Just one year after Conron bred his first litter of Labradoodles, two different Labradoodle breeding and research stations in Australia were created. These research stations carefully chose their dogs for breeding, to create a better hybrid than the amateur breeders were. It was important to use healthy dogs, otherwise generations of illness and genetic conditions would be passed down from dog to dog. While no breed is completely free of specific health concerns, improper breeding can exacerbate health conditions to the point where puppies cannot survive, or they do not live very long. Because so many of these dogs were needed as guide dogs, the health and longevity of the breed was a top priority.
Researchers worked on creating the right coat for the Labradoodle because they needed to shed very little and should not trigger an allergic reaction. Several coats were discovered, but only the best few are seen regularly today. Some of the first generation pups had a coat that was more similar to a Labrador’s than a Poodle’s. This coat shed more than the others, so it was soon bred out. The two coat types that resulted from this research are the Wool Curly coat and the Fleece coat. The Fleece coat should resemble an Angora goat. Their fur should be silky soft and hang in longer, loose curls. The Wool Curly coat is closer to sheep’s wool. They are more poodle-like in appearance and have short, tight curls. These coat types were chosen as standards because they shed the least and worked well for people with allergies.
In 1998, the first Miniature Labradoodles were available for pet owners. These dogs were about ten inches smaller than the standard, but had many of the same characteristics. Soon after, a Miniature Labradoodle was crossed with a Standard Labradoodle to create the Medium Labradoodle. On average, the Medium Labradoodle is about four inches larger than the Miniature Labradoodle. The Australian Labradoodle was also created as a completely separate breed from the Standard Labradoodle. This breed is infused with other breeds like Cocker Spaniels to improve on their coat. Similarly, the Miniature Labradoodle can result from a cross between a Labrador/Cocker Spaniel hybrid and Miniature Poodle.
Today, Labradoodles are just as popular as they were when they were first bred. They aren’t used as often as guide dogs, but are still an option for those who could not have a guide dog before due to allergies. This breed has become a good family pet because they get along with children and are intelligent. The need for knowledgeable breeders is still very important. Wally Conron has been recently reported to have said that he regrets ever creating the hybrid because the popularity of the breed has increased the demand for these dogs. With such a high demand, irresponsible breeders breed problems and health conditions into the pups instead of carefully selecting the parent dogs. If you are considering owning a Labradoodle, make sure to find a good breeder to ensure that it has all of the great qualities that Labradoodles are known for.