Choosing between a Labrador and a Labradoodle? The decision is not as straightforward as you might think. You see, a few years back, I stood at the crossroads of this very decision. I had heard tales of playful Labradors and the hypoallergenic charms of Labradoodles. But which one was right for me?
Did you know that both breeds rank consistently high in popularity worldwide? This speaks volumes about their lovable nature, but it also creates a dilemma for potential dog owners.
In the upcoming sections, we’ll dive into the characteristics, quirks, and needs of each breed. We’ll address common concerns and misconceptions, ensuring you’re well-equipped to make the best choice. After all, understanding the subtle differences could mean a world of difference in your companionship journey.
Introducing the Labradoodle
Labradoodle is a new hybrid breed. It is a mix between a Labrador Retriever and a Poodle; to get the best of both parents. This designer dog came into existence as a guide dog. It is a dog with the amiable temperament of a Labrador with the hypoallergenic coat of a Poodle.
Since this is a hybrid dog; it comes in three types
- F1: 50% Poodle and 50% Labrador
- F1B: 75% Poodle and 25% Labradoodle (a purebred Poodle with an F1 Labradoodle)
- F2: 87% Poodle and 13% Labradoodle (a purebred Poodle with an F1B Labradoodle)
These breed variations can influence energy levels, size, and appearance.
Labradoodles are a crossbreed between two purebred dogs. Hence, you can never guarantee the temperament of a Labradoodle. But based on their parentage, you can only guess if your Labradoodle will take up on the friendly personality of the Labrador or the shy temperament of the Poodle.
It is especially true for the F1 generation because it is an even parentage of both breeds. If you live with children or in a place with noise restrictions, ensure working with a reliable breeder. You don’t want a Poodle personality Labradoodle that gets shy around strangers and barks at everyone.
Labradoodles come in a variety of colors. Apart from the solid black, brown, and yellow colors: you can get an apricot, blonde, or chocolate-colored coat. And let’s not forget the multi-color hair with beautiful patterns!
They also have a different coat type; curly, wavy, or straight. And their sizes depend on their Poodle parent (miniature, standard, or toy). It could be
- Mini Labradoodle with 14 to 16 inches in height and up to 25 pounds in weight
- Medium Labradoodle with 17 o 20 inches in height and 30-45 pounds in weight or
- Standard Labradoodle that stands 21-24 inches tall and weighs between 50-65 pounds.
You can say that Labradoodles are slenderer than Labradors. And Labradoodles have a miniature version. So, if you’re looking for a small dog, you know which breed would be best.
Care and Maintenance
The popular myth that Labradoodles are nonshedding is a myth. Firstly, you cannot guarantee the shedding of a mixed breed, so work with your breeder. Secondly, a Labradoodle sheds, but due to their curly and wavy hair, it does not spread allergen proteins around the house.
Brush your Labradoodle more than once a week; to prevent its curly hair from tangling. As for baths, once every month would work wonderfully. Try not to exceed bathes too much, as the Labradoodle’s sensitive skin cannot handle it.
Labradoodle has some common health issues with the Lab. It includes; hip and elbow dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, and cataract. But a Labradoodle is also prone to some diseases, genetic to the Poodle parent. All in all, it has a life expectancy of at least ten to fifteen years.
Exercise and Training
A labradoodle requires at least 60 minutes of exercise or play time to remain happy and healthy. Since it is an active breed, mental simulations, and playtime are vital for adequate energy expenditure. Or they can turn destructive.
As for training, a Labradoodle is known for their friendly and loving nature. They’re great people pleasers and intelligent to learn new tricks and commands early on. Teach them basic obedience in the early stages of life.
Considering the Costs
After reading all the fascinating traits of this hybrid dog, you might be wondering how much does a labradoodle costs. Labradoodle price starts from $1,000. We agree it is an expensive dog breed, but don’t forget that it is a famous designer dog. Although, with popularity comes the risk of puppy mills, so work closely with a reliable breeder.
Meet the Labrador Retriever
Labrador Retrievers are America’s popular dog breed for a reason. They have been topping American Kennel Club’s “most popular dog breeds” list for over 20 years. They are famous for their friendly and active temperament. Number one choice for fishermen due to their specialty of retrieving ducks. And a great family addition as it is sociable.
Labradors are known for their outgoing and social nature. Since they are a pure breed, you can never go wrong with a Labrador. They are guaranteed to fit in with your family. A Labradoodle has the risk of inheriting an aloof personality.
They are great pets for a family of children. Although, remember that they’re heavy dogs and could knock over small children unintentionally.
An easy way to tell a Labrador and a Labradoodle apart is from their coats. Labradors have thick, coarse, and straight textured fur. They also have only limited color varieties; black, brown, or yellow.
As for sizes, if you’re comparing a Labrador with a Standard Labradoodle: they’re pretty much alike. A Labrador is up to 24 inches tall and weighs 55-80 pounds. Safe to say that a Labrador has a muscular build. So, if you have an active lifestyle, your Lab can be your outdoor adventure partner!
Care and Maintenance
Do you have allergies or do not like dog hair around the house? The Lab is not for you! A Labrador sheds too much. It requires regular brushing (weekly) to maintain their coat’s health and give them a shiny look.
A Labradoodle is much healthier than a Labrador. They have a life expectancy of only 10-12 years. Elbow and hip dysplasia and PRA blindness are common health issues in both; Labrador and Labradoodle. But, obesity is more inclined towards Labrador, so pay attention to their diet and exercise a tiny bit more.
Exercise and Training
As active and energetic as a Labradoodle, a Labrador also requires at least 60 minutes of exercise time to maintain optimal health. They are energy packets and require dog toys or mental simulations throughout the day to prevent destructive behavior.
As for training, they are also famous as guide dogs and therefore are obedient. Start their training young and teach them basic commands. After proper attention and training, you can get the obedient and good boy Labrador we all know and love. Apply positive reinforcement training method as Labradors are more motivated by food, but be mindful of obesity.
Labradors cost slightly lower than Labradoodle. Their price range begins from $800. And if you’re looking for an AKC registered or award-winning lineage, add a few thousand more!
Your location, the sex of the pup, demand at the time, and your breeder can affect the price. Working with a quality breeder can ensure a healthy puppy, but it will be more costly.
Labrador or Labradoodle? Both breeds have their pros and cons. They have unique qualities that will confuse you to choose between the two. While Labradors are perfect for a family with children, a Labradoodle welcomes hypoallergenic traits to the house.
And for cost management, you might want to consider their food, grooming, vet, and training costs. After all, getting a dog isn’t about the initial cost only. It’s about being able to afford their lifestyle and give them a happy home.
Take your time and consider your lifestyle, preferences, and resources. If you have an active lifestyle, A Labrador is the one. But if you have a member with allergies, a Labradoodle would be great for you. But whichever breed you choose, you will welcome years of happiness and joy to your house.