The Labradoodle as a dog breed is still developing, and does not yet "breed true," i.e., puppies do not have consistently predictable characteristics. While many Labradoodles display desired traits, their appearance and behavioral characteristics remain, from an overall breed standpoint, unpredictable.
As such, Labradoodles' hair can be anywhere from wiry to soft, and may be straight, wavy, or curly. Some Labradoodles do shed, although the coat usually sheds less and has less dog odor than that of a Labrador Retriever. The color range includes white, cream, gold, apricot, red, brown and black, and most of the other colors seen in Poodles.
Labradoodles also often display an affinity for water and the strong swimming ability present in both their parent breeds.
Like their parent breeds, both of which are amongst the world's most intelligent dog breeds, Labradoodles are very intelligent and quite trainable. Labradoodles can be taught to obey verbal or sign language commands, or both, and remain commonly used as guide dogs for disabled or handicapped persons around the world.
The Labradoodle was first deliberately bred in 1989, when Australian breeder Wally Conron first crossed the Labrador Retriever and Standard Poodle for Guide Dogs Victoria. His aim was to combine the low-shedding coat of the Poodle with the gentleness and trainability of the Labrador, and to provide a Guide Dog suitable for people with allergies to fur and dander. Guide Dogs Victoria continue to breed Labradoodles today and Labradoodles are now often used around the world as Guide, Assistance, and Therapy Dogs as well as being popular family dogs.
Wool (with tight curls, and similar in appearance to that of a Poodle, but with a softer texture); Fleece (soft and free-flowing, with a kinked or wavy appearance); or Hair (which can be curly, straight or wavy, but is more similar in texture to a Labrador's coat)
Although most Labradoodles are healthy, they can suffer from certain problems common to their parent breeds.
Both Poodles and Labrador Retrievers can suffer from hip dysplasia, and should have specialist radiography to check for this problem before breeding. The parent breeds can also suffer from a number of eye disorders, and an examination by a qualified veterinary eye specialist should be performed.
Over the past couple of years, a number of Australian Labradoodles have also been found to suffer from Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), an inherited disease that causes blindness, which occurs in both Miniature Poodles and Cocker Spaniels. It is strongly recommended that Australian Labradoodles be DNA tested for PRA before being bred.
A limited number of Mutigenerational and Australian Labradoodles have also been found to suffer from Addison's Disease
Like most Labrador Retrievers and Poodles, Labradoodles are generally friendly, energetic and good with families and children (although as with any dog the temperament may vary between individuals).