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When considering bringing a new dog into your life, it is always important to consider how long that dog is likely to live.
This is because it’s important to ensure that you are willing to commit to caring for and loving this pup as long as they live.
So, if you are considering adopting a Labradoodle, you’ll want to consider the average lifespan of a Labradoodle.
Spoiler alert: The average life expectancy for a Labadoodle is 12 to 14 years depending on their size.
In this article, we will go through exactly how long you should expect your Labradoodle to live, which is largely determined by whether their poodle parent was a standard, miniature, or toy poodle.
We will also go through all the different life stages of a Labradoodle and what to expect in each.
We’ll finish up by looking at some of the health conditions most common among Labradoodles that might cut their time with you a little short.
What Is A Labradoodle?
Labradoodles are crossbreed dogs that you get when you mix a Labrador retriever with a poodle. They are varieties that are a mix between a Lab and all the different poodle sizes including standard, miniature, and toy.
They were bred because, while the temperament, intelligence, and trainability of Labrador retrievers make them excellent service dogs, they shed—a lot.
This can be a huge problem when it comes to taking them into hospitals, public places such as restaurants, and even cleaning up after them at home.
Poodles were chosen to crossbreed because they have a low-shedding coat. Their tight, curly coats mean that instead of leaving hair wherever they go, it gets caught up in their coat.
This does mean they have to be brushed out regularly, but there’s no leaving a trail of hair behind them.
Poodles are also highly intelligent dogs, even more intelligent than Labradors, and also very friendly, having been bred as companion animals.
They are less outgoing than Labradors, but overall it was thought that they would add to, rather than subtract from, the characteristics that make Labradors excellent service dogs.
While, in theory, each resulting crossbreed dog, known as a Labradoodle, could have either the low-shedding coat of a poodle or the high-shedding coat of a Labrador, years of controlling for this characteristic means that most Labradoodle’s have the desired low-shedding coats.
You can read more about the Labradoodle coat and shedding in this article.
How Long Do Labradoodles Live?
All Labradoodles have a lifespan of roughly 12 to 14 years. Various factors influence where each dog is likely to fall within this scale.
Labrador retrievers and standard poodles both tend to live around 12 years. So if you have a standard Labradoodle, you should probably expect them to have a slightly shorter lifespan at around the 12-year mark.
Miniature and toy poodles often live longer, as small dogs tend to live longer in general. So if you have a Lab that is mixed with one of these smaller breeds, you might expect them to live for an additional year or so.
While these expectations are based on the average lifespan of their parent pups, some research suggests that crossbreed dogs live longer than their parents, by about a year or two.
So don’t be surprised if your Labradoodle pup manages to stick around for a little longer.
There are plenty of examples of Labradoodles living well into their late teens.
Labradoodle Life Stages
Throughout their lives, you can expect your Labradoodle to pass through five main life stages: puppyhood, adolescence, adulthood, middle age, and senior.
Exactly when they will pass through each of these stages again depends on whether the Labradoodle is a standard, miniature, or toy cross.
Smaller dogs tend to grow to maturity more quickly but then live longer. Conversely, larger dogs stay puppies longer but have shorter overall life expectancies.
Labradoodles tend to be classified as puppies for the first five months of their lives. But just like with human babies, because they are growing so quickly at this time, they will pass through a number of different puppy stages.
This is when the pups are really just balls of fur that stay close to their mother, eating, sleeping, and growing.
It is during this stage that you will find that littermates love to cuddle up and spend the day sleeping one on top of one another.
During this stage, they are more interested in their mother and siblings than there are in people, but they do begin to learn that there is a bigger world and might start to explore a little in the later weeks.
This is when Labradoodle puppies start to become very interested in people and to form bonds with people as well.
It is around this stage that they can also start to move onto dog food. This is often a necessity, as the mother will refuse to suckle them as their growing teeth cause her pain.
This is when puppies tend to get very playful and have a tendency to get into everything.
This is a very important time, as they are also very impressionable. Negative experiences at this stage in life can have a lasting impact on the dog’s personality.
So they need plenty of attention, praise, and love. While they can start learning about “the rules” at this age, they should never be punished, as this may just create fear and anxiety, which can in turn result in negative behavior as an adult.
This is the ideal time to start training a Labradoodle puppy, as they are now alert enough and interested enough to know what is going on and to internalize what they are being taught.
Training them at this stage will also teach them about action and reward, which will make them easier to train to do other things as adults. They will already understand that correct behavior can result in good things.
At this stage, you can also start to expose the puppy to new people and new experiences. This is essential to the socialization process, so that they learn what to do when confronted by the unknown.
During this time, you will probably see your puppy becoming more independent and more curious about the world around them, and trying new things.
This is a great time to try to take the puppy with you most everywhere you go. They are big enough that they won’t get hurt, but they are still in the bonding stage and this can create a tight bond.
Essential training should continue throughout this stage.
Much like humans, during this stage Labradoodle puppies seem like they are either eating or sleeping all the time to manage big growth spurts, or getting into trouble.
This period tends to last from around five or six months until about two years of age.
At this stage, they tend to get bored quickly, and when they aren’t sleeping they like to be very active.
But they also become more unpredictable as hormones start to play a role. Expect them to want to play all the time, to jump up a lot, and to do things that test your limits.
Nevertheless, at this stage your Labradoodle should be fully housebroken, should have passed through that biting phase, and should be better at paying attention to you.
They also lose their awkwardness around this age and seem more coordinated. Labradoodles in particular will start to show quite a bit of strength and agility at this stage.
They should have all their adult teeth, but they still love to chew! This is something they inherit from the Labrador parent.
Make sure to have an abundance of chew toys available to focus their otherwise destructive chewing.
It is also during adolescence that territorial behavior tends to kick in. Your pup may become protective of their possessions, territorial of their home, and could start to bark at strangers.
It is very important to socialize them properly during this stage so those issues don’t continue into adulthood.
Also be aware that at some stage during adolescence—it can vary quite a bit—your dog will become sexually mature. So, if your dog hasn’t been neutered or spayed, this is the time to start watching out!
Depending on the particular type of Labradoodle that you have, you can expect them to settle down into adulthood at between two and three years of age.
They should be about fully grown at this stage. So instead of getting bigger, you need to worry about them getting fatter!
While it is natural for them to fill out a bit in the early stages of adulthood, it is important to keep an eye on their weight and their diet at this time.
They will enter their physical and mental prime during this period, as they are much calmer and more tranquil.
If they are being trained as a service dog, they can start working once they reach adulthood.
None of this is to say that Labradoodles cannot continue to develop and learn new things at this time. Labradors and Labradoodles are very easy to train and can be taught new skills and behaviors at almost any age.
Your dog will start to enter the later stages of their life at about the ripe old age of seven years.
At this point, Labradoodles still tend to be active and healthy dogs, but they do start to slow down a bit.
This is another transitional period where it is important to watch how much they are eating and that they don’t gain too much weight.
While good dental hygiene is important throughout your Labradoodle’s life, at this age their teeth are extra vulnerable.
It’s a good idea to clean and check their teeth more regularly, as an unidentified tooth problem can cause them a significant amount of pain.
It is also at this time that their joints might start to become stiff, and they can begin to develop more serious joint problems. You can try and alleviate this by feeding them supplements to support their joints. You can read more about joint supplements here.
When your Labradoodle hits nine or 10 years, they are truly senior and they will probably start to need a bit of extra care and attention.
Joint pain is a common problem for Labradoodles, so you may need to make some adjustments to your home to accommodate them.
This could include getting them a bed that they don’t have to step up to get into, and investing in a ramp to help them get in and out of the car.
Labradoodles also have a tendency to lose their eyesight in later years, and to feel the cold more intensely.
Their appetite is also likely to change as this time, as is their metabolism. So again, watch their weight and what they are eating to maintain them at a healthy weight.
This is especially important if they are suffering with joint issues, as excess weight will just make mobility even more challenging.
Common Labradoodle Health Issues
The one thing that might mean your Labradoodle doesn’t live as long as it should is health issues. Labradoodles are inclined toward a variety of health conditions, inherited from both their Labrador and poodle parents.
When we say “inclined,”we mean that these are the most common health issues among Labradoodles, but they still have a relatively low likelihood of developing these issues.
The main Labradoodle health conditions to be aware of are:
Labradoodles often develop food allergies, usually in their early years before they reach two years of age.
This can often be caused by eating too much of certain foods in these formative months. So don’t feed your dog excess chicken as a pup or adolescent, to avoid dealing with a chicken food allergy for the rest of their lives.
But Labradoodles can also develop allergies in later life, and you might find that at age eight they are suddenly reacting to something that they have eaten their entire life.
Labradoodles usually show an allergic reaction with skin itchiness and an upset stomach. If you notice these signs, visit your vet to try to identify what might be causing the problem.
Labradoodles have floppy ears that cover the ear tracts. This means they are generally moist, dark spaces, which means breeding grounds for infections.
This is also a common problem for Labradors but can be worse for Labradoodles because the curly hair in their ears can also trap moisture and foreign bodies.
If they seem to have itchy ears, or if you notice smells coming from their ears, this is a sign that something is not quite right. This will mean a trip to the vet to determine the type of ear infection and the best treatment.
Regular ear cleaning, especially after sleeping or bathing, is the best way to reduce the prevalence of ear infections in Labradoodles.
Epilepsy is a neurological condition, of which one of the main symptoms is seizures. Labradoodles are quite prone to this condition.
There is no cure, and treatment depends on the severity of the seizures and how often they occur.
If your dog rarely has seizures, your vet will probably avoid medication, as it is not worth the risk.
You may need to do some things to make your home safer for your dog, making it less likely that they will accidentally hurt themselves in the event of a seizure.
Another issue inherited from their Labrador parents, Labradoodles often develop joint issues, especially in the hips, but it can be anywhere. Over time, what was an uncomfortable twinge can develop into serious pain, arthritis, and even lameness.
Treatment depends on the severity of the condition. Sometimes joint supplements can be enough to keep your dog comfortable, while in other cases they might need serious pain medication.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy
This is a condition where a portion of the eye degenerates, eventually leading to blindness.
This is quite common in Labradoodles and will usually affect both eyes, resulting in complete blindness. However, it is known to occasionally occur in puppies as well.
There is no known treatment, though it is thought that a diet high in antioxidants may be able to help slow the progression of the condition.
Von Willebrand Disease
This disease, which is also relatively common among Labradoodles, is a condition that causes the blood not to clot normally due to a missing component known as the Von Willebrand’s factor.
Signs of the disease include excessive bleeding and bruising where the dog is injured, but also spontaneos bleeds, for example nosebleeds, or blood in their urine or stool.
This poses a risk to your Labradoodle throughout their lives, as they may need to avoid certain medications that can further thin the blood, as well as activities where they are at risk of getting injured.
If they need surgery for some reason, such as when they are neutered, they will probably also require a platelet transfusion before the surgery.
When you decide to bring a Labradoodle puppy in your life, you are committing to love and care for that dog for about 12 to 14 years, which is the average lifespan of this crossbreed.
During that time, they will pass through a number of different life stages, from being adorable puppies, naughty adolescents (appropriately called the terrible twos), intelligent adults, and vulnerable seniors.
But throughout all these life stages, a Labradoodle should give you a great deal of love and fulfilment.
Do you have a Labradoodle?
What is your experience living with these wonderful dogs?
Share your thoughts in the comments section below or via our social media.
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