The History Of The Labradoodle Breed



The Labradoodle first originated in Australia when the first intentional purpose-bred mating of a Labrador Retriever and a Standard Poodle was initiated by Wally Conran of the Royal Guide Dogs in Victoria Australia. A vision impaired woman in Hawaii needed a Guide Dog which wouldn’t aggravate her husband’s allergies.

Over a period of two years, they had sent hair and saliva samples from 33 different Poodles across to Hawaii to test for allergic reaction with the lady’s husband, but without success. Eventually Wally Conran approached the Manager of Royal Guide Dogs with suggestion that they try crossing one their Labrador Retrievers with a Standard Poodle. He agreed. The first litter had only three puppies. Hair and saliva samples were sent to Hawaii from all three, but only Sultan’s, the white dog, were successful. The other two also went on to lead useful lives, one as a Remedial Dog and the other as a Guide Dog.

There was always a long waiting list of families waiting to puppy walk Guide Dogs, but when these new cross breeds needed homes, no one was prepared to take them on. Wally knew that it was vital that the puppies got the right socialization in a family unit, and once again his ingenuity came to the rescue. He went to the manager with the suggestion that they approach Channel 9 television station in Melbourne with a story about “the new breed of Guide Dog” and realizing it needed to have a name, he coined the word “Labradoodle”. After the show aired on television, the phones rang hot with people wanting to puppy walk this amazing “new breed” of Guide Dog!

Wally Conran bred Labradoodles to other Labradoodles and called the offspring ‘Double Doodles’. He then mated Double Doodles to other Double Doodles and the progeny of these matings he called ‘Tri Doodles’.

Of the 31 Labradoodles bred at Royal Guide Dogs, a staggering 29 made it through as Guide Dogs….an accolade of unparalleled proportion for this new ‘breed’ of Guide Dog.

When the Guide Dogs had Open Days, people fell in love with the Labradoodles they saw there and The Guide Dog Center was besieged with inquiries as to where they could get one. It wasn’t long before there was a huge demand, which was not being met. There was an obvious need for breeders to establish themselves and develop this fascination dog, with the joyful intuitive personality, and the non shedding and allergy friendly coat.

When Wally Conran retired, a country vet in Condoblin New South Wales, Australia was in constant touch with him and started her own breeding program mating Miniature Poodles with Labrador Retrievers. She was very successful and as of 2004 is still breeding her Miniature first generation Labradoodles.

Two Breeding and Research Centers for the Labradoodle were established, both located in Seaspray Victoria, Australia and they continued on from where the Guide Dogs left off, with the intention of breeding through successive generations of Labradoodle bred to Labradoodle. Both Labradoodles of these Centers acquired their breeding stock from a gentleman named Don Evans in Northern Victoria, when he scaled down his activities pending retirement.

Don had also begun breeding through the generations, following the lead of Wally and he also called his bird dog crossed between Labrador and Poodle, Labradoodles.

The Labradoodle has experienced a meteoric explosion of popularity in countries across the world and their high profile and media exposure soon led to a rapid increase in the number of new breeders.

(Reprinted from the International Labradoodle Association, Inc.)


Australian Labradoodle Breed Standard

General Appearance:

Must appear athletic and graceful with a compact body displaying substance with medium boning. Should not appear cloddy or heavy nor overly fine. A distinctive feature of this breed is their coat, which is non-shedding and easy to manage.


Extremely clever, sociable, comical, joyful, energetic when free and soft and quiet when handled. They should approach people in a happy friendly manner, keen and easy to train. They should display an intuition about their family members or handler’s current emotional state or needs. This ability to “know” is what has made the Australian Labradoodle an excellent dog for individuals with special needs.

(Reprinted from the International Labradoodle Association, Inc.)

Australian Labradoodle Size

Currently there are three sizes of Australian Labradoodles


Height: 14 to 24 (not over 25) inches (35cm to 63cm) at wither.

Weight: 7kg to 30kg (15-65lbs).

Miniature range:

Height: 14 to16 (not over 17) inches (35cm to 42cm) at wither.

Medium range:

Height: 17 to 20 (not over 21) inches (43cm to 52cm) at wither. The ideal size for the female is 17 to19 inches and the male is 18 to 20 inches.

Standard range:

Height: 21 to 24 (not over 25) inches (53cm to 63cm) at wither. The ideal size for the female is 21 to 23 inches and the male is 22 to 24 inches.

(Reprinted from the International Labradoodle Association, Inc.)


Labradoodle puppy parents often experience what I like to call the Forest Gump rule. A time comes when they realize that Labradoodle puppies, “Are like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get.” Sometime from six weeks of age to two years, labradoodles can change color. That milk chocolate puppy starts getting a few stray grey hairs. Months later, it is more like morning coffee with cream in it, called cafe. The golden puppy that came home a year before has a creamy coat and apricot ears. It is not uncommon for Labradoodle’s coats to change with age, getting lighter or darker. There is a recognizable, ‘delusion’ gene that comes from their poodle side of the family. It is responsible for the coat to become lighter or dilute. So, even though you might have started with just apricot, you might end up with apricot cream. Labradoodle colors are:


A rich Gold/Apricot very much the color of its namesake – caramel through to a deep red – must have rose pigment.


A solid, even, rich red color which should have no sprinkling of other colored fibers throughout the coat. A true Red must not be lighter at the roots than at the tips of the coat. Red can fade somewhat with age, and senior dogs showing paling of coat should not be penalized.


The color of a ripe apricot on the inside. A true Apricot must not be lighter at the roots than at the tips of the coat. It can come in varying shades and may fade as the dog grows older. Senior dogs should not be penalized for paling of coat color.


A dark to medium smoky Blue. Blue also belongs to the Rare Color Group. Blue dogs are born Black but will have Blue skin and undertonings at a young age. Any other color throughout the Blue is undesirable.


Born Black but will have more of a grey skin and will develop individual silver fibers at a young age. Silver dogs can take up to 3 years to color out and become a beautiful smoky grey through to a light iridescent platinum and varying shades in between at adulthood. Uneven layering of color in the silver is normal.


Dark and rich, born almost Black, they maintain a dark chocolate throughout their lifetime. Color should be even. Any other color throughout the Chocolate is highly undesirable. Chocolate belongs to the Rare Color Group.


Born Milk Chocolate of varying shades, and have the same gene as the silver dogs, often taking up to 3 years to fully color out to multi shades of chocolate, silvery chocolate and silver throughout. When given plenty of time in the sunshine, they develop stunning highlights.


A Definite, even smoky lavender chocolate, giving almost pink/lilac appearance. Lavender dogs are born Chocolate and can be difficult to distinguish at a young age. Any other color throughout the Lavender is highly undesirable. True Lavender belongs to the Rare Color Group.


Born Milk Chocolate, will pale to a smoky creamy beige. Paling usually starts from an early age often as early as 6 weeks. As adults they can be mistaken for dark smoky Cream from a distance. Parchment belongs to the Rare Color Group.

Apricot/Gold, Red, Black, Silver and Blue – must have black pigment

Caramel, Chocolate, Cafe’, Parchment and Lavender – must have rose pigment

Chalk (appears white but when compared to a true white it is a chalky white) -may have rose or black pigment

Cream and Apricot Cream (all shades and combinations of cream shades are acceptable) – may have rose or black pigment