So you want a hybrid dog that’s like a lab but also sort of like a poodle. Maybe you’ve heard about the “perfect hybrid” called a Labradoodle that meets your qualifications. Maybe you’ve found an awesome breeder on Instagram or some other social media platform. In any case, getting a perfect hybrid dog can be challenging — and expensive — if you don’t know what to do and what to look for.
Hybrid dogs are not new. People have been blending their favorite features of different breeds for centuries to get dogs with specific characteristics and attributes not found in either parent breed. Like other hybrids, Labradoodles tend to have fewer genetic health problems than either parent breed and generally grow faster than most purebreds. That makes them a good choice if you want the best of both worlds with as few compromises as possible.
How to Get Your Dream Labradoodle
To start, it helps to define your expectations and research the relevant parent breeds. Labradors are known for their friendly, outgoing temperaments and love of water, among other things. Poodles are prized for their intelligence, easy-care coat, and adaptability.
Labradoodles tend to exhibit these qualities along with a moderate amount of both breeds’ long-term health concerns, such as hip dysplasia and eye disease. Labrador Retrievers are squarely built, medium-sized dogs with otter-shaped heads. They have a soft, dense coat that comes in black, chocolate, or yellow. Labs are generally easy to train and love to learn new skills. They are generally good with kids, other dogs, and even cats!
Finding a Reputable Breeder
Labradoodles are hybrids and not purebred dog breeds, but they are still subject to regulation. In the United States, both the Labrador Retriever Club and the American Kennel Club recognize, register, and maintain a breeding program for Labradoodles. This means it’s worth looking for breeders who are members of one or both organizations, as breeders who are not members are unlikely to be breeding dogs who will meet the AKC’s strict breed standards.
You can find breeders by doing online research, checking out breed-specific forums, and asking around at your local dog-related community group. It’s important to thoroughly research any breeder before committing to a puppy. Make sure the breeder is committed to following best practices, including screening potential owners, spaying or neutering dogs before they are transferred to new homes, following all local and state laws related to dog breeding, and making sure all puppies are healthy and have been properly socialized. No matter what you’re looking for in a dog, there’s a good chance you’ll have to put in some time and effort to find a reputable breeder.
Selecting the Right Puppy
The best way to choose a puppy is to visit the breeder’s home and meet the parents for Labradoodle Puppies for Sale. Observe the mother and father dogs with their puppies as well as with each other. If the puppies are old enough, handle them and see what kind of personalities they have.
If you can, arrange to take one home for a weekend to get a better sense of what it would be like to live with that dog. It’s important to remember that puppies are a long-term commitment and they can’t be returned or exchanged. When choosing a puppy, it’s important to remember that you can’t choose how big your dog will be as an adult, so be sure to allow enough living space for a full-grown Labradoodle.
What Should You Expect to Pay?
The cost of a Labradoodle puppy varies widely depending on the breeder and whether you’re getting a puppy or an older dog (though they may already have an established personality). Puppies are often more expensive but are less likely to come with papers. Adult dogs may not have papers, but they are often cheaper.
It’s important to research the price of puppies from different breeders and get a ballpark idea of what you’re expected to pay for the pedigree you want. Plan for the unexpected, like unexpected vet bills or unplanned travel expenses. It’s also important to consider the cost of care for the life of your dog. Labs and Poodles are large dogs that live for about 10–14 years, so be prepared for a significant long-term cost. You can expect to spend about $800–$1000 per year on food, $100–$300 on medical expenses, and a one-time cost of $50–$100 for a crate and other initial supplies.
Labradoodle Care and Training Requirements
Labradoodles are moderately active dogs that require a fair amount of daily exercise. They are well-suited to being kept in apartments, but they do best with access to a fenced yard or walkable area where they can stretch their legs and get enough exercise. Labradoodles are moderately difficult to train and respond best to positive reinforcement.
It’s important to start training early and maintain it throughout your dog’s life to prevent bad habits from forming. Labradoodles are moderately easy to groom, but their coat does shed, so expect to brush your dog a few times per week and rake out the occasional shed. Labradoodles are prone to certain health issues, but most are manageable with good care. The most common issues are ear infections, joint dysplasia, hip dysplasia, and eye disease.
Final Words: Is a Labradoodle Right for You?
If you’ve read this far, you’ve probably decided a Labradoodle is the perfect hybrid dog for you. Congratulations! Making the right decision about which hybrid to adopt is an important one. It can be challenging, but it should also be fun.
When you’re ready to adopt, make sure you do your research, ask questions, and pick the puppy that’s right for you. Labradoodles are friendly, adaptable, and eager to learn. They are moderately active dogs that do best when they have room to stretch their legs and get daily exercise. They are moderately difficult to train and respond best to positive reinforcement.
1-Neurochemical investigation of an endogenous model of the “hyperkinetic syndrome” in a hybrid dog
Revised 26 December 1978, Available online 20 November 2002.