The History Behind the Labradoodle

Written By: Sharon Becker

Labradoodles have become a trendy dog breed, for good reason. They don’t shed, work well with people who suffer from allergies, and can live in apartments, homes, or backyards. They get along well with both children and other dogs. This breed is intelligent, playful, and gentle. Also, their curly or wavy fur and floppy ears are absolutely adorable. When you think about how popular this breed is today, it’s surprising to realize that Labradoodles have only been around for a few decades.

In 1988, a man named Wally Conron bred the first Labradoodle in Victoria, Australia. Conron was part of The Royal Guide Dogs in Australia. He was approached by a blind woman who needed a guide dog. However, this dog needed to be a good guide for her, while also being hypoallergenic, because her husband suffered from allergies. Conron took samples from around 30 Poodles to test with the woman’s husband, but all of the samples created an allergic response. Out of options, Conron spoke with the head of The Royal Guide Dogs and they agreed that Conron should cross a Labrador Retriever with a Poodle. This created the first litter of Labradoodles. Out of the three puppies, one created no allergic response in the husband. Finally, this woman could have a guide dog that would not cause illness in her husband.

From there, Conron began breeding the hybrids. He crossed Labradoodle to other Labradoodles and named them Double Doodles. The Double Doodles were then crossed with Double Doodles, creating a whole new generation of Labradoodles. Out of all of the Labradoodles that Conron bred, all but a few went on to become hypoallergenic guide dogs. When people learned about this new breed of guide dog, they became extremely popular. Suddenly, it seemed as though everyone wanted to get in on breeding this new dog.

Because there were no standards for breeding this new breed, different types of Labradoodles started popping up everywhere. Amateur breeders were just crossing whatever Labradors and Poodles they could get. When dogs are not carefully selected to be used for breeding, it results in offspring that are not best suited for Conron’s original intention. These dogs did not have the same temperament and appearance as the original Labradoodles, but they were being advertised and sold under the name that Conron had created. Because there was no breeding standard put in place at this time, Labradoodle breeders were not educated on the proper way to breed these dogs. Even today, breeders are trying to cash in on the popularity of the Labradoodle, but don’t have the knowledge or ethics to breed responsibly.