In 1989, the first litter of labradoodles was bred by the GDAV in Australia. John Gosling, the manager for GDAV Guide Dog Services agreed to breed the litter in answer to a request by Pat Blum of Hawaii, a vision impaired woman with a husband allergic to dogs. The breeding manager for GDAV, Wally Conron, planned a mating between Harley and Brandy, a poodle and lab, and the first labradoodle litter resulted in three puppies. Fur samples of the pups were sent to Pat as the pups matured, and one of the pups, Sultan, proved to be allergy friendly, as well as compatible for Pat as a guide dog. The combination of Sultan's coat, temperament and trainability made him a perfect guide dog companion for Pat, and an allergy friendly addition to her home. This was the official beginning of the labradoodle.
The combination of the Labrador and the Poodle produced great puppies that were very smart and easy to train, which naturally led to people in the general public becoming interested in the breed as family pets. The desire for non-shedding, allergy friendly coats has also played a huge part in the success and desirability of the labradoodle.
Many people continue to breed the Labradoodle as they did in the beginning years, by crossing a Labrador with a Poodle to produce first generation Labradoodles. This method results in hybrid vigor, and dogs with a wide variety of looks and coats. Some will be allergy friendly, some will not. Some will shed, and some will not.
Others have gone on to try and “fix” the non-shedding, allergy friendly coat of the Labradoodle by breeding those first crosses back to Poodles. Then, by selecting the best from their litters they breed those Labradoodles to other selected Labradoodles or to Poodles to go on to produce dogs that are more likely to not shed. Also, it is interesting to note that the Australian breeders infused other breeds, like the Irish Water Spaniel, into their lines to bring in other desirable traits.
The Labradoodle as a breed is still in its development. Whether or not it becomes a recognized breed, it will always be a sought after dog because of its many wonderful qualities!
Labradoodles are not yet recognized as a breed by any club or organization, therefore no formal standard is in place yet. However, breeders of multi-generation dogs are working towards a standard to be recognized if the Labradoodle is accepted as its own breed.
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Letters of Recommendations:
From: Linda Larzeczny
From: Jane Way
From: Mark & Debbie Taylor