Labradoodle temperament and personality

Labradoodles are a cross of 2 breeds; the Labrador Retriever and Poodle.

Both of these breeds are known for their loving, fun, people pleasing personalities.

There’s a reason they’re not guard dogs… neither breed has any aggression or “nasty” in them. They are convinced everyone loves them. They are more apt to greet you joyfully than try to keep you out. They crave and enjoy interaction with everyone, seeming never to get tired of human companionship. While most are too large to sit in your lap comfortably, that would be their favorite place should you let them.

Labradoodles are like a cheerful toddler that never outgrows that joy and willingness to be with you.

They celebrate and rejoice each time you walk into the room. They make wonderful companions for people of all ages. The poodle in them is gentle enough to lay with a baby. The lab in them is energetic enough to keep pace with an adolescent on a bicycle. The mix is funny to watch, wonderful to know, and brings smiles to the faces of the old and disabled in hospital or nursing homes. They are eager to please, and highly intelligent; so many become service dogs.

Anyone who places a high value on canine companionship will be thrilled by a Labradoodle. They are unique characters and loyal friends to all.

Comments

  1. My labradoodle is all of the above. But!!! she is very destructive she chews every thing in sight. especially she likes
    to chew plastic, dig holes, prefer being outdoors, busy, busy,.Has
    anyone experenced these behaviors in their pet. I am at my wits
    end. She is one year old

  2. Celeste, how much exercise does your dog get? That can make a huge difference in their behavior. One thing that might make a big difference is if you teach her to play fetch and just wear her out good whenever you have the chance. Obedience training to keep her mind busy too can help. A bored dog with this kind of intelligence wil often find ways to entertain themselves that we would rather thay not start.

    The lab part of these dogs can be a very active, driven breed and it does show up far more in some than others. It sounds like yours is one of them. The more poodle type personalities are quite a bit more relaxed and while they enjoy a good workout, they’re not as needy of it.

    A lot of it really comes down to the parents and what was passed on. It’s for this reason that I chose much more laid back dogs to breed. I’m in my 50s and there’s no way I could keep up with a hyper dog. Even my purebred lab dam is not hyper… if she had been I’d have never bred her. I know my limitations and was very selective when finding breeding dogs.

    I assumed if I preferred calmer dogs, there were others who would as well. So that was one of my top criteria.

    There’s a labradoodle site that you might enjoy and has experienced breeders and owners who would be glad to give you ideas with your dogs behavior problems. You can find them at http://www.labradoodle-dogs.net I post there as Tink, so look me up! Not having hyper dogs myself, I’m not the best one to advise you.

    Good luck!

  3. We have 2 Labradoodles. Rags(female) 13 months old. Real passive but barks when someone comes to the house, sees a cat or anything out the window or door. Murphy(male) is 6 months old. He is very active digging holes eating the baseboards of the house. We settled this by buying calf hooves. They smell when wet but the dogs love them and nothing has been chewed since purchased. My biggest problem is Rags is a medium sized Doodle but she is curly haired and black in color. Mom was chocolate lab, dad black poodle. She shedded and her hair on top of her head hasn’t grew back. Any ideas on vitamins or tests to see what her problem may be. She is also very slender. Murphy is large and a joy. No problems yet. Any comments or ideas would be greatly appreciated.

    Hi Carol,
    My guess would be that Rags is blowing out her puppy coat to grow her adult one. This is a poodle trait, and usually happens between 10 and 14 months of age, so she’s the perfect age for it. It can take time for the hair to grow back, and it may be quite different than what she had as a pup. She may stop shedding, or she may shed more… depending on what coat she ends up with.

    As for her build, she likely took more after the poodle side than Lab side. Did you get to see her parents before buying her? She could even be out of a slender Lab female which would make that even more extreme.

    Some use standard poodles in the Labradoodle cross, while others use miniature poodles… this could very easily account for the difference in size of your 2. Often when comparing Labradoodles, it’s almost like comparing apples and oranges. There are different generations, different size poodles, and even a rather big difference in some labs from another. Without having seen the parents I’d impossible for me to say what’s gone on with yours. With my own dogs I could tell you… Perhaps you should contact your breeder and ask a few more questions. I always welcome calls from my buyers, regardless how old the dog is, so hopefully they will too.

    Good luck!
    Tink

  4. Tink
    Thank you very much for your reply. It seems you know alot about the labradoodles. Rags mom was a chocolate lab and dad a standard poodle. Murphy’s mom was a very large yellow lab and dad a standard white poodle. I would like to mate Rags with a standard black poodle if I can find one in PA. Write again and thank you

  5. Carol,
    I have heard from other breeders and have found myself that it’s harder to find home for black pups than any other color. Black is the default color for both Labs and Poodles, so in using a black poodle male you risk having an all black litter.

    I hope you plan to test your dog and use only a tested male if you do decide to breed. There are many genetic problem that can be passed down and when they surface, buyers will come back to you and expect you to make it right… which can mean taking the pup back, paying for their vet care, or replacing them with a healthy pup.

    Breeding might seem an easy way to make some extra cash, but I can tell you from experience that you will have far more time and money invested by the time you’re able to sell your pups than you ever thought possible. Very few breeders end up making money on a litter.

    If I charged even a dollar an hr for my time I’d have to raise my prices significantly.

    I breed because I love it and it’s my hobby. I retired early TO breed. I also have an acre of land for the dogs to run on, a husband who was willing to put up a lot of fences, build a lot of shelters and help me when I have a litter so am scooping after 17 dogs!

    If you’re still interested in giving it a try, do your research so you really know what you’re getting into and do it well and can enjoy it.

    Tink

  6. We got out labradoodle from a former co-worker’s friend, she was free to us, and before we got her I did some research, and the reason I accepted her was the non-shedding, but when we got her we found out different, she sheds alot, constantly could that be a vitamin defiency or does she have more lab than standard poodle. We’ve been having her since she was 3 months old, she is now 2yrs.

  7. Shawn, while it’s true that some Labradoodles don’t shed, that’s certainly not true of all. Even with their parentage being half Lab and half poodle you can get pups that lean heavily toward one breed over the other. Even as a breeder I can’t judge which pups will or will not shed with any certainty. Those that do normally shed less than half what a purebred lab does, but there are likely exceptions to that rule too.

    A pup might not shed for the first year… then when it sheds out it’s puppy coat it may get an adult coat that sheds. Or a shedding pup may stop when it grows it’s adult coat. Some never shed, some always shed. No one can promise which way it will go. Obviously the more poodle they have in their genes, the less they shed, but then again the more grooming that comes along with it as well.

    Tink

  8. I am wondering, about how much exercise is enough for a hyper labradoodle puppy? We take hime for three or four 20 minute walks and it is still not enough. Any suggestions?

  9. Hi Jackie, that’s a good question!
    I always take into consideration the energy level of the parents prior to breeding. Most people are not equipped to handle an extremely hyper dog if it’s to be a pet. The hyper labs are field labs and are bred to be able to run in the out of doors for hurs at a time and that is what they live for. Breeding them even with a calmer dog is no guarantee that the pups will be any calmer. The way genetics work you can get pups that still pick up that hyper frantically energetic trait from the lab side and unless it’s able to run and wear itself out the dog is as miserable as the person having to live with it.
    So my first point is, that when looking for a pup you MUST meet the parents and if they’re not dogs you’d like to own and live with, then look elsewhere because the pups likely won’t be either.

    Now that you already have a hyper pup and are most likely quite attached to it, you need to find ways to get them that exercise without driving yourself nuts in the process. One good way is to teach them to retrieve a ball, or frisbee and wear them that way. A tired pup is a happy pup and is apt to be much more well behaved.

    I shy away from hyper dogs, as I know I don’t have the time to exercise them like they need. So I’m not the best source for ideas on this I’m afraid.

    Good luck!
    Tink

  10. Stephanie says:

    Tink,
    I’m looking for a therapy dog of sorts. It won’t have the “professional training” as a certified dog would but I would train it to do certain things for me. As I read these posts, I see that it requires a lot of exercise. I can’t run or anything with it, will that be a problem? I’m still looking forward to coming when you’ve got some pups. I’ve already picked a few names :)

  11. These dogs were originally bred to be therapy and service dogs, so you’re definitely on the right track.

    As for exercise, there are of course some pups that need more exercise than others, and if you look for ones with Bench lab rather than field Lab in them you’re mot apt to get a calmer less frantically energetic pup.

    Can you throw a ball or a frisbee? A dog can be taught to retrieve one and will often play long enough to wear themselves out. A treadmill can also work well if you can’t take them for walks. Or a big open space where they can run and play.

    There are ways to work around it… we’d just have to figure out which ones would work best in your situation. Focussing on your abilities rather than any DISabilities.

  12. My question is has anyone seen any bad tempermant problems with this mixed breed. MY sister -in-law has 3 labs and a labradoodle,they live on 10 ac.place.Last night the doodle attacked one of the goats,and probably tried to killed it if not seperated.And the children’s cat’s have been disappearing,I’m a experienced obedience handler but haven’t had a chance to try this one yet.Has anyone else experieced and of these problems Thanks John L

  13. I have yet to hear of a Doodle that’s aggressive.They can be watch dogs because they might bark when someone arrives, but guard dogs they’re not.

    Since you’re into obedience training, I’m sure you know that the smarter the dog, the more they need to be trained and worked with. This is generally a very smart hybrid, and if not taught right from wrong and given challenges to keep them on their toes, they will often find things to entertain themselves that are NOT to our liking.

    Both Poodles and Labs are retrievers and have been bred to work and run and swim and spend their days serving their master. They aren’t dogs you can turn lose and ignore… or put on a chain and just feed daily. So my question would be how much attention does the dog get? Has it been trained for anything or just turned loose with the others to add to the pack?

    Where did they buy the doodle? Did they meet the parents to see that they were dogs with good temperaments and intelligence and social skills? Have they contacted their breeder to ask for advice? I always encourage my puppy buyers to call me first if ANY problem arises. That’s just one sign of a responsible breeder.

    Before any of my pups leave here, they’ve been introduced to cats, people of all ages, other dogs and as many new experiences as possible. This helps to prevent future issues and to make the pups more easily trained by their new families.

    If you or the family who owns the dog would care to contact me, I’d be glad to try to help them correct the problems they’re having. I don’t care where it started, I never like to hear of a doodle in a bad situation even if it is their own behavior that’s in question.

    Please let me know how/if I can help

    Sincerely,
    Tink

    The best way to contact me is by phone 715-538-4224 or at my personal email address which is tink@centurytel.net

  14. Hello, This is an excellent blog, but I was wondering how do i suscribe to the RSS feed?

  15. My Labradoodle is all of the above and more. She is very obedient and loves everyone so much, has no nasty in her, although she does bark when strangers come to the door or she thinks there is an animal outside. She is gentle and sweet yet when we play with her she goes crazy with happiness and energy. The mix of a poodle and a lab is a heart melting combination, Labradoodles are the best companions!

  16. I am at my wits end with my beloved dog Max. 90% of the time he is an ideal dog and i love him dearly. However when I leave the house (even if its just for 2 minutes) he seeks to cause trouble by opening doors, rummaging through objects accidentally left on display on the kitchen counters and his favorite task, rummaging through bins (especially the bathroom bin which is filled with sanitary waste every few weeks). the last week he misbehaved 7 days in a row which is unlike him because he usually follows a cycle whereby he misbehaves, gets a row, he is welcomed back then we go back to our usual routine. it would usually take him 2 weeks before he was naughty again. He usually sleeps in my bedroom with me and my husband, however last night we were so angry at him we locked him out the porch to sleep (with access to food and water, and a comfy bed). We woke up this morning to a noise of him chewing, so we went downstairs to investigate and he was out of breath and he had chewed the door frame and the door and urinated. (He is very well toilet trained, the only time he ever has accidents is when he is being shouted at, which may appear as a sign of fear, but if you could see you him you’d see that his tail wags excitedly when you shout at him). we haven’t found a discipline method that will alter his behavior, He knows that he shouldn’t misbehave, but its almost as if he cant help himself. Please could you give me some advice because i hate staying mad at him and this week has been particularly tough because I have missed his kisses and cuddles dearly. At the present moment he is sitting in the garden in his naughty corner that he designated for himself.

    • Hello,
      I’m so sorry your Max is giving you a challenge.
      In my experience, Labradoodles are so wickedly smart, that they truly need to be challenged intellectually and they absolutely need human companionship.
      How much of the time is Max left home alone? Does he have any toys that he has to work on to gain a treat such as a Kong? Is he or has he been in obedience or agility classes?

      A 15 minute trainng session each day with new tricks or puzzles brought in to make them think will often help keep a dogs mind busy with good things rather than naughty mischief. A couple of 20 minute play sessions such as frisbee or fetch with a ball or stick will help keep some energy burned off. Socializing with other dogs and people helps too.

      A bored dog is often going to find things to enetertain themselves that we humans won’t appreciate, whereas a tired dog is a good dog. Until you’re able to get Max back in line, you might consider crating him when unsupervised. My dogs choose to go into their crates for naps and such, so it’s not as if they see them as a jail. They are a safe place to relax without getting in trouble.

      It’s unlikely Max has no clue why he’s been banished from the bedroom, so will act out worse because of it. I strongly recommend ceasar Milans books to learn to understand dog psychology. Once we learn to read their behavior it is much easier to be able to curb or redirect it.

      Good luck!

  17. My husband and daughter adopted a labradoodle from a breeder in Lancaster, Pa. They didn’t know anything about getting a dog from a breeder and so didn’t see the parents or ask questions about the parents temperment or anything. The dog was adopted for me to train as a service dog as I am disabled. She is currently 11 months old and has been in training since she was 4 1/2 months old. She is exceptionally bright and will bring me anything I drop or point to in the house. She even knows the name of her different toys and will bring you whatever you ask for. She picks up new behaviors in her service training right away. At home she is great. However, she won’t imitate any of these behaviors anywhere but in the house or in training class. One thing I noticed when they first gave her to me at 12 weeks old was that she made poor eye contact. She still makes poor eye contact and has been showing more fear behavior as she gets older. When she goes out for a walk she is walking with her tail down, her ears slightly back and her head is on a swivel. She is terrified of kids and bicycles. She is afraid of people she doesn’t know and if I take her in a store or mall, she pulls alot and veers away from people that walk too close to her and if I stop off to the side wall and just sit, she is shaking and watches everyone and will ofter turn in a circle to face the opposite way to make sure no one is coming. She is so distracted by her fear that she can not even be lured by food. I have contacted a different trainer to work with me on a one to one instead of in the classroom but she said it sounds like she may have come from a poor gene pool. The private trainer is going to work with me to see if we can break the fear cycle, but said it may not be likely that we can due to her gene pool. I am starting to think that she may have been a puppy mill dog and since my husband and daughter had never purchased a dog from anyone didn’t know what to look for. In the house she is the best dog we’ve ever had. She is both paper trained because sometimes if I’m home alone with her all day, due to my diablilities I may not be able to walk her and she will also go outdoors whenever walked. She has had the run of the house since she was about 5 months old and the only thing she really ever destroys is if she finds a papertowel or tissue. If I take her to a dog park, she is fine with all the other dogs and in the dog park will go up to all the humans there with no fear. She only seems to show fear on her walks and in stores. Has anyone else seen this kind of behavior in their labradoodles and have you been able to get the dog past this fear behavior? I swo want her to work out as a service dog because she is extremely smart. She is suppossedly mixed with a 60 lb chocolate lab and a black and white miniture poodle.

    • Hello Mary Ellen,

      I have to ask… did you by any chance buy your pup from an amish family? I have nothing against the amish, and actually live surrounded by several of them. They’ve been wonderful neighbors, but when it comes to animals, they ave a very different perspective than most of the rest of us do. I’ve heard from many that the pups they sell often are poorly socialized, which is what it sounds to me like you are describing. If pups aren’t handled from very young and don’t bond with people very young, it can affect the way they feel toward people later. In the amish community, animals aren’t pets, but livestock or in the case of puppies, crops. They don’t play with them or cuddle them as it’s just not what they’re taught.

      My pups are handled daily from birth by me, my 5 grand kids, friends and neighbors. It makes for much more stable dogs in all settings. I’m not sure you can ever fully make up for that lost time, but by taking them into situations where they’re uncomfortable as often as you can and just act like you don’t notice their tension, they can be taught to do better. Don’t let your pity for them show, and don’t pet or speak to them when they appear nervous. Reward them only once they relax to encourage the right behavior.

      I hope you’re able to correct the situation, as these dogs make wonderful service animals if they’re stable to begin with.

  18. We just bought a labradoddle from the pet shop. He’s 2 months but he shows no expression once si ever his afraid of us when we call him he hides. Any advice

  19. Hi Julie,
    It sounds like you got a puppy mill puppy, which isn’t at all surprising if it was sold through a pet store. The symptoms you’ve described sound to me like the pup wasn’t properly socialized; which is one of the better known problems with puppy mill pups.
    Some have never been handled, some have never left the crate they were born in before being sent to the pet shop. You can correct some of that, simply by being patient and loving with the pup and making sure to introduce it to as many people, places and experiences as possible. It will take time, and many pups like yours never completely overcome their sad beginning.
    I have a family member who has a senior toy poodle that she bought as a baby from a puppy mill without realizing what the place was. Her dog is still too afraid to allow most people near him. He loves her and the immediate family members, but is terrified if others try to touch him.

    Good luck with your pup. Hopefully the Lab and poodle in it will win out over the bad points. They are both wonderful breeds.

    Tink

  20. We have a 12 moth old doodle. apricot in colour. F1B. Father was a standard poodle. Mother was a doodle. He is a fantastic dog, grown out of chewing anything major, just likes to pick up small items. Likes to run after and be chased by other dogs. One of the fastest dogs on the planet. Doesn’t like to try swimming, which is a disappointment, will go into water belly deep if egged on by other dogs, loves getting a bath though. great temperament, never angry, rarely barks. He is always desperate for a walk, we aim for at least two decent waks a day. It has to be in a park where we can let him off his lead, hand brakes are applied if we try and go past the park. Missile lock on any dog he sets eyes on, full speed,, irretrievable projectary, any stick or ball is dropped like a stone. Once retrieved and moved on he is minded to seize a further opportunity and make a U-turn at full speed, leaving us behind in a cloud of dust, helpless and miles away. At night, when trying to settle down and we think he should be burnt out, but actualy it’s us that’s tired, he often turns up with a soft to
    toy to throw. We then offer him a hide bone to keep him quiet for a bit. Our doodle gets fed twice a day on dried food, used to eat it as a last option, holding out for treats, but now as he,s getting bigger will nail every last morsel. Never misses an opportunity to beg though, and his teeth are fearsome, give him the bone from a joint of meat and it was demolished in no time. We love him

  21. Betsy McCloskey says:

    I have a labradoodle female. Prior to Jada, I have always had black labs. Black labs, unlike yellow labs are more serious dogs and more protective. I see that in Jada. She is kind to strangers on walks, but allows no one to come on to our deck until I come outside to tell her it is ok, even if she knows them. She is very friendly, but she is very protective of me and the household. I love this about her.

  22. I always see these sites that say labradoodles are not guard dogs. Our female IS. She protects our family like a German Shepard. No one gets up the deck stairs until we come outside and tell her it is Ok. She positions herself between me and any stranger we meet. She is not aggressive, just very much on duty.

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