History of the Labradoodle
In 1988, Wally Conron of the Royal Guide Dogs in Australia produced the first ever litter of labradoodle puppies. This litter came about in response to a blind woman in Hawaii who needed a guide dog that wouldn’t aggravate her husbands allergies. Hair and saliva samples of several standard poodles were sent but all caused allergic reactions. With permission of the Royal Guide Dogs, MGuide r. Cochran bred one of their labs with a standard poodle. The breeding resulted in three puppies, one of which the hair and saliva samples did not cause an allergic reaction. The puppy, Sultan, went on to training and was a successful guide dog for the woman. The other two dogs were used as service dogs as well, just not as allergy friendly ones. Wally went on to breed other labradoodles, then labradoodles to labradoodles. 31 total labradoodles were bred at the Royal Dogs and 29 were successful guide dogs. People began to fall in love with the new breed and soon there was a demand for the labradoodle that was not being met.
As the popularity of the labradoodle grew two forward thinking research centers in Australia, Rutland Manor and Tegan Park, started breeding the labradoodle with a specific plan in mind. The Australian breeders infused other breeds into the existing labradoodle in order to create a breed that could stand the test of time in areas of health, conformation, and temperament. Of these pure bred infusions were the Irish Water Spaniel as well as both the American and the English Cocker Spaniel. These particular breeds were chosen for several reasons some being excellent health, size, and friendly temperament. Most recently was the infusion of the Irish Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier. This infusion was done further improve the health and conformation of the Australian Labradoodle. The Australian Labradoodle is now reliably non-shedding and allergy friendly.
Currently breeders of the Australian Labradoodle in the United States are building on that foundation created in Australia with fully health and temperament tested breeding dogs. Today Australian Labradoodle breeders are working together to create a very healthy, family friendly pet. I can't wait to see what the future holds for this breed!