If you’ve ever met a labradoodle puppy, you know just how adorable and friendly the breed is. Not only do they resemble teddy bears, but they also have great temperaments. Their playful, sociable natures make them great companions and family pets. However, before you rush off to get a labradoodle puppy of your own, there are a few important factors to consider. Here’s everything you need to know before buying a labradoodle.
The first thing prospective labradoodle owners should consider is size. Do you want a small, medium or large dog? Do you have the means to support bigger sizes? For example, tiny apartments aren’t ideal environments for large dog breeds. When selecting a labradoodle, you’ll find three main sizes: standard, medium, and miniature.
Standard labradoodles are the result of breeding standard poodles with Labrador retrievers. Males are typically between 22 and 24 inches in height, while females are around 21 to 23 inches tall. They can weigh anywhere from 50 to 65 pounds.
Most medium labradoodles are bred using a Labrador retriever and a large miniature poodle. In some cases, these designer dogs may be created using two standard labradoodles. They can range anywhere from 17 to 20 inches in height and weigh between 30 and 45 pounds.
To create a miniature labradoodle, breeders use a mini poodle and a standard Labrador retriever. With an average height of 15 inches and a weight range between 15 and 25 pounds, mini labradoodles are quite small compared to their standard and medium-sized counterparts.
When you envision a labradoodle puppy, the first thing you probably think of is the signature yellow curly coat. In reality, labradoodles come in all sorts of colors. In addition to yellow variants, you’ll find black, brown, white and patterned labradoodles. You’ll also notice different coat types. Although appearance doesn’t affect personality, it can influence grooming habits — thus, you should have an idea of what you’re looking for. Here are the three main coat types.
The wool coat is the most widely recognized coat type for labradoodles. Identifiable by thick, wool-like curls, it gives these puppies their famous teddy bear-like look. This coat is also hypoallergenic (provided you work with a reputable breeder, such as Pride & Prejudoodles). On the downside, it’s rather high maintenance. To prevent fur from matting, it needs to be brushed daily.
Fleece coats, which are a cross between curly and straight coats, have a wavy appearance. Like wool coats, they’re typically low-shedding and prone to matting. However, they don’t require as much maintenance — you only need to brush them once or twice a week.
If a labradoodle puppy has a hair coat (or straight coat), that means it inherited its fur from the Labrador retriever side. These puppies lack the signature poodle curl and are generally not hypoallergenic. Although they shed, their coats don’t need as much grooming as the curlier varieties.
Before adopting a certain dog breed, it’s important to ensure their personality is compatible with your household. For example, busy families that like to stay active should consider breeds that can match their energy. Here are some key personality traits of labradoodle puppies.
Labradoodles are known for their friendly, outgoing natures (which they get from Labrador retrievers). Whether they’re interacting with strangers or other dogs, you can expect a labradoodle to be kind, affectionate and playful. However, they can sometimes get a bit too friendly and start jumping on people. Thus, it’s best to supervise labradoodles around young children.
If you’re looking for a dog that’s easy to train, labradoodles fit the bill. They’re naturally intelligent (thanks to their poodle parentage) and enjoy pleasing their owners, resulting in a dog breed that’s open to learning new things. Because of this intelligence, you’ll find labradoodles often crave mental stimulation. Puzzle toys, scavenger hunts and chew toys are all great ways to keep them entertained.
Just like people, labradoodles can be a bit stubborn at times. While they love pleasing their owners, they can be hard to reason with once that stubbornness kicks in. For example, they might ignore a command or pull on the leash. It’s important for dog owners to remain patient with their labradoodles and use positive reinforcement to encourage them.
Every dog has its own special care requirements. Here are some key things to know when caring for a labradoodle.
Labradoodles are very active dogs that require at least 30 to 60 minutes of exercise per day. You can meet these needs by doing the following:
- Going on walks, jogs or runs
- Playing fetch in the yard
- Setting up scavenger hunts or obstacle courses
- Engaging in dog sports
- Visiting a local dog park
It’s important for labradoodles to get enough exercise — otherwise, they’ll become restless and act out. If you’re not able to meet these needs yourself, you could hire a dog walker or enroll in doggy daycare.
A healthy diet is essential for every dog. Ideally, your dog food should provide a balance of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins. New puppies typically eat three meals a day, then transition to two as they enter adulthood.
While you can research and find your own dog food, many breeders will provide recommendations. For example, at Pride & Prejudoodles, we help new owners meet their puppies’ dietary needs by supplying food recommendations and a feeding schedule.
Grooming your puppy helps ensure its coat stays clean, healthy and shiny. Although grooming varies depending on the coat type, most labradoodles require the following:
- Nail cutting
To prevent matting, coats should be brushed frequently and trimmed every six to eight weeks. Labradoodles should also receive baths every two to five weeks and get their nails cut on a regular basis.
Labradoodles are generally healthy dogs with a slightly above-average life span of 12 to 14 years. However, this doesn’t mean they’re not susceptible to certain health problems. Every labradoodle owner should be able to identify the following issues.
Hip and Elbow Dysplasia
Hip and elbow dysplasia may occur when a dog’s hip or elbow joints develop abnormally. Not only is this painful, but it can also prevent labradoodles from staying active. To determine whether your dog has this condition, look out for these symptoms:
- Cracking joint noises
If you suspect your dog is struggling with joint problems, contact your veterinarian. Pain can be reduced through exercises, supplements and surgery.
Many labradoodles are prone to ear infections. While this isn’t life-threatening, it can be very uncomfortable. You can identify an ear infection through these symptoms:
- Head shaking
- Ear scratching
- Dark discharge
- Crusting or scabs
Most ear infections are treated with a medicated cleanser.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy
Progressive retinal atrophy is a genetic disease that causes eyesight to deteriorate (eventually causing blindness). It causes these issues:
- Cloudy eyes
- Dilated pupils
- Difficulty navigating
Although there’s currently no cure, early diagnosis can help dog owners prepare.
Get a Labradoodle Puppy Today!
With their friendly personalities, natural intelligence and versatile sizes, labradoodles make great additions to most families. As long as you’re willing to meet their exercise, grooming and health demands, a labradoodle may be the right pet for you. For the best results, you should always work with a reputable breeder.
At Pride & Prejudoodles, we offer a range of trained labradoodle puppies that undergo coat testing, health testing and obedience training. Unlike profit-focused puppy mills, we give each puppy the care it deserves and work hard to connect puppies to the right homes. Are you ready to meet your forever friend? Contact us today to learn more!