While Labradoodles are the primary breed used by Genesis Service Dogs, we do use other breeds as well. Many breeders make many claims when it comes to the Labradoodle breed. We speak only from our experience with the dogs we have in our program. However, we have done quite a bit of research. We offer the following as an easy to understand description of the mysterious “designer-dog” known as a “doodle.”
FIRST GENERATION LABRADOODLES
This is a cross between a Standard Poodle and a Labrador Retriever. Our poodle and lab moms and dads have all been carefully health screened including OFA and eye CERFs. They come from excellent breeding stock and all have AKC pedigrees and registrations.
(Labradoodles are not recognized or registered by the AKC as a breed.)
SECOND GENERATION LABRADOODLES
This is a cross between a standard poodle and a Labradoodle (first generation or multi-generation). This breeding is usually done in an attempt to get more attributes of the poodle’s non-shedding, low-allergen coat into the gene pool. The pups in a back-cross litter tend to be a bit more “poodle-ish” in temperament. Subsequent generations, where they are bred to 1st or multi-generational Labradoodles, tend to balance out the personalities.
First (and second) generation Labradoodles can come with any combination of coat types of the lab and poodle. Their coats may be nearly straight, wavy, or curly. They can be super soft fleece coats or wooly coats. They can shed like a lab, not shed at all, or shed just a bit – -somewhere in the middle.
Generally, about half the pups have wavy coats of either fleece or wool. Unclipped, these pups have an adorable, scruffy look. Wavy-coated doodles with their coats clipped flat, look and feel like crushed velvet. We have been seeing more than half of these pups be non-shedding or low-shedding. The rest are split between non-shedding and lab-shedding. Interestingly, several people with dog allergies can have full contact with even the light-shedding wavy coats without problems.
Flat coats tend to resemble Labrador coats in nearly all their attributes. Some are a little longer and fluffier than labs due to an almost undetectable trace of waviness.
Curly coats are possible in early generations, but not common. These can be wooly or fleecy and are generally non-shedding or very low-shedding.
Many Labradoodle breeders will tell you that a fleecy, curly coat is “best.” If you want a dog for show-and-tell, that might be true. For our unique purposes, however, we are equally fond of the low-shedding or non-shedding wavy coat, as these dogs are easier to maintain and offer the same advantages in health, temperament and trainability. (We also think they are just adorable as puppies, as well as adults!)
What all of our puppies have in common is an affectionate, “puppy-ish” temperament, exceptional trainability, and very great ease of handling. Their energy levels run the gamut from couch potatoes to jack rabbits, and tend to be reflective of the parent dogs. Our breeding targets a “bright” energy level – a dog that is perky and super-responsive, but not hyperactive or hard to control. These puppies tend to be soft in temperament, thriving on positive reinforcement training methods. Labradoodles are quite intelligent dogs, so lots of exercise and mental stimulation – walks in the park, obedience work, socializing – makes them really happy.
These dogs mature a bit more slowly than a Labrador, so you will enjoy that bouncy, happy puppy for some time after the house-breaking and house-manners are well established. As they enter adulthood, around 16-18 months of age, they become even more affectionate and devoted to their humans. They seem to be particularly sensitive to the needs of very different people, adapting their behavior in accordance to the preferences of everyone in the room, from the hearty boy that wants to play tug to the toddler. It is these attributes that make them such spectacular dogs for children with special needs, as well as adults with mobility or physical stability challenges.