Labradoodles are known for their intelligence, level-headedness, affection, sociability and cheerful disposition. Originally a hybrid of a Labrador Retriever and a Standard Poodle, today’s Labradoodles are increasingly multi-generation dogs, which means that both of their parents are Labradoodles, and preferably all of their grandparents, as well. Reputable breeders are taking steps to get the Labradoodle fully recognized by the American Kennel Club and other purebred dog registries. An important part of that process is standardizing the Labradoodle’s unique breed characteristics, including temperament. These dogs should be outgoing but not pushy, self-confident but not aggressive and smart but not overly independent. They are loyal, friendly, eager to please, even-tempered, gentle and kind. This combination of traits makes Labradoodles outstanding service and therapy dogs, as well as terrific family companions. However, it does not make them particularly good watchdogs or guard dogs. Owners should not let their Labradoodle's excessive friendliness overcome a healthy respect for unfamiliar animals. Less sociable dogs may become scared or hostile when a Labradoodle rushes at them in an innocent but exuberant attempt to say: “Hi There! Wanna Play?” Early, consistent training usually is all that is necessary to gently manage a Labradoodle's natural enthusiasm.
Labradoodles are energetic, active animals. The larger (standard) variety always does best with regular exercise, including a long daily walk and lots of time and room to run. Some Labradoodle enthusiasts suggest that they get at least 2 hours each day of rigorous activity. This is a water-loving breed, which makes swimming a great exercise option. The smaller Labradoodles usually are quite comfortable living in a small home or apartment setting, provided they get a brisk daily walk and lots of physical attention. When Labradoodles are inactive or left to their own devices for too long, they tend to take out their frustrations on furniture, carpet, walls or landscaping. Despite their cheerful disposition, a bored, idle or ignored Labradoodle can quickly become an unhappy, anxious and destructive Labradoodle.
Labradoodles are highly intelligent dogs that usually are a breeze to train. They quickly learn standard obedience commands, such as sit, down, come and stay. This breed thrives on being mentally and physically engaged. They love playing and interacting with people and other dogs, especially in games involving chase, fetch or hide-and-seek. Labradoodles seem to enjoy participating in competitive canine activities, such as flyball, agility and obedience. They cannot yet participate in activities sanctioned by the American Kennel Club. However, there are many hobby dog clubs that owners can hook up with. As with almost any breed, a Labradoodle’s socialization and training should start at an early age and continue throughout its life. Some will benefit from an occasional refresher course.
Labradoodles share a love of water with their field Labrador and Poodle ancestors and often will enter water without prompting. Because so many Labradoodles in the United States are first-generation hybrids, littermates may not share the same behavioral traits. There are few reliable, or reliably reproducible, breed-specific generalizations that can be made about the Labradoodle, other than it is a very smart, friendly, affectionate, loyal, trainable and patient breed. Like Labs, they tend to chew when bored and enjoy chewing on bones and playing with toys whether bored or not. Most Labradoodles like to jump on furniture and into their owners' laps, so prospective owners should be prepared to do lots of training if this behavior is not acceptable. Labradoodles are vigorous diggers. They can quickly rearrange a yard’s landscape and create a perfect start for an in-ground swimming pool. Labradoodles crave attention; they are not ideal dogs for people who work long hours or spend lots of time away from home. Labradoodles that do not receive enough affection or physical activity tend to bark excessively, which can annoy neighbors and owners alike.