I love pottering in the greenhouse and garden and listening to classic rock with my Labradoodle, Florrie.
What's It Like Owning a Labradoodle?
There are many blogs published about Labradoodles that give broadly similar generic facts and information about their temperament and behaviour. They regularly state that Labradoodles are intelligent, good family pets, strong swimmers and ideal for those allergic to dog hair.
However, I quickly realized not all the claims were true. As a Labradoodle owner since 2007, I often look at these fun facts and think, “Hmmm, my Labradoodles are not like that at all!”
So, here's my Labradoodle guide―as a Labradoodle owner!
Tilly was our first Labradoodle. She came to us at around 8 weeks old, and she just grew and grew! At nearly 35kg fully grown, she often used to intimidate people with her size. In reality, she was a “gentle giant”!
Florrie is our second Labradoodle. She was the smallest of her litter and has grown to be just half the size of Tilly. So, the “fun fact” that Labradoodles can be all different sizes is true! Florrie is very loving but can be quite feisty at times—she has a totally different temperament compared to Tilly.
Originally, Labradoodles were a cross between a Labrador Retriever and a standard Poodle, but more recently it is becoming common for both parents to be Labradoodles themselves—like both Tilly and Florrie! They can be a wide range of colours—black, white, cream, fudge, apricot, red—you name it!
One of the top facts about Labradoodles is that they are ideal for those with dog allergies as they shed little hair! However, it is not usually the dog's hair that people are allergic to. Actually, it is the dander, the flakes of dead skin, that causes the allergy problem. So, whatever the type of hair, any dog can potentially cause an allergic reaction.
So, the fact that Labradoodles are “hypoallergenic” is not necessarily true.
If you are planning to get a Labradoodle and are worried about allergies, it is always best to arrange a short visit to the dog in its’ home environment first and see how you react!
Labradoodles, being a crossbreed, come in all different fur types from hard and wiry to soft and fluffy. Florrie has a curly wiry coat whilst Tilly had a wavy topcoat with a soft fleecy undercoat. Tilly needed grooming almost every day. Her undercoat matted very easily, and if the matted fur became too large, they needed to be cut by her groomer.
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Florrie needs less grooming, but if she gets wet in the rain, her curls become tight like an old-fashioned perm!
Labradoodles Are a Family-Friendly Breed
According to many blogs, Labradoodles are a great family pet! It is true that Labradoodles are outgoing, affectionate and eager to please! Sometimes, they can get a little too excitable and bounce around on their back legs like Tigger! Like many dogs, they can have their mad moments and charge around the house or garden at full speed! They can be a little terrifying to young children who are not used to boisterous dogs!
Labradoodles love company! Both Tilly and Florrie have followed us from room to room in the house. They can’t bear to be separated from us for too long! It is often a case of “me and my shadow”! Where are we going next? They prefer to sleep with their head, back or paw touching you!
Labradoodles love to play! Fetch, chase, tug, catch, hide and seek—anything goes and they are very quick to learn! They are best for people or families with a lot of energy and time to play! They need to be constantly physically active or mentally challenged. If not, they soon become unhappy.
I worry about people who have got a Labradoodle during lockdown whilst the whole family are around all day working from home or homeschooling. What are their plans when everything returns to normal? Labradoodles are definitely not a dog to be left on their own all day whilst their owners are out at work!
I regularly read in Labradoodle blogs that they love water and swimming! This is not always true! Both Tilly and Florrie have hated water! If we go to the beach they will paddle paw-deep in the sea—no further! It is the same with a nearby stream—many dogs love to jump in and swim around. However, Tilly and Florrie prefer to stay on land and bark encouragement to their furry friends!
Florrie even dislikes walking on the lawn when it is wet! She quickly does her business before getting off it.
My final fun fact to review is that Labradoodles are not an aggressive breed. I think the jury is split on this one! Tilly was a very laid-back Labradoodle. Anyone new coming into the house did not faze her. She would, in theory, allow burglars to take anything in return for a biscuit and a belly rub!
Florrie on the other hand is a completely different character. She has a long list of people and objects she can get quite aggressive with! White vans, anyone in a hat or fluorescent jacket, cyclists, delivery men, small dogs on a lead, buses, joggers, traffic cones—the list is quite long! Taking her for a walk can be an ordeal some days!
Is a Labradoodle Right for You?
I think, in summary, my conclusion is that no two Labradoodles are the same! If you are thinking of getting a Labradoodle, my recommendation would be to visit and observe the parents of your chosen dog. Both Tilly and Florrie have demonstrated similar temperament and behaviours to their parents—particularly their mother.
Labradoodles need to be the right fit with the right family to be a good family pet. Think ahead: Remember that Labradoodles can live to be 12-14 years old!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Henry Burt