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Pattaya Daily News

20 March 2010 :: 15:03:05 pm 16180

Labradoodles: Guide Dog Perfection?

The Labradoodle is a breed of dog that emerged in 1989 when an Australian breeder Wally Conron deliberately crossed a Labrador Retriever with a Standard Poodle. His objective was to have the best characteristics of both breeds for the use of guide dogs for a society called Guide Dogs Victoria.
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The Labradoodle shares a close resemblance to the poodle parent with a low shedding coat and a temperament similar to that of the Labrador with their gentleness and trainability. His hope was to combine those abilities to make a gentle, great guide, assistance and therapy dog. The other object for this new breed with a low shedding coat was to make them suitable for people with allergies.

With these objectives being achieved, many Labradoodles have been trained and placed as guide, assistance and therapy dogs. The company Guide Dogs Victoria, continue to breed Labradoodles which have turned out to become very good family dogs.

Not all Labradoodles puppies have the in bred characteristics with some having the desired traits, and others displaying inconsistent, unpredictable features and behavioral personalities. At present, Labradoodles are found in many different sizes which can be anything from 14 to 25 inches at the shoulder and may weigh anything from 15 to 65 lbs.  The deciding factor of the size may be the Poodle.

The Labradoodle has as yet, no applied standard. Their coats are generally categorized as ‘Wool’ with soft tight curls as that of the Poodle, ‘Fleece’. Soft and free flowing, with a kinked or wavy appearance, or ‘Hair’ which can be curly, straight or wavy, but similar to that of the Labrador. Their coats vary in color, ranging from cream, light beige, golden, caramel, chocolate, red, black or any other color the Poodle is seen in. The Labradoodles are required to have low shedding fur, though it has been found that some of them shed even less then the Poodle and have lower odour than the Labrador.

With both the Labrador and the Poodle having superior intelligence, this has been successfully inherited by the Labrdoodle which also displayed qualities of affinity to water and the strong swimming ability of both breeds.The Labradoodle has also inherited the gentleness that is a distinct quality in the Labrador along with the friendly, energetic and affection that makes them great with children.

They are exceptionally obedient and easy to train with their intelligence enabling them to learn verbal and sign language commands. They make excellent guide dogs and become the eyes of the blind or visually impaired owners, taking their job seriously.  They also do well in their roles of assistance dogs, where by they aid their owners in completing tasks and their gentle and loving nature, make them perfect therapy dogs providing affection and comfort to those in retirement homes or hospitals.

In the same way as the Labradoodles inherit the best characteristics from their parents, they may also inherit health problems found in both breeds. A Labradoodle is no different to other dogs when it comes to care and attention. They need the same amount of commitment and time as that of a child.

Patty Brown

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