication and diet.
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): This is a family of eye diseases that involves the gradual deterioration of the retina. Early in the disease, affected dogs become night-blind; they lose sight during the day as the disease progresses. Many affected dogs adapt well to their limited or lost vision, as long as their surroundings remain the same.

Care

Labradoodles can adapt to just about any setting, but they’re not recommended for apartments. They require about 30 to 60 minutes of exercise per day and would do better with a fenced yard in which to expel some energy. Some Labradoodles, especially in the first generation, can require even more exercise.

The Labradoodle makes an excellent jogging companion but also needs some time off-leash to burn off steam. In addition, they need to be intellectually stimulated; they’re smart and energetic, so if they become bored, they can become a destruction machine.

Labradoodle Breed Information
Labradoodle Breed Information

The Labradoodle is an intelligent and eager-to-please dog. Training should be easy as long as consistency and positive reinforcement are the methods. They can make a good companion for first-time dog owners since they don’t need an overly firm hand. Socialize them from puppyhood, since they tend to hurl themselves headlong into canine situations without regard to the feelings of other dogs. This can lead to some problems if the unknown dog is aggressive.

Despite their activity levels, a Labradoodle can adjust to living in suburban or city environments and can do well in rural settings. Although they are used for various working roles, they’re a companion dog through and through, and they should live inside the house, not out in the yard. They’re happiest living in the comforts of home, sleeping soundly on your feet or in a bed next to yours.

Crate training benefits every dog and is a kind way to ensure that your Labradoodle doesn’t have accidents in the house or get into things they shouldn’t. A crate is also a place where they can retreat for a nap. Crate training at a young age will help your Labradoodle accept confinement if they ever needs to be boarded or hospitalized.

Never stick your Labradoodle in a crate all day long, however. It’s not a jail, and they shouldn’t spend more than a few hours at a time in it except when they’re sleeping at night. Labradoodles are people dogs, and they aren’t meant to spend their lives locked up in a crate or kennel.

Diet and Nutrition

Recommended daily amount: 1 to 2.5 cups of high-quality dry food a day, divided into two meals.

NOTE: How much your adult dog eats depends on their size, age, build, metabolism, and activity level. Dogs are individuals, just like people, and they don’t all need the same amount of food. It almost goes without saying that a highly active dog will need more than a couch potato dog. The quality of dog food you buy also makes a difference–the better the dog food, the further it will go toward nourishing your dog and the less of it you’ll need to shake into your dog’s bowl.

Keep your Labradoodle in good shape by measuring their food and feeding them twice a day rather than leaving food out all the time. If you’re unsure whether they’re overweight, give them the eye test and the hands-on test.

First, look down at them. You should be able to see a waist. Then place your hands on their back, thumbs along the spine, with the fingers spread downward. You should be able to feel but not see their ribs without having to press hard. If you can’t, they need less food and more exercise.

Dividing your Labradoodle’s food into two or more meals per day instead of a big bowl once a day can also lower their risk of gastric torsion, also known as bloat. The Labrador Retriever can suffer from this condition, and it’s a trait that can be easily passed on to any Labradoodle offspring.

For more on feeding your Labradoodle, see our guidelines for buying the right food, feeding your puppy, and feeding your adult dog.

Training Labradoodles

Dog training is important for this very active, smart and busy dog. They are a joy to train as both the breeds are intelligent and love working with their owner – but they will learn bad habits as quickly as good ones so reward-based training should start early and be ongoing. This is a great breed for dog sports such as agility or even pet gundog work – and they will love having an active job to do.

It is important to train a Labradoodle to enjoy handling and grooming (as they will need a lot of it) and to happily give up any prizes they may rather hold onto – always using positive, reward-based methods.

Given they have a working gundog background, they should be well socialised with cats (who they can learn to live with happily) but they should be watched with caution around other small animals and birds.

Coat Color And Grooming

Although a Labradoodle can have one of a range of coat types, the desired length is four to six inches. They have a single coat with hair ranging from straight to loose curls. The curls shouldn’t be tight and the coat shouldn’t be thick or fluffy.

There are three types of texture:

  • The Hair coat, which is similar to fur in shedding breeds, is the least popular. Hair coats shed and usually have a normal doggy odor. This coat is seen in first generations, although breeders try to avoid it.
  • The second texture, called a Wool coat, is dense and similar in feel to a lamb’s wool, hence its descriptive name. Wool coats hang in loose curls and aren’t dense. Generally, the Wool coat doesn’t have a “doggy” odor and it’s usually nonshedding.
  • The Fleece coat has a silky texture often described as an Angora goat texture. This coat ranges from straight to wavy.

Labradoodles are considered to be non- to low shedders, especially those with a Fleece or Wool coat. Hair coats tend to shed just as they do in other breeds, ranging from very low to average shedding.

The Labradoodle comes in a wide variety of colors. These can be gold, apricot, caramel, chalk (a chalky white), black, red, café, cream, silver, chocolate, parchment, and blue. They can also have parti-colored coats, which consist of brindles, phantom, patched, or sable colors.

Grooming requirements vary depending on the length and type of coat the dog has. Generally speaking, you can expect to brush a Labradoodle about once or twice per week. Some can be clipped or trimmed every six to eight weeks to keep the coat easy to maintain. A Labradoodle should only be bathed when necessary–which isn’t often, as many of the coats don’t have a noticeable doggy odor.

Like Labs, Labradoodles can be prone to ear infections, so take a little extra time caring for their ears. Dry and clean them after a swim, and check them once a week for dirt, redness, or a bad odor that can indicate an infection. Then wipe them out weekly with a cotton ball dampened with gentle, pH-balanced ear cleaner to prevent problems.

Brush your Labradoodle’s teeth at least two or three times a week to remove tartar buildup and the bacteria that lurk inside it. Daily brushing is even better if you want to prevent gum disease and bad breath.

Trim nails once or twice a month if your dog doesn’t wear them down naturally to prevent painful tears and other problems. If you can hear them clicking on the floor, they’re too long. Dog toenails have blood vessels in them, and if you cut too far you can cause bleeding–and your dog may not cooperate the next time they see the nail clippers come out. So, if you’re not experienced trimming dog nails, ask a vet or groomer for pointers.

Begin accustoming your Labradoodle to being brushed and examined when they’re a puppy. Handle their paws frequently–dogs are touchy about their feet–and look inside their mouth. Make grooming a positive experience filled with praise and rewards, and you’ll lay the groundwork for easy veterinary exams and other handling when they’re an adult.

As you groom, check for sores, rashes, or signs of infection such as redness, tenderness, or inflammation on the skin, in the nose, mouth, and eyes, and on the feet. Eyes should be clear, with no redness or discharge. Your careful weekly exam will help you spot potential health problems early.

Children And Other Pets

The Labradoodle does well with children and can be an affectionate and gentle companion for any child. They can also be exuberant and might knock down smaller children, but they will love them with all their heart.

As with every breed, you should always teach children how to approach and touch dogs, and always supervise any interactions between dogs and young children to prevent any biting or ear or tail pulling on the part of either party. Teach your child never to approach any dog while they’re eating or sleeping or to try to take the dog’s food away. No dog, no matter how friendly, should ever be left unsupervised with a child.

Labradoodles usually get along well with other dogs and pets. Like most dogs, they need training and socialization for optimum success at living with and visiting other animals.

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