By Andrew Munford | TXDM Staff Writer
Picking a breed to focus on in our first edition was just as hard as I imagined. I’ve always been the type of person to see a dog and the last thing I think to ask is, “What kind of dog is it?”
I’ve been lucky enough to have 17 dogs in my life, and never two of the same breed. I’ve grown to find things about every breed that steal my heart, but in this edition the focus is on the Labradoodle.
The origin of the first Doodle is controversial with some breeders stating that the breed was created in the early 1900’s. Pet Wave dot com credits Wally Cochran of Royal Guide Dogs in Victoria, Australia as the creator of the breed in 1988.
As the story goes, Wally was contacted by a blind woman in Hawaii searching for a guide dog that wouldn’t aggravate her husband’s allergies. Wally and Royal Guide Dogs sent 33 hair and saliva samples to Hawaii, but every single sample gave the husband an allergic reaction. Wally had the idea to cross a Standard Poodle with a Labrador Retriever and the first litter consisted of three pups. Out of the three, one pup was the perfect mix and didn’t bother the husband’s allergies at all.
All three of the pups had undergone training to be guide dogs, but Wally couldn’t seem to find any takers. He had a list of people wanting to puppy walk guide dogs, but none of them seemed interested in the two mixed pups. This prompted him to go to Channel 9 news in Melbourne, Australia to reach out and find some people that could help socialize and give the new pups a stable home and work. Guide dogs are trained in a way that makes th
em feel accomplished when they’re helping a human. Without that socialization, they can undergo anxiety and develop behavioral problems.
On that broadcast Wally coined the phrase, “Labradoodle.”
The phones started ringing the day after his appearance on the news. People were excited to see these pups and a list began forming specifically for the Labradoodle. He bred the Labradoodles with other Labradoodles for two generations creating a “Double Doodle” and a “Tri Doodle.” In all, 31 doodles were bred and 29 of them made it as guide dogs.
Demand instantly shot up which led to many variations of Doodles being bred, but the common trend was to breed away a shedding coat. That selective breeding led to the most common types of Doodles around today.
They have a coat that is non-allergic to the vast majority of people which makes them a great fit for most families. They are also friendly, affectionate and highly sociable, which makes them easy to train as service animals.
What To Expect
According to the Australian Labradoodle Association of America:
Standard Doodles grow to around 23-26 inches tall with females weighing upwards of 60pounds, some males can be a bit hefty weighing around 80 pounds.
Medium Doodles can be 18-21 inches tall ranging from 40-55 pounds depending on the sex.
Miniature Doodles range from 14-17 inches and can weigh anywhere from 30-55 pounds depending on the sex.
Most standard Doodles have a white or cream-colored coat, but depending on the cross they can also be black, red, apricot, chocolate or a multi-colored mix.
They are a historically healthy breed with a life expectancy of 13-15 years.
As a Poodle mix, their coat will be curly and consist of lots of thin hair. The Labrador Retriever in them means you’ll be dealing with a very energetic dog for the majority of their life. That mixture equals a pup that you’ll have to spend a lot of time grooming. It’s a tough job keeping up with their coat, but it’s much easier than the mess created by matting which can lead to your Doodle needing a complete shave.
Here are 5 easy steps to take when caring for and grooming your Doodle from Torahs Australian Labradoodles:
1.) Tire them out before attempting to brush or detangle their coat. As a high energy breed Doodles don’t like to sit in one place unless they’ve been sufficiently tuckered out.
2.) If your Doodle has been extra crazy and gotten into dirt and mud, DO NOT shampoo them. It only makes the brushing part harder, and we have to remember that a rough brush hurts the pup’s skin.
3.) Bathing isn’t a common need for most Doodle breeds. Instead, focus that time on brushing. Brush the coat all the way to the skin and make sure to work out any mats. Do this only on dry fur.
4.) Brush TO the skin starting from the feet and working your way up. Grab bits of fur and work your way through. It may seem like a lot of work at first, but if you form a routine and pay attention to your pup this becomes a lot more manageable, and can even be fun if you want to add some music and rhythm to the process.
5.) Take a lot of time on their ears. This is especially important with Doodles as they grow a lot of hair inside and around their ear canals. Make sure to keep the hair in and around the ears very short and use an ear cleaner to get the dirt and hair from the inner ear. Never use a Q-Tip on your pup, instead you can use the cleaner and massage the dirt out of the ear and wipe clean with a cotton ball.
Rescue a Doodle
At Texas Dog Magazine we encourage adopting a shelter pup or rescuing a pup, as well as adopting through a reputable breeder. There are Doodles around the country in rescue shelters waiting to find their “FurEver” home. Poo Mix Rescue dot com is a great source for finding a Doodle or other poodle mix rescue pup. It’s also a great idea to visit your local animal shelter to see if they have a Doodle in need of a home.
Always remember that as bad as you want a new pup for yourself or your family, there are thousands of dogs in shelters around the country that have been adopted then returned because of a snap decision. Take the time to do the research on any dog before you bring them into your home and always make sure you’re familiar with the unique needs of your new family member.