What are Australian Labradoodles?
An Australian Labradoodle is clever, extremely friendly, and wonderfully joyful. What began as a cross between a Poodle and a Labrador, expanded to include infusions from several other breeds. By carefully monitoring each generation's temperament and thoughtfully planning each breeding pair, the Australian breeder created a unique breed, one that is eager to learn and easy to train. Athletic and graceful, they are intuitive to the emotional state of their human pack members. They make excellent family pets and many have the perfect temperament to train as therapy or assistance dogs.
Australian Labradoodles were first bred in Australia in the 1980s with the intention of creating a realiably nonshedding asthma- and allergy-friendly coat with the perfect temperament and intelligence for a guide or therapy dog. Starting with a Labrador and Poodle cross, early breeders in Australia felt that only using two breeds was limiting their vision for their new breed. They experimented with adding in a few other breeds, especially Cocker Spaniels and Water Spaniels, were selectively bred into their lines for specific desired characteristics.
When breeds are crossed, the infusion of new and different DNA creates healthier offspring, but it takes generations of breeding to see consistency in their characteristics. Simply breeding a Lab and a Poodle will only produce some puppies that are nonshedding. It requires multiple generations of breeding, carefully selecting the right purebreds to add in to strengthen the new breed. With multigenerational Australian Labradoodles, there is no need to classify the generation of cross (F1, F1b, etc) as they have a depth of crossed lines well beyond the counted generations.
The new mix became wildly popular quite quickly. Many breeders sought to capitalize on the popularity and failed to continue their vigilance in breeding. In order to set their breed apart and avoid confusion with a simple Poodle/Lab breed, the newly created breed was coined, "Australian Labradoodle." The original creators have gone on to completely change the name of the breed in Australia and Europe to the "Australian Cobberdog" in their efforts to set the breed apart and seek status as an entirely new breed. In America, the professional breeding community is seeking to do the same for the Australian Labradoodle.
Professional Breeding Associations
Reputable breeders seeking to strengthen a particular breed and join a breeding association dedicated to promoting the health and wellness of that breed. Breeding associations, such as the Australian Labradoodle Association of America, Worldwide or the Australian Labradoodle Club of America, have established breeding requirements and breeder codes of ethics that serve to keep the breed healthy and strong. Breeding dogs are required to have both genetic and qualified veterinarian testing on a variety of health and genetic issues. This also serves to help pet purchasers know that they are getting the quality breed they have selected and that their pet will meet the temperament and hypoallergenic qualities they expect. Look for the logos of a professional breeding association such as one of those mentioned above or go to the association websites and make sure your breeder is listed on their membership list.