Breed History: The True Originators
In 1989, the first litter of labradoodles was bred by the GDAV in Australia. John Gosling, the manager for GDAV Guide Dog Services agreed to breed the first ever labradoodle litter in answer to a request by Pat Blum of Hawaii, a vision impaired woman with a husband allergic to dogs. The breeding manager for GDAV, Wally Conron, planned a mating between Harley and Brandy, a poodle and lab, and the first labradoodle litter resulted in three puppies. Fur samples of the pups were sent to Pat as the pups matured, and one of the pups, Sultan, proved to be allergy friendly, as well as compatible for Pat as a guide dog. The combination of Sultan's coat, temperament and trainability made him a perfect guide dog companion for Pat, and an allergy friendly addition to her home. This was the beginning of the labradoodle. The combination of the Labrador and the Poodle produced great puppies that were very smart and easy to train, which naturally led to people in the general public becoming interested in the breed as family pets.
Today: American vs. Australian
Typically, early generation American labradoodles result in greater hybrid vigor (health) with a wide variety of looks and coats. Some will be allergy friendly, some will not. Some will shed, and others will not. Although many American labradoodle breeders continue in the footsteps of Wally Conron - others saw a different viewpoint - thus the Australian Labradoodle was born. The desire for a higher number of non-shedding, allergy friendly coats has played a huge part in the introduction of a 'new model' from the original Labradoodle.
Both Tegan Park and Rutland Manor have continued to develop the breed further and most of the Australian breeding stock in the United States are from these two breeders. The early development of the Australian Labradoodles were combined with other breeds such as the English Spaniel, American Spaniel, Curly Coated Retriever, etc. during 'infusion' programs. With these infused foundation breeds, some interesting combinations in type and personalities evolved. Progeny from these were then mated to similar types or bred back to Poodles for coat correction, color or size reduction. Most recently, Irish Wheaton Terriers were infused into their programs.
The Labradoodle is still in its development. There are many arguments as to which is better - the American Multigen or the Australian Multigen. We have produced outstanding puppies from the combination of both and feel this is the best proof of our breeding methods. No one dog type is perfect but with good choices, careful pedigree research and proof of health, we feel this is the best of both worlds.
Some breeders are hopeful for AKC registration in the future, while others favor 'leaving the politics out' of their program. Leaving preferences aside, we have been very successful in producing healthy, well tempered, non shedding puppies. It is moot to us whether or not it becomes a recognized breed. The wonderful qualities that exemplifies this hybrid is what is important to us.
Breeders of Mini & Medium Labradoodles in Southern Maine