What You Should Know Before Buying a Doodle


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Currently, my clientele consists of 80% doodles. There is an explosion of doodles—the original Australian Labradoodle, Labradoodle, Goldendoodle, Bernadoodle, Sheepadoodle, Schnoodle, Cockapoo, Maltipoo … and the list keeps growing. The typical cost is $2,500, regardless of generation and breeding.

It Started With the Labradoodle

The Australian Labradoodle was created for a woman who was visually impaired and whose husband was allergic to dogs. In 1989, Wally Conron with the Royal Guide Dog Association in Australia bred a standard Poodle with a Labrador, producing three puppies. Conron collected samples from the puppies’ coats and saliva and sent them to the couple. One of the puppies turned out to be allergy friendly—a pup named Sultan. And so Sultan was trained as the woman’s guide dog, but he was also the family pet.

An Australian Labradoodle is a mix of Poodle, cocker spaniel, and Labrador retriever.

An Australian Labradoodle is a mix of Poodle, cocker spaniel, and Labrador retriever.»

Producing More Doodles

The next step in breeding doodles was taken by Tegan Park and Rutland Manor from Australia. They wanted to produce litters with consistent confirmation, coat type, and temperament. In the process, they added the Irish water spaniel, curly coated retriever, and the English and American cocker spaniel. So the difference between an Australian Labradoodle and a Labradoodle is that the Australian is a mix of Poodle, cocker spaniel, and Labrador retriever. A Labradoodle is a Poodle and Labrador mix. If you’re looking for a dog that is consistently allergy friendly with a good temperament, the best choice is the Australian Labradoodle.

What’s the Difference Between Doodles?

First, let’s talk about generations. If you breed a Labrador retriever with a Poodle, then it is considered an F1, or a first generation. A second generation, or an F2, is the result of breeding two F1s together. Third generation, or F3, results when two F2s are bred, and so on.

With generations F1 to F3, dogs are not guaranteed to be allergy friendly, and their temperaments tend to be rather hyper. These tendencies are true across all doodle mixes. Most doodles who aren’t allergy friendly and are relatively hyper are F1s or F2s. Australian Labradoodle generations work the same as other doodles, but they’re listed as ALF1, ALF2, etc.

Cockapoos have been around since the 1950s

Cockapoos have been around since the 1950s»

Second, there are many variations of doodles—all kinds of breeds mixed with Poodles. Cockapoos have been around since the 1950s, though the first American club for cockapoos was only started by Mary D. Foley in 1998. Another popular doodle, the Goldendoodle, was developed in 1969 by Monica Dickens, and similarly, that doodle didn’t become popular until the late 1990s. The Schnoodle was developed in 1980s, and Sherry Rupke claims to have created the Bernedoodle in 2003. Sheepadoodles are generally believed to have been around since the early to mid- 1980s, but some believe they may have been first introduced as early as the 1950s. There is not enough information to be definitive, but we do know they became popular and started breeding prolifically in 2007. The Maltipoo appeared sometime in the past 20 years, but no one knows for sure who developed the dog or exactly when. Because the Poodle and the Maltese are both considered allergy friendly, all generations of the Maltipoo will be consistently hypoallergenic.

It’s important to remember that the majority of early generations of poodle hybrids do shed and are not allergy friendly. Australian Labradoodle breeders have been working for 40 years to create a consistent conformation and temperament, something you may not find in other new designer hybrid breeds.

If you are shopping for a Labradoodle, consider going to a reputable breeder of the Australian LabraDoodle, especially if being allergy friendly is an important factor of your dog selection. You can find great information from the Australian Labradoodle Association of America at alaa-labradoodles.com.

If you’re set on another Poodle hybrid, be sure to ask breeders what generation their puppies are, and always go to a breeder’s location to see just how the puppies are bred and cared for. Reputable breeders are more than happy to show you around.

Whatever you do, in your search for the right dog for you, never buy a dog through the Internet. This is a dangerous practice for both people and dogs.

Valerie Masi, owner of Best Paw Forward, can be reached at (760) 885-9450 or visit bestpawforwarddogtraining.com.

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