A cross between a Labrador Retriever and a standard or miniature Poodle, Labradoodles have been around for decades — the use of the phrase "Labradoodle" to describe Lab/Poodle mixes dates back to 1955! But it was more than 30 years later that breeders started intentionally producing Labrador litters on a wide scale.
Australian breeder Wally Conron kickstarted the trend in 1989 when he bred a Labradoodle for a visually impaired woman who needed a guide dog — and whose husband suffered from dog allergies. Combining the service-oriented Lab with the hypoallergenic Poodle ticked all the right boxes.
Since Labradoodles are a mixed breed, they aren’t officially recognized by the American Kennel Club. But they’re extremely common in the United States — the second-most popular crossbred dog among ManyPets customers, just behind Goldendoodles. Thanks to their easygoing nature and lively personalities, Labradoodles are the perfect family dog.
Read our in-depth guide to find out everything you need to know about Labradoodles.
How much does Labradoodle insurance cost?
The average cost for ManyPets Labradoodle insurance is $34 per month in the US. This is lower than the average cost across all breeds and ages, which is $37 per month. This low cost is a solid indicator that Labradoodles are a healthy breed.
In 2022, the average ManyPets claim for Labradoodles was $628 — but we received Labradoodle claims that ran as high as about $6,500.
Labradoodles are popular across the US, in states of all different climates and topographies. Not surprisingly, high-population states tend to be home to more Labradoodles.
Labradoodles are extremely willing to follow instructions, which makes them one of the easiest dog breeds to train. Their high levels of intelligence and focus are a big help: They quickly understand that following instructions will result in praise or treats. Like other dogs, they do better with positive affirmation than with scolding.
Breed Bad Habits
Labradoodles are lively dogs who need lots of attention, and behavioral problems often occur when these needs aren’t met. They love to be around humans and may suffer from separation anxiety if they’re left alone for long periods of time. This can result in barking or chewing things around the house.
Labradoodles are playful and well-adjusted, but you will need to give them a lot of exercise to make sure they stay that way. Walks — especially short ones — won’t be enough. You’ll need to provide your Labradoodle with some combination of walking and vigorous play for at least 60 minutes daily. Some especially active dogs may even need as much as 90 minutes to two hours. Staving off boredom or restlessness will help prevent destructive behavior.
We’ll dive deeper into Labradoodles’ exercise needs a bit later in this article.
Labradoodles have the temperament of a service dog and love to make humans happy, so training shouldn’t be all that difficult.
While today’s trainers recommend positive reinforcement methods for all dog breeds, Labradoodle owners are especially likely to see fast results with reward-based training. Labradoodles are very smart dogs, quick to make the connection between following a command and gobbling up a tasty treat.
Labradoodles do have a stubborn side and can be easily distracted, but a diligent application of positive reinforcement methods will help motivate them and keep them focused. Along with basic obedience training, teaching them fun tricks will help them burn energy and stay happy.
Labradoodle Gender Differences
Female Labradoodles are often easier to train than males as they mature quicker.
Although Labradoodles are generally a sociable breed, females’ strong mothering instincts can make them more protective of their owners, their home, and children.
However, once an adult is spayed, the differences in temperament are often unnoticeable. As with most crossbreeds, each dog — regardless of gender — will possess a unique character, depending on how they have been bred and cared for.
Female size information
Height: 21-23 inches
Weight: 40-59 pounds
Male Labradoodles have higher testosterone levels than females, sometimes making them more rowdy and energetic. But this tends to fade once they reach adulthood or when they’re neutered.
Some owners and breeders say that male Labradoodles tend to be more loving and affectionate than females — but others say the opposite. The truth is, Labradoodles are a sweet and affectionate breed, regardless of their sex.
Although it’s often difficult to tell the difference between the sexes just by looking at them, males tend to have a larger build and are slightly taller.
Male size information
Height: 22-24 inches
Weight: 55-66 pounds
Labradoodle Breed Health
Labradoodles are generally healthy dogs, but there are some conditions the breed is prone to.
One issue, sadly, is that the demand for Labradoodles has led to overbreeding and inbreeding — a common problem when breeds become especially popular. As a result, the breed has seen a rise in hereditary diseases like Addison’s disease. Labradoodle puppies from unethical or shady breeders are especially likely to suffer from genetic health conditions.
As a result, buying your Labradoodle puppy from a reputable dog breeder is more important than it’s ever been. Ethical breeders will take concrete steps to prevent genetic health conditions from being passed on.
Your pup will also need necessary vaccinations and boosters to protect against rabies, a viral disease that is common across the US and is essentially always fatal.
Small Labradoodles are expected to live between 12-15 years.
However, larger versions — like crosses between full labradors and standard poodles — usually live for around 10-13 years, similar to other large breeds.
Common Health Problems
Some of the typical health problems that affect the breed include:
Hip or elbow dysplasia: Larger dogs like Labradoodles can suffer from hip or elbow dysplasia, a genetic joint condition where the ball and socket don't develop or fit together correctly. Symptoms include limping, difficulty standing up, and unwillingness to exercise. Although dysplasia is incurable, owners can take pressure off the joints and ease their dog's pain by limiting exercise, encouraging healthy weight loss, and administering medication. Surgery may be necessary in severe cases. This can be costly: Dysplasia surgeries often cost $3,500 or more per hip or elbow.
Addison's disease: Labradoodles are prone to Addison's disease, also known as Hypoadrenocorticism. This illness affects the adrenal glands, causing insufficient production of corticosteroid hormones. Symptoms often include poor appetite, shaking episodes, lethargy, vomiting, and increased urination. Both Poodles and Labradors are prone to this disease, so Labradoodles can inherit it when they're bred. Although it can be severe if not dealt with immediately, Addison's disease can be managed with medication.
Von Willebrand's disease: A bleeding disorder that occurs in poodles, Von Willebrand's disease can be inherited by Labradoodles. It's caused by a lack of von Willebrand factor (VWF), a compound that helps blood to clot. You may notice symptoms such as nosebleeds, bruising easily, or prolonged bleeding after injury or surgery in adulthood. While the disease is sadly incurable and lifelong, treatment is now available to increase the amount of von Willebrand factor in the blood. Moderate-to-mild cases will allow your dog to live a long and healthy life, but watch out for bleeding —blood loss can be severe, especially if the disease is untreated.
Ear infections (AKA "otitis" or "otitis externa"): Labradoodles can be prone to ear infections because of their floppy, furry ears. Moisture and wax can get trapped in the ear, promoting yeast growth and causing odor and irritation. You may notice your Labradoodle scratching their ears or constantly shaking their head. Your vet can treat infections by cleaning the ears with medication or administering oral anti-inflammatories. In recurring cases, dogs may need tests to find the root of the problem since ear infections are often linked to underlying allergies. In 2022, ManyPets received Labradoodle claims for otitis that ran as high as about $460.
Lymphoma: Although any dog can develop lymphoma, a form of cancer, it affects Labradors more than other breeds. Labradoodles are also prone to developing this form of cancer, as they are bred from Labradors. The first sign of lymphoma may be swelling of the lymph nodes, often visible in the neck, behind the knees, armpits, or groin. Your dog may also experience loss of appetite, facial swelling, or lethargy. In today's world, many options are available to treat canine lymphoma, including chemotherapy. This is typically not a cure, but it can potentially lead to a good quality of life for months or years in many dogs. Just be aware canine cancer treatment can be extremely expensive, often costing upwards of $10,000.
Epilepsy: Labradoodles often inherit this seizure-causing neurological condition. Although curing the illness is not possible, treatments that can help control the seizures do exist.
Cruciate ligament conditions: Cruciate ligament conditions, which are common in Labrador Retrievers, can also affect Labradoodles (especially the larger ones). The cruciate ligament — AKA the cranial cruciate ligament or CCL — is the ligament that connects the back of the femur (the bone above the knee) with the front of the tibia (the bone below the knee). When a cruciate ligament tears or ruptures, surgery can cost anywhere from $1,000 - $5,000. ManyPets has received Labradoodle claims for cruciate ligament conditions that ran as high as about $4,600.
"Labradoodles need at least 30 minutes of walking and lots of playtime to keep them stimulated and at a healthy weight," says veterinarian Dr. Kirsten Ronngren, DVM MRCVS.
"Two of the most common issues I see in Labradoodles are obesity and allergies. Being proactive and mindful when it comes to your pet's diet and exercise routine are excellent ways to help decrease the likelihood of conditions like arthritis down the road by keeping them at a healthy weight."
Labradoodle colors and variants
Labradoodles come in different breed variants, including:
American Labradoodle: A mix between a labrador and a poodle
Australian Labradoodle: A mix of several different breeds
Miniature Labradoodle: A cross between a labrador and a miniature poodle
Labradoodles are available with phantom markings — a solid color with markings of a second color. The markings appear above the eyes, side of the muzzle area, throat, chest, legs and feet, and tail.
The standard colors for the breed include:
Caring for Labradoodles
Labradoodles are lively, energetic dogs that need lots of attention and care. If they don’t receive enough exercise or stimulation, they may turn their attention to chewing or scratching furniture instead, so make sure you play with them daily.
Exercise and Walks
To stay happy and calm, Labradoodles require 1-2 hours of walking or other exercises daily. They also love games and training, so frequent playtime is a must with this breed. Throwing a ball or involving them in runs l can help them burn energy — which they have a lot of! If you’re looking for a low-maintenance pooch who will simply lay around your home all day, Labradoodles may not be the breed for you.
Due to their size, Labradoodles can reach up to 35 mph when sprinting. They can be curious and sometimes mischievous, so — as with any dog — you must be careful when you let them off the leash.
Labradoodles have thick double coats. This means they can withstand somewhat colder temperatures. But their fur may not be thick enough to protect against particularly cold weather, and they’ll often need to wear a winter coat during winter walks. They may feel especially uncomfortable in temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Keeping them outside for too long in temperatures this low will even put them at risk of frostbite and hypothermia.
Meanwhile, their thick fur can make walking and exercising in hot climates like Texas and California unbearable. In temperatures above 68 degrees Fahrenheit, Labradoodles will face a heightened risk of heat stroke, especially during vigorous exercise. Their outdoor activity should be briefer and less energetic on hot days. You should also keep your Labrador well-groomed (especially during hot weather), as a thinner coat can help keep them cooler.
The amount of food a Labradoodle needs will depend on size, age, and activity level.
Feeding them smaller, more frequent meals — instead of one or even two per day — can prevent your Labradoodle from eating too much, too quickly, which may help their digestion.
Larger dog breeds like Labradoodles also need a wide variety of foods to get all the nutrients they need — more so than smaller dogs. Getting this right can be tricky, so it’s best to speak to your vet to help you build a balanced diet for your Labradoodle.
Labradoodle Puppies need around 20 hours of sleep per day to promote healthy growth and development, while adult Labradoodles require 12-14 hours. These are just general guidelines, of course; their sleep needs will also depend on how much exercise they get during the day. The more active they are, the longer they'll sleep.
Not sleeping enough can cause obesity or a weak immune system in dogs, so it's essential to make sure they get enough shut-eye. If you notice your Labradoodle isn't sleeping enough, it may help to build a more structured routine and give them more exercise.
"The correct amount of exercise, food, and sleep are critical to your Labradoodle's physical and mental health," says Sarah Dawson, RVN and Veterinary Relationships Manager at ManyPets. "This is especially important for puppies to maintain their growth and development."
How Good Are Labradoodles With Kids?
Labradoodles are known for being wonderful family dogs: They love being around people, including kids. Their playful and gentle personalities make them excellent friends for children. They can even help kids de-stress and improve their communication skills.
However, you should keep an eye on Labradoodles around young children during the teething stage, as they can occasionally nip.
How Affectionate Are Labradoodles?
Labradoodles are very loving and affectionate, particularly when they’ve received the right amount of exercise. They enjoy being with their owners, often choosing to sleep near or cuddle up next to them. Labradoodles will make eye contact, lick your face, or lean against your legs as a sign of love.
How Territorial Are Labradoodles?
A social and friendly breed, Labradoodles aren’t usually territorial. That means they’re less likely to startle you with sudden barking — but they’re also not the best guard dogs!
How Friendly Are Labradoodles With Other Dogs?
Labradoodles are always ready to make friends, so they tend to get along well with other dogs.
Will Labradoodles Tolerate Other Pets?
Although it depends on the temperament of both animals, Labradoodles can usually tolerate living with other pets in your home. They may even become close friends with them if they receive the proper training and socialization.
The breed’s easygoing nature makes them a great choice if you’re a cat owner looking to add a canine companion to your home. Although it may take a while for the two pets to become comfortable around one another, Labradoodles are unlikely to bother cats and will usually form a bond with them if they’re introduced at a young age.
How Much Attention Do Labradoodles \Need?
Labradoodles are highly social and active dogs who require lots of care and attention. They’re not well suited to owners who don’t have much free time to interact with them.
Labradoodle Coat and Grooming
Labradoodles have three coat types: hair, wool, and fleece. The hair coat is straight and double-layered, similar to a Labrador’s; the wool coat is wavy and single-layered, like a Poodle’s; and the fleece coat is wavy, usually single-layered, and comes from a mix of both parents.
Unlike hair coats, Labradoodles with wool or fleece coats do not shed.
How often Should I Groom My Labradoodle?
Although there are three different coat types, all Labradoodles can grow long, thick hair, so regular brushing two to three times per week is necessary to prevent matting and tangles.
Taking them to a professional groomer every 6-8 weeks is advisable. Keeping their coat thin can keep them cool during warmer months. And trimming the hair around their ears can help ward off infections.
Labradoodles also need to be bathed once a month to remove dirt from their coat. Remember to brush before you wash them to remove any matted fur, as matting will be difficult to eliminate once wet.
Are Labradoodles Hypoallergenic?
Although no dog is entirely hypoallergenic, Labradoodles were originally bred to cause minimal reactions, so they're better for allergy sufferers than other breeds.
Wool or fleece-coated Labradoodles shed very little, so dander — dead skin cells present in the fur — won't spread around the house as much. Although this can still cause problems for people with allergies, it may cause less of a reaction than the higher levels of dander produced by many other breeds.
Labradoodles with hair coats, on the other hand, will shed moderately, so they may not be a good choice for allergy sufferers.
Labradoodle Barking Habits
Labradoodles are fairly quiet dogs who only tend to bark when they need something. Though they usually don’t bark as much as many other breeds, their barks tend to be deep and loud. They may also whine or whimper when they want attention.
Labradoodles are intelligent dogs, and they do sometimes use barking to communicate. They may be vocal to tell you they’re sick, want food, or feel threatened or frightened by things like thunder or other noises coming from outside.