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Are you one of those people who has always wanted a gorgeous and friendly Labrador retriever but steered clear because they are notorious shedders?
Then have you heard of Labradoodles?
Labradoodles are crosses between Labrador retrievers and poodles, designed to have the gentle and faithful personality of a Labrador retriever and the low-shedding coat of a poodle.
This makes them the ideal hypoallergenic pup—well, as much as any dog can be considered hypoallergenic.
But, as is always the case with crossbreed dogs, the reality is much more complicated. While you do get low-shedding Labradoodles, there is no guarantee that they will all have a low-shedding coat.
Here is everything you need to know about Labradoodle coats, what to expect, exactly how much they are really likely to shed, and how to take care of them.
Contents & Quick Navigation
- What Is A Labradoodle?
- What Is The Purpose Of A Labradoodle?
- Do Labradoodles Shed?
- What Are Labradoodle Coats Like?
- Are Labradoodles Hypoallergenic?
- How Do You Groom A Labradoodle?
- The Verdict
- Top Picks For Our Dogs
What Is A Labradoodle?
A Labradoodle is a crossbreed dog that is created when you mix a Labrador retriever with a poodle. The mix can be with any size poodle—standard, miniature, or toy—and this will largely dictate the overall size of the Labradoodle.
They are often linked with goldendoodles, which are a similar crossbreed created by mixing a golden retriever with a poodle. You can read more about the similarities and differences between Labradoodles and goldendoodles here.
Labradoodles have been around since at least the 1950s in the United States and began to appear in films shortly thereafter. The dog Fang in the popular TV show Get Smart was famously a Labradoodle.
However, this crossbreed dog only became truly popular in the late 1980s and early ‘90s, when the Australian breeder Wally Conron introduced the dog to the Royal Guide Dog Association of Australia.
While Labrador retrievers have always been popular service dogs because of their gentle nature and trainability, they are infamous shedders, which could be problematic. So, the idea was to cross the Labrador with a poodle, which has a tightly curled coat that doesn’t shed.
Poodles are also highly intelligent, so the hope was this crossbreed would create the perfect service dog.
What Is The Purpose Of A Labradoodle?
As we have already suggested, Labradoodles were bred in the hopes of creating a service dog that would shed less profusely than popular service dogs such as Labrador retrievers and golden retrievers.
Both of these breeds are already considered excellent as service dogs. They are highly intelligent and also eager to please, which means they are highly trainable rather than being headstrong.
They have a gentle personality, so they bond with people quickly and get along well with other people and strangers.
This means that in addition to being well-suited to complete the tasks required of service dogs, they also have the right temperament to be in public places and around strangers.
The big problem with these types of retrievers?
They shed—a lot—as anyone with either of these breeds at home will tell you. This can mean vacuuming your home three or four times a week, something that may not be realistic for many people living with the types of disability that demand a service dog.
Moreover, excessive shedding can be a problem when the dog needs to go into spaces such as restaurants, where hygiene standards need to be maintained. The same is true of hospitals and other medical facilities the dog owner may frequent.
Poodles, on the other hand, have a very low-shedding coat. They have tightly curled, wiry hair, and when hair sheds, it tends to stay wrapped up in their coat rather than falling to the ground.
This does mean they need regular grooming, but they don’t leave hair behind wherever they go. In addition, regular grooming can be a wonderful bonding experience for the owner and pup.
Moreover, poodles are very intelligent; in fact, they are considered more intelligent than Labradors and golden retrievers, learning new commands in less time.
So, mixing with a poodle was considered unlikely to undermine the intelligence and trainability of the service dogs.
In addition, poodles were originally bred as companion dogs, so they love people and also form a bond with their owners very quickly. They are more reticent and standoffish with strangers, but they aren’t biters or barkers.
So overall, the Labrador retriever and poodle combination, as well as the golden retriever and poodle combination, was thought to be very promising for service dogs.
In general, this has proven true, with most having the right temperament to be service dogs. However, not all Labradoodles inherit the low-shedding coat of the poodle.
Do Labradoodles Shed?
The answer to the question of whether Labradoodles shed is that it depends on the dog.
Unlike with purebred dogs, when you have a very good idea of what physical and personality traits a dog is likely to be born with, with crossbreeds you don’t know how the characteristics are going to combine.
So, you could get a Labradoodle with the low-shedding coat of a poodle, or you could end up with a Labradoodle with the profusely shedding coat of a golden retriever.
While, in theory, whether your dog will be a big shedder or a low shedder is 50/50, the reality is a bit different.
Since a low-shedding dog is one of the most desirable traits of a Labradoodle, it is something that breeders control for.
When they are mixing a Labrador retriever and a poodle, they will look out for pairings that have already produced the desired coat and try to control for that, though of course not every litter will be the same.
But Labradoodles aren’t just created by breeding Labradors and poodles—they are also created by breeding their Labradoodle offspring.
Here again, dogs with the low-shedding coat are prioritized for breeding. While there is no guarantee, this significantly increases the likelihood of getting a Labradoodle with a low-shedding coat.
Also, if you are specifically looking for a low-shedding Labradoodle due to allergies, or for other reasons why you might need to avoid excessive shedding, breeders will do their best to identify a low-shedding puppy for you.
What Are Labradoodle Coats Like?
There are generally three types of coat that you get with a Labradoodle: wool, fleece, or hair.
Labradoodles with a wool coat are often called curly Labradoodles, and they are the ones that most look like they have the coat of their poodle parent.
The curls vary in tightness, but they are generally tight enough that they are low shedding, with any hair they let go of getting caught up in their coat.
These dogs need lots of grooming, and need to be brushed preferably on a daily basis to remove excessive hair.
If this isn’t done, the coat can easily become matted. Nevertheless, these are the best types of Labradoodles for anyone with an allergy.
Labradoodles with a fleece coat are often referred to as shaggy, which is probably the most common type of Labradoodle coat. The curls within the fleece are wavy, but vary from a modest wave to a fairly tight curl.
The coat is low shedding, but these dogs do still shed—though much less profusely than you would expect from a Labrador.
These “shaggy” Labradoodles generally need thorough grooming at least once a week.
This is the least common coat type among Labradoodles and looks a lot like the straight-haired coats of purebred Labrador retrievers but a bit scruffier. They also tend to shed just as much as purebred Labs.
This type of coat is not always readily noticeable on a puppy Labradoodle, and will only start to become apparent when they get to about 12 weeks of age.
Pups with these coats only tend to result from first-generation mixes of Labradors and poodles.
Since they aren’t as desirable as low-shedding Labradoodles, you might be able to get one a bit cheaper than another pup, and they make excellent family pets as long as no one in the house has allergies.
Are Labradoodles Hypoallergenic?
Even if you get yourself a Labradoodle with a nice wool coat, it might be a stretch to call them hypoallergenic. All dogs shed their hair (just like all humans) and will release some of the allergy-causing dander as they shed.
But some dogs, such as poodles, have coats that shed much less and leave less dander lying around. The hair is caught up in their coat and has to be brushed out.
So, while dogs with these coats are definitely better for people with allergies, they are not technically hypoallergenic.
How Do You Groom A Labradoodle?
How often you need to brush your Labradoodle depends on what type of hair they have and also whether they stay outside or they are an inside dog.
When you do brush them, brush to the skin, working from under the coat. Work from the feet up to the body and the tail to the head.
Brush in the directions of the hair, starting with small amounts and adding small amounts of the coat as you stroke.
While giving your Labradoodle a regular haircut is a very good idea to make grooming more manageable, you shouldn’t shave them down like you would a poodle.
The hair actually acts as insulation for these dogs, and if you remove it, you can end up letting them overheat rather than cooling them down.
When you do cut your dog’s hair, just give them a nice trim.
Around the head, you will probably want to cut the hair down to around five to 10 centimeters, leaving it with a full coat on top of the head and shoulders. Keep a round shape around the ears, blending in.
The hair around the mouth and nose should be cut into a neat circular shape, and the eyebrows trimmed at a sloping 45-degree angle from the forehead down to the cheeks.
Make sure to leave enough brow to create a visor long enough to reach down the bridge between the eyes.
Do not cut under the eyes or between the ears and eyes, and don’t notch out above the ears.
On the legs, cut down to between 10 and 15 centimeters, making a kind of tube covering the roof straight down rather than following the curve of the ankle. But do make sure that the hair comfortably clears the ground.
Trim the tail hair to match the legs.
If you do want to shave, then focus on the under ear area, going from ear to ear cutting a chin strap. You can also shave them from groin to sternum, their inner rear legs, armpits, and potty patch.
If you aren’t sure what you are doing, it is best to work with a professional groomer. Any cuts and pulls can traumatize your dog and cause them to become very difficult at grooming time.
Why Does My Labradoodle Shed So Much?
While Labradoodles were specifically bred to try to create Labradors with the low-shedding coats of poodles, when you mix dog breeds, what you actually get is unpredictable.
You may also end up with a Labradoodle with the high-shedding coat of a Labrador.
It’s impossible to see what type of coat your pup will have until they are at least 12 weeks old, so while you may have thought they had one type of coat when you picked them up from the breeder, within a few months you might be looking at a very different dog.
Are Labradoodles Hypoallergenic?
Many Labradoodles have the low-shedding coats of poodles. This does not mean they don’t shed, but rather that their wiry and curly coat catches the hair, retaining it rather than letting it fall where it may.
For this reason, they also need to be brushed regularly to remove the hair that they have shed.
But, because Labradoodles that have this type of coat don’t leave a lot of hair around the house or release dander into the air, they are considered as close to hypoallergenic as dogs can be.
If you have an allergy, a Labradoodle with a low-shedding coat can be a great choice.
Do Labradoodles Shed More Than Goldendoodles?
Both Labradors and golden retrievers are heavy shedders, and they both shed about the same amount.
That is why both Labradoodles and goldendoodles were developed. They were crossed with poodles to create versions of the dog with the low-shedding coat of the poodle.
Exactly how much a Labradoodle or a goldendoodle will shed depends on what genetics they inherit from their parents.
This is unpredictable; they can get the low-shedding coat of a poodle, but they may also get the high-shedding coat of their other parent.
But, generally speaking, there is very little difference between the amount of shedding that you can expect from a low-shedding Labradoodle or goldendoodle.
How Do You Tell If A Labradoodle Will Be Curly?
One of the difficulties with Labradoodles is that it can be difficult to tell what their coats will be like until they are at least 12 weeks old.
So it is not always easy to determine whether they will have a curly or a straight coat, and whether they will have a low-shedding or high-shedding coat.
To get the best idea, focus on the fur around the face and muzzle, which will show the characteristics of the coat first.
Which Labradoodles Don’t Shed?
If you are specifically looking for a Labradoodle that doesn’t shed, talk to a breeder about a dog with a wool coat.
However, to be sure they have this low-shedding coat, you do need to wait until they are a bit older to see exactly how their coat grows out.
It can be a good idea to speak to a breeder about a Labradoodle that is bred from two Labradoodles with a low-shedding coat for a greater chance of getting a pup with the same coat.
The probability is greater here than if you look for a dog that comes first generation from a poodle and a Labrador.
If you have always wanted a gentle and intelligent Labrador, but you haven’t been able to because of the shedding, a Labradoodle might be just what you are looking for.
A Labradoodle is a cross between a Labrador retriever and a poodle, in the hope of creating a pooch with the personality of a Labrador and the low-shedding coat of a poodle.
Crossbreeds are unpredictable, so with a Labradoodle, you might get something with the low-shedding coat of a poodle or the high-shedding coat of a Labrador.
Years of expert breeding are working in your favor, but both are possibilities.
But if you do get yourself a low-shedding Labradoodle, that is not the end of the story.
While their curly coats mean they won’t leave hair lying around wherever they go, they do need regular grooming. But all that effort will be worth it to have one of these loveable pooches in your life.
Have you ever had a Labradoodle? Does your Labradoodle shed?
Share your thoughts and experiences with the community in the comments section below or via our social media.
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- BEST PUPPY TOY
We Like: Snuggle Puppy w/ Heart Beat & Heat Pack - Perfect for new puppies. We get all of our Service Dog pups a Snuggle Puppy.
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For a list of all the supplies we get for our new service dog puppies check out our New Puppy Checklist on the PuppyInTraining.com blog.